Considering I was conked on the head by something heavy, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up without a headache or any real sign of trauma. Rapid vampire healing at its best I dare say.
Now the soft, warm bed could not be attributed to vampire healing. I looked around the perfectly decorated room with confusion. The furniture and fabrics in the room were indicative of both age and wealth clearly. I fingered the bed draperies curiously for a moment before lowering my feet to the slightly chilled wooden floor.
I noticed the thin night dress for the first time as I rose to my feet. Where had it come from? I didn't even own anything like this! And I certainly wasn't wearing it in the museum.
Folded carefully at the foot of the bed was a small stack of clothing - also not mine. I pulled open the drawers of the dresser but they were bare leaving the thin night dress or the clothes on the bed as my only choices.
I quickly shed the dress and changed, feeling vastly more comfortable in the new jeans and blouse. I noticed, with a small shudder, that they were exactly my size. Where was I? I closed my eyes a moment to try and collect myself before I tried the door. I could immediately sense other vampires in the house and I also knew they weren't my own family.
'Oh how nice, you brought a snack.' I shuddered as those final words replayed in my mind. Derik! Where was Derik? I cast my mind out again but if there was a human in the house, I couldn't sense him.
I reached out for the doorknob and lingered for a moment, afraid that I would only find it locked. Thankfully it yielded to me and the door swung open revealing a long hall with a number of closed doors. I considered trying them all but the soft sounds of someone playing a piano greeted me at the stairwell. I glanced back at the doors once more but settled on the stairs.
Each step creaked under my weight, announcing my presence to whoever was at the bottom. The creaks sounded horribly loud to my sensitive vampire hearing and for a moment I thought perhaps my captors would not hear them as I did - of course then I remembered that my captors were, in fact, other vampires. Near as I could tell anyway.
I knew the moment I saw him that he was old! Not that he LOOKED old - I don't think a vampire could look old - he just radiated with age. More so than Dad did and Dad was over five hundred!
"Ah good, you're awake." he said, his attention still on the piano. Every note were perfect, every movement of his fingers was smooth. "Jared, our guest is awake."
I had to compel myself to look away from the ancient vampire and even then had it not been for a small grunt I never would have seen the aforementioned Jared. I spared him only a glance; he didn't even afford me that much as he continued to read his book.
"Manners Jared." Though his face did not betray any emotion, his voice was hard and there was still more behind it. Something dark and commanding. Jared's attention snapped away from the book and he nodded at me but said nothing. "There now, that wasn't so hard was it?" He stood up from the piano and, like the confused, lost thing that I was, I followed him around to the center of the room. "Now, I am Robert Van Allen, your host of a sort. That," he motioned to Jared, "Is Jared, my son. Now perhaps you can tell us who you are." He smiled at me but I wasn't comforted by it. Behind the hospitable gesture was something dark, something sinister.
"Um," I paused, trying to think clearly but all I could think was that I NEEDED to tell this man the truth - as if my very life depended on it. "My name is Luna Taffity." I said finally. "Can I ask where I am?"
"Well, my house of course." he said, his smile returning to his face.
"I mean...I was in a museum in France..."
"Ah yes. You do remember that little key don't you?" Robert asked. "I was very curious to find it in your possession - seeing as I never gave it to you..."'
"Oh..." I fumbled around in my pockets for the key before it occurred to me that it wouldn't be there. When I looked up again, Robert was holding it up. "Someone broke into my house and dropped it...at least I think it was him."
Robert tucked the key into his pocket and I cringed, it was the only thing that had given me insight into the location of my family! "Human?" Robert asked but I was still thinking about the key so he had to repeat himself. "Was he human or vampire?" he asked impatiently.
"Um, human. I guess he is still locked up in fact as the police came and arrested him." I said. "Look, I followed the key..." I blushed, realizing how ridiculous that sounded. "When I touched it I saw something and it led me here. Well not HERE but to France anyway...are we still in France?"
"No." Robert said. "Jared, please show Miss Taffity around." he said as he pivoted on his heel and left the room. For his part, Jared didn't look up from his book or acknowledge my presence at all.
I was eager to get back on the hunt for my family - and now Derik apparently - but somehow wandering out in the middle of who knows where didn't seem like the best plan. Seeing as Jared was disinclined to act as tour guide I wandered around the old house on my own. Only a few of the doors opened though - most were locked.
I quickly discovered that the Van Allen household was on a night time schedule which left me mostly alone during the daylight hours. They also didn't seem to eat often! I'd found the kitchen on my own the second morning and pulled open the fridge as my stomach growled.
"Ugh" I muttered as I looked over the contents. There was no fruit or vegetables or even meat. The shelves had a few boxes of plasma juice and some bagged blood but nothing remotely human.
"Problem?" Jared's voice made me jump and slam the door shut as I spun around to face him.
"Ugh! You..." I stopped short of telling him he scared the crap out of me. "There's no food...don't you eat?"
"There's blood..." he said simply.
"Yeah but...I mean you're a born vamp right? And you haven't changed over...so you could eat human food..." I fumbled over the words as I knew nothing of other vampires and customs. Maybe I was the weird one for eating human food still. I opened the refrigerator again and pulled out a box of plasma.
"I can, but I don't." Jared said. "How can you? It's disgusting."
I just shrugged and quietly drank my plasma, hoping he would just leave. Thankfully he took the hint and left the kitchen without another word. It was becoming cleared by the moment that I needed to leave this place. These vampires were just...creepy!
After finishing up my plasma, I looked around helplessly for the garbage and failed. "They don't eat...or if they do I'm not sure I want to know about it...." I knew there was a garbage can outside - I'd seen it from one of the windows - so I pulled open the heavy wooden door and stepped out into the warm sun. Despite being a vampire (in the making), I loved the sun and would miss it terribly when the time came that I could no longer bathe under her rays.
I tossed the plasma box into the nearly empty trash can and then looked around to try and gather my bearings a bit. Robert had said we were no longer in France...then where were we? Unfortunately wherever "here" was, was far from any visible landmark.
The imposing metal gate at the end of the drive would not open for me and a quick look around revealed that the fence line extended around the entire estate. "Damnit!" I muttered, trying to think of how to get out. I was feeling less like a guest and more like a prisoner of the creepy Van Allen vamps by the minute.
"He always leaves it locked during the day. You know, since he's asleep and all." Jared had crept up on me again!
"Could you, maybe, stop doing that?" I exclaimed.
"What?" he asked innocently. He looked almost sheepish as I turned to look at him.
"Creeping up on me...it's...well it's creepy." I said with a blush. I looked at my feet for a second and when I looked up found his focus was not on me but looking up toward the house. I followed his line of sight where Robert Van Allen was standing in the windows of one of the towers. "As is that...creepy..."
"Mmhmm, that I agree with." He said, ripping his eyes from the house and bringing his attention back to me. "So, I was supposed to show you around and I..."
"...was unforgivably rude?" I suggested with a fake smile.
"I was going to say that I neglected you as our guest." he cringed.
"Which is unforgivably rude." I pointed out.
"Right, do you plan to keep pointing that out to me?" he asked.
"I might." I smiled broadly. Gah what had come over me? 'Don't provoke the creepy vampires Luna!' I thought to myself but I couldn't help it!
"Do you want a tour or not?" he asked, his patience wearing thin. I just shrugged and he walked quickly away from me. With another glance back at the locked gate I opted to follow him. Perhaps he would inadvertently show me another way out that didn't involve trying to jump over the fence.
After an hour of seeing bedroom after bedroom in complete silence, he started making is way back down the stairs. "What about the tower?" I said at the landing of the stairs.
He turned to look at me and frowned. "Don't go up there." he said seriously.
"Why not, what's up there?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest stubbornly.
"Just don't." he said. He reached out and grabbed my arm to drag me down the stairs. "Now come on."
I looked back at the sealed door that I assumed led into the tower as he pulled me along. "Hey Jared...I was with a human in the museum..." I said, wondering if Derik was hidden away in this mansion somewhere...maybe even that tower.
"I don't know where your human is." Jared said, not even looking back at me. The rest of the tour passed in silence until we reached the conservatory. "Last stop."
"Oh..." I said glancing around. I wasn't much of a green thumb but even I had to admit the flowering plants were pretty.
Jared stood back in silence as I walked around the conservatory quietly. I paused occasionally to look closer at the flowers but I was distracted with thoughts of my family.
"You shouldn't think so loudly." Jared said suddenly.
I jerked in surprise to think that my thoughts were so open to him - was the same true for his father? I felt the thorn pierce my skin and pulled my hand back as a small bubble of blood surfaced on my thumb. "Crap!"
"Here...let me." Jared said, he had my hand in his in a flash. Although it was only a second, he seemed to be moving in slow motion as he raised it to his lips and licked the blood away. My eyes went wide as it felt like electricity passed through me. I'm not sure if my feelings came across in my thoughts or if I was just that obvious but he smiled at me. "You taste good."
"Um..." I sputtered a few incoherent noises and finally gave up speaking full stop.
"You okay? You look a little unsteady..." Jared said, his hands on my arms to hold me up. Even those seem to be sending little bursts of electricity through my body.
I nodded and shook my head. "I....I...I don't really know..."
"Well turn about is fair play." he said, releasing his grip on me. I stumbled back and nearly fell before I gained my balance. He was stooped over one of the plants when I turned to him.
"What are you doing?" I asked, my brain finally having settled down.
He turned around and held out his own thumb, which he had pricked on the thorn. "It's only fair..."
"This is creepy you know?" I said, backing away from him a bit.
"Why? You're a vampire Luna..." he looked genuinely hurt that I hadn't immediately accepted his gift. "Vampires drink blood..."
"Yeah but I don't have to to survive..." I argued, I trailed off as the intoxicating scent of his blood reached me. Some might call it blood lust but all my arguments seemed foolish suddenly and it took all my power not to bound over to him and lap up the tiny amount of blood he was offering.
"You've never had blood before have you? Real blood I mean..." he was grinning, possibly trying to withhold a laugh even. I didn't have to answer for him to know. He closed the space between us, backing me closer to the wall. "Just try it Luna. I promise who'll like it..."
Unable to resist with him so close to me, I held his hand for a second and then licked the blood away. The cut that it had come from was already healing underneath but I barely noticed as the overload of tastes and sensations cascaded over me. Okay, I have to admit - that was good.
"Not so bad eh?" he asked with that arrogant smile.
Whether is was the blood causing the lust or something magical or just me being an idiot, I grabbed his collar and pulled him closer to me.
"What's this?" he whispered, allowing himself to be tugged on and stepping even closer. We were so close I was sure we must be occupying the same space at that moment. And then I kissed him...
We could have been standing there for hours for all I knew. All time and sense of reality was lost the longer I was locked in his arms, my lips locked with his.
I heard but didn't register the door of the conservatory opening. Whoever had been admitted cleared her throat a couple times before we broke apart.
"Ah Aunt." Jared said, ducking his head respectfully.
"I was aware you had company." she said with a smile I couldn't read. Jared shifted uncomfortably but said nothing. "I've come for dinner, is your father awake."
"Um...I'm not sure." Jared said, looking awkwardly at his hands.
"Clearly you've been busy..." she said, her eyes resting on me. I wanted to wilt under her obtrusive stare.
Jared's mother was his Aunt's identical twin. I had to kill her at the beginning :P