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Blood jewel, p.4

Blood Jewel, page 4

 part  #2 of  Vampire Agápe Series


Blood Jewel

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  We went back inside and spent the day watching television and lounging around the house since the others were asleep, but the minute the sun was down, my sisters were looking for Chansey. Lairah startled Chansey a little when she appeared instantly at her side. “I thought the sun would never go down. Come on, we’ve got wedding plans to make.”

  Chansey turned to me and said, “I guess that means I’ll see you later.”

  Her words said one thing while the look on her face told me she wanted me to save her, but I had plans of my own that didn’t include her.

  “Girls, take it easy on her and don’t make her regret her decision to marry me,” I called out to my sisters because I knew they could possibly overwhelm Chansey.

  With Chansey tied up by Gia and Lairah, it was the perfect time to do a little research on honeymoon destinations. I went to my quarters and was only minutes into my studies when I felt Solomon’s presence outside my door. “You can come in.”

  He opened my bedroom door and stuck his head inside the doorway. “Am I interrupting anything?”

  I lifted my eyes from my computer. “Of course not. I could use your help.”

  “What are you working on?”

  “I’m looking for the place I want to take Chansey on our honeymoon. She wants something tropical.” He walked behind me and peered over my shoulder.

  “She wants to take advantage of it before she is a vampire. Am I right?”

  I groaned, “Yep. That’s exactly what she said.”

  He thought briefly and said, “I vote for the Islands of Tahiti. I’ve always wanted to go there because there’s something about those private, thatch-covered bungalows over the water that seem so cool. Maybe I just think that because it’s something I’ll never get to experience.”

  Private bungalows. Those two words alone had me sold. “Oh, wow. That sounds perfect. See, you’re good for something after all. I think she would absolutely love that. This is why you are my best friend. You always have the answers I need.”

  “Glad to be of assistance.” He walked back around my desk, sat in the leather recliner I used for reading and leaned it into the reclined position.

  “Now, I have another question for you and you had better give me the answer I want.” He looked puzzled by my words and I continued, “I want you to be my best man. Will you stand by my side when I marry Chansey?”

  I don’t know why, but he looked so surprised by my request. “What about Sully? He’s your brother.”

  “He is my brother by blood, but you are my brother by choice and the one that has been by my side for almost 22 years. You have been so much more than my mentor and that is why I have chosen you to stand next to me as I take Chansey to be my wife.”

  He laced his fingers behind his head. “I’ll be glad to stand next to you if it means I get to escort one of Chansey’s hot friends. Does this mean I have to wear a monkey suit?”

  What was that supposed to mean about Chansey’s hot friends? “Not my call on the monkey suit, so you might want to get in good graces with the girls since they are making all of those decisions.”

  He shook his head because he knew he’d never be in good graces with Gia or Lairah. “You might as well feed me a banana. Gia and Lairah aren’t letting me out of the monkey suit.”

  ≈ ≈ ≈

  Gia and Lairah were unaware of the favor they did for me by keeping Chansey occupied until dinner. Her distraction gave me the time and privacy I needed to plan our honeymoon since I now knew the date.

  I chose a charming bed and breakfast in New Orleans for our wedding night and made arrangements to be the only occupants of the home, ensuring total privacy for us. The following day, we would fly to the Tahitian islands where we would stay for two weeks before returning home to begin our new lives together as husband and wife.

  Gia and Lairah released Chansey in time for her freshen up a little before dinner so I sat in my recliner as I waited for her to come out of the bathroom. I was confident in her acceptance of me as a vampire, but she was still human and it didn’t diminish my concern for her reaction to seeing vampires drink blood that came from people like her.

  As we walked toward the dining hall I felt obligated to offer her a way out. “You don’t have to do this.”

  She didn’t slow as we continued walking. “You invited me to join you and now you’re trying to back out. What’s with the mixed signals?”

  I was wrong to try to take back my invitation. “I’m sorry, you’re right. It’s just my protective nature trying to step forward to dominate because I don’t want to push you into anything you’re not ready for.”

  She laughed and said, “Well, it’s a little late for that considering I was born for this, don’t you think?”

  She was right as usual. I escorted her to her seat before pushing it under her as she sat. I took my seat next to her and looked at the food and drinks on the table. Sebastian had Chansey’s dinner catered from one of New Orleans finest restaurants, while the more popular meal at the table was placed in opaque goblets so Chansey wasn’t forced to look at the blood through a clear glass.

  “Chansey, I took the liberty of having a variety of meals delivered for you during your stay. I hope you enjoy Creole food. It was my favorite when I was human,” Sebastian said.

  “Thank you, Sebastian. That’s very kind of you and I am very fond of Creole food. If my nose doesn’t fail me, I believe I smell gumbo, which is my favorite.”

  “Wonderful. Since everyone is here, let us give thanks.”

  Chansey eyed me curiously and I cued her to bow her head as Sebastian said, “We, the Coven of Landra, give our humblest gratitude in recognition of the Blood Swan, Allison, for her selfless gift of sustenance.” With the exception of Chansey, everyone said together, “Thank you, Allison, for your gift of The Life, which sustains our existence and gives us strength to do the needed tasks before us.”

  Sebastian was seated following the Sacrament of Thanksgiving and Chansey laughed as she said, “I wasn’t expecting to hear a blessing over the blood. Do vampires say grace before they sink their teeth into a victim?”

  Her comment earned several laughs from around the table and Sebastian answered, “No. It’s just our way. We are quite different from others, as you will learn.”

  Chansey stirred her gumbo and rice with her spoon and then took her first bite. “It’s really good, Curry. You should try it.”

  I looked around the table at everyone staring at us and knew they thought Chansey was kidding. With the exception of Sebastian, they didn’t know that my tolerance and desire for food was growing and when I saw the smug look on Solomon’s face, I knew that I could not pass up the opportunity to shock them.

  “I’ll try it since you think I should,” I said and then leaned over for Chansey to spoon a sample into my mouth. Silence invaded the room and I made a show of how delicious the bite of gumbo was before I said, “I’ll be right back.”

  I went into the kitchen to get one of the newly purchased bowls and then returned to the dining room and spooned a portion of gumbo and rice into it. “You guys should try this. It’s really good.”

  I pretended to not notice my family’s stares as I ate and Solomon finally said, “What the hell is going on here? How are you doing that?”

  “What? This?” I asked as I dramatically shoved another bite into my mouth and moaned at how good it was.

  “You’ve had your fun, Curry,” Sebastian laughed.

  “That was not cool,” Sol said.

  “I thought it was pretty great myself. It’s not often that I get to yank your chain. I wish you could have seen your face,” I laughed.

  “Jackass,” Sol said under his breath as he shook his head.

  “Okay, I’m going to interrupt the two of you before this gets out of hand because I have a question,” Chansey interrupted “What does the Coven of Landra mean?”

  “A Landra is an experienced vampire that takes responsibility for a fledgeling, which is a ne
wly turned vampire. In the beginning, we were ridiculed by others of our kind for what we did. They mockingly called us the Coven of Landra, but we liked the name, so we kept it since it’s what we do. We are now known by all in the world of vampires and those who once mocked us have needed and used our services at some point.”

  “Will Curry be my Landra?” Chansey asked so knowingly.

  Sebastian looked to me, searching my eyes for a clue on how to answer her. I answered him in a tone too low for Chansey to hear, “It’s better to pacify her with an answer rather than start an argument, so tell her it will be me.” My words fell upon every ear, with the exception of Chansey’s. Each and every one of my family members simultaneously lifted their faces to me for an explanation of my comment.

  Before Chansey was able to formulate a suspicion about my family’s actions, Sebastian quickly answered, “Yes, Curry will be your Landra.” This brought a beautiful smile to her face, and I was glad to have dodged another argument concerning her future as one of us.

  Solomon took a drink from his goblet and smiled. “Curry can’t wait to be your Landra,” before he shot me his well-known smart ass grin.

  My eyes shot daggers in Solomon’s direction, the wooden kind, and he laughed under his breath as I replied in my lowest tone to prevent Chansey from hearing, “Please, do not encourage her.”

  Our conversation continued, unknown to Chansey. “Come on, I’m just having a little fun since you seem to be the funny guy tonight.”

  Solomon continued to laugh under his breath and Chansey was unaware she was the topic of a near silent conversation playing out right before her. If it came to be, then it just did, but it wouldn’t happen with any help from me.

  4 Buffoon

  We sat with the family at the table talking into the morning. Chansey didn’t want to give in to her fatigue, but I encouraged her to go to bed because she looked like she couldn’t hold her head up another minute.

  Solomon overheard our debate and said, “There’s no way you’re going to bed. It’s still early.” Solomon pleaded. “We have lots of embarrassing stories we could tell you about Curry if you’ll stay.”

  Lairah spoke up in Chansey’s defense. “Don’t harass her, you jackass. In case you’ve forgotten, she still keeps daylight hours.”

  I walked behind Chansey and pulled her chair out as she stood and said, “Thank you for including me tonight. You made me feel so welcomed.”

  “We enjoyed having you. Please, join us again.” Gia invited.

  “I would love that and I will be taking you up on the invitation.”

  After we told my family goodnight, I escorted Chansey toward my quarters. She looped her arm through mine and said, “That was fun.”

  I stopped in the hallway to look at her. “You never cease to amaze me.”

  “What do you mean?” she asked.

  “You sat at a table full of vampires as they drank human blood and you never appeared the least bit uncomfortable,” I said in awe of this beautiful woman about to become my wife.

  She reached for my face. “Why would I be uncomfortable? I was born to accept you and your family as you are.”

  I leaned forward to put my forehead against hers. “I know, but I couldn’t help but fear the human part of you would be frightened or sickened by what we do to survive.”

  “I could never reject what is natural to you. Don't’ is what I have chosen for myself, as well.”

  There were times when I was glad Chansey was so accepting of me and what I was, but her easy acceptance was always a reminder of her desire to become one of us and our conversation always steered toward the topic of changing her. I was becoming a master at changing the topic and I demonstrated my expertise well by saying, “We only have one more day before we go back to Pascagoula, so I want to take you into the city tomorrow night. Would you like that?”

  She had not mentioned the significance of tomorrow. I wondered if it slipped her mind because of the crazy events during the last few days or if she was testing me to see if I would remember. Regardless, I held my tongue and did not mention her birthday.

  She smiled mischievously and I knew the date had not slipped her mind. “That sounds like fun. What do you want to do?”

  This was a test and I intended on passing with flying colors, so I decided I needed the help of my sisters to make this a birthday she’d never forget. “I haven’t decided yet. It’s been a while since I went into New Orleans. Do you have anything you’d like to do?”

  “I’m up for anything,” she said.

  “Well, anything can be found in New Orleans. How about I surprise you?”

  “Sounds perfect. I love surprises.” She placed her palms against my chest. “But, I can think of one surprise I’d love to have,” she hinted. She leaned forward to take ownership of my mouth and ran her hands under my T-shirt and up my chest.

  I pulled back and looked at her deceivingly angelic face. “You thrive on tempting me.”

  She smiled and replied, “You thrive on denying me.”

  I took her hand and pulled her down the hall. “Come on, it’s very late and you need your rest.”

  “I’m going to let you off the hook this time because I am very tired,” she surrendered.

  I kissed her forehead and said, “Thank you for your mercy, Love.”

  I opened the door and allowed her to enter first. “Enjoy it while it lasts because I might not be so generous next time,” she informed me and I knew she meant every word.

  Chansey gave me a quick kiss and went into the bathroom, so I quickly changed into my sleep pants while she performed her bedtime rituals. As I laid in bed waiting for her, I closed my eyes and thought about her birthday and how I could make it special for her.

  I had almost dozed off when I heard the bathroom door slowly open. I hesitantly opened my eyes and saw Chansey standing at the bedside wearing one of my button ups that hit her mid-thigh. “Gia and Lairah don’t have anything non-sexy for me to wear to bed. I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your shirt.” she said as she climbed onto my side of the bed and slowly slinked across me to her side of the bed.

  I had to give it to her. The girl had skills and she knew how to use them, but I refused to let her know she was getting to me. “No, I don’t mind at all.” I lay on my back with my fingers laced across my chest so I could keep them to myself as I stared at the ceiling. “What’s mine is yours, isn’t that the old saying?”

  “Yep, that’s what they say,” she said through a huge grin, knowing all along what she was doing to me. “It’s too hot for all these covers,” she said as she threw the bedding to the side and lifted my shirt above her waist.

  “I’ll adjust the air for you,” I offered. I attempted to get up, but was disrupted by her hand.

  “No, you always feel so much cooler than me.” She turned her back to me, shimmied closer and pulled my arms around her. “That’s much better. Don’t you agree?”

  She had to be the devil in disguise. “You know exactly what you’re doing to me and shame on you.”

  “I don’t have a clue what you mean,” the little vixen lied. “I’m just trying to get comfortable so I can go to sleep since I’m a human that needs her rest.”

  “By all means, please get comfortable so you can go to sleep and stop tormenting me,” I admitted.

  “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I tormenting you, Curry?”

  “Just a little” I gritted through my teeth.

  “Good,” she said and hesitated before she added, “Night.”

  I was thankful she decided to call it a night because I was dangerously close to giving in to my old, self-satisfying ways. She would never know how close she came to getting her way tonight and I was grateful she falsely believed my will was made of steel. “Goodnight, Chansey.”

  I waited until she was asleep to leave her side, slipping away as quietly as a thief in the night. My family was no longer gathered in the dining room and I walked outside to find Gia and Lairah
in the pool taking a late night swim.

  “Tell me you didn’t leave your bride in the bed alone,” Gia huffed.

  “She’s not my bride. She’s my fiancé and I need your help with something big. Tomorrow is Chansey’s birthday and I need some ideas. I want to take her into the city and do something special, but I have no idea what.”

  “Well, you made the right decision by coming to us instead of that buffoon you call your best friend. Really? What is his deal?” Lairah said.

  “I think he’s jealous,” Gia answered. “And yes, Solomon...I know you can hear me inside the house.”

  “Take it easy, girls,” I urged.

  “Alright, we’ll forget the buffoon and get back to the task at hand. You’ve already given her the most precious piece of jewelry she’ll ever wear. Any type of bling-bling you come up with will only pale in comparison, so you shot yourself in the foot when it comes to jewelry,” Lairah told me.

  “She loves your art, so paint her something. You can have it ready by tomorrow because you’re so awesome,” Gia suggested.

  I blew that one, too. “That’s not going to work. I did a soft pastel of her on the day I met her, so anything I did would pale in comparison to that. Now, I’ve shot myself in the foot when it comes to art.”

  Solomon walked out of the house and added, “Nice going, one trick pony.”

  “In my own defense, she was never supposed to see it. It was supposed to be for my own private collection.”

  Sol jumped into the pool with the girls and then came up. He ran his hands back over his slick dark hair. “I’m not jealous. If anyone is jealous it’s the two of you with your crazy ideas and dreams of romance that’s never going to happen for you. Both of you are living vicariously through this poor human girl and she’s probably scared to death to tell either of you ‘no.’ Shame on both of you.”

  “You’ve become such an ass since Curry found Chansey. There’s no way you’re not jealous. I just haven’t figured out if it’s because Chansey is taking Curry away from you or because you want an Agápe too,” Gia accused, then bumped fists with Lairah.

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