Read The Blood Bargain Online

Authors: Macaela Reeves

The Blood Bargain (8 page)

I kicked at the sidewalk as I walked home, taking out my frustration on the chipped concrete beneath my toes. I didn't. know what infuriated me more, being sold like a sofa or the fact that my new husband-to-b
e didn’
t protest my blood service.

A shiver ran up my spine just thinking about it. About him. He was just so...I had no way to finish that sentence. He was an adapt killer, he was handsome, he was undead, he was rude.

He scared the hell out of me. I thought about that more as I walked,
was it a rational fear? He hadn’
t tried to harm me. In fact the guy, Dimitri as the council called him, seemed flat out mad I had done what I did. Perhaps it wouldn.t be so bad. After all, no one came out of a service term with complaints. Well, that I knew of.

Perhaps it was time to do some research and I knew where to start.

 

Yu
Wei.s
job in the colony was straightforward, although I had little idea on how she got it. She was the
go-between for all of the vamp

s day to day needs and the general community. She saw to it that their blood schedule was full, and anything else that struck their fancy.

Kind of like a post outbreak celebrity assistant. She worked out of her home, which happened to be a shop on the square not far from city hall.

With my recent appointment to blood duty I had to check in with her anyway so why wait? It provided the perfect opportunity to get a bead on the nightmare I had just been thrust into. I opened the front door with a slight knock.

Inside the decor had not changed since the days it was a tanning salon. The overly tacky attempt at glamour was still in place, the back still lined with little rooms. The only difference was those had been converted into sleep rooms for the needy rather than vanity cookeries. At the

front desk, the lovely Yu Wei was scribbling all over a sheet of paper in mandarin and talking to herself.
Her
long dark hair was pulled back in a bun and she was sporting some lime green reading glasses.

“Yu?” Her eyes snapped up quickly, pen pausing on the paper. Yet she did not speak to me.

“Is this a bad time? I can come back...”

“No no...just catching up. What can I do for you
hun
?” She resumed her writing, giving me less than half her attention.

“I ah…
I.m
Liv
Younger.
I.m
going on blood rotation.” When I said my name she paused and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh so you

re the one who broke all the rules.” She looked me head to toe. “I heard you were taller.”

Before I could react to that she pushed aside what she was working on and spun her chair to face me. Clasping her hands in her lap she started speaking quickly.

“Okay so here is the standard procedure. At sunset every other night report to Caius. primary residence. You know where it is right?” I nodded. “They will let you inside when they are ready. Bath before you go over there. Do not use any perfumes. Do not bring any religious

objects, silver, anointed water, wooden stakes, and so forth.”

“Does that stuff really work?”

“Don

t know don.t ask I just read the rules.” She glared at me, as though my interruption was the worst inconvenience she had ever suffered.

“While you are in service, follow every command to the letter. They tell you to sit. Sit. Stand? Stand. Jump? You ask how high.”

“I didn

t sign up to be a puppet.”

“Yeah well, you want to live through this? Shut up and listen to me.”

“Do they...kill?” Yu just frowned, dodging my words.

“Next. You are not to discuss what you see within the home, you are not to discuss your role in blood service within the community. This is anonymous for a reason.”

“Lastly, if you are dismissed for whatever reason, you will leave immediately and report in here to me for debriefing. Do you have any MORE questions?”

“Is it usual for them to...pick someone?”

“Nope. Never happened before. As Caius told me; blood is blood. Anything else?”

“Who fed Dimitri last?” She glared at me.

“Miss Younger, I can

t tell you that. Come on now.” I did know that. The
‘d
onations

were kept secretive, so that those
who hated the bloodsuckers didn’
t harass them.

“Well...thank you for your time.” With a smile and a pivot I left.

The day from that point on was a blur. I went home and showered, complete with a change into civilian clothes. I got a million hugs and lectures from Candice and Zoe. Played catch with the twins and helped with dinner prep.

I saw neither hide nor hair of my Dad. Perhaps he was pissed to the point of avoiding me.

In hours that seemed like minutes, the sun was setting and I was walking with heavy feet to the bloodsuckers den. I wrapped my arms around myself, it was a cool night and I should have worn a jacket, a baby doll shirt and jeans were not cutting it.

Typically I was pretty good about that kind of thing, but tonight the notion had unfortunately completely skipped my mind. Probably too preoccupied with being
somethings
dinner. Was it a thing? Or a person? How would I talk to him…it. I guess social grace should be the least of my worries.

The large farmhouse on the edge of town wasn

t that far of a walk, no matter how much I dawdled. When I got there, someone was already waiting. A thirty something man who had
broke
out his Sunday best for the occasion. He flashed me a smile like it was his wedding day.

“Are you excited?
I’m excited. I can.t believe it’
s
my turn again. Oh I’
m so lucky.” The blond guy to babbled like a lunatic as
I lined up next to him, I didn’
t
know him personally but I knew the type. There were those-a very small number-who went a bit overboard with

appreciation for the vamps. To the point of cult style stalking. This kind of worked out well for the rest of us as these wackos were quick to volunteer for feeding rotation.

The girl who approached on my left was more normal. Long brown hair swept up into a ponytail with a face that would have put her on the cheer leading squad if
such a thing still existed. I’
d seen her around town working in the vegetable gardens between the houses, a observation that was reinforced by her dungaree overalls marred with grass stains. Couldn.t place her name at the

moment. She looked nervous as hell.

“So you sign up for this?” I asked her.

“Yeah...figured we owe them and all.” She replied with a strained smile and a shrug.

“I

m
Liv
.”

“Anna.”

“Nice to meet you Anna.” I gave her my best everything will be alright grin.

“Hey, you.re the girl who went over the wall.” When
I didn’
t respond she continued.

What

s it like up there?”

“The same as it
has
been. Nothing but the dead and memories.”

“Oh.” Her face dropped, but what did she expect? The world to return to rainbows and unicorns?

“...Sorry.”

“It’
s opening its opening!” The enamored one cheered. What do you know, low and behold the door swung wide beckoning our entrance.

The willing didn

t wait at all. He was up the steps two at a time. The worried walk slower. For me, each step felt like a mile. My jeans as heavy as iron on my legs.

The interior of the house was not what I pictured. Not in the slightest. For some reason I thought the walls would be black, cobwebs would hang from the ceiling and the place would be full of bats and organ music.  Instead I walk
ed into something right out of B
etter
H
omes and
G
ardens. It had one of those gardening eco lover color palettes, with the flowery wallpaper and

bought-new-now-vintage furniture.

Anna stood beside me in the entryway, her eyes darting between the dark hall past the cute entryway bench and coat racks to the stairs leading up immediately to our left.

The guy who had ran ahead was nowhere to be seen, I

m guessing he had a good bead on his destination. What
a
jerk, leaving the rest of us to stand here like rats at the entrance to a maze.

My companion victim grabbed onto my arm, looking up I found the reason why. At the top of the stairs stood
C
aius. He looked as handsome as I remembered, with all that long dark hair pouring over his white button down shirt. Although the dress pants with sneakers was an odd

combination.

“Welcome.” His voice was like chocolate dipped butter; smooth, dark and too rich to not be sinful. Following his calorie filled greeting he extended his arm towards Anna. “Come with me.”

She dropped my arm. I watched in awe as she turned and practically floated up the stairs to him. That had to be some sort of movie trick. I worried immediately, should I block her path? We needed to get out of here.
This was wrong…

“You came.” A familiar voice snapped me from my panic. It was him, Dimitri as the council called him. Standing in the first floor hallway in dark jeans, black
chuck
taylor’
s
and a form fitting shirt. Without the hood he had quite a crop of black hair upon his head. Thick waves of the stuff that were cut just above his collar. His skin was a lot paler than I remembered, almost to the

point of looking sickly. His white teeth were spread into a wide grin as he walked toward me. On first glance I did not see his fangs, probably another trick to not scare pray.

As he approached that familiar scent of musk and pine filled my nose.

“I had to.” I flipped my eyes up to the top of the stairs, Anna and Caius were gone. I hoped she was okay, as much as I hoped I was okay. I was alone with Him. Lovely.

“You chose to.” He tried to correct me.

“Whatever. Let

s just do this okay?” With a slightly disappointed sigh, he gestured to the hallway behind him. I did not lead, so he turned foot and guided me into the kitchen. A pretty room with pale green walls, antiqued white trimmings and old farm tools displayed from the

turn of the century above the tall cabinets.

He pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and offered it to me. It was one of those country buffet styles. The kind you find at
grandma.s
house with the ornate legs, padded seat and open patterned back.

“So how does this work?” I asked him, trying to put strength in the words. He reached out to me, brushing my hair back from my neck with his hand.

“Your hand.” I heard his voice next to my ear.

My arm extended across the table. I sat, still as marble waiting for what came next.

With a small hiss, Dimitri bent over my extended wrist. His breath was cold against my skin, followed by the sharp sting of his bite. He sucked hard at the wound while I kept my eyes shut. After what was only one thick swallow he recoiled, his face scrunched in disdain.

“Your blood tastes like shit.” He blurted out, coughing.

“Am I supposed to be sorry?” I wasn.t sure if I should be offended or grateful at this point. Did that mean I was off the hook?

He didn.t answer me right away. He just stared at me with those dark eyes, it made me want to run away from my skin.

“Is your hate for me so strong?” He asked me, tilting his head. From his expression he generally seemed
c
onfused that I wasn.t happy as a clam to have him around.

“I don

t see what that has to do with anything.”

“I can taste it within your blood. It is disgusting.”


Well I am sorry I am not a better snack for you.” I extended my bleeding wrist to him. “Dig in, you.ve got me for a whole three months.” His handsome face seemed conflicted, between his obvious disgust for me and his hunger.

“I saved your life.” He announced. An awkward declaration considering our current setting.

“You did.” With my response I heard a growl leave his throat. The kind a German shepherd makes when
y
ou

ve gotten too close to the fence. Then he moved. Faster than I could react. Hell, faster than I could see. He crowded my wrist anew. The pain returned, followed by

the sickening sound of him feeding. I tried to sit still, forcing my eyes to stare up at the ceiling and not at the dark haired once-man stealing a part of my being.

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