“You bring out the worst in him but it won’t be that way forever.”
It was boring being held captive.
“Did you get everything on my list?” I asked, once I entered the kitchen.
Brendon rolled his eyes, “Yes, I did. I stuck to it, as directed on line 5,6, and 8.”
I rolled my eyes in return, “Well, it’s the least you can do since I’m playing housewife, you know… minus the being your wife part.”
“Well maybe one day I’ll marry you then.” Brendon responded, sticking his tongue out.
“I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed in a church, and I’d have to consent for the service to go as planned.” I didn’t plan on saying ‘I do’ to anyone, anytime soon- especially not Brendon.
Ryan appeared, “Actually, vampires have different services. And we are allowed in churches, but certain people who have a strong connection with God… They can see us for what we are and though they are usually thought to be crazy, they aren’t… though some are.”
“Well, I’m a human.” I pointed out, not that I needed to do. “So it would be a vampire/human ceremony but you know what? We aren’t discussing this because it isn’t going to happen and… Some people can actually tell that you’re vampires? God is real?” I definitely wanted more information on this.
Ryan wrinkled his nose, “Where there is good, there is evil. If you want to know about God then you’ll learn of the Devil and I don’t think you’re ready for that. I’d appreciate if you slept eventually. I don’t like babysitting girls with nightmares.”
I frowned, “I’m ready to know.” But I was just pouting like a child, and in all honesty I wasn’t ready to know if it was that bad. Well, at least with that bad there was good… Hopefully it was well balanced. Why couldn’t I get held captive by an angel?
Are angels real? That would be cool…
I thought of little devil’s with pitchforks, like the kind that sat on your shoulder while your other shoulder was occupied by a cute mini angel. Yeah, I probably wasn’t ready to know about true evil. “Nevermind.” I muttered, watching as Brendon took things out of bags.
“Are you tired?” Brendon suddenly asked. “You look tired.”
“I’m not tired.” I complained, “I’m just grumpy. I had to wash blood from an actual person off of my face while you were gone. That kind of sucks.” I snapped, glaring at him.
“You should have put tampons on the fucking list.” Brendon snapped, glaring back at me.
“I’m not on my period.” My eyes narrowed. “You just wait. It gets much, much worse.” I used the most threatening tone I could manage.
Ryan laughed, “I’ll research vampire/human marriage rituals.” He joked, or at least I hoped he was joking, and he walked out of the room.
“I don’t think it can get worse.” Brendon replied, slamming orange juice down on to the counter.
“You’re going to break it.” I muttered darkly, “And I love orange juice.”
“You love things?” Brendon asked, using an exaggerated tone of surprise. “Love comes from the heart dear.”
“I know where love comes from.”
“Oh, I figured. I wasn’t insinuating that you were stupid, just heartless.”
“You’re an asshole.” He really was.
“You’re a fucking bitch.” Brendon said, slamming a glass of wine on to the counter. I jumped as the glass broke; the liquid spilling out on to the counter, dripping down on to the ground.
“At least it wasn’t the orange juice.” I finally muttered, trying to hide my surprise.
“Or you.” Brendon said, glaring at me.
I shrugged, “I’ve given you the chance to kill me.”
“I don’t need a chance. I could do it whenever.” Within seconds I was pressed against the counter. Brendon looked down at me, softly brushing hair from my face.
“Yes, because a vampire with a hair fetish is really frightening. You brush that hair away oh so caringly. I’m trembling.” I spit out, continuing to return his glare.
Suddenly his grip on my hair tightened and he was pulling my head back so I’d keep looking at him, “Don’t tempt me Madeline. I’m hungry, and you’re looking very tasty.”
“Cannibal.” I muttered, rolling my eyes. “We’re still… kind of the same. That’s kind of cannibalism.”
Brendon wasn’t happy, not at all. “Do you have no concern for your life?” He finally asked. “Either that or you’re just really stupid after all.”
“This isn’t really living.” I spit out, eyes watering. “You’ve told me that you plan to have my step father thrown in to jail with murder charges, a murder he definitely did not commit… and my mother will have no one but grief by her side and I- I’ll be stuck with you… and you expect me to tiptoe around you? Tell me Brendon, why would I work to preserve this /life/?”
Brendon leaned forward, holding my head in place. I tensed as he ran his nose along my neck, inhaling deeply. The door to the kitchen opened and I heard Ryan’s voice. “Brendon, get away from her.”
Hesitantly Brendon pulled away and I was startled by his eyes as he looked at me, “Brendon-“ I gasped as he pushed me further against the counter. His eyes… were completely black. He shook his head, as if trying to shake something out of his ears and then his eyes lightened gradually.
“I have to eat.” He muttered, letting go of me.
Ryan said nothing as Brendon brushed past him, leaving the room.
“Are you okay?” Ryan finally asked, sounding concerned. “Did he hurt you?”
“No.” I whispered, looking towards the door. “Is he going to be okay?”
“No to which?” Ryan asked with a careful tone. “And he’s fine. That happens. It’s hard to control thirst, it’s almost as strong as passion… and when you argue with him it just makes it harder.” I could now hear the warning in his tone. “Arguing can make him angry, and when he’s angry… it feels the same as being thirsty.”
“He’s going to kill me, isn’t he?” It wasn’t natural for us to be under the same roof. Eventually I would make him angry or he would just get sick of me. Either way I would die.
“I don’t think so.” Ryan studied my face. “Brendon has a lot of control actually. You’d be hard pressed to find a vampire with better control than him.”
“What about you?”
Ryan smiled widely, amusement in his eyes. “My control does not compare.”
“Oh.” That was somewhat frightening; along with the way he was now looking at me. Would I always feel like… food? Poor cows and other animals. “Well, are you going to kill me now?” I was pretty on edge. Brendon scared me more though; the look he’d given me was full of raw need.
Ryan paused before responding, “No. Brendon wouldn’t like that.”
“Brendon doesn’t like a lot of things.”
“He likes you.” Whoa, what?
“I think you’re mistaken.”
“Think about it.” Ryan said, moving closer. “Why else would you be here?”
“He doesn’t even know me.”
Ryan laughed, “Humans.” He rolled his eyes. “You don’t know anything about knowing someone, or just how little it actually takes. We can feel you, as well as each other… and that’s stronger than any knowledge of tastes could be.”
That sounded… deep, deeper than I was.
“Now, I have to hunt.” Ryan smiled, “I doubt you want two hungry vampires to attack you in one day.” Well…
Now that he mentioned it, no I didn’t want that.
“Have fun.” I smiled weakly.
Ryan’s eyes narrowed. “Stay inside.”
I nodded, closing my eyes.
When I reopened them he was gone.
The air outside was cold and my steps were very measured, as I expected Brendon to pop up at any moment. The door shut behind me and I took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air.
The woods surrounded the large house, but I couldn’t remember what was past the forest or how large it was. I hadn’t thought of things like that when coming to the party, the only thing that had been on my mind was murder.
I never thought I’d need to escape.
I didn’t have shoes on, and the ground looked like it would hurt but I’d walked barefoot before on plenty of items. I would survive.
I was still wearing Brendon’s grey sweats but they were too baggy. I knew they would slow me down so I quietly stepped out of them, still desperately listening for any noises though I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear Brendon or Ryan, no matter how hard I tried.
With quick steps I walked down the steps and in to the forest, wearing nothing other than Brendon’s t-shirt and courage.
I could do this.
Or I would freeze to death.
Or get eaten by an animal of some sort.
Or get lost and starve, or become dehydrated.
Or Brendon would kill me.
Or Ryan would kill me.
Various items cut in to my feet and though it hurt I simply sped up, trying to put distance between myself and the house.
I needed to get away.
It wasn’t just about me now.
It was about my mother, and my stepfather.
Then I heard it.
The loud crack in the sky.
It was followed by a flash of lightening.
Then the roar of thunder.
How I fear you.
She was easy, just some girl in a bar that wanted to get laid as much as I wanted to feed. Our mutual desire built and I had her out the door within ten minutes. No one recognized me. It was too easy, but that’s how I liked it.
Madeline had made me angry, though it was easy for her to do so since I hadn’t taken much blood from the pizza boy. I needed more to sustain myself.
The girl’s body was lifeless against the alley floor. I almost felt bad, but I knew that was just because I’d tuned in to Madeline’s emotions. With a quick lick to my lips the feelings were gone, the taste of blood saving me from Madeline’s morals.
I heard the loud crack of lightening before the sky lit up. I glanced up, feeling a sense of panic inside of me. What?
Something was wrong.
Without another glance at the dead body of my latest victim I headed towards my car, ignoring the thunder loud in the sky. I just wanted to get home. I just wanted to relax. It was taking a great deal of energy, being around Madeline. To feel her emotions was quite a task but it wasn’t really a choice I’d made. Sometimes you just couldn’t help it, and around her I couldn’t. That’s why she would never quite understand why I couldn’t hurt her; I knew her. And I liked what I knew. Her feelings were addicting, and I liked how they made me feel. I liked how she made me feel.
I could see the forest as I sped up, the beautiful trees seeming to sway with the wind, and then another loud rumble of thunder sounded through the air, followed by a loud, loud scream of terror.
I hit the brakes, throwing the door open before I could even think. “Madeline?” I yelled, wondering just how far away she was.
I couldn’t smell her.
Why couldn’t I smell her?
There was nothing.
I had to find her.
I could hear soft whimpers of fear that tore at my heart, the loud sound of thunder overpowering Madeline’s noises. “Madeline?” I called out again, hoping she wouldn’t run from me out here.
I felt as if I’d explored the whole damn forest and I was growing agitated, attempting to fight my anger with Madeline for fleeing in the first place. She was supposed to stay home, stay safe. I just wanted her to be safe. Why couldn’t she see that?
Then I saw her.
She was sitting against a tree, knees drawn up to her chest. She looked so small in the large forest. Her eyes were shut tightly, tears streaming down her face and her hands were pushed against her ears.
Suddenly I realized what was wrong.
She wasn’t being attacked; she was afraid of thunder.
Another loud rumble and Madeline cried out, pressing her hands tighter against her ears. I stepped closer, placing a hand upon her arm. She jumped, startled, and immediately lashed out but I caught her arm and as her eyes opened she realized that it was me, which I wasn’t really sure was a good thing.
“I-“ Madeline glanced up at the sky, trembling.
“Stand up.” I snapped.
Hesitantly she did so.
She could have been hurt. Stupid, stupid girl.
I grabbed her arm and dragged her through the forest, paying no attention to the branches roughly pressing against us as we walked forward. It was a lot easier finding my car, though it’d also given me time to grow angrier now that I wasn’t so worried.
“I told you not to run from me.” I said, glaring at Madeline.
We both stopped in place outside of my car.
Madeline said nothing. It seemed her fear of thunder kept her quiet. I was glad to see that something could. I certainly couldn’t get her to shut her mouth when she needed to, not even when I threatened her life.
My grip on her arm tightened but she didn’t make a sound. “So, you’re more frightened of noise in the sky than you are of me?” I asked, glaring at her.
She didn’t need to answer. I already knew. What could I do to make her fear me, since it was obviously for the best? If she ran out on me again she could die. The forest was a dangerous place, for someone so fragile. She had the worst condition ever: humanity. When would she realize that?
The anger and worry surged through me in waves and with my free hand I reached out, running the back of my hand over her cheek gently. She was crying. She was terrified.
Without warning I brought my hand back, roughly backhanding her. I heard the sharp slap of skin against skin, and Madeline cried out.
We stood for a few minutes, just staring at each other.
“Get in the car.” I snapped, not knowing what else to say.
Madeline didn’t say anything as she rushed to the passenger’s side of the car. I could tell that she would do anything to get inside, away from the thunder.
Once inside the car I glanced over at her, still angry. “Buckle up.” I spit out.
Madeline did so without a word and I felt a pang of guilt. It wasn’t like her to listen.
Once home I found Ryan on the porch, holding my grey sweats. He had a look of anger in his eyes and once he saw Madeline his eyes narrowed, “Did you take her out somewhere?” He asked, meeting us at the car.
“No, I found her in the forest.” I answered, grabbing my sweats from him. “I don’t know where she got the bright idea to attempt to escape half naked.” I hadn’t even noticed. I threw the sweats at Madeline. “Put them on. You have to be freezing.”
Madeline caught them but said nothing, and did nothing other than hold them. Ryan glared at Madeline, “I told you to stay inside.” He spit out, furious.
Madeline looked at him, fresh tears in her eyes. “What, are you going to hit me too?” The words stung.
Ryan’s eyes widened and he glanced at me, bewildered. “No one is going to hit you.” He finally answered.
“You’re too late for that.” She spit out bitterly, walking past both of us.
We watched her go inside and then Ryan turned to me, “You hit her?”
“She made me really mad.”
“We might be monsters but we’re not… women beaters.” Ryan said, anger now directed towards me.
“Violence is violence.” I replied, glaring at him. “You have no room to judge me. You’ve done just as bad, to men and women alike.”
Ryan blinked, “You may be right but we weren’t caring for any of those men or women.” His tone had changed and I knew being around a human was even altering his own view on humanity. It happened fast, and it was hard to avoid in the presence of someone so human, and so innocent. Despite her former actions she was still quite innocent. “Madeline is under our care because you chose to take her in. She has only us, and we are not going to beat her.”
“I didn’t beat her. I just slapped her.”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You’re mad at yourself, aren’t you?”
“I am.” I admitted. “I didn’t mean to get that angry but she ran away and I thought she was being attacked.” I looked towards the sky. “It turns out she’s afraid of thunder.”
Ryan nodded, eyes darkening. “I need blood. My hunt was cut short. I heard the scream.”
Then he was gone, leaving me with Madeline.
Madeline was standing next to the door, eyes widened in fear. “Where is Ryan?” She asked, after no one followed me inside.
“He went out.”
“Where are you going?” She asked, as I walked past her. She was still frightened.
“Exactly where you’re going.” I gestured that she should walk in front of me and she hesitantly did so. “It’s bedtime.”
“… Your bed?”
“Just like before.” She’d slept with me before. Why would it come as a surprise?
“I don’t want to sleep with you.”
“That’s too bad.” We continued walking upstairs together.
“Can I sleep on the couch?”
“No.” I snapped, glaring at her. “You’re lucky I don’t handcuff you to my bed with the stunt you pulled.”
Madeline’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t.”
“Don’t tempt me further.”
That shut her up.
Well, until we got to my bedroom.
“I’m not going in.” Madeline stubbornly stated.
“You’re going to hurt me.”
“You already hit me.”
“Are you fishing for an apology?”
“I shouldn’t have to.”
“I’m sorry Madeline.” I sighed. I was too exhausted for this. She wore me out, and this was just the beginning. You weren’t supposed to mix light with dark though. “I’m very sorry that I hit you. I shouldn’t have.”
Madeline’s expression softened and she looked vulnerable. “It hurt.”
“It was supposed to.”
“What an apology.” She muttered, turning away from me.
I grabbed her wrist. “Where are you going?”
“To find Ryan’s room.” Madeline said, yanking her wrist from me. “If I can’t sleep down on the couch then I’ll beg him to let me sleep in his room when he gets back.”
“Damn it Madeline, don’t you dare.” But she did.
I watched her walk down the hall, knowing I wouldn’t be able to rest anytime soon.
“What are you doing?” Ryan’s voice gained my attention and I glanced up, through tear laced eyelashes. The thunder was still loudly roaring outside of the house and I was alone, which I hated being alone with thunder. My fear for the noise of thunder was worse than my fear of needles. When had I gained so many damn fears?
“Can I sleep with you?”
“Um…” Ryan glanced around, as if expecting Brendon to pop up. “I don’t have sex with humans.”
“Not like that!” I spit out, disgusted. “I need a place to sleep, just sleep.”
“Oh.” Ryan frowned. “No.”
“Fine.” I crossed my arms over my chest and attempted to get comfortable against the wall.
“Why aren’t you going away?” Ryan asked.
“I’m going to sleep here.”
“No, you aren’t.”
“I’m not in your bedroom.”
“You’re in my hallway.”
“Well, I need to sleep somewhere and I’m tired.”
“Why are you crying?”
“Why do you care?”
“Did Brendon hurt you again?”
“No, I’m just frightened.” I hated admitting it.
“Out of all of this- surprisingly just the thunder.”
“Oh, can you be alone?”
“I’d prefer not to be.”
“Why aren’t you sleeping with Brendon?”
“He hit me.”
“Okay, get inside.” Ryan sounded annoyed but he opened his bedroom door, waiting for me to walk in first.
His room was spotless, and his bed was large with a dark blue blanket covering it. It looked… comfortable. Ryan sighed, heading over to the closet.
“Can I?” I gestured to his bed, even though his back was turned.
“Go ahead and get in bed. I’ll be a minute.” Ryan replied.
I quickly stepped out of Brendon’s sweats, which I’d slipped on after splitting from him in the hallway. Ryan’s blankets were soft and warm, the sheets underneath silk. Oh, that felt good against my skin.
Ryan came out of his closet with a bag, which he set on the bed next to me without a word. I started searching through it, finding candy. “You didn’t strike me as a sweets guy.” I glanced up to see him taking his shirt off, what was underneath surprising me. Damn. He was extremely pale, not quite muscular but… toned. Damn was he toned.
“I’ve dated a human girl before.” Ryan said, shrugging.
“Really?” That surprised me.
“Don’t get your hopes up sweetheart; that was when I was a human.”
I frowned, “This is from when you were human?” Gross.
“No.” Ryan laughed. “I just know what makes human girls feel better.”
“Oh.” I took a random piece, which ended up being a cherry jolly rancher. It was delicious and did end up making me feel somewhat better. “Thank you.” Ryan stepped out of his pants, nodding at me.
When he crawled in to bed I put the bag on to the ground, turning to face him. He looked a little uncomfortable. “Do you snore?”
“I don’t think so.” I jumped as thunder sounded outside of the house once again. “I wish that would stop.”
Ryan moved closer, and I was surprised as his cold arms wrapped around me. “It’s okay.” He mumbled, in the softest voice I’d heard him use. “What can I do to make you feel better?”
“Tell me about you guys?”
“About Brendon and myself, or about vampires?” Ryan asked.
“They aren’t feel good stories. How about I tell you about something better, something beautiful?”
“Angels?” I cuddled against Ryan, expecting him to shove me away. He didn’t, his arms remaining wrapped around me.
“Are they real?”
“Please tell me then.”
I was surprised as Ryan moved one of his hands, pressing it gently against my chest so that he could better feel my heart beat. “They are most beautiful inside, though their outside beauty is stunning- so stunning that you forget all about what is inside… because on earth you’re cursed with a certain amount of humanity and that humanity forces us away from what truly matters.” Ryan’s fingers danced along my skin, making the thunder fade from my mind as I focused on his words. “Up in the sky there is no humanity- there is only bliss, even their pain feels good.” Ryan cleared his throat, “Or so I’ve heard.”
“How do you know?”
“I…” Ryan trailed off, sounding uncomfortable, “I dated an angel once.”
“What?” My heart rate spiked, “They are on earth?”
“Sometimes.” Ryan responded. “But they can’t stay long or the humanity turns them… human. It’s a very vicious cycle.”
“So, are they like guardians?” Did I really have a guardian angel? Mine would have to be on break, with all that had happened.
“No.” Ryan laughed, “Angels have a bigger picture to focus upon. This world is struggling, and it takes every bit of good and every bit of bad to keep it from completely sinking. Guardians watch over you, at times… but it’s not so black and white. They protect you, but they also must let the bad that is destined to happen to you… happen, or else you’ll never become who you’re supposed to become.” Guardians? Huh, so there are angels and guardians.
“So, you believe in fate?”
“When you get to be my age, and you see everything I’ve seen… You have to believe.” Ryan whispered. “You have to believe in something, or you’ll have nothing.”
“Do you think that you’re bad?”
“I am.” Ryan responded, sounding torn.
“Why do you say that?”
“Madeline, I’m a vampire. By nature we are evil, full of sin.”
“Humans are full of sin too.” I snuggled against him a little more, wanting to feel his cold… It was comforting me, in the strangest way possible. I felt protected. “We all sin, but that doesn’t mean we’re beyond help… You’re not any worse than anyone else- vampire or human.”
“Humans don’t generally murder for food.”
“Some do. Some very disturbed individuals.”
This time I could hear some amusement in Ryan’s tone, “You’re right; some very disturbed individuals do.”
“I don’t think you’re bad.”
“You don’t even know me and you certainly don’t know of the things that I’ve done.”
“You’re the one that told me that all of the senseless details don’t matter. To know someone you just need to feel them and I feel you Ryan.” It had sounded better when Ryan explained it.
“Do you?” Ryan’s voice got deeper, the dark seeping out. I didn’t mind. I’d felt my own dark and though I knew that things could get bad, I sensed that with Ryan things could also get good. He had the potential to be good, if he just let himself be.
“I do.” I calmly responded.
“I feel you too.” Ryan spoke after a long pause, “And I know why Brendon wants you.”
“I don’t…” I stopped, biting my lip. “I don’t feel Brendon.”
“You will.” Ryan said, pulling me tightly against him. “He’s very good Madeline.” I could feel the strength of Ryan’s words, and how deeply he believed them. “And I think that he’s been very good to you, in the best way that he can be. He didn’t mean to hit you.”
“But you’re still mad?”
“I am. I can’t just not be mad and every time I’m around him… I just want to argue. He makes me so mad. He’s taking so much from me… It’s frustrating.”
“You make it sound like you hate him.”
“I think that I do.”
Ryan readjusted, and I did the same as I followed his movements. “You bring out the worst in him but it won’t be that way forever.”
I didn’t respond but I knew that wasn’t true. I’d yet to see the worst of Brendon. He used such restraint around me, and that was more frightening than anything else… even the thunder in the sky. Brendon could be a very, very bad thing… and I was afraid that he was going to be; I just hadn’t pushed him far enough yet.