by Ebony White
Jet is a vampire. Kyrian is a no nonsense control freak. He wants her. Badly.
“È un idiota!” Adelina exclaimed. Aurelio turned from gazing at the sea to perceive his wife wringing her delicate hands.
“Enough worrying,” he chastised. “He will be back soon.” His wife ignored him and began to pace.
“We were to leave hours earlier,” she muttered. Aurelio wrapped his arms around her so fiercely she could not move.
“Be calm,” he urged.
“Is mother being difficult again?” a voice called from the shadows before a young boy with dark hair black as night and hazel eyes appeared before them and bowed. “I have come as I said.”
“Maximilus,” Adelina sighed and pulled him into her arms. “My son. My difficult, obstinate son.”
“What awful thing have I done now?” he asked with a grin. “I’ve been very good today.”
“You are late,” Aurelio growled. “Let us go on our way.”
“Actually,” Maximilus ran his hands through his hair sheepishly. “I think I’ll stay behind.” Adelina gasped and slapped him.
“This is no time to be playing about, Maximilus!”
“And you wonder where I get my passionate nature, Father?” he grinned.
“Maximilus, you are but a boy. You are coming with us.” Aurelio ordered and Maximilus stood taller.
“I am nineteen years of age,” he corrected. “Hardly a boy. This is my home and I determine to stay.”
“They’re hunting vampires all over London and you want to stay?” Adelina screeched.
“I am not one of you.”
“My son,” Adelina cried. “Please hear the words of your mother. You are not safe.”
“What are your plans when the change begins?” Aurelio asked. “We will not be here to protect you.”
“I need no protection,” he sighed. “You are the strongest creatures of the world and here you are running from humans!”
“Maximilus,” his mother said gently. “I beg of you. Please come with us to the Americas. We will not be easily found once we are gone.”
“I have all eternity to look, don’t I?” He shrugged.
“Adelina,” Aurelio said resigned. “He has made his choice, but I will not let you make the same mistake. Let us go.”
“He is your son!” she yelled. “I am his mother. Am I to leave him at the mercy of the city?”
“You are to leave the city at my mercy, mother,” he grinned. “You should be more worried for them than you are for me. Please go. Your safety awaits you.” With no more thought, the boy turned and disappeared back into the shadows.
Maximilus woke screaming in terror. His thoughts were scattered as his eyes adjusted to the low light in the room. He tore the sheets from his sweat-drenched body and felt as though his heart was trying to tear out of his chest. Was he ill?
“Maximilus,” a sweet voice and a gentle hand touched his cheek. “What is the matter?”
“Just a dream,” he murmured and kissed the palm that comforted him. Her gold ring was cold against his cheek and he welcomed the contrast against his burning skin.
“Shall I get father?”
“No,” he sighed and pulled closer to her. A moment later, the door opened and a very large man entered the room. Max sat up in bed and appraised the man. “It is not time.”
“What did your mother tell you to expect?” Max shook his head and leaned his head against the headboard. His mother had warmed him to never tell humans his secret and for the last five years, he had been learning why. He missed his mother and her guidance, but more than that, he wished she could meet his new bride.
“Hunger,” he told them. “She told me to expect hunger.”
“Well?” Alessandra asked. He turned to look at his wife.
“I’m not hungry,” he smiled. “Perhaps when you’re father leaves I might be.”
“Stop it,” she blushed and smacked his chest lightly.
“I told you I wouldn’t until I made an improper woman out of you.”
“You get closer every day,” she teased and leaned up to kiss him. “Father, I’m sure you’re presence is no longer required.”
“These dreams are getting more and more frequent, are they not?” Sergio demanded. Max sighed and closed his eyes.
“I suppose they have,” he admitted. His tongue felt thick suddenly and intense pain grew in his stomach. A pain so strong he could only call hunger. He leapt out of bed away from his wife.
“What’s the matter?” she asked sitting up and stepping to him. He opened his mouth to speak but only managed to moan. He gently pushed her away from him.
“It’s time,” Sergio muttered. “Go get your mother.”
“No,” she shook her head and approached Max again. “It’s my blood he needs.”
“We spoke of this,” Sergio growled. “It will be your mother’s blood he wants.”
“Her blood will not be in my husband,” she said possessively and touched Max’s cheek. “I will awaken him.”
“Yes,” Max exclaimed. He grabbed his stomach and crumpled to the ground.
“Father, give me the blade,” Alessandra ordered. Max curled in on himself begging the pain to stop.
“Now father.” Max could hear movement, but couldn’t shift his head to see what occurred. A strong scent filled his nose and he peeked up to see Alessandra’s bloody wrists offered to him. She dropped to her knees and crawled to him. “Drink it.” His mouth closed around her wrist and at first, his stomach revolted. He tried to remove his head, but Alessandra held him there. “Keep drinking.”
“Perhaps it’s not time.”
“It is—“ Alessandra gasped as sharp teeth sank into her wrist. Maximilus grabbed her arm with both hands and drank deeply and was awakened.
I stepped through the doors of Winston High and immediately I could feel their eyes memorizing my face. Some were already fawning for attention I’m not going to give. I adjust the new backpack on my back and ignore the looks as I stroll pass them as if they are invisible. Could I really make it through four years of high school? One of the downfalls of living forever is that well, you live forever. I’ve accomplished everything that I wanted and then some. I’d never been to high school. College? Lots of times.
“Gosh damn it, Michael! I’m going to break your face if you drop that one more time!”
I stop short and peer into the bustling gymnasium. It’s filled with students moving Egyptian themed things and in the midst of it all is the queen screaming at two guys. All I see are legs in a jean skirt and a bad attitude. “If you couldn’t lift it, all you had to say was “I can’t lift it”. Is that too hard?”
“It’s a goddam coffer, Kyrian. It’s not streamers.” She sighed and I start to walk away but she looks right at me when she screams, “You!”
“Come here,” she orders and I don’t know why and as if my feet have a brain of their own, I’m standing right in front of her. Her dark brown hair is pulled up in a sexy clean ponytail revealing her smooth skin. Her eyes are a bright green and when she tilts her eyes to the side, they seem to glow. She is beautiful, no doubt but from what I’d seen, her personality sucks. “You’re tall.”
“I need someone to hang streamers.”
“Yes streamers,” she smiles. She was definitely beautiful. “I need all the help I can get and you have height and massive muscles. Two things you had against you when you decided to stand gaping in front of my gym. Obviously you have nothing better to do. I’m gonna use you.”
“Gonna go hang my streamers?” she asked hopefully. “I’ll make it worth your while, I promise. Pizza?”
“My muscles in exchange for pizza?”
“Deal.” Pizza sounds better than me compelling the admissions staff to overlook my lack of a transcript. Something drops in the background and I peer around her to see those guys again. The coffer is lying on its side on the wooden floor. I look back to the girl and she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and turns toward them.
“Michael,” she says very sweetly but I can hear the edge to her voice. “Why don’t you go take a break? And bring Tyler with you.”
“Seriously?” The guy named Michael demands. “I’ve been here all fucking morning with you, Ky.”
“I know,” she said gently. “That’s why I’m letting you go right now. I haven’t been the nicest person today and you’ve been a great help. You can come back, but right now, I just need you to not be here.”
“Fine,” he mumbles then stalks pass me out the gym doors. She notices me still standing there and rushes over.
“Sorry,” she says. “I’ve got lots going on if you can’t tell. I’m Kyrian.”
“Almost like Karen.”
“But not. Forget the streamers, come with me.” I follow her to the other guy who’s just staring at the coffin. “This is Seth. Seth meet um,”
“Almost like a rocket ship.” She smirks and I smile. “Try not to break it.”
She walks away on her path to conquer the world. I watch her go completely amused.
“You’ve met Cleopatra,” Seth grins. His eyes follow Kyrian appreciatively then turn back to me. His brown hair spikes in all weird angles and I think he looks like the leader of some 90s boy band. “She’s actually really sweet. Dances turn her into a queen B though.”
“So what’s the title of this one?”
“Night of Demise,” he says and laughs at my look. “I know. She’s funny that one.”
“What does night of Demise have to do with Egypt?”
“Cleopatra & Marc Anthony?” he asks. “She’s even got the Christian kids hooked with a wall of water.”
“God apparently washed away the Egyptians with a wall of water when the Pharaoh wouldn’t let the Hebrew people go.” I laugh and find her among the crowd. Maybe she isn’t so bad. “We better get this to that corner or she’ll start throwing a fit.” I lift the coffer and have to resist the urge to just haul it over my shoulder. Seth lifts the other end and in no time, the statue is where it’s supposed to be.
“What next?” I ask.
“She really wants someone to hang the streamers, but nobody’s gonna volunteer to do it. We can do it if you want.”
“Sure,” I shrug. “It’s always been my dream to hang streamers.”
“Don’t let her hear you say that,” Seth laughs. “You’ll become the designated stream hanger. You’re new here.”
“Yeah. Just tryin’ it out. Not sure I’ll stay.”
“Dude, if we were all so lucky,” Seth grins and we set out to hang gold streamers all over the gym.
The kid is a monster. Though I have a lot to do today, I can’t help noticing how fluidly he moves. It’s like he flies from one thing to the other. I see him and Seth laughing constantly and I want to be over there and know what they’re talking about. His hair is so dark and looks like silk. His alert eyes are hazel and often I find them staring right back at me. I look away and grab several Egyptian costumes out of my mom’s box of “crafts” which is really filled with crap she can’t throw away. I don’t mind considering her crap always comes in handy for dances.
“Ky, these balloons are dead.” I look up at McKenzie Connelly and she shrugs. Her mousy brown hair clings to her head in a slick mess.
“You’re good at blowing things, right?” My best friend Charlotte asks. “Why don’t you go and do that.” McKenzie huffs away and I glare at Charlotte.
“Was that necessary?”
“Being a bitch is never necessary,” she shrugs then smiles. “It’s just a fun thing to do. When you’re good at it though, you almost owe it to your fans.”
“Shut up,” I laugh and she points toward where Jet is dragging in a coat rack with Seth.
“And off limits to you.”
“Why!” Char wails and I roll my eyes.
“You’re seeing somebody or did you forget?” I find my way to the picture station and the mummy is too far to the left of where I want it. I now had a dilemma. Call Jet and Seth over to fix it or ignore my OCD. I keep staring, but I know I should walk away.
“Oh god,” Char growls. Her eyes scan the room and I realize what she’s gonna do too late. “Seth! Come here and bring your friend.” They both run to us and I try to disappear.
“What’s up?” Seth asks.
“Our queen is having some problems with your placement of her mummy.”
“I’m so sorry,” I say quickly. “It’s fine just the way it is.”
“No, no,” Seth laughs and exchanges a look with Jet. “We can move it. Where to?” All three of them look at me expectantly. I can’t look at Jet as I point three feet from where it is. Seth laughs and Charlotte sighs exasperatedly. I feel the eyes on me though and when I look up Jet is smiling down at me. His dark washed jeans and red shirt are covered in dust from the rafters.
“Are you happy with it?” he asks and I look at the statue. It is perfect. I nod and they all laugh at my expense. Seth drags Jet away and Char watches them go and licks her lips.
“Mmmmhhh, I’d do them both,” she shakes her head biting her lips.
“You’re a ho,” I tell her for the hundredth time and give her a new job.
I look toward the gym doors and Mrs. Jenners, the head of registrar, is livid and staring directly at Jet. I run over just as she reaches Jet.
“Were you or were you not supposed to be somewhere hours ago?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jet answers politely.
“Why were you not?” Before Jet can answer she moves on. “Students who are not part of our school cannot be part of school committees, Mr. Soble.”
“That would be my fault, Mrs. Jensen,” I admit. “I kind of just grabbed him and didn’t really give him a choice.” I love when Mrs. Jensen realizes I’ve been involved with something. Part of her wants to yell and make a fuss, but part of her knows it’s going to be awesome. I watch her make that struggle and finally I see that beloved resignation.
“I should have known you were the cause, Kyrian. When you go on your planning rampages, no one is safe from you.”
“I apologize,” I laugh. “Jet has been a great help though.”
“Who’s Jet?” she asks. I point to the student standing next to her and she laughs when she realizes it. “Beckett? Jet must be a nickname then?” Jet nods and Mrs. Jensen seems appeased. “I expect to see you in the morning, bright in early in my office. Is that understood?” Jet nods again. “Kyrian, I’d start wrapping up in the next half hour or so.”
“Is it really already six?” I ask and glance down at my watch. It is already passed the time I said I’d stop to order pizza. It’s a good thing I hadn’t told anyone about it. Except Jet.
“Wrap it up,” Mrs. Jensen says then disappears.
“I’m sorry I got you in trouble,” I tell Jet. Or Beckett. Whoever he is. “I didn’t realize you had somewhere to be.”
“It’s cool,” he smiles. “I think I had more fun here anyways.”
“Good!” I exclaim. “Nobody understands how much fun this can be.”
“Wait, this was you having fun?” I look at him and he laughs. “Just kidding.”
“I was stressed,” I try to defend myself. “I can be a little uptight.”
“I wasn’t insulting you,” Jet says and looks away. “You’re cool.”
“Why thanks!” I laugh. “You’re not too bad yourself. I really appreciated your help today.”
“The things we do for pizza,” he shrugs.
“Oh yes, that reminds me,” I cringe. “I didn’t order the pizza. It was going to be a surprise for everybody, but as usual, I lost track of time. Just for you though, I can still order the pizza. Or—“
“Or?” he waits.
“My mom makes homemade Italian pizza tonight,” I offer. “You’re more than welcome to come if you want to.”
“No, for fake,” I retort and he laughs. “What about it? I seriously owe you.”
“Sure,” he shrugs. “Sounds good.” For that one moment in time, it is like everybody forgot to need me and then my name breaks loose all over the gym.
“I’m going to put out some fires and wrap things up,” I tell Jet. “Then I’ll find you, okay?”
“Great.” When everything’s back in boxes, I have them piled against the door to bring out to my car. Charlotte runs over and links arms with me as I’m walking out with the last box.
“About earlier,” she begins. “I’m not with Matt.”
“You’re not?” I ask. Jet is leaning against the wall and rushes over to grab the box.
“Thanks,” I tell him. Charlotte doesn’t even take a breath.
“No,” she sighs dramatically. “Honestly, I don’t think you listen to me. He says we need to get together soon and I told him I had a boyfriend. Which was true since I was dating Cam but that’s not true anymore. But Matt didn’t know that last week. He just looked at me like me having a boyfriend was no big deal. And it wasn’t! So I hooked up with him then dumped Cam, but now don’t think I want Matt. What’s wrong with me?”
“Why don’t you ask a guy?” I tell her and wink at Jet. He laughs at me, but turns serious when Charlotte turns her earnest gaze toward him.
“Um, well,” he tries. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you.”
“I know that!” Charlotte exclaims. “I don’t know why I go from guy to guy.”
“You’re a hunter,” Jet says and we both stare at him. “What?”
“Go on,” Charlotte says.
“You like the thrill of the chase and once you’ve got your kill, you move on.”
“That sounds terrible!” Jet shrugs as if he’s got nothing to add on the subject. I am definitely intrigued. Once we’re outside, I’m suddenly quite aware that I’m about to bring a boy, who is not my boyfriend, over to meet my mom. I unlock my car and Jet places the box in the backseat with the others. Charlotte leans against my car waiting for him to leave. When Jet slides into my passenger seat, her eyes widen and she blinks at me unbelievably. She drags me away from the car as if he doesn’t know we’re about to go talk about him. “Oh my gosh.”
“I said I’d get him pizza if he helped,” I shrug. “It’s not a big deal.”
“Well, I know that!” she laughs then gasps. “Oh my god Tyler’s going to be fucking pissed!”
“He’ll get over it.”
“Oh man, oh man,” she laughs. “This is scandalous.”
“Whatever,” I roll my eyes. “I gotta get home.”
“To make out with your newest piece of ass?”
“Why don’t you go on a hunt, hunter?” She stops laughing and scowls at the person in my car.
“He makes me sound like a whore.”
“Mmmmhhh,” I mumble and she smacks my arm. I walk away and catch my boyfriend with his group of buddies running out of the tunnel that leads into the locker rooms in the basement. He looks guilty as crap. I hold a finger up to Jet to let him know I need a second and run to Tyler. He lifts me off my feet in a hug and squeezes me tightly. Slowly his hold loosens.
“Who’s in your car?” he asks and I pull away.
“That’s the guy that helped me set up when you were supposed to.” The guilty look comes back.
“We were just on our way to!”
“Mmmmmhhh, I’m sure,” I nod. “Or you could have just come from an impromptu practice when there was no actual practice scheduled.”
“We needed the practice.”
“I needed the help.”
“So, who is that?”
“That’s my new friend, Beckett.”
“What kind of name is Beckett?
“What kind of asshole bails on his girlfriend to mess around with his friends? Wait, wasn’t there track practice tonight?” He looks guilty again. “You probably pissed off Coach Carvalo!”
“He understands this being my last year and how I need the practice.”
“That’s so selfish,” I chastise. Sometimes my boyfriend could be such a self-centered prick. “I gotta get home.”
“I only kiss people who show up when they say they will.”
“So are you going to kiss that guy?” I start walking backwards toward my car.
“Maybe,” I grin. “I don’t know, but I really appreciated the help. And god those muscular arms.”
“That’s not funny, Kyrian.”
“Neither is you not showing up.” I get in my car and Jet’s eyes are closed. “Are you really sleeping?”
“Just resting my eyes,” he mumbles. I look over and his eyes are still closed. I admire his form and really those arms are great. He opens his eyes and catches me staring at him. “My eyes are more refreshed looking at you than they are closed.”
“That was awfully corny,” I laugh. “But thanks for the compliment.”
“Sure,” he smiles. And now I have a problem.
There’s a sweetness to her snark that I respond to. She’s smart, beautiful and absolutely captivating. And because she’s always animated, the vein on the side of her neck is always pumping. It isn’t that I don’t have self-control, but I want to drink from that vein.
“She’s kind of cooky,” Kyrian says. “Some might say crazy.” I blink at her and remember I’d ask about her mother. After grilling me about my family, I finally manage to get her into safe territory. Things about herself. “People say we look alike.”
“Unbelievable that you would look like your mother,” I say and she smiles. “Are you close?”
“We’re closer than most,” she smiles and there’s a pride in her voice. “We’ve never had that authoritative relationship, but once my dad left, we kind of just fell into a perfect unity. I know she’s my mom, but we talk like roommates. Is that crazy?”
“No,” I say honestly. Listening to her talk about her mother makes me miss my own. The ache at not having found her fills my chest and I try to tune it out. “Do you miss your dad?”
“Nah,” she laughs. “My mom is enough for me. I mean it’s sad they couldn’t work it out, but I’m kind of glad he’s gone. He was dragging us down.” She smirks over at me and I realize she’s kidding. “Of course I miss him. The divorce tore me apart, but then I got to stay with him over the summers. I won’t be doing that this summer, but I still talk to him everyday.”
“Why did they get divorced?” Divorce always intrigues me. Some do it for selfish reasons, others legitimately have to get out of their situations or bad things happen.
“Wow, okay. Um, well, my dad is a writer. Or when he was still with my mom he was a struggling writer. He resented my mom for a lot of things, including getting pregnant with me right after they got married. When my grandfather died, my mom received a lot of money and opened a photography studio that just took off. At first, she worked from here and had me with her constantly. As the business grew and went international, so did my mom. My dad was stuck at home with me. He felt it didn’t leave him a lot of time to write. Long story short, I destroyed my parents marriage.”
“That’s not true.”
“No, really it is,” she shrugs. “I see the pictures before they had me and really they were happy. It’s the pictures that have me in them that you start to see it fall apart.”
“Do you always blame yourself for things that you have no control over?” I ask and she shrugs.
“Not really, but I do own my part in things.”
“I do see that,” I remember her sticking up for me. She pulls up to a big beautiful blue house.
“Come on.” With no hesitation, she runs up the stairs with me following closely behind. “Be nice to her, or she’ll kick you out,” Kyrian whispers to me then laughs. “Just kidding.” Her attention turns from me as she starts screaming for her mom. She drops her keys in a bowl on a long wooden table in the hall and tosses her side bag under it.
“Ky, I swear the neighborhood loves it when you do that every day.” A woman that can easily pass as Kyrian’s twin descends the carpeted stairs and stops when she sees me. She can’t be more than five four but seems larger than life.
“What is it, casual Monday?” Krin demands. “Since when do you wear jeans to work?” I don’t see anything wrong with the jeans, but Kyrian’s mom blushes. The purple shirt brings out her natural green eyes and everything I like in Kyrian is only shadowed from her mom.
“I’m not sixty, I can wear jeans if I want to,” Emeryn, as Kyrian told me, says cheekily. She finishes her descent than brings her eyes to me. “And you are?”
“Ooops,” Kyrian says quickly. “This is Jet or Beckett. He’s joining us for dinner.”
“Hello, Jet or Beckett,” she offers me her hand. “Welcome to my home. Did she just pull you from the street or do you go to school with my daughter?”
“School,” I grin. “I’m actually not officially enrolled yet.”
“Ah, so you met while she was doing a dry run of the dance.”
“Which he thought was weird,” Kyrian offers for me. This girl was obviously used to taking control but I don’t know how I feel about her speaking for me.
“Well, we both know it is,” Emeryn laughs. It was a very sweet, seductive laugh. I’d heard it many times today. I look at Kyrian and she smiles easily.
“You want a tour?” Before I can answer, she’s dragging me through her house, explaining pictures and color choices that bring a “homey” mood. Finally, we arrive at a white door and she hesitates. “This is my haven, okay?”
“I’m honored,” I grin and she rolls her eyes before opening the door. The room is serene. The walls are a light blue, a blue that matches the rest of the house. A large California King sized bed is positioned in the middle of the room covered in a white lacy comforter. There are silver swirls on it, but I can’t see how it doesn’t get dirty. On all four walls are pictures of her mother, her friend Charlotte and a picture of one man. Emeryn stares out of a picture playfully stern. Her eyes are filled with laughter and love . I look at Charlotte’s pictures and shake my head. The girl is nuts, but beautiful as well. There’s energy to her that I can roll with, but not seeing it go anywhere. There are no trophies or trinkets indicating her school involvement. “Where are your honors?”
“I think it’s weird to display that crap unless you’re a business,” she says plopping on the bed. “I stuff them in a box in the closet.”
“Aren’t you worried you’re going to get it dirty?” I ask pointing at the bed.
“I don’t do things to get my bed dirty.” She stares at me, then she blushes and looks away. “Besides, I change it a lot. My grandma sends me a new comforter every year at Christmas. I’ve got a few.”
“Lucky you,” I say and she nods.
“I’d agree with that. I am very fortunate. I have a lot great friends, not those other shallow things. My parents are both pretty awesome and I’m great at everything I do.”
I laugh and she grins. “Just kidding at the last part.”
“We shall see, shan’t we?” I pull open her closet doors and there are four boxes filled with trophies and memorabilia. “Wow.”
“I didn’t say you could go in there,” she laughs and quickly shuts it.
“Did I see one for gymnastics?”
“Two years ago.”
“So you’re a hoarder?”
“Gosh damn it!” she exclaims and starts pushing me toward the door. “You’re never welcomed in there again.