Haze sees the meaning of embracing her true self in the arms of a man no longer afraid to.
The sun burned low as it slipped beyond the horizon, staining the twilight sky vivid shades of crimson and gold, surrendering to the approaching evening. Haze let her violet eyes drift lazily over the serene surroundings, feeling the chill moving in off the slowly running swamp water. Watching the thin white vapor begin to curl around the sturdy trunks of the cypress trees, from the surface of the water.
She pushed her hand through the inky black mass that was her hair, letting out a slow breath, before shoving her hands into the deep pockets of her jeans. She leaned comfortably against the roughness of a nearby tree. Silent. Listening to the dull roar only audible to her kind, accompanying the moons steady ascent into the empty void of the sky. Her eyes fluttered shut and she struggled to suppress the building power that rose from within.
New York City, Manhattan.
Reese pressed the girl against the rough brick in the alley, laughing when she did, pressing his mouth against hers, tasting the lingering flavor of the liquor she’d consumed earlier that evening. A soft rain fell, and her flaxen hair hung around her shoulders in sopping waves, while he remained dry. Her scant clothing clung to her curvy body, and already he could hear the ebb and flow of her blood pulsing through her veins. He nipped her bottom lip catching her moan in his mouth, tasting for an instant how sweet her blood would be. Reese pulled away, his tongue flicking at the wound once, before he met her eyes, glassy and small in her intoxication. A small smile played over his full lips.
“Tell me your name.” Her small hands drifted low on his hips grasping his rear, pulling him tightly against her. Reese captured her jaw in one strong hand, his eyes holding hers. “Your name.” He demanded softly.
“Juana.” She muttered, her speech slurred and low in the dark alley. The rush of the city seemed so far off, beyond the two. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, her lips moved lightly over his skin. Reese pressed her closer, thinking on how long it had been since anyone had taken blood from him, wishing she could. He grasped her shoulders, pressing her roughly against the rocky contours of the brick wall, coming forward, his lips moving slowly over the thin column of her throat. The warmth of her body was welcome, and the scent of her life flowing through her veins, was tantalizing. He felt his teeth come alive inside his mouth, and buried them deep, feeling his body awaken when the thick liquid sprayed over his tongue, and filled his mouth, his body, his soul.
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Haze was awake, she never slept, she couldn't not when so much weighed on her mind, on her body and soul. The small cabin she called her home was dark, the drapes drawn tightly on the rough windows, shutting out the sun that drained her so completely. Her hands carressed the smooth hardness of the guitar her grandmother had fashioned for her before she'd died, and the notes drifted forth, floating on the still crisp air, in the darkness, reverberating off the close walls of her bedroom. In the opaque blackness Haze parted her lips smiling to herself when her voice drifted out, a whisper against the tranquility, deep and smokey. Thin fingers strummed skillfully, moving with the confidence her mind so lacked, note to note playing the song her heart cried at every sunset.
Reese lay stolid, the floor to ceiling drapes pulled closed on the loft windows, shrouding his home in darkness, the only light coming from the blazing fireplace. His lashes shuddered in his sleep fighting the dreams that would have driven any mortal insane.
* Their faces grew, masks of alabaster stone surrounding him as he returned their glances defiantly. Reese burned, his body crying out as his bloodlust seemed to eat him alive. For ten days he'd been denied, and now in the eyes of his kin he saw only hatred and contempt for what he'd become, they wanted him dead. No longer able to bear the sight of him. A killer. Reese bared his fangs at the offenders as they watched him struggle against his bonds. They'd condem him for what he was when the fate was theirs to bear together, when each and every one of thme was like him in some way.
He arched, his eyes burning crimson as starvation began to take him. Morning would find him in a dark jail cell, chained to the concrete walls, a prison for those of their kind who were to be tortured for impudence, at nightfall he was lashed to the earth, the pulse of life surrounding so close and yet so far away. His mind was dark, a gaping space filled only with his thirst and hunger. His need. Crimson liquid fell from his bound wrist, seeping into the black earth that feed on his agony and pain.
Reese awoke slowly, rising from the hard wood floor with ease, his eyes moving over his surroundings. The fire had long ago died, smoldering now, a pile of ash and smoke. He wiped a hand across his brow, grimacing when his palm came away moist with sweat. It was night once more, and already the the rush of life called to him, never again would he be denied, betrayed, never again would he trust so completely.
In the silence, the sound of a footfall outside his door filled his mind, the approach of the uninvited guest obvious before the knock sounded, filling the spacious house. Reese moved wearily to answer knowing before the door was open who it would be.
He stepped to the side as his brother slipped in, moving like water, with so much grace. Nicolae's prescense filled the room, and demanded attention with little effort. His small dark eyes scanned the loft suspiciously, his lips twisted into a scowl of disapproval. Reese bit back his outburst, there had never been a time when he'd stood on level ground with his brother, he was never satisfied.
"What are you doing here?" He bit out the words through clenched teeth, and Nicolae turned slowly to face him, a thin smile on his lips. The stark white tips of his fangs flashed breifly from within his mouth.
"I need a motive to see my Brother?" His eyes moved to the door, and it slammed shut. Reese's observed his athletic form, jelousy and resentment bitting quickly and slithering away.
"I've no desire to see you," The words tumbled from his mouth, a lie, and they both knew it. There had never been a time when Reese did not look up to Nicolae, as a role model, a mentor, and a savior. He'd tought him to cope with what he was, the one who taught him to survive when he was lost. His jaw clenched in frustration. He hadn't expected any visitors. "What do you want?" Nicolae suntered toward his dark sofa sitting before the fire as it blazed to life once more. Reese followed, standing over him, his eyes narrowed, and suspicious.
"There is a danger coming to you, something unexpected. I've come to warn you, but I do not know what it is." His voice was a deep baratone, steely, as the words slammed into Reese's chest, like stones. He fiegned nonchalance.
"And you've come from across the ocean to tell me this." He lifted a thin brow. "To tell me something is coming. Have you forgotten that i am immortal thanks to you? Nothing can harm me." A log exploded in the fireplace, and neither brother flinched. Each lost in the thoughts Reese's words had brought back, fresh to memory.
"I cannot be blamed for what happened, i never wanted this for you." Reese scoffed gently, crossing his arms over his broad chest. Nicolae stirred on the couch, a ripple of movement, nothing more, and he was on his feet, towering over his brother's smaller frame. His eyes were chips of onyx glinting in the fire's light. "What comes you have no power over, Andrei, you cannot stop it, nor can I. You cannot say I did not warn you, not this time." His jaw tightend, and his eyes blazed. "I have come here, with hopes that you will have forgotten the past, but i see now my prayers were in vain." Reese stared back at his brother boldly, refusing to fold beneath his anger. Andrei, No one had given him his true name in centuries, his father's name. Reese studied the fire, unable to meet his brother's dark eyes.
"If what comes is to be my undoing, then it is time. I long for some peace." he replied softly, feeling Nicolae relax a measure, sensing his anger subside. "I am no longer afraid Nicolae." He clasped his hands behind his back and turned away from his brother, perching on the arm of the sofa. His eyes stared steadily into the fire, watching the flames leap and dance. He was weak, yet to feed. "You remember that last night?" He spoke slowly, his voice a sullen monotone. "I do, as if I were living now, to this day, they haunt me, their faces, the smell of wet earth, thier hands," Nicolae came to stand at his side, placing a large hand on his shoulder.
"You need to feed Andrei, come." Reese shook him off.
"That name belongs to my past, a past i had nearly wiped away until now." He lied cooly , those dreams had haunted him for years. His eyes moved slowly up to meet his brother's and Nicolae seemed to stare into his soul.
"you haven't changed so much, you have your health." he paused moving to take a seat on the opposite arm, trying to appear comfortable with his brother's sudden mood change. "You've your life." He added more softly. "Leaving was a good decision." Reese nodded slowly, amazed at Nicolae's ignorance that he should not know that surviving wasn't living.
"For who?" His eyes contiued to follow the flame. "For you? You speak as though i had a choice, as if i'd wanted to leave behind all i'd ever known, ever cared for."
"there is more to the world than what's back in Romania...Andrei ." the silence that stretched between them was deafening, each listening to the others heartbeat. Reese broke the silence.
"Why did you leave? Why did you leave Romaina Nicolae?" The question was a surprise to his brother, he saw it in the way his breathing paused, in the sudden stillness that slipped over him like a death shroud. Years back Nicolae had returned to Romania and something had happened to him there, somthing he never talked about, he'd changed, everything about him had changed, altered some how. He didn't know what Nicolae had seen he wasn't sure he wanted to know, whatever it was had been profound, something that had reached deep inside his brother and touched something there. Nothing had ever changed Nicolae, not even seening the tourture and death of their mother. But when he'd come back from there...
"That is the past, and it's dead." The thick cords along his neck pulsed, and a quick glance at his hands saw them shaking, fists clenched so tighly his knuckles burned white in the gloom. He'd never seen his brother so tense, so tightly wound.