Prey

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Painful and Bloody

Lady Leanor led Liberty to a small sitting room adjacent to the office where Aric was working.

Gesturing for the younger woman to sit, Leanor remained standing as she looked down on her sons chosen companion.

“Are you hungry?” she asked, feeling a little peckish herself.

“No, thank you,” Liberty replied softly, fidgeting nervously under the older vampires scrutiny.

Nodding, Lady Leanor crossed the room and pulled out a blood bag for herself. Tearing it open, she poured its crimson contents into a nearby goblet before returning to sit across from Lberty.

Seeing the other woman’s questioning stare, Leanor couldn’t help but give a small laugh.

“I hate the taste those plastic bags leave in my mouth,” she said, her voice full of mirth. “Call me old school, but if it doesn’t come directly from the vein I prefer a cup.”

“Oh,” the younger vampire replied. Having no wish to ever bite another living being, except maybe Aric while in the throws of passion, Liberty had to point of comparison and didn’t want to seem judgmental towards her so-to-be mother-in-law.

“So,” Leanor began after taking several stalling sips, “tell me about yourself. How did you end up as Aric’s pet?”

Liberty found it difficult to meet Leanor’s overly direct stare and found herself looking down at her own hands.

“I worked in the hydro-electric plant in Spokane,” she began, her voice soft, but eloquent. “The night before the Festival of Saint Januarius I was collected for the hunt.”

Remembering the terror of that moment, of enforcers breaking down the front door to her house, binding her hands and dragging her away, the sounds of her mother screaming her name as she was forced into the van with the other chosen victims, Liberty felt tears running down her cheeks.

“I almost made it to dawn,” she breathed, recalling how much her hands ache digging into the frozen ground, the panic as she lay in her little hole waiting for dawn, for freedom, “but someone found me.

“Suddenly Aric was there, lifting me out of my hiding place, claiming me as a pet,” Liberty continued, rubbing her hands together, trying to make the phantom ache go away.

“So,” Leanor interrupted, leaning forward. "You were taken for the hunt this year?"

"Yes," Liberty acknowledged, nodding in agreement.

"That was only a week and a half ago," the older vampire said, seeming surprised.

Again, Liberty nodded in agreement.

“Continue with your story,” Lady Leanor urged, curious how this girl had gone from pet to wife in such a short period of time. “I’m genuinely intrigued. ”

“Aric brought be back to Spokane,” Liberty sighed, thinking of those first few days. "After that, everything happened so quickly."

"How did you end up leaving Aric for his father?" Leanor asked, wondering what made the woman across from her so desirable to men.

"Aric refused to marry Lady Josephine," the younger vampire explained, "and Lord Lothaire traveled to Spokane to make him.

"He found us... in bed," she continued, her cheeks burning red in embarrassment. "When Aric still refused to do as he was commanded, his father took me away to punish him."

Feeling nauseous at the memory, Liberty stopped speaking, her body trembling, feeling his touch on her skin even now.

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