The following excerpt is from Blood Life
Copyright (c) Gianna Perada 2012
He led her upstairs into his office. She remained in front of the doors after he had closed them and waited for him to say something, anything to justify her being there.
She stood staring at him, waiting, hoping she would be able to keep her face hard in the presence of such a man, because what she really wanted to do was fall into his arms and just let him hold her forever. That thought troubled her the most because her feelings were unrealistically strong. She never seemed the type for this sort of thing. She was always the one in denial, especially concerning matters of the heart.
“Alethea,” he started, pouring her a glass of merlot, “allow me to explain myself to you.”
He picked up the crystal glass and set it down on the dark granite coffee table in front of the checkered brown and black suede sofa, motioning for her to take a seat. She flinched when he spoke her name.
Hesitantly, she walked over and accepted his offerings.
He continued, after giving her a few seconds to adjust. “Now, I realize you must be quite confused right now, but—”
“Yes, I am,” she cut in, trying to sip her merlot and keep her wobbly self under control at the same time. Of course, she failed, causing a stream of wine to jump out of the glass onto her dress.
“At least the dress is dark,” he laughed and passed her a handkerchief. “There’s a bathroom right through those doors if you need to wipe it up better.”
“No,” she said, soaking the wine up with the handkerchief, “but I don’t think this handkerchief will ever be the same.”
“I don’t mind. Keep it.” He strolled over to the window, and, although she kept herself busy wiping at the wine, she knew he was watching her through the reflection of the glass. She could feel his eyes again.
“I do apologize if I have upset you. You must understand that it is not my nature to explain myself to others.” He turned and faced her squarely, locking into her eyes as he walked towards her. “In fact, what I want to tell you will be hard for you to accept and I greatly fear your disapproval. But it is very important and so you must know.” He looked down at the wet spot on her dress. “Is that wine coming out all right?”
“Oh—” She unlocked her eyes, looking down at the dress, “yeah, it’s black, no one will even notice.” Her heart beat dangerously fast.
“I’m glad,” he replied, lifting her eyes to his and holding them there. He searched her again and finally saw it. Through her soul mirrors, when he looked deep into their abyss, he saw Alexandria’s spirit and his heart rejoiced.
Keeping his emotions at bay, and releasing her gaze, he said, “Good. I don’t think that I could tolerate having you stained in my club. It took me a long time to get this place and I would hate to have to tear it down for ruining your exquisite dress.”
“Tear it down?” she half-laughed.
“If that is what you wish. You see there are some men who would do anything for love, my sweet Alexandria.” He closed his eyes, tapping his fist on his head.
“What? Who is Alexandria?” She was confused, and surprised about the feeling in her chest, the pang of jealously that struck her deep inside.
“Oh, but you know, I assure you,” he whispered softly, opening his eyes again to focus on her sitting there, angry, confused and beautiful. “And you know who I am. I should never have to explain anything to you, should I? Do you need to be reminded of who I am? Are you so soon to forget?”
He sat down beside her, his words upsetting her so much she fought to keep from losing her temper. Her head swam; it felt as though it were floating just above her neck, disconnected and threatening to fall at any moment.
“Forget what?” she managed to force out. “No, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Your name is Roman Demone and you own this nightclub; that is all I know about you!”
He moved, no, crawled over to her giving her a look of such desire she couldn’t swallow the lump of anxiety that formed in her throat, suffocating her. She jumped up and started backing up toward the door, shaking her head furiously.
“Alexandria, my love—” he cooed, opening his arms to her.
“Why do you keep calling me that?” Tears were streaming down her face.
“Calling you what?”
“You know what!” she snapped, slapping at the hands he extended to her. Her eyes widened, growing as big as her face. “You’re crazy!” she cried.
“I have already considered that, but frankly insanity doesn’t suit me,” he commented, smugly, “nor does this ignorance suit you.”
He hadn’t meant to be cruel, but something came over him. Perhaps it was the tension of the long-awaited reunion, vampire-style? He did not know for sure, but she was beginning to understand, and she was not leaving him ever again.
Before she knew to be alarmed, he was painfully pinning her against the office door.
“In two hundred years my memory has never failed me, never left me. You must remember me, my love.”
She shivered beneath him. He cocked his head at her.
“But, if you truly do not see, than I shall give you the memories back!” he boomed as he pressed his fingers against her temples and his thumbs pressed gently over her eyes.
Alethea collapsed under his grip as the pictures began to invade her mind.
For an instant, she was hovering above a gleaming white castle, surrounded by the density of a lush forest. Then, with a sudden flash, she witnessed herself with a different face, closed in by maids and imprisoned by those same castle walls.
Looking out one of the stone portholes, a young dark-haired man stood, watching her, hiding himself on the edge of the thicket. And as he walked out into sight, she instantly recognized Roman’s face.
There was blood streaming down from his temples over the sides of his face. He was being restrained by two ironclad guards. Snickering by her side stood a man drawing pleasure from Roman’s pain. That’s when she looked down at herself to discover she was dressed in a wedding gown, obviously given to the strange man standing next to her.
She fought for control, prying her eyes open with all her might. As soon as she saw Roman in front of her, the images flooded again.
The two of them, wrapped around one another on top of a horse, walking across the thin green lining of a forest floor. She saw him above her and felt him come inside. Could feel him holding her in his arms with such love, the kind of love you cannot explain, but you know you’ve waited all your life to have. She was remembering, all at once, without warning. She did know him and had once loved him deeply, with all she was made of. But what stood before her now seemed only a cold reflection of the images. He was not the same warm man; he was cold to the touch, an animated statue.
With a frightened push, she shoved him away forcefully, but even then it seemed that he was the one who released her. She remained fixed, contained by one of his lordly stares, a look that seemed to coat his face like hard, gray marble. Though she was free from his hold, the images continued to overwhelm her. The intensity increased and her body became weaker as she slid down against the door in defeat.
Raising her hands to her head, she closed her eyes tight in a vain attempt to refuse the flashes. Roman continued to stare at her with eyebrows closing in together; a parallel vein ran down the center of his forehead. Rage surfaced at her inability or unwillingness to understand. He stood before her, frozen from emotions.
Alethea began mumbling, and as the mumbles rose into screams, the visions of Lokee moved in, torturing her.
A flash of a bathroom. A faint perfume. The woman emerged in a steaming tub with her eyes closed, relaxed and in peace. A slender form invaded her home. She was startled by screams in the next room, jolting herself upright in the tub.
The intruder made his way into the bathroom, and she looked up into the vengeful face of Lokee, with rich mahogany streaks of blood lashed across his clothes and face. Slowly, his arms rose and extended down towards her squirming body. He placed his hands on both sides of her head and forced her to look at him. She was kicking madly, spilling water from over the tub. With a swift motion, he pulled her from the tub and threw her into the wall behind him. Alethea could feel the woman’s pain, her suffering. Her thoughts of Roman, in the moments she could still think, before hitting that wall with force enough to break her neck.
Alethea panicked, stumbling against the wall, reaching out to strike back at the vision, trying to save the woman, Alexandria . . . her. Alethea called out for someone to help her, this dying, suffering woman.
Unable to move before he reached her again, Lokee pierced her breasts and stomach with his long, jagged nails. Alexandria screeched in pain as he finally drug her by the hair back into the other room to see the other woman lying with eyes glazed over, drained of life on the floor.
Alexandria started scratching at him, frantically, anywhere she could reach but he again threw her up against the wall, with twice the force as before. Alethea tasted blood in her mouth. He tugged at Alexandria’s hair to pull her face towards the ceiling as he pierced the skin under her rib cage and picked her up like a ragdoll to toss back into the tub. The water became a pool of gore, a Red Sea, disturbed by turbulence, stained from the blood draining from her near lifeless body. He stole the last breath from her neck as he bit and drank until her heart finally gave up its fight, leaving the world with a single memory of Roman’s face, her beloved, an image to save with her soul. Then she was gone. Even when she breathed no more, Lokee decided to drink from her neck, like a fiend, a scavenger in the wild, caring not of poison.
Alethea’s eyes opened wide to catch a glimpse of Roman leaning over her. Unable to differentiate the images of Lokee from crossing her sight, she started lashing out at Roman, wildly, trying to fend off his approach.
Scrambling away and grabbing hold of anything in reach, she started blindly throwing things as she tried to pull herself out of the vulnerable position she was in. Sheer terror blessed her with a new pulse of strength, enough to lift herself up, but again her legs gave out and she was flat on the floor.
Roman looked down at her body and was suddenly hit with the intoxicating aroma of fresh blood. He stepped over her, searching for the outlet of a wound.
Salivating, his fangs pushed through his gums, razor sharp and ready to assist him in breaking through tough, human skin. Biting back the urge to feed on her, he noticed her back.
Memories surfaced as he studied the Vampire Mark. It had raised on her back as if pushed out from within. It bled as if fresh!