Elise woke up to find herself back in her bedroom at Wintervale Manor. She had been changed out of the clothes she wore outside and into her nightdress. What happened? She thought, How did I get back here?
Her thoughts were interrupted when there was a knock on her door and Mr. Courbet entered her room.
“You finally woke up,” he sighed with relief. “Lucius brought you back.”
“He did?” exclaimed Elise in surprise.
“You had an asthma attack while you were out at Robin Hood’s Bay,” explained Mr. Courbet. “It was very fortunate that you had your inhaler with you, or the situation could have been worse. I have already explained your condition to Lucius. He brought you back to your room upon returning and I had Esmé change you into your nightdress while you were asleep. The doctor also popped round to do a quick checkup.”
“Thank you Mr. Courbet,” said Elise. “and please thank Lucius for me. I also want to thank him for showing me around this weekend. I really enjoyed his company.”
“I will,” replied Mr. Courbet. “For now, get some rest. Tomorrow is your first day at school. Also, please have dinner in your room tonight. I will get Esmé to bring up the dinner tray.”
Elise thanked him as he turned to leave the room. Pulling the covers over her head, she could not help but wonder why Lucius reacted so strongly to her vampire drawing. I hope he won’t ask me about that drawing. She quietly hoped, Even if I did tell him about my dream, he’d probably think I’m weird.
In the conservatory, Lucius was turning the wheel of his tablet press machine to make the tablets he took daily. He paused when he heard his father’s footsteps approaching from behind.
“What do you want?” he asked without turning around, “Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“Did anything happen between you and Elise during your outing today?” asked Mr. Courbet, “According to the doctor’s medical report, the cause of Elise’s asthma attack was not because of the irritations of nature. It was due to stress. Did you say something to her?”
“She showed me her sketchbook during lunch,” said Lucius quietly. “There was a drawing of a vampire in one of the pages. I think she’s suspecting that we’re not like the other humans.”
“And you’re worried she might find out?” asked Mr. Courbet.
“I almost attacked her in Ruswarp!” exclaimed Lucius, “If I hadn’t brought my tablets, who knows would I could’ve done to her.”
“I think it’s about time you reconsidered going back to the old-fashioned way,” said Mr. Courbet. “This may be a sign that your tablets are starting to become less effective. No matter how many tablets you take or how many times you modify them, there may be one day where you will not be satisfied. That is unless, you actually drink the blood when it presents itself before you.”
“This again?!” shouted Lucius, “I don’t care about tradition and lifestyle, because I’m definitely not going to go back to this so-called ‘old-fashioned’ method! Now leave me in peace!”
“Lucius,” sighed Mr. Courbet. “I know times have changed, but you cannot abandon our tradition and lifestyle. Cause we are one of the very few left since that time.”
“Well at least be grateful that we were able to escape,” muttered Lucius. “Unlike the others who weren’t so lucky as we were.”
“Anyway,” said Mr. Courbet as he turned to leave the conservatory. “Elise won’t be joining us for dinner tonight. I’ve had Esmé prepare her portion of dinner to take to her room.”
Mr. Courbet then began walking towards the door until he paused. “Oh, and Lucius,” he added. “Tomorrow is Elise’s first day at school, so I would appreciate it if you could be her escort. You did do a wonderful job this weekend anyway. Seems as though Elise does enjoy your company.”
“Whatever!” scoffed Lucius as he heard his father’s footsteps disappear from the conservatory.
Meanwhile, Elise was in her room finishing up the dinner Esmé had prepared for her. It felt a bit weird not eating with Mr. Courbet and Lucius, but she was grateful that they were considerate about her health. Picking up the tray, she brought it out of her room and left it outside on one of the hall tables to be collected by the servants.
Glancing at the grand clock in the hall, she noticed that it was an hour till ten. Might as well have a shower, she thought. Hopefully it’ll relieve me from what happened today. Gathering her toiletries, Elise quickly headed to the bathroom to clean up.
“I feel so refreshed!” she sighed as she headed back to her room, “A warm shower sure does wonders.”
Just as she was about to enter her room, Elise noticed the clock. It was already half-past eleven. She had not realised that a warm shower after an eventful day would cause her to relax so much that she ended up losing track of time. Her throat also felt dry, probably because of the warmth from blowing her hair dry and the condensation of the bathroom.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to heat myself a nice warm milk before twelve!” she decided.
Quickly putting her toiletries away, Elise hurried out of her room once again and to the kitchen. Just as she was approaching the grand staircase, she spotted a light coming from a crack in a door on the other side of the hall.
Out of curiosity, Elise approached the light. The closer she got, she could hear gasping and sucking sounds coming from the room. Reaching the room, Elise peered through the crack in the door. Her eyes widened in shock when she saw Mr. Courbet wantonly embracing a woman while burying his face into her neck.
The woman was partially stripped, her dress offering a fair display of her bosoms. She was straddling Mr. Courbet, gasping and moaning as he sucked at her flesh while his hand was stroking her thighs. Elise could feel her cheeks flushing with embarrassment, and her heart pounding in her head. What is this feeling? She thought to herself, Is this arousal?
Mr. Courbet then withdrew his lips from the woman’s neck, revealing a bloodied mouth and a pair of fangs. The sight of Mr. Courbet caused Elise to freeze in horror as she recalled seeing her benefactor with splotches of blood on his shirt several nights ago. His eyes glowed red as he licked the spilled blood on the woman’s neck before sinking his fangs into her skin once more.
Elise noticed that the woman’s expression was not terror or pain. It was as if she had been intoxicated with desire and lust. Pleasure was written all over her face as she gasped every time Mr. Courbet hungrily gulped down her blood. The dream Elise had on her first night in Wintervale Manor flashed in her mind. Is this what happens if I were to be bitten like that? she thought to herself.
She remembered in her dream, the pain she had felt gradually diminished into numbness. It then spread all over her body, which caused it to become hotter and hotter. Although she was not the one being bitten right now, Elise could feel her skin getting goose bumps and sweat was dampening her night dress. Not because of the warmth of her shawl, it was because of the vampire before her eyes.
Before Elise could process everything she had just seen, a pair of strong hands reached out and grabbed her, covering her mouth from behind.