Read The Blood Bargain Online

Authors: Macaela Reeves

The Blood Bargain (16 page)

“He offered, I accepted. What’
s your deal?” The calmer I was, the madder he got.

“Evelyn Marie Younger this

he

is a vampire!”

“You were fine with me feeding him? Just not taking up the spare bedroom?”

“I forbid this.”

“You can

t. You don

t own me.”

“Your wedding is..”

“How about you go tell Caius no?” I met his stare head on with my challenge. Go tell your vampire overlords that you forbid my new arrangement. He frowned a dark sneer crossed his face that chilled me to the bone. He knew I had pulled the ultimate trump card.

“Fine. Be it on your own head when you get yourself killed.” With that he slammed out the door. When he left my hands were shaking. No matter what, my Dad still had an effect on me. Probably always would. I imagined my Moms reaction to all this, she would
n
o
t have been a big fan of me doing this. On the other hand there was no way she would have been a fan of me being

bartered off to one of dad’
s buddies. Deep down I felt horrible we had drifted so far apart lately. Ever since I went up there…he

s treated me like I never really came back. Maybe that

s just how he was raised to deal with gross disappointment. Yeah, that was the correct term for what I

d done: disappointing. Thing is though, there was a
scav
up there and there was a distress signal. The ins and outs of that I may never know, but I couldn.t just bury my head in the sand and pretend it didn.t happen.

Even if that meant pushing him further and further away.

I spent the rest of the day packing up my things and listening to Zoe cry. She was so worried about me.

Every
t
ime I caught her eye she tried to smile but I could hear her through the wall when she walked away. In her mind I was walking to my death. If only she knew that true death for me was the submission that would await me in the Graham house. Mark wished me the best of luck, it

was obvious and understandable that they kept my leaving from the little boys. I did interrupt their truck time for a couple of really big hugs.

When the last of my few things were being shoved into a duffel, Candice popped her head in to flip me off with a grin.

“You.re going to have to let me know what it

s like with a bloodsucker.”

“Candice! He

s giving me a spare bed, nothing else.”


Suuure
well let me know how the

spare bed

is.” I laughed. Thank god for Candice, she had always been so much more open minded, about everything really. I was going to miss living with her. I made a mental note to find her at the garage later. Even though our roofs were

changing, we could still hang.

My father didn.t say goodbye as I walked out the door.

I carried my duffel bag alone on the walk to his house. The whole two block journey that it was. The house was as he described, a little white sixties bungalow with an overhang deck and green shutters. The yard was in decent enough shape, not that it had been mowed in a decade,
when you

re struggling for supplies, gasoline for the clipper seemed like a ridiculous request to even make.

Approaching the door I came eye to eye with a cheery white welcome sign slapped at eye level. Cute. I raised my hand to knock.

“You don

t have to do that.” I jumped, turning to the side.

In one of the rockers in the shade Dimitri was sitting. Out in the low daylight, he looked like just another guy, nothing scary nothing sinister, just a guy that would draw a hundred eyes at a party.

“And you didn.t have to do that!” I countered.

By his laugh he knew damned well he scared me. Rolling out of the chair he walked over and put a small key in my hand.

“I lock doors, for obvious reasons. Make sure you always do the same.”

I tried the key he gave me, it slid easily in the lock and rotated without catching. With a turn of the knob I found myself in the living room.

It was a somewhat long and narrow room, with a pair of slip covered couches and a TV that looked like it was purchased in 1981. Family photos hung above the couch and sat upon the end tables. The only items more prevalent in the room besides
all the smiling faces were the
abundance of kitten figurines. There was a curio cabinet full by the door, then the little porcelain felines covered every available free surface from the top of the TV to what little room was left on the end tables. The hallway at the far end of the room looked like it led back to the bedrooms while the opening right across from the front door showed a dining set peeking out from behind the wall.

“Have a thing for cats?” I asked him, not sure where to set my bag down.

“I didn't bother decorating. Do they bother you?”

“A little bit.” A lot actually.

“I will
remove them then.” He pointed down the hall past the TV. “Your room is down there. The basement is mine. I would appreciate if you did not go down there.” He didn

t follow me as I walked to check it out.

Well, it was similar to my old room decor wise at least, with a little more flower vomit.

Someone had been a big fan of shabby chic; the walls were pale lavender, the poster bed, dresser and nightstands were cream, the bedding was pink and fluffy as all get out, both of the lamps in the room poured crystals from the shade.

Least the room was pretty devoid of personal effects.

I tossed my duffle bag on the bed and opened the closet door, ready to begin arranging my sparse
belongings
.

I stopped dead when I saw what was already in the closet.

“Dimitri!” I hollered.

“What?” He was at my side in a flash, his tone casual. I reached into the closet and withdrew the dark metal, raising it to the light.

“What

s up with this?” I asked him. He regarded the crossbow with indifference.

“Housewarming present.” He smirked. “Now get some rest, you have work in the morning.”

“Work? How did you…”

“Haven’
t you figured it out that your human council pretty much gives Caius anything he wants? As a side effect, I typically get everything I want. Therefore, your occupation has been reinstated.”

“Why would this be something you want?”

“You have a gift. I watched you from outside the window when you were trapped in that room. I have seen your eyes when faced with death, you do not fear it instead you meet it head on in challenge. Such valor belongs on the battlefield, even an unconventional one. To shackle you to the burdens of your sex was a crime I could not stand.”

“Thank you. For this.” I nodded to the bow. “I still can.t quite figure you out but I appreciate the interest you

ve taken in me.”

“You

re welcome.” No explanation, just a tilt of his head. He left me to my unpacking.

Unzipping the duffel bag I digested his speech over and over again, like a cow chewing grass. I was immensely happy to be back on patrol. Like do a can
can
and scream at the top
of my lungs happy. What I didn’
t get was why, was this fun to him or something? Is that how immortals got their kicks, messing with the short lives
of mortals? No, that didn’
t feel like the answer. Dimitri

had made it clear several times before that we humans were not high on his interest list.

My bear took his home first, nestled in the pillows of my new bed.

I took out a few of my shirts and hung them in the closet. My winter flannel, my cookie monster shirt, a few patterned tops, my baseball style top. Looking at the eclectic arrangement of tee shirts hanging in their neat little row I smirked. Maybe it was just me. Perhaps he found

my weirdness worth studying.

His little speech about my nature was truly endearing, although extremely sexist. Speaking of sexist, I wondered what my dad thought of that little demand, me back in
harms
way. Oh I bet it pissed him off. Good. Let something be out of his control for once.

Ugh. I knew I was being ugly, as soon as I thought it I tried to
unthink
it. I wasn.t a mean person. I love my Dad. Really.

With all my stuff unpacked. I tried to come up with something to do. The night was young, I didn.t have a job, I didn.t have chores. I had an endless amount of free time.

I left my room and walked down the short hall towards the living room.

The creepy cat collection was gone. The family photos from the previous owner, also missing from sight. I had to do a double take at how quickly he had redecorated. The table tops, the walls were so barren. All that remained were the few candles he had lit for the evening. Candles. I wondered if the transition from tech society to colonial had been easier on the vamps. After all
they

d had centuries without electricity compared to the brief moment in time it had existed.

My new roommate entered the living room from the kitchen. Dimitri was throwing a zip up black and red jacket on over his tank top.

“Going out?”

“I have patrol tonight.” He rolled his
r.s
.

“Ah. Do you patrol every night?”

“A quick pass six out of seven. A farther sweep weekly in pair with Antonia.”

“Oh so you go together?” I tried not to sound jealous. He laughed, a deep throaty scoff.

“It has been a long time since we have done anything in true union.” I caught his double meaning.

“You mean you two used to be?”

“At one time, centuries ago.”

             
I sat down on the couch, feeling a little put off by his admission. Oh never mind the blond monster who tried t
o eat you, oh did I mention she’
s my ex
-
girlfriend? Good choice
Liv
, good choice. For about half a second I debated running home to Dad, but images of Zack
Graham’
s smiling brainless face danced in my head.

“Well
,
be safe.” I managed to spit out, tucking my hair behind my ears.

Dimitri did not respond with words, instead he focused his brilliant blue stare on me and raised his hood till I lost his eyes under the dark veil.

Then in a blur, he was gone.

I let out the breath I didn.t know I was holding.

T
he night was young but I didn.t feel like going anywhere. I was tired. Flat out emotionally exhausted. I lazily walked back to my shabby chic room and stretched out on the bed.

 

My eyes opened to the chirp of birds and the glare of the sun through the window.

What? I groaned and rolled over. I had slept till morning. My little polar bear smiled at me from his side of the bed, I loved his little black eyes. They made him the least judgmental person in my life.

Lazily I sat up and stretched. I had to have been exhausted to be out for that long. Slowly I slung my legs around the side of the bed and stood. I sloughed off my jeans and chucked them into the corner along with my shirt. They were replaced with my baseball shirt and my other good pair of jeans, I grabbed some fresh socks and ducked out of my room, bow in hand. If the sun was

already up that meant I was probably late for patrol, on my first day back too.

Way to make an impression.

The little kitchen was stuck in the early eighties; paneled cheap cabinets, laminate counters and a whole
lotta
beige. It was odd to not have food waiting for me, but I had lived with
Zoe and Candice so long that I’
d gotten used to being spoiled.

I went through the cupboards, finding a pan, a spatula, some matches and a sparse amount of food stuffs. Unable to think of any recipes, I pulled out something basic.

Like most homes the stove had been converted to a wood burner. Showing my lack of domestic skills, it took me two attempts to get the thing going.

I made some eggs for breakfast. Scrambled. It was the only kind I knew how to make. They were delicious and sat heavy in my stomach for something so light. It hadn.t dawned on me till now I hadn.t been eating very well. Thinking it through now, I had been skipping meals or picking at my plate for the last few days. The pains in my gut warned me to knock it off. I relented to

my stomachs persistence and made a second plate of eggs.

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