I woke as usual with my back a bloody mess. It hurt to move. And yet there was a lingering disappointment I couldn’t understand that hung in the panic. Loss. Though from what I didn’t know.
I spent my day looking around Dangdburg. It was a quintessential small city and it seemed everybody knew everyone else. I asked around for the Giovanni’s and I was directed to their estate. It was one of the largest pieces of property I’d seen with an even larger house. Where I expected to see boarded up window I saw curtains fluttering in the wind.
There was a small woman outside tending to the guardian. She had the same blond hair as Ryan and when she glanced in my direction I saw the same green eyes. She got up from her planting and walked to the gate where I was just staring at the house. Her voice was quiet and she never looked up, “Can I help you?”
I shook my head. “No. I just was looking at the house.”
Her eyes came up and she smiled. “I can give you a tour. I’m sure she won’t mind.”
“She might.” I said.
There was a small laugh, “I have it on good authority to know you are welcome in my mistress’ house.”
“You’re Ryan’s sister aren’t you?”
Her smile grew and she gave me a little nod. “Jack says you won’t ever stop looking for her. Says it’s in your blood. But you don’t want to hurt her?”
“I’ve always been one to chase my fears.”
“She is kinda scarey. I’m Mia.” she said with a shy little giggle.
“Nox.” I said.
Mia showed me around told me that I was welcome to stay and she could send one of the others to get my things. Ant was the only one around Cari had taken the rest of them Ryan included to a job in California. She didn’t explain she probably didn’t know. And I really didn’t care.
Mia and I had a long chat about how she came to be with Cari and how the others with her did too. It was well before dawn when tall dark and handsome walked in and there was a stab of guilt running through my body and I wasn’t sure where it came from.
Ant just gave me a wry grin and sat down next to me. “You found the house.” He said.
“It’s not hard. I just asked where the Giovanni’s lived. And everyone seemed to know the name so it wasn’t difficult to get here.”
“Did Mia extend the invitation?” I nodded.
“She did. Sent Javier to get my things too and pay the bill.” I sighed. “I am capable of paying the bill.”
Ant laughed. “You are more than capable. My mother wanted to see what you’d do on your own. I had already told her I agreed to meet with you again, but she wanted to see.”
“Okay. I said. I didn’t stop looking.”
He grinned. “I see that. I am going to get some breakfast and then we can talk.”
“Breakfast?” I asked.
“Yeah real food. Eggs, bacon, whatever’s in the fridge to warm up.”
“Really? Let me cook for you.”
His eyes went wide and he shook his head. “I can cook for myself.”
“I like cooking, let me so that I can a least say I repaid your mother’s kindness with food.”
“Fine.” Ant growled, “Right this way.”
I followed him into a grand kitchen. It was extraordinary. Cast iron pots hung from the ceiling around a blue marble island with sink and stove it could probably fit 20 people around it not in the cooking area. The appliances were all stainless steel the cupboards matched the countertops only a little darker with frosted glass fronts. There was a large french door letting in the fading light with a spectacular view of the pool and trees behind the estate. I was awed.
The food in the fridge was a surprise. I don’t know why I expected there to be bags of blood but it was all human food. “Cari feeds on her herd, she doesn’t like cold blood, or blood from donors. It’s the only concession she won’t make to feed the blood lust. I learned to hunt from Aurora before we can to the States.”
“Your mother has to be a good hunter why didn’t she teach you.”
“She did just not the hunt for food. She never allows herself to hunt to feed. She’s afraid the blood lust will take over and then the world is in danger.”
I nodded as if I knew while I made breakfast for a vampire. I learned that Ant wasn’t like most born vampires. He couldn’t walk in the daylight and he wasn’t as good at all the vampiric magics that they excelled in. In that he was like an embraced vampire, like his mother. His mother had the blood of ten bloodlines – eleven if you counted primeval as a bloodline. I also learned that when they made the second enforcer they did not have primeval blood. It made me wonder how that affected things.
We talked for hours until Ant stood up while I was chopping vegetables for my dinner. “I’ll be back in about an hour or two if you want to talk more. I need to feed.”
There was no hesitation I offered him my wrist which seemed to surprise him. “You don’t have to go anywhere.”
“I can’t feed from the same person twice in a row.” Ant said, though he cocked his head to the side, “Though you don’t seem to be showing any of the symptoms of blood loss, you hadn’t last night either.”
I grinned at him. “Venatori remember. Fast healing.” As I went back to chopping.”
He frowned, “So why aren’t you dead?”
I blinked and frowned. But I couldn’t think of any reason. I hadn’t died from the one who had taken a chunk out of my arm. In the middle of my thought I felt a sharp pain and when I looked down I’d sliced my finger open. The reaction was quick as I wrapped it in elements to stop the bleeding. And I watched as the small slice healed faster than I’d seen. I felt the the skin actually knitting together. It was like something crawling over it.
I shuddered. Ant looked on in amazed hunger. “Well you didn’t have to bleed all over the vegetables.” He grabbed one of the bleed on peppers and laughed. “Not too bad. Though I don’t think you or Mia would like it.”
I grinned at him. “I think you are right.”
After I got the mess cleaned up and Ant ordered pizza, I offered him my wrist. “I don’t know why you aren’t killing me with your bite, but it’s the least I can do.”
The smirk was fleeting as he looked down at my wrist and the pulse that I knew was speeding up. “You sure.”
“Stay away from the neck, we don’t make it more than what it is, and I’ll be alright.”
Ant looked at me curiously then took my hand in his cold one and lifted it to his mouth. The bite was like he’d found an erogenous zone. My knees buckled and he caught me and held me against him. I wanted more. Needed more but I stayed myself as a pair of blue eyes floated in the darkness behind closed eyelids. I knew he wouldn’t be happy, he’d be jealous, so I stayed myself. I wanted more but I wanted more with him not Ant.