Veronica was quiet as Bruno drove them back to his house. She had no clue what was going on, but whatever it was, it had Bruno acting nervously. So, feeling brave, she inquired, “Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”
Bruno glanced at her before returning his attention to the road. “The thing is, Veronica, there are some things I haven’t told you, and I should have. I wanted there to be an “us” before I did, though, and maybe that was a mistake.”
Veronica silently watched him as he drove. Okay, so now he has me worried a bit. I won’t question him anymore, though, until we get to his house.
Bruno pulled into the driveway and parked, shutting off the car engine. He then got out of the car and walked around the car to open her door for her.
Veronica smiled at him. He’s such a gentleman, and I love it.
“Felix isn’t here. Our Vater has him setting up shop since he plans to be open within the week,” Bruno told her as they walked into the house. “Let’s go into the sitting room.”
Veronica sat down on the couch.
Bruno headed toward the window instead of sitting. For long minutes he did nothing but stare out the window as if deep in thought.
Veronica waited nervously, wondering what he wanted to talk about. She assumed it had something to do with him marking her since Camilla had said something. She just didn’t know what.
Finally, he sighed and began to speak. “I told you how a vampire hopes for his Geliebte and about the mark. I’ve even told you how I had given up and was going to marry Brianna, the vampire woman I dated.”
“Yes, you did.”
“What I didn’t tell you is that a vampire marriage is different than a human one,” Bruno explained as he turned to look her way.
Bruno took a deep breath as he walked over to the couch and sat down. Turning sideways, so he was facing her, he propped his elbow on the back of the sofa and put his face in his hand.
“To a vampire, the marking is as good as a marriage certificate Veronica. We also give them an uh… I guess you could say it’s a pledge, or a vow, to our beloved before,” he cleared his throat, “before we have sex with them for the first time.”
Veronica could only stare at him, slightly shocked by his words. “What kind of pledge, or vow, exactly?”
Bruno looked down at his hand that was tightly gripping his let. “Everyone’s is a bit different. Just like a wedding vow, I would promise to love and cherish you, meine Geliebte, for as long as we walk the earth. You would say basically the same vow back to me. Then I would make love to you. Later, I would bite you at the same time as I…”
Veronica watched his cheeks turn slightly pink as he cleared his throat. He didn’t have to say it. She understood his meaning quite well.
“So… then our bonding would be completed in full, as would our marriage as beloved and vampire.”
Veronica giggled at his pink cheeks, unable to hold her laughter in any longer. He was so cute in his stuttering. “So, did any of your brothers have a human wedding?”
“Ja, Falco did, mostly because Kimberly wanted one. It was kind of awkward in a way because her sister Kendra was there, and she was a vampire hunter at the time. Ja, a hunter in the middle of a bunch of vampires, doesn’t make for a real festive time,” Bruno grunted.
“Kendra… she’s Tobias’s wife, right?”
“Ja. We didn’t know she was his Geliebte at that time. That came later. When Tobias realized she was his Geliebte, the rest of us had to learn to deal with it quickly,” Bruno explained. “It does help that she’s no longer a hunter, though.”
“So, what exactly are you trying to tell me in such a roundabout way, Bruno? You don’t want a wedding because it isn’t the vampire way or what?”
Bruno looked at her, then away as he swallowed hard. Standing, he paced as he rubbed the back of his neck before saying, “If you want one, then we can have one, Veronica. You should know by now I would do anything for you. It’s just that, I just--ugh! I know I’m making a mess of this.”
Suddenly, he stopped pacing and turned once more to face her.
“I love you, Veronica, but it almost kills me to have to take you back home every morning when I want you here. I want to wake up in the mornings and make love to you, not rush out the door with you so you can make it to work on time. Regardless, I do it because I love you and want you to be happy. I want to be happy, though, too. For me, that means you and me, together, all the time. Is it wrong of me, though, to resent it a little bit? If it is, I’m sorry, but in my mind, we were married the moment you accepted my bite.”
Bruno looked down at the floor, and Veronica could almost feel the sadness rolling off him as he stood there in front of her.
I don’t want him to be unhappy, and I love him. Yes, it took a while for me to admit that to myself, and I hadn’t told him, but I love him. Do I need a wedding? My sister had a big wedding, and it was beautiful. I always thought I wanted one too, yet now? Now, I’m not so sure if it really matters whether I have one or not. She bit her lip as she continued to think about what she genuinely wanted. I suppose we’d have to have something, though. I can’t exactly tell my parents that I’m the beloved of a vampire. Can I?
Bruno pulled his gaze from the floor to look at her.
“Um—I was wondering about something,” she began. “If we don’t have a wedding, what would we tell my family? Could we tell them what you are or no?”
Bruno was shaking his head.
Veronica went silent and waited.
“Nein. Veronica, they can’t know. Leo and Camilla had a fake marriage certificate made before they came here. He told her if she wanted a wedding, they could have one, but she didn’t.”
“Why a fake one? Why not just go to the courthouse and get married?”
“Who knows, this is Leo we’re speaking of. He’s been your boss long enough for you to realize he gets weird ideas sometimes.”
She grinned. “True.”
“All I know is, her parents are old-fashioned. Because of that, the two of them didn’t want to be apart long enough to plan a wedding.”
Veronica once more began to nibble on her lip while she thought about everything he’d told her. What do I really want?
She was startled from her thoughts when suddenly, Bruno was right next to her on the couch.