Prey

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A Flower Among the Weeds

It turned out that the woman who'd fed me was named Flora, and she was in charge of running the house, making sure it was cleaned, polished, and silent like Aric preferred it.

While I was eating, I'd begun to ask questions, and eventually she'd begun to respond.

Now we were sitting in the kitchen polishing crystal candle holders while we talked about ourselves. As it turned out she'd grown up only a few blocks from me, but since she was destined for service and I was marked for work in the power plant our paths had never crossed.

It turned out that we knew several of the same people, and had even dated a few of the same guys.

"I remember Joseph," I laughed, almost falling off of my stool with glee. "His whole family used to carry cloves of garlic in their pockets, even after it started to get moldy and soft."

"I know," Flora laughed, wiping tears out of her eyes, "he swore up and down that the smell was the reason vampires never came for any member of his family when the hunt came around."

"God, they all smelled so terrible," I said, trying to catch my breath I'd laughed so hard, "but they were one of the kindest family's in the neighborhood."

"Yeah," Flora agree, her laughter stopping abruptly as all of the color drained out of her face.

Turning to where she was looking I saw Aric standing on the top step, his eyes traveling between us.

As if we'd planned it, Flora and I both stood up, our candle sticks and rags forgotten on the counter as we backed away.

From the corner of my eye I could see her starting to tremble. She looked like she'd crumple at any moment.

"It's my fault," I said, stepping in front of her, shielding her body with my own.

It truly was my fault. I'd forgotten to listen for the return of Aric's car I'd been laughing so hard. If anyone was going to be punished it would be me, not her.

A lump formed in my throat as Aric descended the few steps into the room, walking towards us.

I tried to stand tall, to hide my fear, but as he came near I knew he could smell the fear radiating off of me.

Seeing his arm move, I closed eyes, not wanting to see the blow coming.

After a few moments passed, and nothing happened, I risked a peek and saw Aric holding out his hand for me to take.

Looking back at Flora quickly, I placed my hand in his unsure what was going to happen.

Aric'c hand closed around mine, and he began to lead me out of the kitchen towards the stairs.

Knowing that, for the moment Flora was safe, I said a small prayer of thanks before I allowed myself to worry about my own fate.

He led me to his room, stepping aside so I could enter ahead of him.

I looked into his eyes trying to read his emotions, but his face remained as emotionless as stone as I passed.

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