Vampire Agápe 01 - Blood of Anteros, page 17
“You know how to reach us if a problem should arise,” Solomon said, before they disappeared into the night, leaving me to explore my new life with my new love.
After Sebastian and Solomon were gone, I stood alone in the kitchen while Chansey sat in the living room waiting for me to return. I had a new and wonderful life to explore with her, and frankly, I found myself nervous about being alone with her. I saw the questions in her eyes and I wasn’t certain I had answers for any of them.
I nervously returned to the living room and sat on the couch beside her. Uncertainty danced in her eyes as she hesitated in asking me the questions on her mind. I took her hand in mine and brought it to my lips to place a kiss upon her hand. “You’re worried, aren’t you?” I softly asked.
She nodded without answering.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“I’m scared to bring it up.” She looked down at our joined hands and said, “No, that’s not really the whole truth. I’m scared to know the answer.”
Pretending I didn’t know what she was worried about was a cruelty I wouldn’t inflict on her and I wouldn’t force her to ask the question on her mind. “Are you worried I won’t desire you physically?”
“That, along with a million other questions and worries."
I wanted to ease her fear and anxiety with encouraging words, but I couldn’t say words I didn’t have. “I understand your worries because they are mine, as well. I only know what Sebastian has told us. We will have to experience life together and make decisions as we go.”
“My grandparents will be back next week, so what are we going to tell them? I mean, you are supposed to be in New York,” she inquired.
“We will tell them my job didn’t work out and I’m back,” I happily said.
She was still uneasy and continued, “They’re going to know something is different between us, so how are we going to explain your sudden reappearance and the fact that we can’t bear to be apart?”
“Well, we weren’t doing a great job at being apart before I left, so what’s to explain? They’ll just see me attempting to win your affections.”
“Are you seriously going to be the vampire that dates and woos his agápe because that is what most normal couples do in the beginning of a relationship?”
“Yes, I am, because I want to be an ordinary couple and do ordinary things.”
“Ordinary dating is not that awesome,” she informed me.
“Maybe it wasn’t awesome for you because you never dated me.” I leaned toward her and placed my forehead against hers. “I want to share a normal life with you. I want to bring you roses and take you places and do romantic things for you. I want you to be my girl.”
She scooted her body closer to mine and there was no humor on her face. “I’m fairly certain I’m way more than that.”
“And I’m pretty certain you are right,” I laughed.
She stood and tugged on my hand. “Will you come with me?” I stood and she led me down the hallway into her bedroom. As though we weren’t alone, she shut the door, then let go of my hand and walked to the window to pull the drapes closed before entering the bathroom to retrieve some of the candles. She relit the candles, turned off the lights, then crossed the room and sat facing me on the edge of the bed.
She raised her fingertips to my face and traced the outline of my lips. I smiled and she ran her fingertips across one of my incisors, pricking her finger. She sucked in a deep breath at the shock of unexpectedly cutting her skin and a tiny drop of blood rose to the surface of her skin. She grabbed her finger and instinctively squeezed, causing a larger drop to accumulate.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I was just curious,” she apologized.
“It’s really okay. It doesn’t bother me. I’m not tempted,” I reassured her.
She recalled Sebastian's words regarding the way vampires share intimacy. Her expression clicked and I knew my words unintentionally hurt her. She lowered her eyes to the blood slowly collecting and squeezed harder, then lifted it to my lips and said, “He said you would never crave my blood because you couldn’t hurt me, but this is the only way vampires know to be intimate.” When I didn’t respond, she added, “I want to know if drinking from me will bring you pleasure.”
I did not desire her blood, but I would taste it because I would do anything she asked of me. I leaned forward and took her finger into my mouth, licking the blood from her finger. I lightly sucked and pulled a small amount of freshly circulated blood into my mouth and the flavor of her blood was the same as her fragrance, neutral. I didn’t know if this would bring her happiness or sorrow, but I shook my head, then saw her disappointment.
“Please don’t be disappointed. It’s natural for me to not desire your blood because it ensures your safety. It doesn’t mean I don’t desire you, because I do. Believe me, I do. More than you know.”
“But I want to know and I don’t want you to tell me, I want you to show me.” She leaned forward and placed an urgent kiss against my lips.
Her Scent of Anteros flooded the room making it difficult to separate rational from irrational thoughts. I returned her fierce kisses but knew I had to stop before it was too far gone, so I lightly pushed her away. “Wait, Chansey. Wait.”
“I don’t want to wait because your smell is driving me crazy. It calls to me and I think I will die if I have to wait any longer,” she pleaded.
“I need you to slow down because we need to talk.”
Her breathing was ragged and she ran her hands to the bottom of my shirt to lift it over my head. “Talk fast.”
I grabbed my shirt before it went over my head, then gently grabbed her wrists. “Look at me.” She looked into my eyes as she lightly chewed her bottom lip. “Please stop. You are killing me here.”
“No more so than you’re killing me right now,” she joked.
“I need you to listen to me, please,” I pleaded.
She backed down and said, “Okay, I’m listening.”
“I don’t know if I can do this.” I hesitated while I formed the rest of my words. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to, but it’s not what my vampire body is made for and I don’t know if it’s possible.”
She laughed and said, “There is no doubt in my mind that you can do this.”
“I feel more human than I did when I was mortal, and I want all the mundane experiences that accompany being human, but I want to experience them in the right way.”
“I’m trying to give you a very important human experience if you’ll just let me.”
“Intimacy is a gift intended for a husband to share with his wife and I want that experience to be with you, as my wife, the way it was intended. I don’t want to devalue what it means. When we make love for the first time, it will be after we married.”
“You want to marry me?”
“Of course I do, when the time is right. Why would you think I wouldn’t?”
“Because I’m your agápe and I thought that overruled a wife.”
“An agápe does overrule a wife in the world of vampires but I have chosen to live with you in the human world. You were chosen by someone else for me, and although I couldn’t love you more, we did not choose one another. Making you my wife is my choice and marriage is one way for me to show you and the human world what you mean to me and how much I love you. I want to properly present you with a ring when you are least expecting it and only after I ask Grady’s permission.”
“You are so weird,” she laughed.
“I am not weird. A proper proposal is the way it should be. The world has become strange and improper,” I complained.
“Will you also be properly asking Granddaddy if you may turn his granddaughter into a vampire?” she laughed.
I knew this topic would emerge eventually and now was as good a time as any to break the news to her. “Chansey, you will never become a vampire.”
She turned sharply to look at me and said, “I don’t unde
“I want you with me for as long as I am blessed with having you by my side, but I will never allow you to feel the pain of what this is like.”
“So, you’ve made that decision without discussing it with me? It doesn’t matter what my feelings are on the matter?” she furiously asked.
“There’s nothing to discuss. You will never be what I am. I won’t allow it,” I stated.
“I need you to make me understand why it’s so terrible for me to be like you, because right now, I just want to be with you forever and all I hear is you telling me you won’t allow that to happen.”
If she wanted to know why, she was going to find out exactly why. “Have you ever studied Hell?”
“What does that have to do with any of this?” she demanded.
“There is no equivalent to Hell but being a vampire is it’s own form of Hell.”
“What does that even mean?” she asked.
“For those that choose to be turned, they typically have been told what to expect but I didn’t have the luxury of knowing what was happening to me.”
“Tell me what it is like to be turned.”
“When a human dies, the body and soul are separated. The body remains here on earth while the soul is escorted by an angel into the presence of God but that is not the case for a vampire. The soul doesn’t separate from the physical body when a human is made a vampire, so it remains tormented within the body.”
“What do you mean by tormented?” she asked.
I had never described the experience of being turned to anyone and I found it difficult to find human words to properly describe the true agony of how it feels to be changed. She saw the reluctance on my face and said, “Being a vampire is only a small part of who you are and I want to know everything about every part of you, even the bad. You can’t keep holding me at a distance and pushing me further away if it is our destiny to be together. You have to let me in even when it hurts the most and I don’t care if you like it or not because that’s how it is going to work.”
She was right and she deserved the whole truth so I found the words to begin the tale. “When Marsala drank me to the point of death, I began to have this odd sensation of falling that seemed to go on and on forever. It could have been minutes or it could have been days because I had no way of judging time and just when I decided I would fall forever, I was plunged into an isolated darkness. I couldn’t move or speak and I was surrounded by an unbearable stench of death and decay that made me gag. I was alone and the only thing I was able to do was experience memories and remorse for the path my life had taken, yet I found some way to regret the things I would never get to do. My body was consumed with an inextinguishable fire that I had no way of relieving. It felt like liquid fire beginning on the left side of my chest, over my heart, and each contraction of my heart pushed the burning acid further through my veins, circulating it throughout my body. When I emerged from the dark stench, I was reborn a vampire with an unquenchable thirst for blood and I didn’t care where I got it.”
“How did you drink blood the first time?” she asked curiously.
“Marsala took me away from my home the night the transition began because she feared my brother would destroy me while I was unable to defend myself. When I woke with a fierce thirst, Marsala had prepared my first victim for me. She had stolen a housekeeper from a neighboring plantation. I didn’t want to take her life, but something within me gave me no choice and I was powerless to control myself. I still remember the girl’s fear in her eyes and the words she spoke to me. She said, “Monsieur, non. Montrer de l'indulgence,” she said as she begged for mercy but I had none for the innocent, young girl and she was only the first of many that died by my hands.”
“But that’s not who you are anymore,” she said in an attempt to comfort me from my wrong doings.
“No, I’m not that person anymore but I can never take back the countless evils I have committed.”
“You have asked to be forgiven and the debt for your past is paid and you no longer have to pay for the things you have done. That’s what forgiveness is all about. Receiving grace isn’t the hard part. Forgiving yourself is what you have to learn to do.”
“You feel differently when you are the one that murdered innocent people. You’re not quite as forgiving of yourself. Hard as I try, I can no longer recall all of their faces, or their words as they pleaded for mercy, but the identical look of fear in all of their eyes will forever haunt me. I need you to see it is my place to protect you and I won’t have you face the torment of living with that for eternity.”
I knew she wasn’t ready to give up the fight but she didn’t have a case to plead at the moment. She laid her head on my chest and neither of us attempted to argue the subject further. For now.
Chansey only took one day off from work, which didn’t please me, but I had to delicately introduce the idea of my responsibility as her provider, as well as her protector. When I tried to persuade her to not return to work so quickly after her abduction, it didn’t go over well, so I didn’t anticipate the topic of not working would either.
I arrived to pick Chansey up from work and parked in my usual spot. She was running a little late, so I tried to wait patiently, but each minute that ticked by made me a little more nervous. I didn’t want to go overboard as her valiant protector, but I couldn’t help but worry about the vampire that entered the house. I allowed my thoughts of his mysterious intentions to motivate me into going on a search for Chansey and I tried to talk myself down from pure hysteria when she wasn’t at the lobby desk.
“May I help you sir?” a friendly, blonde clerk behind the desk asked.
“Yes. I’m looking for Chansey Leclaire. I’m here to pick her up and she hasn’t shown up where I normally pick her up.”
“Of course, you must be Curry. She is in room 3369.” The clerk passed me a keycard and added, “She called down to the desk and asked me to have you come up when you arrived.”
Oh, Chansey. What are you up to this time? I took the keycard from the clerk’s hand and thanked her. There wasn’t much room for speculation about why Chansey would get a hotel room and leave instructions for me to join her, which surprised me after the conversation we had. I thought she understood where I was on the issue.
“Mr. Brennan, you’ll need your keycard to use the elevators. They are to your right around the corner.” I walked toward the elevators and heard the clerk say through a smile, “Enjoy your stay with us tonight.”
I arrived on the third floor and followed the signs to the room 3369. I inserted the keycard into the slot and was unexpectedly alarmed by the familiar scent. It was him, the vampire in the house and at my family’s gravesite. “Chansey!” I jerked the card too quickly causing it to fail in reading the card, then inserted it again, pulling slower and I was given the green light for access to the room.
I slung the door open, nearly off of the hinges, and saw Chansey sitting in a chair across the room.
“Curry, close the door and join us,” I heard from a voice on the balcony of the hotel room.
I allowed the door to shut behind me and walked into the room. “Are you alright, has he harmed you?”
“She has been unharmed, so far, but I recommend you keep your distance if you plan to keep it that way,” said the voice. I realized I recognized the sound of the voice, but was unable to place it, so I pushed the thought aside as my mind began to formulate a plan to rescue Chansey. The vampire remained in the shadows of the balcony and said, “My, you’re a lucky man. This little girl certainly has the hots for you because she didn’t hesitate on running straight up to this room when she thought it was you waiting for her. I thought about seeing if I would do, but then I remembered that’s kind of not my thing anymore.”
“Don’t you dare touch her,” I warned.
“I recommend you have a seat on
I didn’t know who I was dealing with at this point and was left with no choice but to follow his directions. “Who are you and what do you want?”
The vampire stepped into the doorway of the balcony but remained in the shadows and said, “Everyone always thought we were twins, but I could never fool this girl. You always did have great taste in women and I see that hasn’t changed. She is ravishing. I think this one could be a keeper, or maybe not, since I did come here to take her from you.”
I studied his silhouette in the shadows. It looked like him but there’s no way it could be. My tongue moved slowly with utter disbelief but managed to ask, “Sully? Is that you?”
I watched the brother I had not seen in 161 years emerge from the shadows. “Yes, it’s me, the brother you betrayed so many years ago, and no, I am not dead. Well, I take that back, I am dead, just not the kind of dead you thought I was.”
It took a minute for me to find words. “How can this be? Marsala couldn’t have turned you because I would have known.”
Sully stepped forward and began to clap his hands. “Brilliant, Curry, absolutely brilliant. You can add one and one and guess what, you are right. Marsala didn’t turn me. When I discovered you had run off with her, I went back to New Orleans and it wasn’t difficult to find someone willing to turn me. You see dear brother, as a human, I could never find you and make you pay for what you did to me, but as a vampire, that’s a completely different story.”
“I didn’t run off with Marsala and I never betrayed you, Sully.”
”I don’t believe you,” he said as he shook his head.
“It doesn’t make it any less true because you choose to not believe me,” I argued.
“Stop lying. You stole her from me.” He gestured toward Chansey and said, “Now, I mean to take this one from you.”
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