"What have I done Jared?" I'd been pacing for nearly an hour, while Jared looked on silently. "I had to...b-but..."
I didn't stop babbling, having not really heard him. "He'd go after my family...after my sisters...."
I whirled around on him. "They're defenseless Jared! My parents are human and the triplets are just children - barely five years old now!"
“Do you trust me?” he asked, his mind was unreadable but I could see him pleading with his eyes. Willing me to put my faith - more than that, my whole life and future - in his hands.
“Y-yes?” I squeaked.
"Then trust me that we'll figure this out alright?" I don't know if he actually had a plan but he seemed so sure that I melted in his arms, the weight of the world seemingly lifted off my shoulders.
"You should know....I-I think I'm in love with you."
"Yeah I know." Jared said with a cocky grin. He tapped my forehead gently and I cursed under my breath - I always forgot to shield my thoughts in the den of vampires.
"I really need to work on that." I said with a laugh.
"Mmhmm" he said. He put his hand on my cheek and leaned in closely. "We'll figure something out..." he whispered just before he kissed me.
The only time we were able to be alone together was when Robert was away - which he was frequently as of late thankfully. The curious side of me wanted to know where he was going off to and what he might be planning. The rest of me was thankful for the relief from his overbearing presence.
In the weeks that followed I'd gotten a real taste of what being married to Robert Van Allen would mean and it wasn't something I anticipated with any joy. He ignored me or demanded my attention whenever it suited him with no regard for my own feelings. "He's got rather ancient ideas on women..." Jared said softly. He ran his fingers through my hair. "Let's forget about him for now..."
"How can I Jared? I have to MARRY him remember?" There was still no sign from Jared that he had any sort of plan. Further, everyday was like living on a knife's edge as the transition for each of us could come at any point now. Would Jared die? Would I die?
He pressed his finger to my lips. "Shh." Before I could protest, he replaced his finger with his lips and I lost all my will and power to protest as the electricity his kisses produced coursed through me. I love you Luna and I will protect you. Always.
I heard the words in my head this time, which was good seeing as our lips were occupied with kissing. Okay, then love me - completely. I looked into his eyes as the meaning of my thoughts sunk in.
"You sure?" he asked, trying not to look nervous.
"If I have to marry him..." I stopped the protest on his lips with my finger. "IF it comes down to it...and I have to marry him....I want to have this first. Please Jared..."
Your wish is my command...
Afterwards, I curled up in his arms. I felt myself shivering though I couldn't begin to think why as I was anything but cold. I vaguely recalled the blood we'd shared during and scratched at the spot - though it was already healed.
"Regrets?" Jared looked like he was afraid I'd jump away from him at any moment.
"No, never." I said, a smile on my face. "Thank you - for this. At least this way I have something true to hold on to."
"Luna, I'm going..."
"I know you'll do anything to protect me. B-But that might not be enough...I love you and I trust you Jared. And I will hold onto this forever as what it's supposed to be." I said.
We were barely dressed when Annaliese sauntered into the room. "How many times have you two shared blood?" she asked, studying each of us with a quizzical eye.
"Um...just the once..." Jared said, his face full of confusion.
"Twice." I said, recalling the exchange in the conservatory. I mentally shared the memory with Jared and he smiled.
Annaliese looked between us for confirmation one way or the other. I silently congratulated myself on having honed my shielding and telepathy skills while Jared confirmed that it was, in fact, twice. "Then come with me...now."
Obediently, we followed her behind the house where the small, seldom-used, chapel sat. I knew from Jared that the family tomb was held within the walls as well. It's where his mother had been laid out, no doubt turned to ash and bone now. "Vampire don't turn to dust spontaneously like in the movies Luna." Jared had scoffed at my limited knowledge when I'd mentioned my thoughts to him. "The older a vampire, the faster the rate though."
"There!" Annaliese's exclamation snapped me back into the present day. "The Binding of Blood..." she looked up at us, clearing expecting a reaction but we both looked confused mostly. "It's an ancient ritual - hardly used anymore....for various reasons."
"Such as?" I ventured.
"In these times, vampires don't have long term commitments anymore. And the Blood Bond is certainly a long term commitment - as in forever." She dared either of us to protest but we stayed silent.
"What else?" Jared asked.
Annaliese was silent, her eyes moving slowly over the words in the book. "Those who are bound by blood will share each other's fate...."
"If he dies, I die." I said. It was a statement rather than a question because I knew it was exactly what she'd meant. "And visa versa." She nodded solemnly, all of us thinking about the upcoming transitions.
"Never." Jared said finally. "I won't save her only to condemn her to death!"
"Jared! I want to...I would rather have one day bound to you than a lifetime bound to anyone else." I looked at Annaliese. "Can it be broken by anyone? I mean if we do this and then Robert finds out...can he break the bond?"
Annaliese shook her head. "If he does, it would kill you both."
"Well, this is perfectly Romeo and Juliet isn't it?" I asked with a pitiful laugh. "Will you be my Romeo Jared?" Before he could answer, Annaliese had shoved some clothes into our hands and pushed us to change claiming it was part of the ceremony.
Jared took sometime returning from changing but finally he was by my side, clutching my hands tightly.
"Are you sure about this Luna?" Jared whispered. "You know what's going to happen to me...and now you..."
"Yes, I am." I said with a nod.
"This is in Latin - you'll forgive me if my accent is a bit rough but basically I will direct each of you to use the dagger to let your own blood into one of the goblets. Once you finish, you will exchange cups and drink three times together. You understand?" she asked. We nodded and I took a steadying breath.
"To fuerit obligatus sanguinem duo procedent. Bis et ter magis amplexi perficere debent ligare." The once chilly chapel filled with warmth as she spoke and I felt an odd tingling sensation surrounding me. From Jared's reaction, I assumed he felt the same pull of magic.
"Jared Van Allen, tolle animam tuam trado et calix sanguinis tui amantem posse, ut biberent." she nodded to Jared and he took up the dagger and sliced into his arm, letting the precious red liquid pool into the goblet.
"Luna Taffity, tolle animam tuam trado et calix sanguinis tui amantem posse, ut biberent." Now it was my turn. Jared hesitantly handed the dagger to me and I did the same as him - making the same cut on my arm.
"Hinc erunt coniuncti colligatio aeternum. Simul accipe tres bibit ex poculis et factum fiet." she motioned for us to exchange the goblets and drink. I have to admit that the taste of his blood still thrilled me. I couldn't imagine ordinary human blood tasting so fine.
Jared was on me as soon as the ceremony was done, pulling me into a deep kiss.
Our moment of joy and bliss was quickly interrupted as the door to the chapel was thrown open with a loud bang. "What have you done?!"
Robert Van Allen's face was a mix of fury and shock. "What have you done?!" he repeated.
"It's done Robert, they're bound." Annaliese said from behind the book. Jared pulled me closer, still kissing me despite the rage rolling off his father.
"How? Why?!" he thundered.
"The Blood Bind. Surely you felt it, even as far away as you've traveled." Annaliese stepped out from behind the pulpit and came closer to him.
"How dare you interfere! She is mine! She has given her word and I will have her!" I shivered as he thrust his finger at me repeatedly.
"If you try to break them apart you will kill them both...and yourself more than likely. This old vampire magic Robert - older than you!"
"Don't you dare talk to me about old magic! I know more than you could ever know!"
"Perhaps, but you know what their fate will be Robert. You can still get an heir, a grandchild." she reasoned quickly, trying to put a salve on his anger before...well before something happened we might all regret.
"You assume too much Annaliese..." he said, his voice had transformed from molten lava to that of frozen ice. "You assume he'll live long enough to father a child - a boy child. And when he dies...when, not if, she dies too. Regardless of the babe she might carry."
The silence that filled the air was thick and dangerous.
"Nevertheless, as the deed is done, I have no choice but to agree to transfer your promise to me to my son. You'll be married by week's end." Robert said finally. "And when you die - if I don't have an heir - I'll know where to go." he looked directly at me, no doubt thinking of my sisters, before stalking out.
The three of us let out a collective breath and very nearly sagged into each other. "Well then, with that done..." Jared fumbled in his pocket for a time before producing a box.
"I had hoped this would all work out so that I might offer you this... seeing as we're already engaged it would seem." I think we both recalled his father's words.
"Where did you...?"
"It was my mother's." he looked over at Annaliese, she was studying the book but I thought I saw a small spasm as he mentioned his mother, her sister. "So, what say you my fair Juliet...will you marry me?"
"Yes - though I hope we have a better end than that couple." I said with a smile.
"Don't fret about this too much now, it's not the actual dress." Annaliese said as she slipped a garment over my head.
"Why are we going to all this trouble for the wedding - we have limited days. Surely there's a dress I can wear around her that doesn't require all this." I said, frowning at the image reflected at me.
"It's your wedding Luna. And as you are a vampire and blood bound to my nephew - it's likely to be the only one you have. Don't you want it to be perfect?" she asked, tugging at the strings and fabric to adjust the dress.
"I'd just as soon get married in a pair of jeans." I said with a laugh. It came so easily now, laughing. Robert had disappeared into his library and none of us went near it - for fear of awakening a sleeping beast or inferno.
Annaliese smiled back at me for a second but it quickly faded away. She turned from the mirror and covered her face. "I'm sorry."
"What is it?" I asked quickly. Beneath her hands I could hear sniffles. "Annaliese, are you alright?"
"No...not really." she wiped her eyes quickly. "My sister was a lot like you, she said something similar before she married Robert..."
"Did she love him?" I asked and then bit my lip for asking such a question.
"She believed herself to be in love....but I don't think she loved him exactly. We were both turned centuries ago and had been through love more than once already. I think she was in love with his power mostly. And she wanted a child - desperately. As did he - but for different reasons obviously." Annaliese stopped weaving the tale and went back to work on the dress in silence.
The day of the wedding, only a few nights later, was a dismal sort of day. It rained off and on all day and Jared and I enjoyed it together in the conservatory. At any point we might transition and then sunlight would be stolen from us for the most part. "I should go get ready - Annaliese has this dress and a veil and everything...I told her I'd rather go in jeans but..."
"She insisted. I know." he said, kissing me quickly. "I'll see you soon."
I slipped up the stairs and slipped on the dress quickly. Despite my protests, it was a gorgeous gown and it suited me I thought. I'd just slipped the pearls over my head when I felt so light headed and nauseous.
I held tight to the mirror, afraid I might topple over if the dizziness didn't pass by soon enough.
Annaliese came in and rushed to my side when she saw how pale I was. "Luna! Are you alright?"
"I don't know..." I whispered, still clutching my stomach. "I don't..." she helped me to the edge of the bed and I sat for some time - no doubt creasing the dress - until I felt well enough to stand. Carefully Annaliese pinned the veil into my hair and clutched my arm all the way to the chapel.
I fretted outside the door, surely we were late after the spell but Annaliese calmed my nerves before opening the door for me.
"Where is he?" I looked frantically around the room. Robert was seething in a pew but Jared was no where in sight. "Where's Jared?" Tears sprang up in panic - threatening to ruin my makeup - but I didn't care.
"I don't know..." Annaliese looked unsteady as well but she walked me to the front of the chapel before turning to Robert and grabbing him by the coat. "We'll go find him. Just stay here Luna..."
Robert glared at her but followed along anyway. I'm not sure she actually wanted his company or his helped but knew better than to leave the two of us alone.
I slumped in a most ungraceful puddle and fought back the tears. The last thing I wanted was blood streaked raccoon eyes. I swiped at them with my hands and was surprised to find I'd been crying real tears as opposed to the more ghastly vampire ones I'd seen my mom shed. "Must be a 'perk' of the change" I muttered. "That's one I could live without."
Jared, where are you? I reached out for him, as I had so many times in the last couple weeks.
This time was different.
This time there was no one there.
Author note: I don't read/speak/write Latin. I used Google translate. Sorry for any inconsistencies
Who dances in the water closet