Night Blood

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Chapter 9

*Note: Changes have been made to Sophie’s character, to correct her age in the current timeline, so the beginning of this chapter had been edited to correct the age error. Sophie is thirteen, not ten, which is what I had written her as. Apologies!


“Ooh, what about this one?” Mom held up a pink training bra with a blue polka dots, “This is cute!”

“It has matching panties, too.” Lydia smiled, holding up a pair of panties.

“Oh, great! Her first matching set!” Mom gushed.

Mom! Lydia!” Sophie whispered, pushing their hands down as she hastily looked around, “People can see!

Mom smiled widely at Sophie and giggled. “Sorry. This is just so exciting! Your first bra!” She squealed happily.

I rolled my eyes and looked at Sophie who’s face was as red as a beet as mom held the training bra up to Sophie’s chest. Poor kid, forced to be another one of mom’s little dolls, forced to go shopping ‘with the girls’ only to be embarrassed because perfect Lydia decided she wanted to go bra shopping.

“Mom, please.” Sophie groaned.

“Oh, come on.” Mom pouted, “You said you wanted to start wearing a bra yesterday, Sophie. You can’t get a bra without shopping for them.”

“Yeah, but…” Sophie’s eyes darted around, “I didn’t want dad to know.

“Oh, sweetie.” Mom put an arm around Sophie, “Your dad doesn’t care. He’s had two other daughters who wear bra’s.”

“Still.” Sophie bit her lip, “It’s weird.”

“Why?” Lydia asked as she searched through a rack of bras.

“Because…” Sophie muttered, tucking her shoulder length brown hair behind her ear, “I’m like… His little buddy. I don’t want him to know that I want to get a bra.”

Mom chuckled, shaking her head. “You’d still be his little buddy, Sophie.”

“You’d just be wearing a bra to support your boobs.” Lydia said as she walked over to a lingerie display. “Ohh, buy two get one half off!”

I eyed Sophie, standing awkwardly as mom pulled more training bras off the rack, and I felt sorry for her. I was always a girly-girl, so getting my first bra was kind of exciting, I couldn’t imagine being a tom-boy and going bra shopping. Even if she says she wanted to start wearing a bra, it must still be awkward, considering dad and Vinnie were somewhere in the department store as well.

“Mom, I don’t want… pink.” Sophie cringed.

“Oh, okay. Hmm… What about purple? I don’t see blue.” Mom rummaged through the rack.

“What about, like… regular colour?” Sophie shrugged.

“Regular colour?” Mom gave Sophie a look, “What is regular colour?”

“Like… White? Or skin colour? I don’t want people to see coloured straps under my clothes.”

“Charlotte, look at these bra’s!” Lydia called out, “Matching bra and pantie sets are on sale!”

Sophie’s face flushed and she face palmed herself, shaking her head.

I rolled my eyes as Lydia walked over to me with a black satin bra and pantie set, shaking them in front of her.

“What do you think?” Lydia grinned.

“I think black doesn’t suit you.” I cocked an eyebrow at Lydia. “You’re too pale, it washes you out.”

“Not for me, for you.” Lydia rolled her eyes, “Try it on! I think it would look great on you. And black actually looks great on me.”

I sighed and leaned forward on the cart. “No thanks. I’m good on the lingerie front.”

Lydia rolled her eyes and held them out to me, “Come on, we’re all buying bra’s in solidarity.”

I sighed dramatically and unnecessarily loudly as I took the set from Lydia.

“Fine, I’ll buy it.”

“I actually kind of like this one.” Sophie said shyly, holding a grey bra up.

“Good, go try it on!” Mom nodded at the changing rooms, “I’ll be right here.”

“Okay.” Sophie said shyly as she went to the change rooms.

“Found ’em!”

I turned to see Vinnie walking over, holding Colton in one arm.

“Oh, good.” Dad said as he walked behind Vinnie.

“Babe, look!” Lydia squealed as Vinnie walked over, “Buy one set, get twenty percent off the second!”

Vinnie cocked his head to the side and grinned at Lydia, who held a pink lacy bra and panty set out. Vinnie grinned, hooking his finger around the band of a lacy, red thong that was on a display table and held it up, twirling it around his finger.

“I like the pink, but red is a… much better colour on you. Pink is too innocent, and you are anything but innocent.”

Lydia slapped Vinnie’s chest playfully as she grinned at him.

“I’m getting the pink one, I have a lot of red lingerie already.”

“Get both.” Vinnie shrugged with a smirk, “And tonight I’ll just slap your ass while I fuck you so that it gets red.”

“Gross.” Dad grimaced, slapping the back of Vinnie’s head as he walked over to mom, “Don’t talk to my daughter like that, pervert.”

Vinnie scowled at dad as he rubbed the back of his head while Lydia and mom laughed.

“We’ve been married for ten years.” Vinnie grumbled, “Get over it.”

Mom sighed as dad wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her behind her ear.

“That’s cute.” Dad said, nodding at the blue satin bra mom was holding.

“Yeah… I just can’t decide on the thong, or the bikini.” Mom sighed.

“Get both.” Dad shrugged.

“You have to get the set to get the deal, and I don’t want two of the same bra.” Mom sighed.

“Get the thong.” Dad said in a hushed tone, “Or better yet, don’t get any underwear and go without wearing any.

Christopher!” Mom gasped, slapping his arm, “We are with our children!

Dad laughed and kissed her cheek, “You hate underwear lines, baby. Get the thong.”

Sophie came out of the changing room holding the bra.

“I like it, mom. It’s soft and really supports-” Sophie’s smile quickly faded away, and her face contorted into a look of horror when she saw dad and Vinnie had joined us. “Oh. My. God.”

“Hey Soph.” Dad gave her a smile, and pointed at the bra, “Hey, that’s cute.”

Sophie hid the bra behind her back and quickly walked over to mom, pushing the bra into mom’s hands.

“Sophie?” Mom furrowed her brow in confusion.

“I’ll uh… I’ll be in the sports section upstairs!” Sophie called out, “I need a new pair of cleats!”

“Nice one, dad.” Lydia huffed, taking a fussing Colton from Vinnie.

“What?” Dad looked at her.

“You just had to, didn’t you?” Mom sighed, crossing her arms.

“What?” Dad’s head swivelled around to look at mom, his arms out to the sides.

“Good job.” I put my hands on my hips.

Dad spun around to look at me, “What? What did I do?!”

Mom shook her head and put her’s and Sophie’s stuff in the cart, and started to follow Sophie.

“You just had to!” Mom hissed, smacking the back of dad’s head as she hurried off after Sophie.

“What did I do?!” Dad called out after her.

Vinnie covered his mouth with his fist, hiding his laughter, which earned him a hard glare from Lydia.

“And you!” Lydia hissed.

“Me?” Vinnie pointed at himself, then held his hands out innocently. “Hey, I didn’t do anything!”

“You just had to find us.” Lydia huffed.

Dad and Vinnie looked at each other in pure confusion.

After mom had found Sophie, and we had paid for everything, we walked around the mall to the food court, with dad and Vinnie awkwardly holding the bags from various stores. I had gone to the mall to return some items, and to get a few things, and had run into my parents and Sophie, who dragged me around the mall with them. Then, we bumped into Lydia and Vinnie who were shopping for baby clothes for Colton, so apparently that meant we had to all stay together, which pissed me off. I didn’t want to be with Lydia and her perfect little family all day, but I was glad to have been there for Sophie’s first bra.

“Hey.” Lydia nudged me with her elbow.


“It’s nice to see you.”

I gave her a small, fake smile. “Yeah, you too.”

“How are you?” She asked, bounding Colton on her hip as we all looked around the food court at the various restaurants.

I shrugged. “Fine.”

“What’s everyone want?” Dad asked.

“Tacos!” Sophie grinned.

“Hmm… I think I’m going to get Thai.” Mom said, nodding slowly.

“We never did get to go see that movie.” Lydia said as she followed me to a Chinese food restaurant “How about we make plans to go-”

“Yeah, sorry about that. Work caught up to me… I was on call.” I said as I stood in line.

“Yeah, it’s fine.” Lydia gave me a smile, “I just miss doing sister-sister things… Like we used to. Lately it seems like… Like you’re pissed at me, but I don’t know why.”

I sighed and turned to her. “I’m not… pissed at you, Lydia. I’m just… Busy.”

“I know.” She said softly, “I just wish you’d talk to me, or mom, or someone. You can’t keep it all bottled up.”

“Yeah, I know.” I tucked my hair behind my ear, and nodded to the employee “I’ll get a number six.”

Lydia sighed and gave the guy a smile, “I’ll have the same.”

We all sat at a large table, eating from different restaurants, and I couldn’t help but laugh at Lydia, who grimaced at her combo.

“If I had known what a number six was, I wouldn’t have gotten it.” Lydia sighed, “I hate chow mien and beef and broccoli.”

Vinnie chuckled and took her plate, switching it with his slice of pizza, which made Lydia smile at him.

Dad chuckled as he popped a piece of sushi into his mouth as Sophie’s taco shell completely fell apart, while mom bounced Colton on her lap as she ate her Thai noodles, feeding him his bottle. They were all so… Happy. All of them. They were all happy, with their happy lives and happy families. I envied them and their happiness, and wished that I could be as happy as them.

Four months ago…

I put my hand on my stomach and let out a breath as I sat at a red light and chuckled.

“Listen kid.” I said as I rubbed my swollen belly, “I’m just as hungry as you are, trust me, but I can’t make the traffic move any faster.”

I laughed as I felt a kick under my hand. “Oh my god, you’re dramatic.”

I found out I was pregnant two weeks after Matt was killed, and was determined to move on for the sake of my baby, and put everything into taking care of myself for the baby. I was happy, for the first time in a long time, and excited as each day passed and I got closer to having my baby. I didn’t want to know what it was until it was born, but as it got closer to my due date, the more I felt my willpower start to get lower. I had a feeling it was a girl, just because it seemed like my family was prone to having girls than they were to boys, but I wanted a boy.

I looked down at my phone and scrolled through my music library, as the light turned, and pressed the gas peddle.

“Shit.” I muttered as I dropped my phone under my seat.

I kept my eyes on the road as I reached under the seat, blindly feeling around for my phone.

“Ugh, this is great… Crap.”

I leaned down slightly, feeling my fingers wrap around my phone and pulled it up, looking at the windshield just in time to hear a honk as my car swerved into oncoming traffic.


I turned my wheel and got back into my lane, my heart racing.

“Aaand, that’s why they say not to use your phone while driving.” I laughed.

I was a little shaken as I kept driving, and stopped at a stop sign, waiting a little longer than necessary, since there weren’t any cars behind me, before I pulled out.

It happened almost instantly. One minute the road was clear, the next a pick-up truck came out of nowhere and crashed into my car on the drivers side.

My head immediately fell forward and crashed into the airbag, which sucked, then flung back as my car did a complete rotation in the street before coming to a stop.

“M-mother fucker!” I groaned, feeling the immediate effect of whiplash start to take effect.

My hands immediately went to my belly, which had been pushed up against the steering wheel upon impact and I started to panic.

“Holy shit! You okay?!”

I looked at the window to see a man who had witnessed the accident, and I nodded, regretting doing so as pain shot through me.

“Y-yeah… I’m okay I think.” I groaned and closed my eyes, “I…”

“I called emergency, they’ve got police and paramedics on the way.” The man said as he opened my door.

“I’m pregnant. I’m…”

The mans eyes went wide and he nodded, talking into his phone to the dispatcher.

“H-how far along are you? They want to know.”

“Eight…thirty-four weeks. A-almost thirty-five.” I panted slightly, “Thirty-five weeks on Monday.”

The man nodded, relaying the information.

“Oh god!” I cried out, feeling a sharp pain in my abdomen. “Fuck!”

I looked down and immediately started to cry when I saw that my waters broke, and felt sharp pain.

“Oh god, my water… My water just broke.”

As soon as the paramedics, fire department, and police arrived, I was rushed to the hospital, feeling contraction after contraction get more intense than the one before.

“You’re going to be fine, Charlotte.” The paramedic gave me a smile as I squeezed her hand, “Any ideas for names?”

I knew she was trying to distract me, and I appreciated it, but my heart was racing. I didn’t even have the crib set up, and now I was screwed. If they couldn’t get the contractions to stop, I’d be giving birth to a slightly premature baby with nothing ready at home. I had put everything off till the last minute, and now… God, I’d have to put my baby to sleep in a drawer or something! No. No I wouldn’t, dad would get it set up.


I looked at the paramedic.

“Do you have a name?”

“Oh. Uh, no, actually. If it’s a boy, yes, but I have no idea what to call it if it’s a girl.”

“What’s your boy name?”

“Matthew. After it’s father.”

“Want me to give him a call? Let him know what’s going on?”

“He’s… He’s dead.”

My eyes welled up at the sudden rush of emotion running through me. I was going to have Matt’s baby, and was going to end up raising our baby alone. I was going to be a single mother, raising a dead mans baby. The love of my life was dead.

I was rushed into OB as soon as I got to the hospital, and was immediately surrounded by doctors and nurses. I thanked god I didn’t end up at the hospital I worked at.

I answered the questions I was asked, and waited while they ran tests.

“You’re six centimetres dilated.” The doctor said.

“Six?! How the hell am I dilated so much?!”

“I know you’re scared, ma’am-”

“Doctor. I’m an OB resident, so don’t sugar coat anything.” I glared at the doctor.

The doctor chuckled and nodded. “We’re gunna do an ultrasound, doctor, and see where baby is facing and go from there. But you’re definitely going to be having a baby today.”

“Oh god… Where’s my phone, I have to call my parents.”

“We’ll do that for you.” A nurse gave me a smile. “You just relax.”

After an ultrasound was done, and everything was going in the right direction, and after about ten minutes of laying in the bed, the nurse came back in.

“Your mom’s on the way. She said she’d contact your dad.”

I nodded. “Good. Isn’t it funny how no matter how old you get, when something happens you always want your-” I let out a loud cry as pain rushed through my abdomen, and the heart rate monitor started beeping quickly.

“Oh god!” I cried out, grabbing my stomach.

The nurse ducked her head out the window and called for help, and I immediately started to cry when I saw the heart rate monitor that was hooked up to my belly start to drop rapidly.

“No… No, no, no!” I sobbed.

I was wheeled out of the room with an oxygen mask on just as I saw my parents arrive at the front desk.

“Charlotte? Charlotte!” Dad called out, and then ran over, followed by mom.

“Sir, ma’am, please.” A nurse blocked them as I was rushing into an elevator.

“Charlotte, your baby’s heart rate is dropping, so we have to do an emergency c-section.”

The next thing I knew, I was laying in recovery, feeling incredibly groggy, and intense, throbbing pain in my abdomen. I groaned, resting my hand on my stomach and felt that my bump was significantly smaller, and immediately looked around.

I couldn’t see a crib, so I assumed my baby had been taken to the NICU for observation, since it was delivered early.

“Hi honey.”

I looked at the doorway to see mom walking in, sniffling as she gave me a small smile.


I saw her eyes were red and teary and she reached out and took my hand as she sniffled.

“Mom? The baby… Is it a boy or girl? Do you know?”

“Charlotte… Oh, Charlotte…” Mom said softly.

Dad came into the room and slowly closed the door, and joined mom.

“How are you feeling, baby?” He asked me.

“Sore. Tired… What’s going on? You guys are-”

“Charlotte, I need you to breathe.” Dad said softly.

My heart started to race as I started to panic. “Why?”

“Charlotte, you had a c-section because the baby’s heart rate started to drop.” Dad said as he pushed my hair back gently.

I felt sick as I looked at him, and shifted my eyes to mom, who wiped at her eyes and squeezed my hand.

“Charlotte.” Dad’s voice broke and he closed his eyes.

“Dad?” I felt my eyes start to well up, “Where’s my baby?”

“I’m so sorry, baby.” Dad said as his eyes welled up, “They couldn’t…”

“Couldn’t what?” I said with a thick mouth, “Where the fuck is my baby?”

Before he could continue, the door opened and the doctor walked in.

“How are you feeling, Charlotte?”

“Where’s my baby?!” I hissed, looking from the doctor to my parents, “Will someone just fucking tell me! Is my baby okay?!”

The doctor stood at the foot of my bed and drew in a breath. “We delivered your baby via cesarian section. Your baby was in distress-”

“I know!” I hissed.

“Despite our best efforts…”

“No…” I scoffed, “No, you’re to giving me the ‘despite our best efforts’ speech… No. Where is my baby!”

“He was stillborn.” The doctor said.

“…What? No. No I felt movement all day.” I shook my head, “It-it’s a boy? I had a baby boy? Where is he?”

“We can bring him in. But he is not alive. He was not alive when he was delivered.”

“I don’t believe you!” I yelled, “I want to see my baby! Bring me my baby boy!”

“Honey, Charlotte!” Mom cupped my face in her hands, “Baby, listen. They’re going to bring him in, okay? You just need to take a deep breath.”

I sobbed, shaking my head. “My baby! My baby can’t be dead!”

I froze when I saw a nurse pushing a cradle come in to the room, and felt my heart break when I saw a little bundle laying in it.

“No…” I whispered, covering my mouth with both hands.

The nurse picked up the bundle and walked toward me.

“You can have as long as you need, Charlotte.” The doctor said softly, “We won’t interrupt your time with him.”

The nurse put the bundle in my arms and I sobbed loudly, refusing to look down at it.

“Do you want us to stay or go?” Dad asked as he wiped at his eyes.

“We should go.” Mom said softly, “She needs to… Say goodbye.” She said as her voice broke, “We’ll be right outside, Charlotte Grace.”

I held the bundle in my arms for a long while after they left the room before I finally looked down at the sweet, sweet boy in my arms.

He looked perfect. He looked like he was sleeping. His skin was soft and fair, with a slight blueish tone, his head was full of dark hair, and his mouth set in a slight pout. Through sobs I unbundled him and held onto his hand, running my finger over each of his fingers and counted them, and did the same with his toes. Over and over again. I studied his face as tears rolled down my cheeks, determined to remember every single detail. Every line, every eyelash, every strand of hair on his head.

I let out a final sob as I placed a kiss to his forehead, and felt my heart harden. As my heart hardened, I started to hate… Everything and everyone. I had nothing left. My last chance at happiness was gone. My… Everything. Was gone.


I stared at Vanessa in shock and blinked a few times.

“What do you mean… Your parents are ’bad’ people?”

She bit her lip and looked down at her hands and was silent for a long moment, so I reached over and squeezed her hand.


She looked up at me with teary eyes and drew in a breath. “My parents… They…”

I nodded, urging her to go on.

“They live in a cult.” She said softly, “I lived in a cult. They are the leaders of an underground vampire coven.”

I stared at her in shock.

“That picture?” She pointed at her dresser, “The one of all the adults and children? That was taken on reaping day.”


“That’s what my parents called it.” Vanessa spoke softly. “Reaping. The day they’d let the humans come in and… take who they wanted. For a price.”


She nodded, and looked at me. “Sold. The humans… They’d come and bid on children, younglings, is what they called the kids… They’d bid on the adults, and whoever was the highest bid won.

I swallowed hard and blinked a few times. “Uh… Wh-what?”

She nodded. “My parents would choose the vampires who would go to the reaping. Mostly girls and younger weaker men.”

“Who did they sell them to?” I asked, dumbfounded.

She looked at me and with a trembling lip she whispered, “Hunters.

“Hunters?” My eyes just about bulged out of my sockets, “Your parents sold vampires to hunters?!”

“Y-yes. Th-they still do.” She chewed at her bottom lip, “I had to get out, and I did as soon as I could.”

I covered my mouth with both hands and let out a breath, looking away momentarily, before I looked back at her.

“They were going to sell you?!” Anger started to rise in my chest at the thought of it.

“No!” She shook her head, “No, I was never in danger, they would never… When I found out what exactly was happening, why my friends and ‘family’ were disappearing, I knew I had to get out. I couldn’t stay there, knowing it was happening.”

“So you ran?”

She nodded. “Kind of. They thought that I was… Recruiting.

My mouth fell open in shock.

“They let me leave to try to find and convince other vampires to join them.”

“But… How long have you been gone?”

“Four years.” I told them the truth once I was gone, that I wasn’t finding other vampires to join them, and that I wasn’t going to go back.”

“How did they… react to that?”

“They were angry, but there wasn’t anything they could do. As far as I know they’ve accepted that I’m not going to help them, and have come to terms with it. They’ve probably got other vampires out trying to recruit.”

“Do they ever… Go out and capture vampires to sell?” I asked, my mind running circles.

She nodded, “Yeah. They teamed up with this guy years ago, and found a lot of vampires to put up for auction. Dozens of them.” Vanessa said softly.

My blood boiled and I stood up quickly, causing Vanessa to look up at me in confusion.

“Did they get vampires from America?”

She nodded. “I think so.”

A low growl escaped my throat and I clenched my jaw.


“My family was abducted.” I growled. “I was twelve and my entire family was captured and sent to a facility in Switzerland. To be auctioned off.” I glared at her, “They tortured my aunt, almost killed her, attempted to rape my twin sister, and tried to kill me!”

Vanessa’s lip started to tremble, “Please don’t yell at me. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

“Trust me, this isn’t me yelling… Your family is the reason my family was abducted!”

“You don’t know that, not for sure.” She stood up and looked up at me, “There are other-”

“Dr. Heinrich. Does that name ring a bell?”

Vanessa gulped and nodded. “Yes. He was a frequent buyer.”

“He’s the guy who wanted my family dead.” I spat, running a hand through my hair.

“I… I’m sorry.” She said quietly.

I let out a breath and looked at her. “I know you say you didn’t have anything to do with it, and I believe you, but…”

“But it was my family’s fault.” Vanessa nodded, finishing my sentence. “I just wanted to get out.”

“I know.”

“I didn’t have any part in any of it.”

I nodded.

“Your family… They’re okay?”

“Yeah. Well, Charlotte’s been a little… messed up ever since then.” I said honestly, “Promiscuous since she was sixteen, hot-headed, really terrible temple and mood swings… PTSD.”

“Oh god, I’m so sorry to hear that.” Vanessa sat back down on her bed. “I’m so sorry my family-”

“I’ll never have to meet them, right?”


I knelt down in front of her and took her hands in mine, “I’ll never have to go and introduce myself as your Bonded Soul? Because if I did, knowing what I know now, I’d probably kill them.”

She gave me a small smile, and ran a hand through my hair softly, sending tingles down my back that settled in my cock, making it twitch.

“No.” She said softly, “I’m never going back there. I haven’t had any contact with them in over three years.”

I gave her a small smile and a nod. “Good.”

“But…” She bit her lip.

“But?” I reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear.

“But I’d like to meet your family… S-some day. If you’d let me.” She said, looking down at her lap, “I’d like to meet the people who raised you, and your sisters.”

I smiled warmly at her. “I’m going home for Easter, and you are more than welcome to come. My mom is dying to meet you, and so is my sister, Lydia.”

“Really?” Vanessa smiled, her eyes getting glassy, “You told them about me?”

“I did. Well, I told my dad, and he told my mom, who told… Everyone.” I chuckled with a shrug.

“I’ve never celebrated Easter, not really.”

“Well, I have a pretty big family, who go all out for holidays.”

Vanessa giggled, “That sounds fun. Adam and John don’t really do much for holidays, but we did give each other a gift on Christmas.” She looked around and reached for a stuffed pig pillow that was on her bed, “Adam got me this for Christmas, and John got me that bonsai tree on my desk.”

I smiled at her. She was so happy with a pillow and a plant. I couldn’t wait to lavish her with gifts, when she was truly mine. Cleo had wanted expensive jewelry and clothes all the time, and always got angry when I didn’t give her the debit card that was attached to my trust fund. I had ninety-million in the fund that my dad had set up, we all did, but I was confident that I was the only one who hadn’t touched mine, refusing to use it. Hell, I still had the sticker on the front, explaining how to set up a PIN. Cleo knew about the money, and wanted access to it, but I refused. She was an anthropologist for god sake, and made great money. I would happily spend every cent of my trust fund on Vanessa and force her to accept any and all gifts I gave to her.

I suddenly realized, in that moment, that I would lay down my life for Vanessa without question. I found myself imagining what she would look like in a wedding gown, if she would ever want to have a wedding, how she would feel in my arms every night, how good she’d feel when we made love, how beautiful she’d look with her belly swollen from carrying my child… That is, if she’d want kids. I don’t know if kids would even be a possibility, but my family seems to have a completely fertile vampiric bloodline, since we all have the same blood. But it would be my luck that I’d be the infertile one, and Vanessa would want children that I couldn’t give her. Oh god, I would never forgive myself for not being able to give her a family if she wanted one.


I blinked a few times to see Vanessa staring at me with a look of concern, her hand cupping my chin.

“Are you okay?” She asked.


“What?” She pulled back slightly and blinked a few times.

I felt my face heat up and shook my head, letting out an embarrassed chuckle.

“I uh, wh-what I mean is… Uh… Heh. Nothing. Babies! They’re… cute?

She stared at me for a long moment before she let out a sweet, melodic laugh, shaking her head.

“Babies are cute! But I have no idea where that came from. And anyway, I don’t care.”

She leaned down and pressed her lips to mine, and in that moment, I knew I was in love with her.

I was in love with her, and I wanted her.

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