Blood of Anteros, page 6part #1 of Vampire Agápe Series
It would be hours until she returned and I looked for something to pass the time. I was tired of unpacking, so I decided to catch up on some much needed practice with my soft pastels. Luckily, I had a blank canvas in my supplies, so I gathered what I needed and set up my easel. I needed to start with something simple, I chose the house I knew so well. I traced out my general idea and started. I chose to capture it closely and while it came together quickly, something was missing.
I don’t know the exact moment it happened, but I subconsciously made a decision to deter from my original plan. One minute, it was just the house, but when I stopped to evaluate my work, there she was. Chansey sat on the front porch on the edge of a patio chair strumming a guitar with her face hidden behind her hair while two red butterflies fluttered above her.
I had not been finished long when I heard her pull into the drive. I recognized her routine and stepped outside to prevent any avoidance of me. She was in deep thought and startled easily when I whispered her name. Her eyes grew large and her heart rate immediately accelerated. I threw both hands up and stepped back as a signal to show her I was harmless. “I’m sorry.”
She put her hand to her chest and said, “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
My hands remained up, palms facing her, like a caught criminal. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
She smiled beautifully and laughed as she said, “I know I have a healthy heart because if I didn’t, I’d be dead right now,” then continued, “I’m sorry for being so jumpy. I had something on my mind.”
“Again, I apologize for startling you, are you still willing to speak to me?” I knew she was probably tired after working an eight hour shift, but my selfish heart was impatient because I wanted to explain myself. The last several hours were excruciating and I hated the misunderstanding between us.
“Sure. Is it okay if we sit? It’s been a long night.” She looked around for a spot nearby.
“Of course. I’m sure you’re very tired and I promise to not keep you long.”
We walked to the back of the house and sat on the steps leading up to the kitchen. I couldn’t see her face well because of the way we sat side by side, so I turned to face her, allowing her to see my sincerity. She remained forward facing with her eyes lowered, staring at the fingers laced into a clasp in her lap.
I could hear her heart racing, and again, my silence became the culprit that plagued me. It didn’t matter that I had practiced the things I wanted to say because I was blank, so I combed through my mind, searching for the words I rehearsed. I was unable to recall the dialogue in my mind, so instead, I allowed my heart to take the reigns.
“I want to apologize for earlier today. I didn’t understand what my silence implied, not even when you became upset. When you questioned me a second time, I didn’t answer you immediately because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I was trying to think of the perfect answer, but now I see how my hesitation seemed like an insult.”
While my comfort level rose, Chansey’s seemed to dwindle as she continued to stare at her clasped hands. Again, her shield of hair prevented me from seeing her beautiful face, and without thinking, I reached and pushed her hair from her face. I placed it behind her shoulder, then reached for her hands and separated her clasp. Taking her hands into mine, I continued, “I liked talking to you, very much so. I am regrettably awkward when it comes to speaking with people I don’t know well. I didn’t wish to insult you and I am very sorry. Can you accept my apology?”
She lifted her face to meet my eyes and said, “I do accept, but it’s unnecessary because I was being silly and childish. I jumped to conclusions and made an uncomfortable situation even more awkward, sort of how I am now. Can you accept my apology?”
My response was on the tip of my tongue when my keen instincts distracted me, interrupting my train of thought. They announced the presence of an uninvited guest and I felt a predator among us. I scanned the surrounding property and my sharp vision honed in on the guilty one. He thought he was silent and hidden, but he was wrong.
I leaned closer to Chansey and reached my hand behind her neck, lacing my fingers through her thick nape and pulled her closer. She closed her eyes and leaned forward to accept the kiss she believed I was offering. I placed my lips close to her ear and softly whispered, “Listen carefully to what I’m about to tell you. Someone is here, watching us, but don’t appear alarmed. Wish me good night and calmly go into the house, then lock the door behind you.”
She leaned back to see my face and I knew she was evaluating my level of seriousness. The startled look in her eyes told me she understood. Too stunned to speak, I prompted her. “Goodnight, Chansey. I hope you sleep well.”
“Good night,” she whispered, then rose and walked toward the door. She turned the knob and looked at me, hesitating while she considered my safety. I lifted my eyes and nodded for her to go on in the house. I waited until I heard the click of the lock before I left the steps. I waited to see if I would be approached, but the lack of his appearance confirmed my instincts. He was a coward.
I inhaled deeply and my impulses screamed to end his life. This intruder was human, and male. His heartbeat was rapid and I sensed his fury, as evidenced by the smell of his sudden adrenaline release. I strongly suspected this was Chansey’s harassing caller from earlier in the day and it was a mistake to position himself so close to me.
I walked toward the coward hiding in the shadows and I expected him to run the moment he realized I was coming for him, but he didn’t. When he saw me walking toward him, he stood and waited.
I knew Chansey watched from the window, so I walked toward him with human speed while I knew she could visualize me, but when I was certain she lost sight of me behind the trees, I dashed behind her predator at lightning speed and stood behind him, amused by his confusion. He waited for my appearance, turning his head from side to side searching for me while the watcher became the watched.
“Looking for me?” I asked, startling him and causing him to jump. Good.
“How did you get...,” he trailed off, as he realized he was bested. My palm caught the punch intended for my face and I graciously returned his fist in one piece.
He’d receive one warning from me. That was a kindness I didn’t have to show him. “Never come here again and don’t attempt to contact Chansey again. Do not approach her and never think of her again.”
He interrupted me to say, “Look, I don’t know who you think you are, but Chansey is my girl and we have history. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes what a mistake she made and comes crawling back.”
I hated being interrupted. It was rude and disrespectful. “I was not finished. If you contact Chansey again, I will hunt you and when I find you, I will place my hand around your neck and squeeze until all the life has left your eyes.”
As the lurch begin to grin and laugh, I stepped forward and gave him a taste of how it felt to have your windpipe crushed. He desperately pulled at my two fingers squeezing his trachea with both hands unsuccessfully. His eyes grew large and I asked, “Are you feeling me now?” I knew my message was clear when he began nodding his head. “I suggest you leave and never return.”
I released my obstruction of his air passage before he blacked out. He had been educated, so we would see if he learned his lesson. He ran north and crossed the property of the adjoining neighbor. I looked down and saw a roll of duct tape and long strand of telephone line he hastily left behind. It’s probably best I didn’t see those while his trachea was between my fingers. His intentions were darker than I imagined and I had underestimated him, but it wouldn’t happen again.
I heard the start of his vehicle and he revved his motor, then screeched his tires as he left. It was his foolish and childish way of displaying his anger.
No doubt, Chansey heard his departure, along with the entire neighborhood. I didn’t make it to the back door before she opened it and asked, “What happened? Who was out there
I didn’t know if telling her was the right thing because I didn’t want to unnecessarily frighten her, but she needed to be cautious. The items left behind were evidence this guy was serious, not mildly obsessed.
I chose my words carefully as I explained, “There was a guy out there. I told him he wasn’t welcome and warned him to not return. He seemed embarrassed about being caught, so I don’t think he’ll be back, but I do think you should be very careful.”
“What did he look like?” she questioned.
“He was a few inches taller than me. I’m five foot ten, so maybe around six-one. His hair was sandy, maybe a dark blonde., He was muscular and had a scar above his left eye.” I wanted to add kidnapping psycho to the description, but thought I might ought to leave that off.
She didn’t appear surprised and that was enough to cause me some concern. “That was Julian. He is my neighbor at the apartment complex where I live when I’m in school. I was forced to skip summer school and move home with Granna and Granddaddy to get away from him because he wouldn’t stop bugging me about going out with him and frankly he started doing some bizarre things that freaked me out.”
“Has he threatened you?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“He called me this morning and told me that he better not catch me with you, which means this wasn’t the first time he has been here.”
He had watched me and I missed it. Now, this was personal.
She continued, “I filed a restraining order against him last month and he has broken it time after time. When I report it, they won’t do anything because his dad is a judge. I really think he’s crazy.”
He was escalating and he would be back because he couldn’t help himself; he was a predator. Unfortunately for him, I knew the dynamic mind of a predator. “It isn’t a good idea for you to be alone.”
“Please don’t tell Granna and Grandaddy. They’ll worry and it’s not good for them.”
She didn’t understand the severity of the situation and I couldn’t tell her. “He knows where you live. I assume he also knows where you work, along with the routine you keep and you shouldn’t underestimate what he is capable of doing.”
I saw the desperation in her eyes. “What am I going to do? The police are no help, in fact, they make it possible for him to harass me as much as he wants. I can’t move. I left my apartment because he was scaring me so bad. I can’t quit my job and I don’t want to worry my grandparents.”
Although somewhat involuntary, I was part of this now. My confrontation fanned the flames of Julian’s obsession, making him more determined than ever to have her. Consequences battled within me and my heart spoke against my mind’s better judgement. “Maybe I should drive you back and forth to work for a while, just until he backs off.”
She looked appreciative, but didn’t intend on taking my offer. “I can’t ask you to do that, it’s too much for you to take on.”
I didn’t intend for her to not take my offer. “You didn’t ask. I offered and I insist.”
Relief flooded her face. Then, she surprised me by stepping forward and put her arms around me. She placed her head against my chest, leaving me without an option and I returned the embrace by placing my arms around her. I lowered my face to her hair and inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of lavender and vanilla. I dropped my face closer to her shoulder and smelled the lingering fragrance of jasmine, cherry blossom and peach, mixed with a slight release of salty perspiration due to the combination of heat and anxiety.
The monster, deep within me, unexpectedly resurfaced. He no longer laid dormant as he screamed in agony, begging to be set upon this innocent creature. He pleaded with me for one taste. Didn’t he deserve it? It has been so long.
One scent of her blood essence would surely send me over the edge, giving the awakened one the upper hand as he urged me to side with him. I braced myself for the battle against the leech within me and begged him to leave me in peace.
I held my breath and didn’t move a muscle, for fear the beast might interpret any sudden movement as permission to strike. When I could no longer hold my breath, I exhaled, then inhaled slowly and shallowly. I waited for her fragrance to signal my defeat, giving the leech the permission to strike.
I readied myself to charge against this inner beast when her aromatic essence penetrated my line of defense. When her aroma registered in my brain, I waited to see what my level of temptation would be. The beast received the verdict first and my battle was won as he retreated.
I was intrigued by Chansey’s unexpected essence. It wasn’t unappealing, yet not enticing either. It was neutral and I was spellbound.
She lifted her head from my chest and leaned back to see my face. “I don’t know what to say or how to thank you.”
She raised up onto her tiptoes and planted a kiss on my cheek before she released her hold of me. I reluctantly released my hold, as well, but I wasn’t finished exploring this. I wanted more, I needed more.
We both knew we had just shared a significant moment, although neither of us voiced it.
“I’m sure you’re exhausted. You should get a good night’s rest,” I said, verbally encouraging her to go to bed, but inside begging her stay.
I regretfully watched her walk up the steps to the backdoor. Before entering, she turned and said, “Thank you again, Curry. You’re a real life saver.”
The paradox of her words brought a smile to my face. She saw a life saver in a skilled killer and I was tantalized by mystery of her. The leech inside me came out to find prey, but found none in this enigmatic girl. The proximity of her essence didn’t entice him, so what did that make her? I had more questions than answers, but one thing was unmistakable; although she released me from her embrace, her hold on me remained.
I was uncertain what this meant for me, but more importantly, I didn’t know what it meant for Chansey. Of all the puzzling things in my head, there remained one clear circumstance; she needed my protection because, for once, I wasn’t the dangerous one.
I tried, unsuccessfully, to stop imagining the things he had planned for her. He wasn’t here tonight for spying. He was here to take her and I knew he had played the precise details over and over in his dark mind. He intended on grabbing her between the car and the house. He knew every detail, down to exactly how he would keep her quiet and where he would take her, along with the route to get her there. This was his first attempt, but it wouldn’t be his last. He would revise his plan, but he wasn’t the only one making plans and mine didn’t involve anything forensics would explain.
This was a delicate matter, and if I didn’t intervene, it could be too late by the time the authorities were forced to pursue him. They needed evidence and proof, while I did not. I saw his intent and it was enough for me as the judge and jury. Judge Daddy wasn’t going to get him out of this one because I would be ready for him when he returned.
I lifted my eyes to Chansey’s bedroom window and watched darkness replace the light. She remained standing at her window, believing she was hidden in the darkness, and briefly watched me before she crawled into bed.
She was lying in her bed, unaware of the strange emotions flooding me. Beings like me didn’t desire romantic relationships with humans, so it was unnatural for me to desire anything other than her blood while all I wanted was to be near her. I remembered the way she leaned forward to kiss me and it left room for no doubt in my mind; I wanted her with all of my heart, body and soul, if there still was one within me. While I admitted my desire to myself, familiar words sat heavily on my tongue and begged to be released. That mysterious place within urged me to speak the words, so I did. “I ask that my misplaced heart no longer wanders, lost and wounded and finds it’s way into the arms that love me.”
As I heard the words my tongue released, I only thought of Chansey and her compromised safety provoked my heart to declare responsibility of her. Faster than the blink of an eye, and it was done. I declared a vow, a sacred vow, to always protect
When I woke the next morning, the first thing I wanted was to see Chansey. My eyes were impatient to see her and confirm her safety. I heard the water from her shower running and I wondered if she had plans for the day.
I showered quickly, wanting to be ready and available if I saw an opportunity to spend some time with her. Wasn’t it only yesterday I fell all over myself trying to avoid her? Now, I wanted to spend time with her and I realized I was going to be disappointed if I didn’t.
I stopped and listened for her and located her in the kitchen.Things were made easy for me when I heard Anna say, “Chansey, why don’t you go down and invite Curry up for breakfast with us because that young man never eats.”
“Yes, ma’am. Are you sure he’s up this early because I think he stays up late?” I smiled to myself when her meaning registered. She was thinking about how we were up late together and I liked it.
“I don’t know, but he still needs to eat. Run on down and check because those biscuits only lack a couple of minutes in the oven.”
I heard the door open and she descended the steps to my door. I waited for her soft knock, then opened the door to see the girl I couldn’t stop thinking about.
“Good morning. I’m surprised to see you up so early after our late night.”
“I’ve been up for a while.”
“Have you eaten anything, yet?” she asked.
“Not yet,” I answered.
“Would you like to join us for breakfast? My granna makes the best homemade biscuits ever.” I didn’t doubt her for a minute because the aroma of warm flour and buttermilk had floated into my room when the biscuits had gone into the oven twenty minutes earlier.
“I would love to join you and thank you for the invitation,” I accepted.
“I think it’s ready if you want to come on up,” she invited.
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