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Gods, Grant Me Strength

Entering the drawing room, Aric cringed at the tableau that met his eyes.

Josephine stood in the middle of the room with a harassed looking Henry, a clipboard in hand.

"So," he heard her say making mark on a piece of paper, "I'm thinking the first thing I that we need to do is scrape off all of this disgusting old wallpaper and paint this place in a vibrant red.

"Not blood red, mind you," she added, looking at her brother seriously. "I'm talking rose red, like my favorite lipstick.

"All this old furniture can go too," she continued, making more notes. "I want all new things for my new life."

"Don't order anything yet," Aric said, leaning against a column by the door.

"Darling," Josephine called, shoving the clipboard into Henry's hands.

Moving to him, she flung her arms around his neck, nipping playfully at his ear.

"Daddy called this morning and told me to wonderful news," she gushed, planting lipstick smeared kisses on his cheeks.

"Yes," Aric replied, stepping away from her.

"I spoke to my own father last night," he continued, wiping the red wax from his cheeks.

"Isn't it wonderful?" Josephine beamed flashing a toothy smile. "Henry refused to believe me when I told him. I had to call daddy back and let him talk to my idiot brother.

"You know," she continued, moving around the room, touching curtains, shelves, furniture, everything, "I am going to have to completely remodel this place before the wedding.

"All this Victorian Gothic has got to go. I'm thinking rose red with black accents."

"Josephine," Aric sighed, trying to get a word in edgewise, "I'm not going to marry you."

"Of course you're going to marry me silly," Josephine said, turning a bright smile on him. "Everything has been arranged. I'm actually going to Seattle this weekend to pick out my dress."

"Read my lips," he said, squaring his shoulders, "I would rather be flayed over an open fire with dull knives than marry you."

"Are you serious?" she roared, turning on him, her facade of blond bimbo disappearing, replaced but outright rage.

"Yes," he nodded, refusing to sink to her level of emotional immaturity, "I'm not going to marry you."

"Wait until I tell my father," Josephine shrieked, her fangs and nails elongating. "You will pay for this!"

"I already have paid," Aric spat, his own fangs emerging, "the last time we were engaged, I paid dearly. I will not go through that again."

"Things will be different this time baby," she purred, retracting her nails, morphing back to her more alluring visage, running her hands over his body seductively. "I will be everything you want me to be."

"What I want is for you to be is out of my life," he yelled, shoving her away.

"Fuck you," Josephine seethed, "like it or not you will marry me."

"Get out," Aric replied, grabbing her by the shoulders and forcing her towards the door.

"You can't do this," she cried, trying to free herself from his grasp. "Henry! Don't let him do this!"

Henry didn't move, too stunned that Aric was physically forcing his sister out the door to react.

Placing his left hand on Josephine's face to push her out the door, he was surprised when she stopped struggling.

Suddenly she grabbed his hand and held it to her nose.

"What the hell?" she hissed, smelling the unmistakable scent of another woman's secretions, and not just any woman, a human!

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