Vampire Agápe 01 - Blood of Anteros, page 18
“Chansey is innocent in all of this and you can’t hurt her because you want revenge on me. Surely, you can see that.”
He walked closer to Chansey and stood behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. “Looks to me like I can do whatever I want to do to her and there’s nothing you can do about it. Surely, you can see that.”
“You know I wouldn’t allow you to hurt her. It’s not what I want but I would send you to your second death before I allowed you to harm a hair on her head,” I threatened.
He was unmoved by my threat and continued, “How does it feel to know you’re about to lose the only one you love and treasure, that’s how it felt when you stole Marsala from me.”
I defended myself, saying, “I didn’t even know what she was, but you did, and you brought her into my home. I never wanted her and she turned me against my will.”
“Marsala told me you wanted her. She said that you were in love with her,” he accused.
“She is a master of deception. How could you believe I would do that to you? I knew you loved her and you were my brother, so I could never do that to you,” I pleaded.
He appeared to be considering my words, but then said, “You’re just saying that because you want me to hand Chansey back over to you.”
“I do want Chansey safely at home with me because I love her. She’s my world and my everything.”
“I know what she is to you. I know she is your agápe so, for once, I believe you when you say she is your everything. I am aware of the legend, so when I discovered what she was, I did a little brushing up on my facts. Can you imagine the injustice I felt when I realized you had been gifted with an agápe after you stole Marsala from me?”
“I know you think you loved Marsala but you didn’t know the true her. If you did, you couldn’t love the monster she was.”
A deep rumble came from his chest, frightening Chansey, and he roared, “Don’t speak of her like that, I don’t even want to hear her name roll off of your tongue!”
“I say it because it is the truth. I was her captive for 139 years and I saw her for what she truly was. She murdered countless innocents, including children, even babies and she laughed as she watched their mothers scream in agony as they found their tiny lifeless bodies.”
“No, that cannot be the Marsala I knew,” he argued.
“It is the Marsala you knew. How can I prove it to you, brother?”
“There is no proving anything and it doesn’t matter anyway because it’s time to bid farewell to your beloved Chansey.” He reached under her chin and began to lift her by her jawbones and I streaked across the room, surprising him with my speed. I freed Chansey from his grasp and sailed on top of him as we crashed through the glass balcony door, causing a loud crash as the glass shattered. Chansey screamed when she heard the skull crushing thud against the concrete balcony flooring and I yelled, “Chansey, get out of here now.” When she didn’t make a move to leave, I roared, “Now!”
I saw her run through the door before my younger vampire brother bested me and tossed me onto my back against the shattered glass around us. I heard the crunch of the glass being ground into the concrete with the weight of my body and felt the piercing shards through my clothing. He streaked toward the door after Chansey with an intention to kill, but my hands found him and I placed them around his throat. We struggled toward the balcony and he threw my body over the railing as I continued to hold his neck tightly. I hung over the balcony railing and moved my hands toward Sully’s face while I never lessened my grip. I was prepared to take my brother with me on the fifty foot drop, but not for the reason he believed me guilty. I lifted myself, bringing our faces closer.
“Look into my eyes, Sully, and see how you have been wrong all of these years,” I pleaded.
“I won’t do it because I don’t need to see anything from you,” he vowed.
“You know I can prove it, so will you submit?” I questioned.
He knew what I meant. I was asking him to enter my mind and see my memories. It was incredibly risky for me because to do so would grant him access to the all of my thoughts, memories and secrets. It was an act ordinarily forced upon an uncooperative vampire, but I was willing to divulge my deepest secrets to keep Chansey safe.
“Submit and let us be done with this," I ordered.
He continued holding me over the railing and said, “You do not defy gravity and if you are deceiving me, I will drop you like a stone and find your beloved before you hit the ground.”
“I do not doubt your word, but you will feel differently when you see the truth,” I promised.
He placed his palms on each side of my head and stared deeply into my eyes as I continued to dangle fifty feet above the ground below me. It was not a natural inclination for a vampire to be so vulnerable, so it was difficult for me to allow him access inside. I felt the exact moment his stare penetrated my mind and his horrified expression confirmed when he found my memories of Marsala. The anguish on his face deepened and he attempted to release me while I grasped him tighter, forcing him to continue this journey we started together. He jerked and struggled to free himself from me, pulling me back onto the balcony with him where I landed on top of him and held him in my iron grip. When I was certain he had seen everything, I released him and stood to look down upon him where he made no effort to move.
“You now see everything for what it truly was. Do you accept these uncharneled memories as confirmation of my honesty and truth?” I formally questioned, as was customary following an uncharneling.
He appeared dazed in thought, but formally and customarily replied, “I saw it all for what it was and I accept your uncharneled memories as confirmation of your honesty and truth.” He dropped the formal pretense and added, “I am so sorry for what I have done. I see you are innocent of everything I accused you of, can you forgive me for what I have set in motion?”
“I don’t understand what you mean. What has been set in motion?” I asked.
He didn’t answer and I recognized the look in his eyes from our childhood. I needed to expect the worst. “What have you done!” I roared.
“I didn’t know. I swear, I didn’t know,” he pleaded.
“Tell me, Sully, what have you done?” I demanded.
“I told them about her,” he admitted.
I didn’t understand. “Who knows about her?”
Sully dropped his head. He couldn’t look me in the face. “My coven. Our leader, Zoyah, has searched for an agápe for centuries and she has commanded me to bring Chansey to her.”
There was only one reason she could want her. “Is she planning to turn her and use her for her power?” I guessed.
“No. She has something much worse planned.” He hesitated and added, “The blood of a god flows within Chansey’s veins; it is incredibly powerful and desired by many. Temporary power is bestowed upon anyone drinking of her blood, but her power will be transferred to the one that completely drains her.”
“Do they know where she is?” I anxiously interrogated.
“No, I was instructed to bring her to them, but I never told anyone where she was because I was afraid one of them would get to her before I did. It was a selfish act on my part, but probably my smartest move thus far.”
“Do they know you’ve been in the Pascagoula area recently?”
“I never told them where I was, but I’m sure they wouldn’t find it difficult to trace me here.”
“Please, I need to know the truth. Is Chansey in danger?”
“I believe she is safe, for the time being, but they will search for me when I don’t return with her.”
“You can never return to your coven. The risk to Chansey is too great and I can’t allow that. Would you agree to joining my mentors at their compound in New Orleans?”
“I don’t think I have a choice at this point,” he admitted.
“Then we must hurry. We can make it by dawn but only if we leave within the next couple of hours. I have to find Ch
We left the hotel room and found Chansey in the lobby of the casino. I saw bewilderment replace the worry on her face when she saw Sully at my side, but she ran to me, throwing her arms around me. “What is he doing here?” she asked angrily.
“We have cleared up our misunderstanding, but we have acquired a new problem. We need to take Sully to Sebastian’s home quickly.”
“Is someone going to explain to me what is going on? What is our new problem?” she asked.
“I’ll explain everything on the way to New Orleans,” I promised.
She continued her interrogation, saying, “How long will we be gone?”
“It’s a couple of hours away and we’ll probably stay a day or two to help Sully settle in.”
“I can’t stay because I have to be back for work tomorrow night.”
I turned and started walking toward the parking lot to my truck. “No, you won’t be back. Do you want to let them know you’re quitting your job or shall I do it?”
“Hey!” She skipped ahead of me and stood in my way. She took on her patented angry stance with her weight shifted to one leg and fists on her hips. “I am not quitting my job, Curry Brennan!”
I stood before my little firecracker and say, “Yes, you are and you may tell them yourself, or I can, because it makes me no difference.”
I saw anger and worry flash across her face and she continued, “That’s not fair. What am I going to do for money?”
“Fairness is not an issue when it comes to your safety. If Sully was able to get to you so effortlessly, do you not think another vampire can do same? Furthermore, you are my agápe and you don’t need to work because I will provide you with everything you need.”
“Well, what if I want my own money?” she questioned.
“Then I’ll give you some and it will be yours.” I wasn’t budging on this one. “I’m sorry, Chansey, but I can’t and won’t negotiate on this one with you. Your presence at this job is a risk I am not willing to take unless you think they will allow me to come sit with you behind the lobby desk every night, but I hear vampires aren’t good for business, you know?”
“Stop trying to be funny! I’m not laughing,” she complained and I knew my little firecracker was angry with me.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you angry, but surely you see my point. I can drive you to and from work, but that isn’t going to stop a vampire from coming inside and taking you.”
Her face told me she was conceding before she said, “Yes. I know you are right.”
“I am sorry but you know this is the way it has to be,” I apologized.
I gave Chansey the time she needed to speak with her manager, then we were in the truck, on our way. “Do we have time for me to pack a few things if we’re staying for a day for two? I am human, you know? I need things,” she reminded.
“You can borrow what you need from Gia and Lairah,” I said as I continued driving, waiting for the interrogation to begin.
“Who are Gia and Lairah?” she questioned.
Sully turned his head, facing the passenger window, as if to withdraw from the argument about to spew. “They live at the compound with Sebastian, Solomon, and his brother, Thatcher.”
Her face was a mix of jealousy, anger and hurt, all rolled into one look. “Meaning you lived with two women?”
“Yes, the six of us all lived in the same house before I came to Pascagoula,” I admitted.
“How long have you lived with these women?”
I did the math in my head and answered, “I have lived with Gia for about 14 years and I guess Lairah would be about 12 years.”
She was speechless for a moment, then said, “You mean to tell me you lived with two female vampires all these years, until a few months ago, and you didn’t think you needed to tell me about it?”
“There wasn’t anything to tell. I didn’t tell you I lived with Thatcher either, but you don’t seem too upset about that. There is no difference.”
“Oh, trust me, there is a difference,” she almost shouted.
I saw Sully shrink away from my enraged agápe and I said, “There was nothing between us. We just resided in the same home. That’s it.”
She turned her head to face the road ahead of us and I knew she just needed some time to absorb what I had told her. She would see how things were when she met Gia and Lairah, I hoped.
We were all deep in our own thoughts, so the drive to the compound was quiet. I was grateful when my eyes fell upon the gates to the driveway leading to the doors of the mansion where so many new or rogue vampires had taken refuge over the years.
I parked in the circular drive by the front door and turned off the ignition. Sully got out of my truck while Chansey sat motionless, and although Sully could still hear every word exchanged between us, I felt a little more comfortable with him out of the truck.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Gia and Lairah and I see my mistake now.”
“I don’t want to go in. I don’t want to meet the women that know everything about you when I know almost nothing at all. I’m the one that is supposed to know you inside and out, not them.”
“You can’t think about it like that because they are like sisters to me.” I reached over and turned her face toward mine and said, “I know you will feel completely different when you meet them.”
She pulled her face away from me, slid toward the passenger door of my truck and said, “I wouldn’t be so sure of that if I were you.”
I got out of the truck and the three of us walked toward the house. I opened the door and Chansey and Sully followed me into the foyer, then I led them into the living room where I knew my five family members would be waiting.
We were met by Sebastian and he embraced Chansey saying, “Curry told us what happened and I am so glad to know you are well. I am so pleased to see you again and it is a pleasure to have you in our home. Please allow me to introduce the others.”
I waited nervously as Sebastian began the introductions. “This is Solomon’s brother, Thatcher.”
Chansey shook the hand extended toward her and said, “It is very good to meet you.” Thatcher returned the compliment, then Chansey and Sebastian moved on to Gia, who was standing closely to Thatcher.
Chansey’s heart accelerated as she met the first of the women in my life. Gia wore a casual kelly green knit dress and her young, heart shaped face was framed with long, dark, straight hair parted in the center. Her deep chocolate eyes were framed with long, thick lashes and accented by the black, catlike liner on her upper lid. “Chansey, this is Gia.” Gia stepped forward and hugged my agápe, as she would her own sister.
“We have heard so much about you from Sebastian and Solomon and I am ecstatic to meet you. Lairah and I are badly outnumbered and we’re glad to have a new sister in the group,” Gia said, almost a little too ecstatically.
I could see Chansey was surprised by Gia’s warm welcome, but didn’t respond. I was certain Gia had overheard my conversation with Chansey before we entered the house, so I knew she understood Chansey’s lack of confidence at this moment and wasn’t offended.
Sebastian moved on to introduce Lairah, the last to join our family. Casual as always, she wore a T-shirt from the latest concert she had attended with denim shorts. Her natural, make-up free face was complimented by her loose, blonde curls and light, golden brown eyes. “I, too, am very glad to have a new sister and I know we are going to be great friends.” Lairah mimicked Gia’s embrace and attempted to make Chansey feel welcomed and part of our family. Chansey still said nothing but I felt encouraged by the slight smile she offered.
I introduced Sully to my family and carefully chose the words I used as I explained the situation with his coven. When I finished, Sebastian turned to Sully and asked, “I have never heard of the transfer of the agápe’s power. Is there a reason Zoyah believes this or did she dream this up on her own?”
Sebastian wasn’t pleased by this newest problem, but said, “This does present a problem but it doesn’t sound like Chansey is in any immediate danger since the coven doesn’t know Sully was near your location. It would probably be safer to stay here a little while, just in case his coven traces his whereabouts.”
I was glad staying was Sebastian’s suggestion and I wasn’t forced to ask Chansey to stay of my own accord. A little forced time around Gia and Lairah was exactly what she needed to help her see she shouldn’t feel threatened by my relationship with them.
Lairah made eye contact with me and raised her eyebrows, letting me know she was about to address Chansey further. “Curry told us you left work without going home to get your things. You are welcome to anything of ours you need.”
She was still wearing her work uniform and said, “I don’t have any clothes and I would love to take a bath, if possible.”
“That is easily taken care of, so come with me and I’ll show you to Curry’s quarters.” Lairah looped her arm through Chansey’s and escorted her toward the bedrooms. “I have some wonderful new body washes and lotions you simply must try,” I heard as they trailed down the hallway with Gia in tow.
“Don’t worry. Lairah and Gia will not let her out of their sight,” Sebastian reassured me.
“I know they will protect her,” I said confidently.
“She seemed to handle being thrown in with the other hens pretty well. You’re lucky because that could have gone in a much different direction, my friend,” Solomon laughed.
“I know and I won’t let it happen again,” I reassured him.
“You need to tell her what it is we do here, and sooner rather than later,” Sebastian warned. “It is your duty to tell her everything since she is part of this family now.”
“I will tell her tonight and warn her to never be alone in the house,” I promised.
“We have two new ones,” Sebastian warned.
“Do they know there is a human in the house?” I questioned.
“They do and I have warned them to stay away from her,” he reassured me.
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