Bruno meandered around town until it was time to go pick up Veronica for lunch. When he finally walked into Smythe Enterprises around eleven, he couldn’t wait for the elevator, so he headed for the stairwell. He was in too much of a hurry to see his Geliebte, Beloved, and because there was nobody around, he sprinted up the stairs using his vampire speed.
Stepping out of the stairwell on the right floor, he paused for a moment, breathing in the scent of lavender. It invaded his senses and made his heart pound with a longing to see her.
“Bruno, what are you doing here?”
Bruno turned to find his sister-in-law Camilla standing in the hallway.
“I’m here to pick up Veronica.”
Camilla frowned. “Oh, and why is that?”
“Didn’t Leo tell you?” Bruno asked, puzzled by her question.
“Nein, it was not my place to tell her, Bruno,” Leo says from behind him.
Bruno turned once more and saw Leo walking toward him.
Leo gave him a hug as he said, “I hope you have worked everything out, Bruder.”
Bruno shrugged as Leo stepped back. “Perhaps not everything, but we’re working on it.”
“Would someone like to clue me in?” Camilla asked.
“Apparently I am Bruno’s beloved.”
Turning at the sound of Veronica’s voice, he found her smiling at him. Moving quickly, he pulled her into a hug and buried his face in her hair. He breathed in a long breath, taking in her lavender scent, and felt his beast settle with contentment.
“Oh, Bruno, I’m so happy for you, for you also Veronica. You’ll have a good man in Bruno,” Camilla gushed excitedly before wrapping her arm around Leo. “Come on Leo, Father is expecting us and we’re going to be late.”
Leo gave Camilla a nod and they readied to leave. Stopping, he said, “Oh, and Veronica?”
“Yes,” Veronica answered.
“I’ll be out the rest of the day. So, since I have no appointments, please consider yourself free for the rest of the afternoon and I’ll see you tomorrow,” Leo finished. Then he and Camilla stepped onto the elevator.
Bruno grinned at Veronica. “That means I have you to myself for the day.”
She smiled back as she said, “Yes, I suppose it does.”
Bruno couldn’t help but notice that Veronica was looking a little pale and worried that he might have taken too much blood that morning. So, he took her to a steak house for lunch.
“Steak is good for you if you feel bad,” Bruno began as he pulled into the parking lot and turned off his car engine. “Although, it’s probably better if you have it medium rare instead of well done.”
“Yuck! I don’t want my steak bloody,” Veronica interrupted him to say. She had her nose turned up as she gave him a dirty look. “I want my meat good and dead.”
Bruno laughed. “I know, baby, I know. I’ll get it well done for you; I’m just telling you how it is. Although, beef liver is good for those kinds of things too.”
“Hm—I actually like liver, if it’s cooked right,” Veronica informed him as they walked into the restaurant.
“You may sit anywhere you like,” the lady at the front said.
Giving her a nod, Bruno took Veronica’s elbow and led her toward the back.
They were barely seated when their waitress came and lay the menus before them. She took their drink orders before leaving. By the time she returned with their drinks, they were ready to order.
“So, I was thinking Veronica, that we should get to know each other a bit,” Bruno began once the waitress left. He paused though at the sight of someone walking toward the table.
“Bruno? Is that really you?” The woman asked as she stepped up to stand next to the table.
The tall, slim, woman with white-blonde hair was a blast from his past. Bruno was stunned at the sight of her, but managed to ask, “Bianca?”
“Yeah!” Bianca laughed. “It’s me.”
Bruno stood up and gave her a quick hug. “Wow, I never thought I would see you again. How are you? Why are you here? Where is your husband?”
“Roy, his name is Roy, and he took our son to the bathroom. I’m in the middle of potty training him,” Bianca said with a smile. “Roy is actually from one town over, and we’re on our way to visit the in-laws. My question is, why are you here? You’re a long way from home, aren’t you?”
“Nein, actually, I’m not,” Bruno answered. “My Bruder Leo found his beloved and her family owns Smythe Enterprises. She took over the company when her father retired, so Leo moved here with her three years ago. The rest of the family moved a few days ago, Felix and I got here the day before yesterday.”
“Ah, well, we’ll have to get together sometime and catch up. I never got to meet your brothers. You have four of them, right?” Bianca questioned.
“Ja. Three of them are married now,” Bruno turned to take Veronica’s hand and pulled her up. “This is Veronica, she’s my girlfriend.”
Bianca got a knowing look in her eyes. She knew they had to be careful what was said in front of the humans.
“Oh, Bruno, I am so happy you finally found someone.” Bianca turned and smiled at Veronica. “Hello, Veronica, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
Veronica nodded slightly. “Nice to meet you also.”
“Honey, I think someone is ready to go,” a man said as he walked up to where the three of them stood.
Bruno looked the man over. He was slim, blonde, tall, and carrying a toddler.
Bianca turned with a smile. “Roy, love, come here. I want you to meet someone.”
“I would know you anywhere from your pictures,” Roy commented with a grin as he stuck out his hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet the man my son is named after. I’m Roy.”
“Bruno. Did you say your son is named after me? Why is he not named after you?” Bruno asked, shocked.
Roy laughed. “I didn’t want a Jr, so Bianca asked if we could name him Bruno. You were a big part of her life for an awfully long time, a part she didn’t want to forget. She really wanted you to be his godfather, but I think she was a bit afraid to ask you.”
“I know we were good friends,” Bruno began. He stopped though, not knowing how to react to what he was hearing.
“You meant a lot to me, Bruno. You were a friend when nobody else would be, and you filled the lonely spot in my heart because you understood why it was there. I didn’t want you gone from my life completely, yet I understood why you were after my call. I’m glad that you’ve found someone to love though,” Bianca explained.
Bruno turned to look at Veronica where she stood beside him. He hoped that things were going to work out because if it didn’t, he didn’t know how he would survive.
Veronica connected her eyes with his and he smiled. Giving her a light kiss on the cheek, he returned his attention to Bianco. “Ja, I do too. It was good to see you again and it was nice to meet you, Roy.”
Bruno then turned his gaze to the sleepy-eyed child who was his namesake. He found the boy was already staring at him. The boy smiled, and Bruno saw little fangs.
When the boy his head up and put out his hand, Bruno reached out to take it.
“My name is Bruno Roy Lander. What is your name?” The boy asked.
“My name is Bruno Vogel.”
The little boy’s eyes lit up as he turned to his Mutter. “He has my name, Mommy.”
Bianca laughed before kissing the boy’s cheek. “Yes, he does, sweetie. Mommy will explain that to you in the car later. We should be going now though, or we’ll be late. It was good to see you again Bruno, don’t be a stranger. It was also nice meeting you Veronica.”
Then, with a wave, they left.
Bruno and Veronica reseated themselves. They began to eat the food the waitress had brought while they had been talking.
“Bruno, who exactly was she?” Veronica asked quietly.
Looking over at her, he saw she was playing with her food more than she was eating it.
“A blast from my past,” Bruno answered. “Now, eat before I come over there and feed it to you.”
Veronica looked up at him with a sad look. “She was a girlfriend, wasn’t she?”
Bruno lay his fork down as he realized what was going on. His Geliebte was jealous.
“Oh, baby.” Getting up, Bruno went over to her side and sat down. He pulled Veronica close to him and kissed her cheek as he held her tightly.
“It’s been four or five years now since Bianca and I dated. I had given up all hope of finding my soulmate when I met her and so had she. We were both lonely and got on well together. So, we decided if we hadn’t met our soulmates within a year we would marry. It was more for companionship than anything because we knew what we had wasn’t the kind of love a man and woman getting married should have.”
“You were willing to settle for that?”
Bruno looked at her sadly. “I was lonely, Veronica, and sad. I was so tired of coming home to an empty house and even being with my family wasn’t helping anymore. I wanted a woman to love and care for,” he explained. “Anyway, she was going to come to see me and we were going to tell my family about our plans. Bianca met Roy at the airport right before she was to board her plane.”
Veronica took his hand and kissed the back of it. “I’ve never felt so jealous in my life as I was when she walked up, and you hugged her. I didn’t like feeling that way, Bruno. It confuses me though because I just met you. I’ve not known you long enough to feel so strongly.”
Bruno tilted her face until Veronica was looking at him. He then brushed her hair away from her face. “It’s part of the bond, Veronica. It makes all our emotions toward each other stronger. We’ve shared blood, which has strengthened it even more. You are my Geliebte, my beloved, and if you hadn’t felt jealousy, I would have said something was wrong with our bond.”
“So, it is normal then?”
“Ja, baby, it is. Come on, let me feed you before taking you home.” Then, Bruno picked up her fork, stabbed a piece of steak, and held it up for her to eat.
Veronica opened wide and allowed him to feed her until her plate was empty.
Bruno couldn’t help but smile happily the whole time.