(Title Page, Leigh Christine Carpenter's Book) 09/21/08 01:47:12 PM

Vampire World
By Leigh Christine Carpenter

Part One: Journey to the Undead
Chapter One: The Request Chapter Two: The Date Chapter Three: Alone, At last Chapter Four: Keela Chapter Five: Phillip Chapter Six: Keela, Vampire Mistress Extraordinaire Chapter Seven: Nathaniel's Story Chapter Eight: Keela, New Life Chapter Nine: Phillip's Plan Chapter Ten: Nathaniel's Chance Chapter Eleven: Keela's Choice Chapter Twelve: Calm Before The Storm

Chapter One. "The Request"
Keela O'Rourke sat at her computer, in her cubical at work. Silently reviewing all she had accomplished, making note, after mental note of all the things she had forced herself to remember. Staring off into space, going over all the details she had struggled to recall and making sure she had crossed them all off her mental list before completing her work. The monitor snapped off, bringing her back into the present. She shifted the mouse, bringing the monitor back to life and pulled up an empty email to write a memo to her boss that she was finished, early as usual, and thinking about taking off for the rest of the day. Finishing a project always made her anxious. Not anxious about her work, anxious about the next project she would receive. A new project meant nothing else would distract her for days, not food, not sleep, not even the pleasures of a long, hot shower. The thought wouldn't even occur to her to dress appropriately for work. Usually throwing on the first thing she came to in the morning in her haste to get back to work and keep working. At night, she would lay there for hours making mental lists of things to go through, to fix. Checking and re-checking the lists as she went. She was relentless, tidy, and even more thorough when it came to her work. It couldn't be any more opposite when it came to her non-working life. Keela was a twenty-five year old train wreck. The only personal life she had, outside of work, was a cat named Peanut Brittle, that she struggled to remember to feed. Life for her revolved around projects. Keela was an Editor for a small, but respectable publishing firm called Ideas Abound which was located in San Francisco, California. Besides herself, there were five other editors,

a handful of office assistants, two accountants, a few agents, and one owner. The Owner, Nathaniel York, was her boss. Nathaniel was very driven about his work. Keela always assumed he came from money and was struggling to make his own business venture successful. She had started with this company at it's beginning three years ago, and fresh from college. She was still amazed that she had even been given this opportunity. She remembered the interview and blushed. She had stammered the whole time, hardly confident in her feeble attempt to win over Nathaniel, who was more handsome than words. She had assumed that the owner of a publishing company wouldn't stoop as low as to interview his own people, and that if she were to meet said owner, he would be old, chubby, and quite possibly bald. The turning point of the interview had been when he asked her why she was so nervous and she had paused long enough to gain the courage to form complete sentences to this beautiful, dream-like man. "I realize that I am ruining this whole process for myself, but in my defense, this is, technically, my first interview for any job not counting the campus food court where I worked through college. It would also help if you didn't have to be so handsome. Or maybe you could just try to be ugly for the rest of this interview, so I could concentrate on your questions instead of pinching myself repeatedly and trying to wake up from this dream. You can't possibly be real. You're too handsome. Like a movie star." To her surprise, he had burst out laughing. And then, as suddenly as he started, he puckered up his face in the most adorable way. "Does this help?" he had asked. Which had caused them both to start laughing. She was surprisingly able to keep my calm afterwards and answered more of his questions with little to none of the

shuddering She had done previously. And he had hired her on the spot. Convincing him that she possessed a sense of humor, as he had told her later, was the key to landing Keela the position. They had carried on a normal work relationship since. She had eventually grown used to being in the presence of beauty because each time they had a meeting, or each time she completed another project and had to go to the big office, she found she had begun stuttering less and less. The problem with working for Nathaniel had been that Keela was madly in love with him. There were times when she deluded herself into thinking of them as friends. He was always very polite to everyone in the office. Twice in the last three years, he had invited her to dinner with prospective clients. It was more business than anything, and she had been expected to pitch the exact way she would go about editing the client's book. She was the best editor he had, and he was never hesitant to lavish her with endless flattery about her work. But never about her, she reminded herself. It was all in the way she handled the whole business. All the clients she had worked with were never dissatisfied with how she went about editing their work. Some of them said it was as if she were making changes based on how they, themselves, would make changes. And indeed that was her whole approach. Read, re-read, put yourself into their shoes, analyze their thoughts as they were writing, and edit based on what they would approve of themselves. It was an easy business, almost thoughtless for her. The real reward was getting paid to read all this new material. It was her motivation. She loved to read. To get lost in any story. And then to help correct that story and make it worth selling. Even better was when her work showed up in a store window. She would always celebrate with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a novel that could be read for leisure. She pulled herself away from her thoughts as a

message popped up on her computer. It was from Nathaniel, so she quickly opened it hoping he would approve her time off. "Keela. Please see me in my office in ten minutes. Nathaniel." Confused, she responded with a short reply stating she would see him in ten minutes and hurried off to the restroom to make sure she was presentable. Once there she went over her appearance. She hadn't paid a thought to what she was wearing this morning when she threw the first thing she saw in the closet on. Grey suit, black undershirt, black shoes. Decent, but very unattractive. Her hair, which was a dull dark auburn was wild as usual. She wore no make-up, and her eyebrows needed tweezed. She immediately ran some water to wash her face with, using the excess to attempt to smooth her hair down, and looked back at her reflection in the mirror. Her oval face looked a little more refreshed, but she definitely still looked like she wasn't sleeping at night. Dark circles stood out under her eyes against her extremely pale skin. In contrast with her hair, she looked like she should be wearing pig tales and singing Irish hymns very badly. The only good luck, she thought, about her looks was that she didn't have freckles. She made another casual over view of herself and walked out of the bathroom. As she passed by her cubicle, she hastily grabbed her glasses. She didn't really need them outside of reading a book or using a computer, but any help she could get to hide the fact that she had bad insomnia she would take. She had been promising herself a trip to the salon to get her hair done and have a facial for about two of the three years she had been working for Nathaniel. It just never seemed to fit into her scheduling. She always had a project to keep her busy, and on the rare occasion she

didn't have a project to work on, she would spend that time catching up her emails, phone calls, and sometimes doctors appointments. Sometimes spending a full day dreaming about Nathaniel. Which was why her eyebrows were in desperate need of waxing and her hair was more red than she usually allowed it to be. She hurried past all the other cubical, back toward the big office. She stopped by Annette, an older severe looking secretary, and cleared her throat. Annette looked up, smiled, and waved her by. As she took a deep breath and mentally prepared herself to enter her boss's office. "Keela, come in, please." Right, he always knew when she was standing outside his door. She'd even once tried to look for a surveillance camera to see if he just got a kick out of watching the office work. She entered the big office, looking around to see if anything had changed while she had her head buried in the last project. Nothing had, in fact everything was as it always was. Except for Nathaniel. He was wearing his navy blue suit today with a cornflower blue undershirt. He always looked good in blue. He always looked good. He looked up at her and she felt as if she might get lost in his blue eyes. It had to be because of the contrasting blues. It made his blue eyes seem deeper. He blinked and she found herself blushing. "So... What is it that you wanted to see me about?" Keela broke the silence by asking. "Oh, right... I have a favor to ask of you." He said. "What kind of favor? Because if it's business related, you really don't have to ask. You are my boss and all." She reminded him.

"Well, no. It's a little more personal.." he let his voice trail off. She was instantly hopeful, but then she reminded herself that with her luck he would probably want her to do his dry cleaning. Men just never asked her out. Or the ones who did express interest, she ignored completely because they just were not Nathaniel York. "Well, you see, I am supposed to meet with a prospective client this evening. I made the plans last week for it and my brother, Phillip, called a few hours ago to let me know that he was flying in. I had completely forgotten about it, and I really don't want to have him sitting in a hotel room waiting on me. So I was hoping you could keep him company for a few hours, you know... Just in case the meeting runs late." He explained. "Oh," She was completely taken off guard by his request. He was asking her to go on a blind date with his brother. Deep despair threatened to overtake her. Why couldn't he just ask her out? Of course he wouldn't. She was too plain. He was too beautiful. "It's on me, of course. If you could just pick him up at the airport and take him to a nice, low-key restaurant. It would be helping me out a lot and I'd be willing to give you three days off in exchange before I hand you a new project. I was hoping to tie all of this together and hand you a manuscript from this new client. He's very well known and looking to change publishers. So you see why it's very important for me not to cancel this meeting." He explained. "Well, I'd be more than happy to keep your brother company, especially for three days off. I've been meaning to do something about the mess of my house, and my poor cat never gets any attention. I'm just very surprised that

you asked me." she said. When she paused to think about it, there had to be a catch. Maybe his brother was not as beautiful as he seemed to be, what if he was fat? What if he was one of those annoyingly loud people? As the what ifs... threatened to consume her, Nathaniel pressed on. Seemingly happy to have her agree to his plan, he continued. "Well, his plane is scheduled to land at five. If you could meet me back here at about four-thirty, I'll have my driver take you to the airport to meet him. Don't worry about finding him, the driver will meet him in the terminal, you can wait in the car or go with him. I'll make reservations and give the driver instructions. I promise that my brother will be forewarned and on his best behavior." It sounded to Keela like Nathaniel had already thought this through. It made her a little more apprehensive. She would only have a few short hours to get ready for this. Good thing visa was handy. She would have to buy something to wear and get her hair and make-up done in a short time. She didn't live close enough to the city to afford the time to go home and wear something she was comfortable in. "Alright, then. Four-thirty it is. Do I need to know anything else?" She was hopeful that maybe she might get a physical description, or maybe have some light shed on a flaw she could expect. There had to be some explanation for why he'd asked her. "No, I'll see you at four-thirty." He picked up the phone, she assumed, to call his brother. She took this as a sign that she needed to make her exit.

Nathaniel York watched Keela leave his office. He was glad she'd agreed to keep his brother occupied. This would give him his chance to repay her with dinner. Then they could begin dating in earnest. They could be married this time next year. She was going to be his. He would love her forever.

Chapter Two: "The Date"
Four-thirty arrived very quickly for Keela, as she had rushed from clothing store to hair appointment, barely making it on time back to the office. She hadn't had much choice, and had had to settle for a simple black dress that she had tried on and purchased within 20 minutes of entering the clothing store. Visa was still going to love her next month as she hadn't thought to check the price of the dress before she'd bought it. She got some consolation by reminding herself that by buying a black dress she wouldn't have to buy shoes. Hair and make-up at Vanity's Salon had given her enough time to worry over more possible flaws this brother could possess, and to start getting anxious over her first date in years. Since she couldn't afford the proper time it would take to make her hair presentable down, she had chosen to go with a swept back style that kept her long hair back and out of her face. She never usually allowed her hair to be bound because it usually gave her a headache. She reasoned that she would have three days off, plus the weekend giving her a total of five whole days, to worry about the consequences. Already she was excited and expectant about her little vacation. She had made an appointment with her usual stylist to have her hair worked over a little more on her time off. She was seriously considering toning down the red in her hair. She was also excited about the possibility of a spa day, followed up by spending the weekend cleaning and airing out her apartment. She'd even gone as far as to fantasize about lighting some scented candles and spending a few hours soaking in the tub. Only as a reward for doing so much housework. It was early September, so she couldn't call her plans spring cleaning, but more along the lines of readying for winter.

Nathaniel was talking on his cell phone when she walked up to the front of the office building where Ideas Abound was located. He hadn't changed at all and she had to clear her throat before he noticed her. He glanced her direction and dismissed her, only to snap his head back around and stare at her open-mouthed. She smiled at him, pleased that he noticed she had made an effort, if only to distract his brother from his absence. He ended his conversation swiftly, and was still gaping at her while he closed his cell phone. "Wow, Keela. You really do clean up very nicely." he said. "Not that you don't usually look nice, you just look... very nice tonight." He amended. His eyes were hungry. Maybe he would ask her out after tonight. "Thank you, Nathaniel. I was going for a miracle on short notice, but all I could find in a hurry was black. I hope it's not too much, but I was thinking if I were going out to dinner with an absolute stranger I really didn't want him to think of me as the sloppy spinster I usually show up as to work." Oh, god... she thought. Insert foot into mouth. "Oh, I didn't mean to imply-" "No, it's alright! I was only joking." Not really, she thought, but tried to place the blame back on herself. She didn't want to stand here offending her excessively handsome boss' chivalrous nature. Especially after he had looked at her that way. "Well, shall we be going?" he asked. "Yes, I think I'm ready... Did you check to make sure his flight wasn't delayed or early? I'd hate to think of him having to wait on us." she said.

"Oh, yes. I'll be riding with you to pick him up, my meeting got pushed back a little.” Nathaniel didn't add that he'd pushed it back. “Darrin, my driver, will drop me off at my restaurant and continue on with you. Ladies first," he said as he opened the door for her. She realized the whole evening was going to be a nightmarish affair as she climbed into the back seat of the car. The dress she wore revealed much more than she had thought when she'd tried it on. She was surprised to find that more of her legs than she wished to show off were visible as she sat in the seat. She was self-conscious, and immediately started trying to pull the dress down more to cover what was exposed. As she sat there, very uncomfortable, waiting for Nathaniel to join her, she worried anxiously over how much more of a fool she might appear to be in front of his brother for the remainder of the night. She had never been much of a clumsy person before she had met Nathaniel. In fact, she was proud that she had looked half-ways co-ordinated in her high school gym class. It just seemed that in front of a very handsome man she tended to trip over her own feet constantly and drop things she would otherwise have no difficulty holding onto. For the past three years she had been trying to tell herself that Nathaniel was probably used to women making fools of themselves over him. She could only pray that he didn't secretly laugh at her. She was surprised when the car stopped, sooner than expected, in front of the airport. She hadn't been that deep in thought, had she? She hadn't even tried to make small talk with Nathaniel. "Would you like to come in with me to meet my brother or wait here?" He asked as the driver opened his door to let

him out. She decided to join him because sitting alone in the car would only make her worry more about the imposed date. They headed inside the crowded airport and made their way to baggage claims. Nathaniel soon stopped walking, deciding to wait out of the way, and explaining that he always met him at baggage claims so he never had to venture too far into the crowds. The airport was very noisy as people started gathering around one of the conveyors that would eventually produce luggage for the expectant crowd. Keela used this time to watch the people chatter. There was a mother holding a very young toddler and trying to keep an older child at bay as they waited, obviously, for a stroller. There couldn't possibly be a way to carry a baby and hold a child's hands, while dragging luggage behind her. With nothing else to do, Keela decided to see how this brave woman possibly managed. Too quickly, though, Phillip arrived. He was just as handsome as his brother, making Keela's stomach turn into a vast butterfly field. They almost looked like twins, except the subtle differences in the way in which they wore their hair. Astonished, Keela blurted out "Oh my God! You are TWINS!" she flushed. Then flushed even darker as she realized that her mouth was still hanging open in shock and both men were eying her, full attention. Nathaniel broke the ice by introducing them. "Keela, this is my brother Phillip. We aren't twins, really. But we're only a year and a few months apart in age. Our mother loved me so much, she thought she might be able to double her luck. But then HE was born and we all gave up that idea." he said playfully shoving his brother. She'd never seen him look so young, and instantly had to stop herself from ogling at him.

"So, this is my date for tonight, eh?" Phillip said as he checked her out from head to toe, obviously liking what he saw. " My horrid brother didn't tell me how stunning you were on the phone when he called to tell me he was setting us up for the evening." If Nathaniel had daggers in his eyes, they would be stabbing Phillip right now. Phillip had taken her hand and was now brushing his lips over it. Keela felt like she might swoon. He let her hand go, never taking his eyes away from hers. She blushed deeper than she had when she'd realized she'd shouted at them. She mumbled something along the lines of a thank you as she dropped her eyes away from him. "Yes." Nathaniel said slowly, obviously not missing the display of appreciation his brother had bestowed upon her. "I forgot to warn you that my brother is an impossible womanizer, Keela. Maybe this wasn't the best idea..." "Oh please, Nathaniel. No need to go and get territorial on me. I promise to be on my best behavior all evening. I won't leave her anything less than satisfied that I am indeed a gentleman." Phillip promised. "I'm sure her satisfaction is your most important thought at the moment," Nathaniel responded, narrowing his eyes. "Well, I think we had all better get going, " Keela said, trying to break the tension between the two brothers. "You don't want to keep a prospective client waiting, and I'm sure Phillip is hungry after his flight." "Yes," Nathaniel added, almost reluctantly. "Business before pleasure." It seemed to Keela that maybe that last part was directed just to her.

Keela had remained as quiet as possible during the ten minute drive to drop Nathaniel off at the restaurant where he was meeting with the client. She didn't want to interrupt the brother's reunion. She ignored them as they caught up with each other's recent life events. Instead, she wondered if her night had taken a turn for the better, since maybe... just maybe she had two men's attentions. For now, anyway. She had better savor the flattery before she went back to the next project obsession and forgot that she was even a woman at all. The pressure on the seats changed abruptly, as she realized that Nathaniel was getting out of the car. She must of zoned out, because she hadn't even realized the car had stopped moving. Nathaniel was saying his farewells, and had added something to the effect of a warning to be careful, but to have fun. He was a little reluctant to leave, but was also in a hurry as he was sure the client was now waiting on him. He must have mistaken his brother's flattery for real interest, she mused. Then it happened. She was alone with Nathaniel's equally handsome brother. With nothing to say, she tried to keep her eyes downcast and avoid staring at him. It was a difficult task. "So, you work with my brother?" Phillip asked casually, breaking the silence. "Yes, he is the boss. I am one of his editors. I've been working there since the company started." she tried to sound confident, but it seemed to her that she sounded like a scatter-brain, answering his question vaguely. The rest of the way to the restaurant was uncomfortably silent, and when they arrived, and were seated, they both stared off into space, each trying to think

of something to say. "Are you usually this quiet when you are out on a date with a stranger." Phillip asked, teasingly. "I don't usually go out on dates with strangers. Or at all." She supplied. "Not at all? Not even with my brother?" He asked, interested as if she were so intriguing. Something had to be wrong with Nathaniel not to notice this angel, he thought to himself. "Not at all, and not even your brother. He has never asked me. As a matter of fact, this would be the first time we have seen each other outside of work. Except for two dinners I've come along for, but I view that as work. We were discussing editing with clients." She explained to him. "That would explain why you look so uncomfortable." Obviously, if Nathaniel didn't want her, she was up for grabs. "I'm not. Uncomfortable. Just out of practice. Very out of practice. I think my last real date was in college." "You can relax, you know. I won't bite, unless that's what you're into." He smiled seductively. She flushed, "Oh." "You start with music, books, and other light subjects and then work your way towards more intimate things. I like to work backwards. You're so tense, I've found myself wondering when was the last time you were with a man at

all? In the biblical sense." He said. She choked on her wine. "I... uh...d-don't..." Flushing deeper than she thought was possible as her mind went blank. He started chuckling. "I wasn't being serious, I was just getting your attention." "Then I don't have to answer that question?" "Not if you don't want to" he said, still chuckling. "Good. So, what kind of music do you prefer?" She tried to change the subject quickly. "All kinds." He said and then launched into an account of his latest favorites. He had been trying to get a rise out of her, to get her thinking about sex with him. She'd managed to change the subject, using his own suggestion to do so. He might have to resort to dirty tricks. He wanted this one. Dinner passed by quickly that way. They talked about all the topics he had brought up eventually. She found herself relaxing in his company, and enjoying it. Before long, the meal was over and they both kept talking, waiting for the check. Their waiter approached and explained that the check was already covered and asked if they wanted more wine. Since they were getting along pretty well and it wasn't very late, yet, they both excepted and kept talking. Phillip, despite being sinfully good looking, enjoyed being outdoors and camped for weeks at a time in Washington. Keela enjoyed his descriptions of the beautiful mountains he had seen and the places he had spent time in. Before long, she had consumed too much wine and the meal wasn't preventing her from feeling it's

effects any longer. They both got up and waited for the driver to appear, still discussing scenery of various different places they had been. Keela felt like she wasn't contributing much, since she hadn't been to as many places as Phillip had. So she silently absorbed all of what he said, developing mental pictures of the places he described and soaked up as much of the cool night air as she could in an attempt to clear the effects of the wine from her head. They got into the car together and began heading towards Phillip's hotel. The silence had descended upon them once again, as if being in motion at suddenly swept them both into deep thought. As they pulled up to their destination, Keela noticed that Phillip looked as if there was something he wanted to say. "Would you like to come up for a drink?" Phillip asked, hesitantly. "Well, alright, just one drink." Keela responded. She realized that she just didn't want this night to end. Maybe it was the dress, the company, or the wine, but she hadn't felt this confident in a while and she didn't want to spoil it. Keela didn't spare much time for personal experiences, and she thought maybe she could have just a bit more fun with Phillip before she went back home and back into the boring, normal experiences. She would wait for Nathaniel to join them. The night was full of possibilities. When the driver opened the door to allow Phillip out, he reached back and grabbed Keela's hand. Holding it as he led her into the massive hotel doors. Keela couldn't help but absorb the giddy emotion that threatened to overwhelm her at his touch. It wasn't right, she realized. She might have made a mistake going up to his room with him. She just couldn't stop herself, now. She was sexually charged. She hoped Nathaniel would join them soon, before she did something stupid with his brother.

She was no fool. She knew that accompanying a date to a private location after the date was over meant that sex might become involved. She was twenty-five years old, though. Well past a fully capable adult and she had still never experienced sex. Being a virgin at twentyfive was just plain ridiculous to her and unacceptable. Maybe she would just take that next step tonight. Plenty of women had one night stands, and she could, too. She just wanted it to be with Nathaniel. She shook her head. She didn't know why she was thinking like this. She was in love with Nathaniel. She would just go with him to wait for Nathaniel. She wanted to see him tonight before she left.

Chapter Three "Alone, at last"
The anticipation for Keela had become nearly overwhelming. She followed Phillip into the room feeling as if maybe her head was separated from her body. Then she reminded herself to look around the room, and gasped. The room was varying shades of gold with beautiful artistic pieces covering the walls and expensivelooking furniture laid out in a practical form, but in no way diminishing the size the room had. The size of this room alone was at least her apartment, plus half of her neighbor's apartment. There was a bar to her right that appeared to also function as a small kitchen, with a microwave and a tiny refrigerator. To the left, the living area opened up into another room, in which she could see a massive, beautiful canopy bed where once again the color gold was applied in varying shades. This room must be expensive, she thought to herself and then remembered that she didn't know much about Phillip at all. "Phillip, I forgot to ask what exactly you do for a living. This room is amazing and must have cost a fortune." Keela said, letting her curiosity rule her. "Well, at the moment I consider myself an adventurer." He said with a non-chalet shrug. "Nathaniel and I come from a wealthy family, and our parents passed away when we were quite young, leaving us with enough money to support ourselves comfortably for the rest of our lives. Nathaniel founded that company because he was bored. Now he's merely determined to see it become very successful. He'll probably eventually sell it and move on to his next interest. Books seem to be his forte, so it may well be along those lines. Ideas Abound seems to be doing pretty well, now. He may get bored soon without

much challenge left in it." He explained further. "I had no idea about your parents, I'm truly sorry. Nathaniel and I have really never spoken much about ourselves to each other. He's very professional. I had assumed he came from a comfortable background, but I never had the nerve to ask." She admitted. "Well, it was a very long time ago." he dismissed the subject. "Shall we have a drink?" He asked, walking towards the bar. "What is your poison?" "I'll have whatever you're having." Keela said, hoping he wouldn't choose something too potent, but expecting it at the same time. The giddy feeling still hadn't left her, and she could still almost feel the electric feeling his hand had left behind on hers. Adonis could, in no way, compare with either Nathaniel or Phillip York. Phillip handed her a glass filled with ambercolored liquid, as she sat down on the only piece of furniture that didn't look as delicate and breakable as the others. She sniffed it suspiciously, and took a small sip coughing and choking on the fiery flavor of it as Phillip chuckled. "I do apologize. I am a rather big fan of Brandy. It must come from my English genetics. Would you like something else?" he asked. "No, thank you, I was just surprised. I don't think I've ever had brandy." she admitted. She took another drink, successfully avoiding choking. And then another. "See, just takes some getting used to. It's actually quite good once it stops burning your insides." she said. Phillip laughed out loud at this. "I still occasionally have the same problem. Especially if the brandy is rather young. Just out of curiosity..." he said as he leaned toward her on the love seat they shared. Her heart immediately began fluttering and the room dropped away. Eyes half closed in anticipation of a kiss, she realized that he had merely been reaching for her one

piece of jewelry. The small, delicate piece looked even more fragile between his large hands as he examined it. She shouldn't let him be so close. She wanted Nathaniel, and she kept having to shout that at herself to keep from jumping onto his brother. "Oh, it was my mother's. Sort of a family heirloom, actually. My grandmother immigrated here from Ireland during the famine. This was her most valuable possession, and although she was half-starved when she arrived, she refused to sell it. It's not a grand piece, but it would have saved her life. Instead, my grandfather rescued her by buying her a meal when he found her passed out on the harbor." she explained the piece, feeling as if she might be suppling too much. She seemed to be prone to nervous chatter around strikingly handsome men. "That is rather romantic. I assume they fell in love and were married immediately..." "No, not quite," she cut him off. "They had a brief affair as he helped her find employment, and he left her shortly afterward. She was heartbroken and died giving birth to my mother. My mother was adopted by a middle-class family who lost everything during the depression. She never finished school and worked odd jobs and traveled a lot until she met my father. He left when I was very young, but supplied her with enough to live from and sent money for me to go to school. I only met him a few times that I can remember, but he stayed until I was almost three. My mother died while I was in college of breast cancer. She was only forty-eight years old." Keela kept her eyes lowered so he couldn't see the pain talking about her mother caused. She was confused as to why she had told him anything at all. She never talked about her mother to anyone. She still missed her terribly. "Are you okay? You look like you're about to cry." Phillip stated. "Oh, no, I'm so sorry. It was years ago." Keela said,

forcing her thoughts away from her mother. Maybe this was why she was still a virgin. She couldn't help saying too much sometimes. She hoped she hadn't ruined the mood. She smiled slightly. "Keela, I have a confession to make" Phillip said after a short pause. "I haven't been able to think of much else but kissing you since we first met at the airport." Keela felt as if all the air had left the room and all the blood had rushed to her face. "You see, you're so beautiful-" her heart started fluttering, and she incredulously tried to grasp that last sentence. But Phillip interrupted her thoughts by pulling her into his lap and meeting his lips with her own. Keela was stunned and after a few moments realized she was holding her breath. She sighed against his mouth as he deepened the kiss. The room seemed to fall away around her as the kiss went on. She seemed to have lost control of her senses, as she pressed herself closer to him, still needing to be closer, yet. The electric tingling she had felt earlier seemed to be coming from everywhere that their skin met and collecting to warm her insides. The tightening of her womb intensified her need and she realized that every part of her body cried out for something. Needed something. Nathaniel! She tried to keep herself focused. It didn't work. Phillip was only just beginning as he lifted her into a new position. She didn't feel the movement at all, just his hands as they glided up her back, lifting her effortlessly and re-positioning her to straddle him on the small love seat. She felt her hands tangle in his hair as she tried to press herself into him once more. Nothing seemed like it was enough as the kiss dragged on. She vaguely heard a noise as he ended their kiss and realized that she had made it. In protest. She didn't want him to stop kissing her, wanted the feel of his lips against hers to last forever. Phillip had another idea in mind as he reached behind her and began unzipping her

dress. His hands were warm on her shoulders as he slid the straps down her arms, leaving a tingling feeling in their wake. Her head had dropped back almost lazily, her eyes half-closed. And then his mouth was on her again. Kissing her neck, nibbling as he worked his way down to her breast. She had never done this before, never imagined. Her hips were moving slowly of their own accord and as he captured the nipple of her left breast in his mouth, she might have moaned. She wasn't sure. All she could do was feel. Then she realized she was moving. Being carried like a child to the bed. She hadn't even realized they had gotten up, this was happening so quickly. Maybe it was the alcohol making her braver than usual. Maybe it was just the right time for this to be happening. She didn't want to think about it. And he was kissing her mouth again as he set her down on his bed, making all her thoughts flee instantly. His clothes were gone and she hadn't even realized he was removing them. Her dress, too, was missing. She could feel all of his satiny skin against hers as he settled in on top of her. She didn't want to think about it, so she began running her hands over his body as their kiss continued. Lost in the sensation of something building deep within her. She felt his shoulders, wide and strong and the muscles on his back, thrilling at how very hard they seemed to be. He was kneading her breast, stopping occasionally to tease her nipples as she moved her hands lower, still. She could feel his erection against her thigh, and began moving her hands toward it with purpose. It was a curious thing for her to explore, and she knew she couldn't stop herself from reaching for it. Her finger traced the length of him and he tensed slightly at the tease. Breathing heavily into her ear, he made a strangled sound as she closed her hand over him. She gasped at the size, wondering... "Keela, my god! I have to have you right now, or I may

die!" He said, as he removed her hand and positioned himself above her. "Phillip... I haven't..." she attempted to tell him, but he was no longer paying attention. He kissed her deeply at the same time as he thrust into her, causing her to gasp and tense immediately. He paused over her mouth and she feared that he may stop now at the surprise of finding her a virgin. She moved involuntarily, and he lifted himself to look into her eyes as he withdrew and thrust into her once again. Desire pooled back into her eyes as she felt the fullness of him leaving and then returning once again very swiftly. Again, he pulled back and thrust into her, looking into her eyes. His eyes seemed to turn black all at once and she thought maybe they looked hungry. She didn't care, he had built up a fiery tempo the she was attempting to match as their lovemaking went on. She felt his mouth against her neck again as the tension built inside her even more, to the point that it was almost painful, but more pleasurable than she had even imagined. And as she rode the wave of the pleasure up to it's highest peak, she felt his teeth on her neck as she let go, experiencing wave, after wave of pleasure that was making her breathing jagged with the force of it. And before she could stop to catch her breath, he increased the speed of his thrusts, sending her reeling into another orgasm as her body arched under him and her scream filled the room around them. He must have followed her over the top because as soon as her head became clear, she realized that they were tangled together, breathing rapidly, both still trying to catch their breath. She had never known, never realized. She had no idea what she had been missing out on all these years. She just lay there breathing, marveling at the sheer wonder of such a thing. Allowing herself to slowly sink back into her body from the wondrous flight she had just had. Nathaniel's face swarmed back into her consciousness. She had ruined it, she had slept with his

brother. Maybe there was a way for him to never know... "How old are you?" Phillip broke into her thoughts by asking. "Twenty-five" she responded simply, a little disappointed that he had broken the silence of her epiphany. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you or anything? I didn't even consider that you were... inexperienced. I've never been with a virgin before." "I'm fine. It was... I shouldn't have let this..." she searched her brain to try to find the words. "It was for me, too. Can I get you anything?" He abruptly lifted himself from her and she shivered at the cold left behind without his body. She tried to follow him with her eyes as he strode, naked, away from her. He was almost running towards the bathroom and she could hear running water as soon as he was out of her view. He didn't understand her. She hadn't been complimenting him, she had been about to tell him she'd made a mistake. He appeared a few seconds later with a wash cloth and strode towards her purposefully. She had no idea what it could be for except- Oh, no. She had completely forgotten that virgins bleed. Her face turned a dark shade of red. She attempted to sit up, but he put a slight pressure on the middle of her chest to stop her. "I'll take care of you, just sit back and relax." She allowed him to open her legs as she was sitting half way up, resting on her elbows. She watched his eyes widen as he surveyed the damage, then turn black again. She felt a little stab of fear, as if this should somehow be wrong, but his mouth was there. His hot breath on her still sensitized flesh made her gasp and sit straight up. He was parting her, not even caring that she had moved and his tongue slipped out to run over her most sensitive spot. Her back arched immediately of it's own accord and she fell back onto the bed as his tongue started to dance over her. The cloth had been forgotten, everything had been forgotten as

he worked over her, bringing her up to another climax, the force of which made her scream as she went over once again. And he wasn't done. He was on top of her next, entering her more easily this time. Setting the tempo, and heightening it as he drove her over peak after peak. Sometime later, they lay together. Snuggled up in the bed, the covers over them. Both still awake, but neither talking when a phone rang. Phillip let it go a few times and then turned her head towards him to kiss her before getting up to answer it. She stayed there in his bed, daring not to think of all that had happened. She would have plenty of time to think later. She could hear him talking on the phone in the next room, but couldn't make out any words. She looked at the clock beside the bed and acknowledged that it was after midnight. Maybe she would just stay here and then take a taxi to her car in the morning. She closed her eyes and started to let herself drift of too sleep. That's when it happened. White hot pain started to build in her stomach and spread slowly outward toward her limbs. As the first wave brought her back to the room she was in, she realized the second wave was just beginning. She gasped in pain and sat up while she threw back the covers. The cool air in the room didn't seem to help much with the pain and she could feel herself starting to break out in sweat. She tried to regulate her breathing as the third and fourth wave struck her. The fifth wave sent her running for the bathroom and screaming Phillip's name as she ran. She made it just in time to throw up into the porcelain toilet. Her stomach was still heaving when Phillip appeared in the doorway, she looked up at him expectantly as another wave of pain struck her. “Get Nathaniel!” She shouted as she passed out naked on the cold bathroom floor.

Chapter Four "Keela"
The pain was intense enough to wake me as another wave overtook her body. She realized that Phillip had picked her up and was cradling her in his lap. She knew she was probably looking particularly pathetic. She was naked and covered in vomit. He would have to help me dress to get me to the hospital. This must be some kind of food poisoning. He had pulled a towel down on me to cover most of my body. It was uncomfortable, but I didn't trust myself to move without screaming. The pain was constant now. There were no few seconds in between for me to even ask for him to get the vomit off of me. It was all I could smell and it was overpowering. I coughed so hard, little specks of light danced in my vision. My heart was working overtime, reinforcing my suspicion that this was some kind of infection I'd picked up from our earlier meal. I am going to write a very nasty letter to that restaurant. Phillip had his cell phone in hand and was waiting for someone to answer. "Who?" I asked. It was all I could manage. It would be dreadfully embarrassing if he were calling 911 to haul me out of the hotel. I would prefer to try to walk to a taxi and be driven to the nearest emergency room. "Nathaniel, we have a problem." He said into the phone. I wasn't sure if I'd been as able as I'd thought to speak aloud. Or if he was just ignoring me. Maybe he was expecting Nathaniel to come and take me to the hospital. He was speaking so quickly, I couldn't concentrate to keep up. I eventually gave up trying. After a few minutes when it seemed like he was done with his conversation, I lifted my head using all the strength I had within me to meet his eyes expectantly. "He's on his way." And that was all he supplied as he

picked me up, and carried me into the next room to lay me on the bed. My mind couldn't think of whether to be embarrassed by my nudity, and I came to the conclusion that I was too far gone to care. Besides, this man had just given me glorious sex an hour ago. I tried to ask him, instead. "Clothes?" I was sure this time that I'd made audible noise. "You will definitely not want to be wearing clothes, but I am going to cover you up with a sheet. Don't want my brother getting too much of an eyeful." He said as he draped the sheet over me. "Doctor?" I tried to convey my confusion. "I'm sorry, we can't take you to a doctor. Nathaniel wants to explain what's going on. He should be here very soon." He left the room after that. I could tell he felt guilty, but I was in serious pain. Of course I had to see a doctor. What if I died of food poisoning? They could get into some serious trouble. I had to go after him. I had to try to explain that I needed to see a health care professional of some kind. All I needed was an antibiotic. I kicked my legs around with all the force I could muster. They made it about three inches. This was going to be a little more difficult than I had thought. Instead I attempted to roll. It didn't seem to be doing any good, either. My body just wasn't responding to me anymore. I knew I wasn't paralyzed, I could still feel everything. The pain running through my arms and legs was just as intense as it was everywhere else. If I concentrated, I could feel my big toe throb. I tried to lift my arms, but they felt like dead weights. As if my body had gone to sleep while my brain was still awake. Except that everything hurt as well as feeling like dead weight. I had managed to make some progress, though. The sheet had fallen off the top part of my body when I had tried to move my arms. Quite a bit

of my breasts were showing already. I could only hope that Phillip returned before his brother arrived. Otherwise I would never be able to look him in the eye at work without becoming embarrassed. I resigned myself to waiting. I began counting to ten over and over in my head. I had tried going to one hundred, but I had lost count at about thirty. I couldn't seem to concentrate very well because my arms and legs had started twitching. Part of me wanted to scream to get Phillip back into the room. I might be having a seizure, for all I knew. Then I went over what little first aid I remembered and came to the conclusion that people who had seizures weren't aware when they were having them. The twitching seemed to be getting stronger and my arms had joined in on the misery. I could feel muscles in my back that I'd never paid attention to before start jumping as if in the same frenzy the rest of my body was experiencing. I heard voices in the living area of the suite and began to feel a little mental relief. Nathaniel had arrived. He could probably be persuaded to take me to the hospital. "Keela," Nathaniel said as he appeared by my side. "I'm going to need you to focus as best as you can as I explain what's happening. Can you do that for me?" I groaned in response. As long as he was talking, I would listen. This was the man I loved. "You're going through what we call a conversion. Phillip says he bit you twice, and we can only guess that the unprotected sex caused enough of the virus to be transfered into your system for the change to start." He explained. My thoughts were a panic. He said virus? Conversion? Phillip bit me? Why wasn't I aware of that? I got it from having unsafe sex with him, so was this like an STD? That was so unfair! It had only been my first time. I could see myself giving a speech to high school

students on the dangers of unprotected sex. What kind of virus was this? "You see, Keela, Phillip and I aren't really human. We are what you would refer to as vampire." He said. My thoughts were once again screaming at me. "We don't kill people, we just need blood to survive. It's not so bad. We are more handsome than average people, we don't grow old or die, we have many gifts that humans don't have, and we're generally good, and decent." Phillip had decided to appear on my other side, still looking like the guilty party. I turned my head to glare at him. It was slowly becoming easier to move. "I'm sorry, Keela. Truly. I wasn't expecting you to be a virgin and when there's blood involved in anything I can't control myself. That being said, I shouldn't have bitten you the second time, but in my defense, I wasn't aware that I would infect you through sexual contact. It has never happened to me before." I nodded my head to him and decided to try to speak. "I think I'm starting to feel a little-" I cut off. There was fire in my chest all of a sudden. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move. My back arched up off the table as if I was being lifted my an unseen force. I was aware of a loud screeching noise, but I realized that I was making it. It sounded foreign and far away. The last thing I remember before I lost consciousness was my body slamming back down onto the bed. They were going to be very sorry when I woke up.

Chapter Five "Phillip"
Phillip couldn't believe himself. What was it about this girl that had made him forget the necessary precautions? It could just be that he hadn't made love to a woman in over fifty years. She had been a virgin! What kind of woman stays a virgin until she's twenty-five and then gives it up so easily on a first date with a man she hadn't previously met? Never mind that, he thought guiltily, I may have pushed her to accept me. Phillip couldn't help but silently rage at himself anyway. All of this was his fault. He'd even had to call Nathaniel in to make matters worse because he wasn't sure how to care for someone going through the conversion. "What do we do, now?" He asked his brother. "We wait. She will sleep a little time more. Do you have any blood here?" Nathaniel asked. "Yes. I always bring a supply when I'm in the city, you know that." He said, annoyed that there was nothing to do but wait. There were so many more options for the modernday vampire. If you knew the right undead, you could be just as civilized as a normal human. Things had changed so dramatically in the last century. There was a vampire named Thorn who was currently located in Canada who owned a blood bank. The need to take from a human was unnecessary, but still a pleasure many vampires still enjoyed on occasion. The blood arrived as it would to a hospital, cold and in a flimsy plastic pouch. You had to keep it cold to preserve it, so in times of need you had to drink it cold. Fresh from a human vein, blood flowed warm and seemed to taste better. Phillip hadn't been able to stop himself from taking Keela's blood during their lovemaking. He had instantly

smelled blood as he had breached her hymen. It had been impossible to resist, and he had gained enough control over the years to be better able to not kill her when he fed. Indeed, he had thought only to taste enough to hold the beast at bay. He had even been successful, but then when he attempted to help clean her up, the sight of the blood on her legs and the small pool underneath her had, once again, been too overwhelming to resist. He had taken her a second time after that and hadn't taken the necessary precautions. And indeed, he had bitten her again during that round of lovemaking. He couldn't think of why he had done it, it had been almost like an instinct. Thinking of all that had passed between them was making Phillip distinctly uncomfortable and triggered another wave of guilt. She was lying there in the sleep stages of the conversion, and he was hard with wanting her again. He may be going mad. Phillip reached over and pulled the sheet up to recover her breasts. It had fallen down all the way when her body had arched up during the heart conversion stage. The sight was making it equally as difficult to keep his thoughts directed on the present. Nathaniel had noticed, too. Phillip found he didn't like the idea of Nathaniel having seen her unclothed body. And why should he? She had given herself to him, and she was his. Until he tired of her anyway. "Phillip, I have to ask what your plans are. You know, for when she awakes?" Nathaniel asked interrupting Phillip's thoughts. "She will come with me. We should be married to satisfy the paperwork and maintain appearances. When she is ready to be on her own, she will be welcome to leave. This is my fault, I will take responsibility for her." Phillip said, conscious that he didn't like the idea of such a breach in his solitude. "Do you think she will really allow that? She works for

me, she would have to leave her job to live with you in Seattle. You do know that she's the best I have, right? My company will suffer without her and a few of my clients will be disappointed. I will be disappointed..." He let his voice trail away. "You will make due. You were getting bored, anyway. This presents a new challenge for you." Phillip tried to reassure him. He may have just been trying to reassure himself that he could keep her. This possessiveness was just not like him. Outside of his brother, he really preferred little to no human contact. He could see all of that changing as he watched Keela change. It wasn't her, but he was aware of his need for someone. Someone he had not seen in a long time. Her skin was becoming paler, her hair was becoming more red. It had come loose when they were making love and then he had tried to hold it back when she was vomiting. It was turning into very tight curls. Slowly she was becoming more perfect. The changes were subtle, but if you watched for a time, you could see the differences taking place. She was beginning to look more like a life-sized porcelain doll. Perfect hair, perfect skin, just perfect. Phillip continued to watch until her heart fluttered and stopped. At that point, she stirred and awoke.

Chapter Six "Keela, Vampire Mistress Extraordinare"
I opened my eyes and looked around me. I didn't hurt anymore. I felt good, actually. Really good. Like I'd never been sick at all. I could hear Phillip and Nathaniel breathing next to me. I heard a knock at a door. It wasn't close enough to be our door. It was a hotel employee bringing a tray to someone down the hall. I could hear the employee clear his throat and the swish of the money being counted out as the guest paid him. He must enjoy working the top floors. He had made a $15 tip for his trouble. Looking around the room, I could see that much was the same as it was yesterday, but if I focused enough I could see the tiny intricate patterns I hadn't noticed before. The lights gave off rainbows of color not normally seen and I spent a full minute in awe. I still hadn't moved my body, but when I thought to sit up, I was instantly up. I didn't feel the normal struggle of my muscles against my body weight. It was as if I were weightless, because the movement was just so... easy. I looked at Phillip, then. He was still just as beautiful as he had been the night before. I knew Nathaniel was here as well, but he must not have realized I was awake. They both still had a lot of explaining to do, but I couldn't dispute the evidence that I was very much a different person than the night before. I would have to rethink my entire world later when I had the time to go to pieces over what I'd lost. I took a breath in an attempt to speak, and I stopped. I could smell EVERYTHING. The detergent smell of the fabric I'd been wrapped up in. The lingering smell of sex, the vomit on the floor of the bathroom that

obviously hadn't been cleaned up, and something very, very good. I sniffed the air curiously. It was Phillip. I was off the bed and on my feet in less than a second. It was very fast and I realized how fun that was, but I didn't have time to think about it further. I grabbed his hand and lifted it to my nose. I inhaled, it was so delicious. He broke my absorbent by chuckling. "I had thought you would be furious with me, but obviously I smell good enough to keep your anger at bay." he said, still amused. I glared at him, having been reminded why I should be upset. "You boys have a lot of explaining to do. I want some answers, and I'd better get them. Now." I said, just so they would have no question as to the seriousness of the matter. "Keela, why don't you put some clothes on and we'll meet you in the main room. I hope you don't mind, but Nathaniel's driver picked up something based on your size. It's simple, but I can drive you back to your home later to pick up some of your things. You'll be more comfortable in your own clothes." I hadn't noticed that I was still naked at all. What happened to the draftiness of the room I'd experienced earlier? Maybe I couldn't feel temperature changes anymore. Maybe I should hurry up and dress so I could get all my questions answered. I went into the bathroom with the sheet wrapped around my body. I knew I hadn't had the energy to care much when Nathaniel was there, but I didn't want him seeing more than he already had. I needed to look in a mirror. Just to make sure I hadn't turned into a hideous monster. Vampires were supposed to be ugly, weren't they? They were just beautiful when they were tricking your mind to suck your blood. I looked into the mirror. I still had a reflection, so

that was a plus. On myth down, many, many more to go. I looked pretty much the same. My hair was awful. This is what my hair would look like if I didn't dye it darker or have it relaxed every once in a while. It was going to be unmanageable. She'd just leave it how it was. It didn't even have any product in it and it seemed to be holding it's own. Everything looked much the same. My skin was now very pale, but it had a strange perfection about it that it'd never had before. Almost like it was pearly or iridescent. Beautiful, definitely. My eyes- Oh! My eyes are violet! This can't be right. My eyes hadn't been this way since I was a young child. They'd faded to a light blue by the time I was five. I didn't even believe the stories my mother had told me about them being violet. I've never even seen this shade in any other person before. It was nice, but it just wasn't what I was used to seeing in the mirror. I would have to find out if this was normal or not. I drew the simple, light pink cotton sun dress over my head and pulled it down to smooth it over myself. I hadn't worn a bra with the black dress I'd come in and I couldn't count on a man to remember underwear. He would probably have been too embarrassed. In this day and age people would think nothing of it, but it would probably offend his manhood. I would have to go commando, because I wouldn't be putting that uncomfortable thong back on again. It was also black, so a bad idea all around as it would show through this dress. I walked back out of the bathroom and towards the main room. I could hear Phillip and Nathaniel arguing while I was examining myself and dressing, but I was to busy to pay attention. I smiled to myself, realizing that I could have been eavesdropping very easily. It sounded like they had forgotten that fact. I was through wasting time. I didn't know all the details of what had happened to

me, but I knew that my life had just changed dramatically without my permission and very, very unexpectedly. I wanted to know a few things before I made the decision about what I was going to do. I rounded the corner and decided to try out this fast thing like I'd done getting up from the bed. I was in the chair before in an instant. To normal humans, it would have probably seemed like I'd appeared out of thin air. It was brilliant, and very exhilarating to feel the rush forward as I moved. I wondered how fast I could go. Could I break the sound barrier? That would be interesting. I'd edited a memoir once written by a pilot. He described it as uncomfortable and the first time he'd done it he'd been sick. I wondered if I would get sick. If I could get sick. I'd chosen this place to sit because I could see a cup full of liquid and it smelled too good to resist. No one was sitting here, so I had to assume they'd placed it for me. I was rather parched, I realized. I hadn't noticed until I'd smelled it. I knew what it probably contained, but I wasn't going to be squeamish until I had to bite someone. That thought wasn't sounding pleasant to me. I would probably have to be picky and demand only nice-looking, clean people to eat. My mouth wasn't going anywhere near a smelly homeless person if I could help it. Nathaniel and Phillip had stopped talking and were looking at me when I looked up. I was going to have to quiet my thoughts and pay attention. It was just so easy to be distracted by the ramblings of my brain. Calculating and recalculating movement in a way I hadn't been able to do before. Summarizing many different possibilities all at once. It was easy to get lost in all the thoughts going on. I brought the cup up to my mouth. The taste was unlike any other I'd ever experienced. Sure, I'd put a bleeding finger into my mouth to stop the blood a few times when I'd given myself a paper cut. It was no big

deal, blood didn't bother me. I am a woman. I'm used to blood. This, though, was different. It was bliss. It was like I could feel every part of my body absorbing it as I drank. Like a human would, after wandering the desert for days and finally finding a fresh water source, I downed the whole cup quickly. I set it back down and faced my former- maybe?- boss. "So, you two were going to explain everything you know to me?" I said casually. It was obvious that I'd figured out I was very different. What with the blood drinking and the quick movement and the way my brain was functioning far better than it had the night before. What I wanted to know were the specifics. How I was supposed to live from now on, the full list of abilities and limitations, and especially what business Phillip had biting me in the first place. How could I possibly feel so happy when I looked at Nathaniel? I was like him, now. Did that improve my chances with him? Would he forgive his brother and I for what had happened?

Chapter Seven "Nathaniel's Story"
I couldn't breathe, couldn't speak, couldn't do anything but stare at the lovely creature before me. She came into the room so quickly and quietly, that I hadn't seen her coming. Obviously she had already figured out the speed aspect of movement. She was there before I could react, otherwise I would have stood up. It was the gentlemanly thing to do. We were outside of the office, now the normal social manners were required. Her entire focus was the cup Phillip had set out for her when he'd emerged from the room and announced she was awake. I'd seen her go into the bathroom with a sheet wrapped around herself, but she'd just been a red blur, then. I knew her hair was going to be wildly red, I had watched the beginnings of it changing while she was asleep. I'd had to leave the room, then, because she was so exposed and I was having trouble keeping my thoughts where they were supposed to be. Then Phillip had said he intended on keeping her for a while. As if she were an object to be used and discarded when he was tired of having her. It had made me so angry that I'd left to mull over it in another room so I wouldn't be tempted to attack him. In all fairness, I hadn't made my feelings about her clear to Phillip. I'd even set them up on a mock date to keep him occupied while waiting for me. He couldn't know that I was interested in her. I was already furious with myself for being so incredibly idiotic. My clear motive had only been getting her comfortable with seeing me outside the office. I had intended on initiating a dating relationship with her. Plus, meeting my brother might have made me seem a little more approachable as she shifted from thinking of me as her boss and started thinking of me as something more.

She had already drained the cup and was setting it back down, empty, on the table beside her. She looked up, and her eyes shocked me to the core. They were an incredible shade of violet. I had been sure they were blue before. I remembered the moments when we'd both gotten lost in each other's eyes. I even recalled the embarrassed looks she would always get when one of us broke the eye contact. If I hadn't been such a stick in the mud, I would have asked her out long ago. Then this would have never happened until I had made up my mind for it to happen. Until she was committed to me and we were able to live together completely. Happily ever after. I looked up at Phillip to see if he was just as surprised as I was. He was staring at her like a hungry man looked at food. He didn't realize how lucky he was that she had given herself to him. There had to be some reason why she had. I had already asked Phillip if he had used his persuasion powers to get her into the sack, and he'd denied it. I'd also asked if she'd become drunk. He had gotten angry with me then and we'd started arguing about her. She'd interrupted us when she entered the room. He had to know by now that I was angry with him for doing what I'd not had the nerve to do myself. She was already looking to him as she should have looked to me. I hadn't known, either, that she had never been with a man, but now that I did I couldn't help but wish that that man had been me. Such a precious gift that could have been mine. She spoke. Her voice was almost musical as she asked me to begin explaining everything to her. At least she hadn't asked it of Phillip, first. That would have been more than I could take right now. "I don't know exactly where to begin with this. I was thinking about it while you were still asleep, and I can only think to start at the beginning. Phillip may choose to

tell you more about himself after I am finished, but I only know my own experiences." I looked up to her, and she nodded and waited, quietly, with the patience of a saint for me to begin. "I was born Nathaniel York in 1808 in London, England. Our family was wealthy and our parents were young and early into their marriage. I am a little less than two years younger than Phillip. We grew up together, shared the same tutors, the same friends and eventually went to the same boarding school. Our parents had taken to traveling, but by that time they'd gone in separate directions. They both died a few years apart. First my mother, then my father a little more than a year later. Phillip was my best friend as well as my brother. He was all I had left in the world, and he legally became my guardian at the age of eighteen after our father had gone. He was always a little more wild than I was, and while he went out at night in search of women I stayed home and buried myself in my books and studies. "The time we changed, I'd sent the staff off for the night and was sitting in front of a fire in the parlor reading and there was a knock on the door. A driver had carried Phillip up to the door and demanded payment. I assumed he was a little too drunk, but he was moaning so I wondered why he couldn't get up and walk the rest of the way to his own bed. I asked him quite a few times what he was doing lying there in the doorway, and he tried to talk to me. All I could understand was 'sick', so I carried him to his bed myself. He was burning up, so I worked up a fire in his bedchamber and went about the kitchen trying to find him some water. I don't know how long he'd been like he was, but when I came back he was asleep. I read for a time, thinking to be there when he woke in case he needed anything. I was going to call the doctor in the morning if he hadn't improved.

"When I awoke the next morning, the butler was lying dead on the floor by the fire. I thought Phillip had brought some strange illness into the house and the staff was dying. I walked about the house looking for my brother, thinking he was dead because he was no longer in the bed. I thought maybe the staff had move his body as I slept, not wanting me to see him lifeless. He was in the main parlor room when I found him. He was staring at the walls with a bemused look on his face. I asked him what he was doing, and he came at me and bit me. I was stunned. He was perfectly healthy and looked more handsome than he had the night before, and he was attacking me. I pushed him off, and sat down. That's when he told me about the night before. How a beautiful woman had seduced him and run off and he'd become sick and couldn't find a hack to bring him home. He had stumbled around all night vomiting on the streets trying to find transportation. The pain of it was intense, he told me. He kept apologizing to me for what he'd done. He knew, already, that the woman had changed him. She had told him before she left that when he was through he should come to find her. He was planning on leaving as soon as I woke, but he'd wanted to tell me so I wouldn't worry when he was gone. Then the pain hit me. He realized that he'd started the change in me. Phillip never got to leave that day because he'd decided to stay and take care of me. When I woke up, he called in one of our maids and I'd taken her life before I even thought to stop myself. It is almost an instinct. It is too strong to avoid. When we awake, we already have the knowledge of change and our bodies will feed without our consent. It was lucky that the butler had been about when Phillip had woken up. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here today. "For the first ten years after our change, we stayed in our residence. Phillip never went after the woman who

changed him instead staying to take care of me. I hated what we'd become and I struggled to accept the taking of life. Something you will never have to deal with. We have blood supplied to us through a company out of Canada run by another of our kind. You will never have to take directly from a human if you don't want to." "Good," Keela interrupted. "I was wondering about that and thinking that I didn't think I had the aptitude for it. I believe I could if I had to, but otherwise the thought is a little repulsive to me. Please do continue with your story, though." "After the first ten years was done, we realized that people were starting to speculate about us. It was time to move on. We hadn't grown any older. We searched throughout Europe for more of our kind, coming upon a coven in Romania. They were all about parties. Every night they had humans there. Every night they discarded bodies all over the countryside. Myths and rumors were running rampant around their countryside. People were being persecuted as a result. Heads were being chopped off of corpses and wooden steaks driven into their hearts. It was sickening even to Phillip. We had stopped killing our victims years before. We tried to reason with a few of the coven. Explaining that they didn't have to live that way, they could feed without killing so many. They did not listen, because they enjoyed it. We left and made our way to America. We have been here ever since. Our kind are few and becoming fewer. We don't have to kill anymore. People donate the blood for us nowadays. We are not taking away from the human race, because the blood our company supplies is the blood that will be discarded anyway. "So, now you know how we came about. Is there anything else I didn't cover?" I ended my story.

"There wasn't much left out. We just moved about every ten years, shifted our positions, never living in the same city twice. Phillip tends to avoid humans altogether and live in the wild. He can feed off the animals as he chooses, or go into the city. It's not uncomfortable, but I usually prefer to stay busy in the human world. Building up companies just for the challenge, working closely with books, as is my passion." Keela thought for a few moments. He knew all the things she would, eventually, ask. Things that he wouldn't be able to answer for her because every vampire reacted to the change differently. Powers were different, bodies were different. The virus shifts the DNA a human already has and changes it to bring out certain traits or hide them. It changed the structure only to add a few more chromosomes that are needed to alter aging and the thirst for blood. It essentially made a human perfect, but still perfectly unique. "Yes, I do have some more questions. Other than the heightened senses and the speed, can I do anything else special? Like... read minds, move things with my mind, and those sorts of things? What if I don't want to live forever? How can we die?" "We have to burn completely and our ashes have to be scattered. It's not a very comfortable process. Fire is our only enemy. The only thing that can harm us. Sunlight is uncomfortable, but not enough to do any damage. You can move around in daylight as much as you wish, but you may have to wear sunglasses. Our eyes are the only thing that usually reacts to it. We can still see our reflections in a mirror. A steak through the heart will hurt, but we will not die. There is no aversion to garlic, and although I know of a few of our kind who can shape-shift,

not all of us can turn into a bat. You will have to figure out if you have any special abilities on your own. It is different for everyone." "Well, there is this one thing I could do before. My mother called it balancing. I could make a pencil or pen stand upright on it's own. I could do it for other things, too. I haven't done it in years, though. It's only handy when writing something by hand, and everything is on computer nowadays. My mother was into all kinds of things. She gave palm readings and did tarot for people as a hobby. She said that we had some psychic genetics, but as I was telling Phillip last night we don't know very much about my grandmother other than she immigrated here from Ireland, where she had my mother. She died in childbirth." Keela explained. "Then you will certainly have to try it soon. There are going to be a lot of new experiences for you to explore in the next few years. Phillip has already said that he wants you to come live with him in Seattle. The choice is yours, but I think it would be a good idea to stay with or near one of us for a while. We can help you establish your new life." "I don't think I'm ready for a new life, Nathaniel. Phillip, I hope you understand. I'm not rejecting you at all. I just want to go back to work, like normal. I want to go back to my home, just like normal. I like what I do." Keela stated. Her eyes were wide as she registered that a lot was going to have to change, after all. "I would not fire you, Keela. You can continue to work for me, but you'll have to set up an office at my home. Being too near humans is going to be difficult for a while. You will not be without self-control, but I couldn't

take a chance at having you pick off my employees if they happened into your area and were smelling good. It is almost unstoppable when you are thirsty. You will kill without meaning to. I would let you come to live with me. I could bring you your projects and take them with me when they are complete. I will tell the office staff that you have decided to work from home. Phillip is always welcome to stay, as well." He added that last part reluctantly. He wanted her to himself. He wanted her in his home with him. "Can I think about that for a while?" She said. Nathaniel nodded. He needed time to think as well. He needed to to think. There had to be some way to persuade them both. Otherwise he would have to uproot his company and relocate himself. He wasn't going to give her up to his brother that easily. Especially not when he loved her.

Chapter Eight “Keela: New Life”
Where could she go? They wouldn't let her leave the room for fear that she might come across a human alone. There was a sliding glass window leading to a balcony in the bedroom. She knew because she could smell the fabric of the curtains. Judging by the potency of the smell, those curtains had to be larger than the ones in this room. She had looked up from the sidewalk on her way in, she recalled the human memory. It was vague, but she had seen enough to remember that every room had it's own little balcony. This room had it's own large balcony. She stood up and walked to the room. Sure enough, the balcony was there. She opened the door and stepped out. The fresh air was wonderful. She could smell all kinds of things near and far away. The hotel restaurant, the smog coming from vehicles. The view was also breath-taking. The balcony boasted a small garden, and indeed it was welcoming. She sat down on a cement bench that was surrounded with potted plants. The soothing aroma of the plants made her forget that she was deep in the city. What to do about these men? She had loved Nathaniel silently for years. She couldn't deny that she was still curious how life would be with him. He still hadn't made any indication that he was interested in her, but she could tell by the way he looked at her. It was much like the way Phillip looked, there was just a little less sensuality involved. If she were wrong about him being interested, she would eat her shoes. She also didn't want to leave San Francisco. This was her home, this was what she knew, and this was where she wanted to be for now. She would happily move on to find something new later in life when she grew bored. She didn't have to go anywhere for another 10

years. It would take that long for the people she worked around to realize that she hadn't grown any older. Remembering the people she worked around, she couldn't very well work there anymore. They would notice the change in her, surely. Nathaniel had said something about working from home. His home. It seemed like a good idea, that way she could still do what she liked. He had said Phillip was welcome, too. Phillip was another subject. She still couldn't believe that she had jumped willingly into his bed, feeling as she did about Nathaniel. She liked Phillip. He was just as good looking as his brother. When they'd made love it had been very nice. She just couldn't see herself staying with him for forever. Nathaniel was an idea she had had time to think about. Being with Nathaniel made sense. They both loved books, they both worked with books. She worked for him and she could see herself working with him. They could have a good life together. Romantic issues were going to have to be resolved later, in any case. She wanted to get a good feel for this life before she settled. She would like to continue her work, so she was going to have to accept the option Nathaniel had given her. She would move into his home. She would no longer have to pay rent, and Nathaniel was very wealthy. She could just have him take her off the payroll in exchange for room and board. And for a little cash here and there to buy necessities. She could concentrate on her work like she always had. She could even try writing the novel she had always wanted to write. She didn't think of her newfound situation as a problem. She knew she should have been scared, or angry, or something. She just couldn't be. Nothing had really changed much, and her life hadn't been that great to begin with. This was going to be exciting. She was Keela, Mistress Vampire Extraordinare. She could be a

superhero, except without all the self-sacrificing mumbojumbo. It would be great. And she could try to be with Nathaniel. With her thoughts set in the right direction now, she decided to head back inside. She stood up to go back in and found herself going over everything Nathaniel had said to her. As soon as she had some more to drink, she was going to test herself out. See what she could do. It was a very curious new life she was encountering. Her possibilities were endless and she had forever. Back in the main room, Nathaniel and Phillip sat quietly, waiting for her to return. The watched her as she walked into the room. She definitely hadn't been wrong to assume they both wanted her. She knew Phillip would stay and try to convince her to be with him. She wanted him to, she wanted to be able to see who she would be better off with. She needed them both there to make that comparison. She sat exactly where she had before and took her time about doing it. She wanted them to wait for her. They both needed a little humility. “Okay, this is the plan. Nathaniel, I am going to take you up on your offer to stay with you and continue to work. Phillip, I would like you to stay. Perhaps we could get to know each other a little better, but I don't think that just because we slept together it means we should jump right in to moving in together. We should all get along splendidly. I would like to begin moving my things today-” “I can have a moving company take care of those issues for you.” Nathaniel supplied. “Thank you, that would be fine. Can your driver retrieve my cat? I do have a cat, by the way, is that going to be a problem?” She asked. She had forgotten about Peanut until now. Her poor kitty, she had never spent the

night away from home since she'd gotten him. Cats were resilient, though, he would be fine. “No, I don't see a problem with that. I have a few dogs that patrol the grounds. They're good animals and well trained. There should be no problem unless the cat gets out into the yard.” “I suppose we'll just have to be careful not to let him out, then. Now, I want to try that balancing thing to see if I can still do it. Do you mind retrieving me a pen or pencil?” This was the part she'd been waiting for. Anxiety was creeping in. She wanted to do this. She wanted to find out the full extent of what she could do. It might be more than what Phillip and Nathaniel could do. That would mean it was something. She had to still be able to do this if she had been able to do it as a human. Phillip produced a perfect number two pencil from the desk against the wall not far from where she sat. “Just place it on the coffee table. Do either of you have any idea how to do it? I mean, physically, how?” Keela asked them. “It's about the energy of the object,” Nathaniel said. “I've never tried it myself, but I've read about such things in books.” Alright, Keela thought to herself, energy was something to go on. She looked at the pencil on the table and focused. The pencil lifted to balance, just like it had always done when she was younger. She wanted to do more, though. This was about exploring potential as well as making sure she still had the gifts she'd had before. The pencil wasn't as co-operative as she wanted it to be. She knew what she was doing to get the pencil balanced, maybe getting the pencil to lift needed the same thing. She focused on the energy of the pencil and her own energy pouring out of her into the pencil. The pencil

lifted itself into the air. This action had so surprised Keela that she immediately pulled back her energy. The pencil fell to the table and began rolling off. Phillip quickly rushed forward to catch it, but Keela signaled him not to. She poured her energy into the pencil again. It stopped and rose into the air before falling off the edge of the table. This time it was not straight up and down. She corrected that in the same way she had balanced it. These were two different things. Balancing the pencil was effortless, almost like asking it. Lifting the pencil, on the other hand, took a little more concentration. Using all her concentration, Keela attempted to make the pencil dance. It took both a letting go of the balancing aspect, and more of the lifting aspect to make the object tilt from side to side. It was easy. Nathaniel and Phillip were watching her progress. She didn't think they seemed surprised. She wanted to surprise them. She pushed all the energy outward, toward the pencil. She felt it rush from her to the object and smelled the rubber as it started to melt. She quickly stopped. She would have to try that on a different object and see if fire was a possibility. A pencil wouldn't give the show quality she was looking for if it caught on fire. That, and the smell of rubber wasn't entirely pleasant. She started to let the pencil go, but held it there. She would see if she could do two objects at once, as well. The decorative candle on the bar rose up and floated past Phillip and Nathaniel, cutting right into the middle of them. They still didn't react. They were still watching her and the pencil, and now they allowed the candle into their view. She focused on the candle, now. She felt her energy build up and rush as it left her toward the candle. Wax flew everywhere, but when the initial wave of energy was done, the candle's wick was lit. Wax dripped down the candle onto the coffee table. The candle looked

like it had been well used. Phillip and Nathaniel's mouths were both open in shock. This would have to do as for as demonstrations go today, Keela thought, as she blew out the candles and let the objects rest on the coffee table once more. “Well, how did I do?” Keela asked, still amused by their shocked expressions. “Keela, you're a fire starter. I have never seen one of our kind that could do it. There's never been a rumor of a vampire doing it. It's almost unnatural, given that fire is the only thing that could kill us. Phillip, do you realize what this could mean?” Nathaniel was astonished. “Yes, Nathaniel. If she develops it appropriately, none of our kind would ever be able to harm her. It will only be a few more years before the Trinity catch up with us. If they see what she can do, they will hunt her until they all die. Or until she dies. “ Phillip let off a string of profanities. “Who is this Trinity? You never mentioned it before.” Keela asked, curious. “Trinity is a group of vampires intent of wiping our existence from the face of this planet. They hunt our kind and burn them. Nathaniel and I have run into them a few times, but as we don't hunt and kill humans anymore, they just seem to was us to join them. However, I might have offended them the last time they came. I killed one of their group that decided to attack without orders to do so, and although he was new, they didn't seem very pleased. When we again refused to join them, they were more displeased.” “Why would they do that? Why would they kill their own kind? Keela asked. “The leader has them all convinced he's a messenger of God and God wants them to kill us all off. We're supposed to be in league with the Devil and that's how we

were created. It's pretty laughable, mostly. Somehow, they are still quite dangerous. They have developed weapons against us and have a few within their group who can do some pretty horrible stuff. One can shoot lightening our of her palms. I once cut off her hands to escape. She had them back when they came for us again. Her aim hasn't been as good since.” Phillip laughed to himself. “ I'd just as soon they didn't try to kill me. Even if I could protect myself from them, I wouldn't want to kill someone if I had the choice not to.” Keela shuddered. “Phillip, we should all get going back to my house. I called a moving company while you were outside, Keela, And they should be arriving to your home by now. We should have you moved by noon, because it will be uncomfortable for you to travel otherwise. Darrin, my driver, was sent to pick up your cat and he will meet us down in the lobby within the hour. Phillip or myself can pick up your car from the parking garage later. You will need more blood before you can go into public with all the humans about.” “Of course. Nathaniel, how did you know I would chose to stay here instead of going on to Seattle with Phillip?” She asked, suspiciously. “Either way, I would have insisted that my brother stay to visit as planned. Your things would have been left in their boxes in my garage. I would have arranged for them to be sent to you, if you'd chosen to go.” Nathaniel said simply. She nodded back at him, dropping the subject. I guess he thinks of everything, she thought to herself. Phillip had another coffee cup full of blood in front of her directly. She had smelled it when he opened the little plastic pouch it came in, but her reaction hadn't been as instinctual as the last time. There was more control this time, as she didn't even feel the thirst. She drank it, anyway. Not wanting to accidentally cause the death of a

passing mortal. She would have to get used to that another time. For now, she had plans to hide out in Nathaniel's home. Burring herself in work was a sure way to avoid any mishaps as she adjusted to her new life.

Chapter Nine “Phillip's Plan”
Nathaniel's house seemed smaller to Phillip as they drove up to it. Perhaps it was because he may have to live there for a while. Phillip had been surprised to find out that his brother wanted Keela for himself. He had the distinct advantage of having known Keela longer. He didn't have the advantage of having had Keela in bed, however. She hadn't given either of them any hope, she had barely swooned over them as she had done before her change. Phillip hadn't like this and it had made his mood that much more sour. He had remained quiet, lost in thought since the astonishing display Keela had demonstrated. She was truly gifted. It had taken Phillip so many years to learn that he'd even had a talent. Talking to animals was not as great as blowing things up with your mind. At least he'd be able to show that off a little for Keela. Her cat was currently snuggled up in a carrying crate on Keela's lap. The creature had begun purring at the sight of Keela. The cat was secretly worried about the changes he sensed in Keela, but loved her and didn't care. The terror that had overcome him when Darrin had come to collect him was forgotten as soon as he smelled her. His only complaint at the moment was the carrying case, as indicated by the swoosh of his tail. They all entered the house upon arrival. Phillip already knew which room was his, he had stayed here enough before. The hotel room was only for privacy, as Phillip sometimes needed it. Getting used to human contact was different than getting used to Nathaniel after Phillip had been camping, so to speak, for so long. Phillip hurried off to his room alone, hoping to have more time to go over what he planned to do. He

didn't want to be in competition with his brother for one girl's affections. He needed to sort out whether those affections were truly what he wanted. He did feel strongly for her, however. Even if feeling strongly for her didn't mean for him that he wouldn't get bored eventually and go about his own way. No doubt Nathaniel's brand of love would last forever. Nathaniel was the rock, he stayed the course and never wavered. Phillip was more wild, preferring to change as change was necessary. Phillip needed someone equally as wild to keep up with him. Keela had already demonstrated that she preferred a solid, unchanging life. Even when the fates had thrown in a chance for a new life, she hadn't wanted to deviate much from her old one. Knowing what Phillip knew, he would have to stay the course for a little time yet to come. If only to encourage Nathaniel to change. Knowing Nathaniel as Phillip did, he would keep Keela in his home with his work excuse and then never make the appropriate move to allow a more romantic relationship. Keela would eventually leave and Nathaniel would kick himself and resign to wait for her to come back to him. Nothing would ever get done if Phillip wasn't there to be a threat, to force Nathaniel's hand at claiming the girl. He needed time to deal with his guilt. Had he known Nathaniel felt this way about her in the first place, he wouldn't have seduced her. He would never do that to his brother. Yet had he not, Nathaniel wouldn't have felt threatened enough to act now. He would have to tell them both. He knew this, and he didn't like it. The girl would be furious with him. Nathaniel might attack him. They had to know what he'd done, though. The both needed to know that this hadn't been her choice. He'd been quick to offer to take responsibility for her, but he knew that wasn't what he wanted. He would eventually break her heart if she had

been inclined to chose him. It was a good thing, now, that Nathaniel was acting for his place with her. Phillip would tell them, but that didn't mean he had to tell them now. He would wait until she chose Nathaniel. Then he would let the sparks fly. Still, the guilt was almost overwhelming. He had never kept anything from his brother in his life. He had already lied to him about this matter. He had manipulated Keela into his bed. He'd wanted a woman and she was there. She was wonderful, but she had never belonged to him. He would seek out the one who changed him when he was through here. He had procrastinated all these years. Tracking her would call a lot of attention to himself from the Trinity. If he came too close alone, it could be dangerous. He had no choice now, though. He knew what was missing in his life. The missing link was exactly what his brother felt for Keela. What he, himself, had only felt once before. It had been a long, long time ago. He needed to find her. He needed to know her. He only hoped it wasn't too late.

Chapter Ten: Nathaniel's Chance
This was Nathaniel's chance. Phillip had gone immediately to his room to broad, leaving him with Keela all to himself. His mind quickly calculated all he should tell her, but on the outside, he tried not to show any emotion. His home was large, but he would be putting Keela in the room next to his. Phillip's room was further away, which would give him the privacy he needed to persuade her to love him enough to stay. This was a complicated venture, and Nathaniel was used to being a man of few words. Over the years, as he watched Keela around the office, he had gotten to know her. The tense business mask she usually wore didn't show through when she was absorbed in her work. He had followed her home many nights and had watched her move about her tiny apartment from a safe distance. He had given her raises not only because of the excellent work she did for him, but also because he'd thought she might like to have better living conditions. She obviously hadn't minded the way he would have minded. He couldn't bear to think about living in such a tiny place. She had never moved and this had surprised him. She wasn't too unlike himself. He kept all of his properties even after he'd used them. Maintaining many identities and deviating between them as the years drew on. It wasn't so difficult to come back to a home after so many years. He would merely state that he was a grandson or a nephew come to collect his inheritance. No one ever asked questions, and he paid many people to keep it from becoming so. He had built up a nice existence. Everything about it was familiar to him. He could choose to work, or spend

years indoors reading or pursuing other ventures. It was a quiet life. He was more than willing to change all that for her. There was something so endearing about Keela as a human. He shouldn't have paid notice to her all those times in the office, but he found he couldn't help himself. She was so fragile, and so utterly human. She was clumsy. She would trip over things that weren't there, sometimes looking behind herself to find the excuse and finding none. Those expressions she wore on her face were comical, but he couldn't help but admire her. She brushed everything off that was unpleasant as if it had never happened, choosing to see only the good parts of life. Now that she was immortal. She was beyond lovely. She was graceful and beautiful. She was talented and tenacious. She was perfect for him and he would do anything to have her. Even if to have her he would have to hurt his brother. Phillip was clearly interested, but he was only interested in the physical package. When Phillip looked at Keela, he looked like a hungry man who could eat her up. When Nathaniel looked at Keela, he looked like a hungry man who would savor her like a new exotic flavor. “This room is where you'll be staying,” Nathaniel said to her, leading into the room that was also next to his. “You may decorate as you like, and if you should need anything, I am right next door.” “Where is Phillip's room?” Keela asked, curiously. “Phillip is on the other side of the house on the ground level. He enjoys his solitude when he's here.” Nathaniel explained. “Well, then. I will settle myself and Peanut in. Where will I find you in an hour?” She asked. She still had a few questions about this life and meant to have some

answers. “I'll be in my room. It's set up as an office, so there's no need to feel uncomfortable coming there to find me.” Nathaniel told her. “Why would it make me uncomfortable?” She asked him. Ah, but he had no choice. He would have to do it now that she'd left him an opening. His mind quickly flashed between such mental images as her beating him over the head with an umbrella like a little old lady, to her swooning into his arms and him carrying her to the bed beyond them and making love to her. The last mental image ruined his reserve and he bent down to kiss her. The world fell away from them. Time and space ceased to exist as he pulled her against him, wrapping his arms around her. This was bliss. This was what it should have been like from the day he interviewed her. She was so soft and yielding. Warm. She was magnificent. He would have to let her go, but oh how he wished he didn't have to. He'd read about this in books. He'd read everything he could find about exactly this. It still didn't prepare him for the perfection of it. To finally, after years of wanting just this, have it. His mind was blank for even the words to describe it. Her fingers locked around his neck as she tried to pull herself into him more. Her body fit against his so closely, he could feel the pressure of her against his erection. He groaned and pulled away. She wasn't ready for another man. She hadn't been ready for the first man, his brother. He couldn't get over the hell of the thing. The why. Why had she given herself to him? He looked into her eyes. They were so warm with desire and becoming more confused by the second. He couldn't deny himself another taste, but this time he kept it short. He left out all the burning desire he had poured into the last kiss. This was merely a possession. He had to

possess her, or make it clear to her that he intended to. She opened her mouth to speak as the kiss broke off. “Nathaniel... I'm confused. I need to think about this.” Keela said simply. “I understand, please take as much time as you need. I will try to explain myself when you come to me later, but I had to show you first.” And he was gone. He'd used all the strength he possessed in himself to leave her as quickly as he could. He wasn't embarrassed and he would never take back their kiss. He wanted her to be thinking only of him as she settled in. He would need to make her forget Phillip. It wouldn't be easy, but he would make her love him.

Chapter Eleven Keela's Choice
Keela had found that there was no sense in settling in. All her things had already been set up in the room Nathaniel had provided her. She sat, instead on the bed, releasing Peanut from the cage he was in. Peanut made one round about the room and then jumped up on the bed to be petted. He obviously hadn't appreciated the time apart and also the new accommodations, but was happily purring as she stroked his head. She sat there, absentmindedly petting the cat, and couldn't believe the turn her life had taken. It was almost too much. She needed to catch up. She had wanted Nathaniel from the moment she had seen him. He was perfect. He was her boss, and she tried not to think of him that way when it came to the business, but she had secretly wanted him. She used to fantasize about that kiss. She wanted that kiss with every fiber of her being since the day she had first saw him. She had slept with his brother! Why were the fates so cruel to her? Why had she done it? Her sane, rational mind would have never allowed her to fall into bed with a stranger. Her sane, rational brain knew she wanted Nathaniel with all the soul and breath her body possessed. It couldn't possibly have betrayed her like this to allow her to become intimate with the brother of the man she loved. Loved. She did love him. She always had. It seemed silly now to wait to be with him. If he could overcome the fact that she'd been with his brother, she would love him until the end of time. The end of existence. She would follow wherever he led her. She would be with him until time stopped. She would love him far, far longer. With her mind made up, she made to leave. She

had to tell Nathaniel. She went to push Peanut from her lap to stand. The cat protested. “I just get her back and she decides to leave me again.” Peanut thought. Keela gasped. She heard the cat. She heard the cat as if he were speaking aloud. Was she reading the cat's mind? Did she hear him aloud? How did this work? Feeling a little foolish, she decided to try to talk to him aloud. She had to test this out. Nathaniel will be very interested to know that she had more than she'd already demonstrated. “Peanut?” she asked. “What?” Peanut asked, drowsily. “Are you talking to me?” “OH MY GOD! I can HEAR you!” she shouted at the cat. He jumped up at the volume of her voice. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you,” she corrected quickly, still shocked. “Wow. This is kind of cool.” She mused. “You can tell me all about it later, I'm tired.” Peanut said, curling back into the bed. Huh. Her cat was grouchy. At least she could talk to him, now. This was a pretty cool new development. She left the room quietly so she didn't disturb Peanut, who had already fallen back to sleep on the bed. She turned towards Nathaniel's room and walked to the door, pausing. “Come in, Keela.” He said from inside the room. It was amusing that old habits didn't seem to fade with him. He always invited her in before she knocked at work, but at least now she knew how he did it. It had to be her breath, now. Her heart no longer beat quickly as it had before, but her breath did pick up. She entered the room. Still excited about this new development. She would have to show him. She remembered he had dogs he kept to guard the property. She could tell him she loved him, later. She had to show off her new talent.

“Nathaniel, can you take me to your dogs? I have something to show you.” She said. He was instantly confused and she could see it on his face. “Why do you need my dogs?” He asked, already impatient to find out. “Let's just go. I'll show you when we get there.” She beamed at him. It was her best smile and Nathaniel wasn't immune. “Okay..” he let his voice trail off. Further showing her that he was confused, but would play along. They walked silently, but quickly, to the kennels Nathaniel kept behind the garage. The dogs were huge, pure bred, Rototillers. They looked mean enough to make Keela hesitate. Nathaniel had already moved to open the gate to let them free. She froze as they approached her. They sniffed her feet, sat and looked up at her. She had been able to feel their excitement at being let free. “Who are you?” The biggest one had asked her. “I'm Keela, who are you?” She asked back. She saw Nathaniel's mouth open in shock. “The Boss over there calls me Runt. It's a joke. Tell him to call me something else, since you can understand me.” The dog had lifted his hand to shake hers as he'd introduced himself. He introduced the others to her, now, without having been asked. “This is Lady here, and over there,” he nodded to the other dog, who having been freed had gone off to sniff the ground and urinate on the lawn. “That's Brute. He's shy.” “It is nice to meet all of you. May I pet you, Runt?” Keela felt the need to ask. Animals normally liked her, but now that she understood them, she thought it might offend them if she didn't ask. Runt began wagging his tail when she asked. She knew he was going to let her before he said it. She felt his joy as if it were her own. Runt was happy to have made a new friend.

“Yeah, “ Runt said, lifting her hand onto his head. “You still gotta tell the Boss to change my name. I get no respect from the others.” He told her. She looked at Nathaniel, who still had his mouth open in shock. She smiled, amused by his expression. She was surprised, too, but delighted to be able to do this. She loved animals. Her apartment had only allowed her to own Peanut, for the reasons of space. Otherwise, she would have owned a farm. One of every kind and then whichever strays wanted to stay. “Runt, here, says he wants a new name.” She told him. “What kind of new name does Runt want?” Nathaniel asked. He was obviously amused. He was over his surprise, now. He bent down to scratch behind Runt's ears. Keela asked him what he would prefer and looked back at Nathaniel. “He says he doesn't care. Might I suggest Tiny?” She said, laughing as Runt playfully bit at her hand. “I was kidding, boy. Nathaniel? Do you mind if I name him?” she asked hopefully. “Of course. What does he sound like to you?” Nathaniel asked. Nathaniel had no choice. He would give this woman whatever she wanted. He was in awe of her. “He sounds more like a Butch to me. He's playful, but still serious. Butch is a very manly, tough guy name.” She looked hopefully at Butch. He wagged his tail and stood up on his back legs to lick her face. He was obviously pleased with the new name. She giggled and Butch dropped and went to survey the yard. “He has to go strut around the yard. He likes the new name. He says it's better than the last one. I think it fits him. He's a great dog.” She said. Lady had been sitting next to Nathaniel, watching Keela's exchange with the other dog, but approached her, now. “I'm Lady, Keela. Can we be friends as well? There's too many males here, there's never been another female to be

friendly with.” She told her. “Of course, Lady. You're a beauty, aren't you?” She began petting Lady's head. Nathaniel was curious. “Can she understand me if I talk to her?” He asked Keela. “I don't know,” She turned to Lady to ask. “Can you understand other people when they talk to you?” She asked her. “Yes, but sometimes it's not as clear as when you talk. Mostly, the strangers that come by the gate only want to baby-talk to us. It's rather annoying. You come in as clear as a bell, though. And you don't patronize us.” Lady responded. “She says yes, but it's not as clear as when I speak to them.” Keela told Nathaniel. “Well then, Lady, I need to talk to your new friend. I promise I'll let her come back later to talk to you.” Nathaniel addressed Lady directly. “She says she got most of that and wants to know how long?” Keela said to Nathaniel, then turned her attention back to Lady before Nathaniel could answer. “We have to talk about a lot of stuff, Lady. I can't stay out in this sun, though. It's hurting my eyes. I will definitely be back later on after the sun goes down a little more.” She told the dog. She hadn't even cared for the sun. She was too excited about meeting the dogs. Nathaniel silently kicked himself. It was still before noon, but he hadn't thought about it when he'd agreed to bring her outside. He would have insisted that she wear sunglasses to protect her. Her eyes would be red for the rest of the day. He would have to explain these precautions to her further. She needed to think more about herself and the damage this new body could receive. “Shall we go back inside, Nathaniel?” Keela asked. “I still have some things I want to talk to you about. Then we'll have to find out if I have any more tricks up my

sleeve.” She said, amused at the possibility that she might have more hidden talents. “Of course.” Nathaniel said. There was so much more to say to her, like to wonder how it was possible for her to have so many talents when the average vampire had one or two only. She was so unique. Had he really expected less? He led the way back to the house. He wanted to clear up the issue of their relationship before anything else, but he didn't expect her to jump into his arms. He knew she would probably be confused and need time. He didn't want to give her that time. He wanted her now. He wanted her to chose him. He wanted her beside him for eternity. How ever long they lived. Or existed.

They sat across from each other now in Nathaniel's study. Phillip was still making himself scarce. They were alone,now. Nathaniel had been waiting for this moment to declare himself since Keela had woken up. Keela wasn't uncomfortable waiting for Nathaniel to speak. She wanted to hear him say it before she would. She wanted to hear what he'd thought about their kiss. She would continue to wait until he spoke first. “I don't know how to start, Keela. I've wanted you since our interview three years ago. I've fallen in love with you over the years. I always told myself that I had time. I only set you up on that mock date with Phillip so I could thank you by taking you out on a real date with me. I planned it out from every angle, and it didn't go nearly as I wanted it to. I wouldn't change it, though. I have you here to myself. The guilt I would have felt if I'd had to been the one to change you would have undone me. I wanted to kill Phillip. Not for having had you, but for the pain you had to endure to become one of us. I am saying

that I'm willing to overlook that you've been with Phillip. It's not important to me as you are. Please say you feel the same way. I want to make you happy for as long as we walk this Earth. We can get married.” He paused. He hadn't done that properly. She spoke before he had the chance to correct himself. “Nathaniel, I've felt the same way about you since our interview. I tried to tell myself that it was a silly crush, but it wasn't. I'm so terribly in love with you I was afraid I would make a fool of myself. We always were just business when we spoke, I never in my wildest dreams thought you might feel this way about me. I would be more than happy to spend the rest of my days living and breathing with you. You are everything I've ever wanted, ever needed. I would take what happened between Phillip and I back if I could. It would have been more special with you, and I would have loved you no matter what pain I had to go through to be with you forever.” Nathaniel was stunned. It only took him a second to get to her, to have her in his arms and he was kissing her again. He didn't have a bed in this room. He would need one for what he was about to do. He carried her quickly to her room. The cat was still on the bed, but he moved when he realized that Nathaniel was going to set Keela down on top of him. He must have said something because Keela laughed aloud. It didn't matter to him, he had to have her. He was crazy with the desire he'd kept in check for 3 years. She was his, she would be his. He would marry her and she would be with him until the end of time. The happiness he felt was so intense he felt like he could burst with it. His desire was raging out of control, though and he kept his focus on removing their clothes. He had to feel her soft skin everywhere. He peeled off her clothes slowly, never breaking their kiss. She had much the same thoughts, as she took his

clothes off. She shouldn't be doing this after having slept with his brother the night before. She just couldn't stop herself. This was much more of an explosive need than it had been the night before. Phillip had been good, but Nathaniel was her soul mate. She needed him inside her more than she needed to take her next breath of air. She wouldn't deny herself. Nathaniel rose up above her, looking into her eyes as he entered her body. Nothing would stop him, now. She was his, officially, in every sense of the meaning. Her eyes were pools of desire he felt he could get lost in. The deep violet was like liquid, he could gaze into them forever. He wanted to see what happened when she climaxed. She was almost there, he could feel all her muscles as they tightened around him. He set the tempo to fast, hard thrusts. She exploded and there was a shattering noise behind him as she took him with her over the edge. They lay together, both struggling to calm their breathing. It had been fast, but neither of them regretted it. It had been earth-shattering. They were just getting started. They would have forever to explore the chemistry between them. He pulled her into his arms. Where she would stay forever. His future wife had knocked over all the furniture in the room when she'd climaxed. She was powerful, this one. He would never forget that, and he couldn't love her more.

Chapter Twelve “Calm Before The Storm”
It had been a week since Nathaniel and Keela had declared their love. Nathaniel had never been happier. He had run out to buy her a ring when she'd gone out, as promised, to visit with Lady. Peanut was still sulking about his mistreatment of him, but Keela promised that the friendly cat still liked him. He could still not believe his luck. She had cried tears of blood when he'd officially asked her to be his wife. She had said yes and they'd gone to tell Phillip. Phillip had been delighted, something they hadn't expected. He had agreed to stay with them until the wedding. It was going to be a private affair in another month's time. Keela was still not speaking to him. He had confessed that he'd used some of his gift on her to get her into bed with him. Persuasion was a powerful tool. Phillip had used it on countless women he'd wanted since he knew he could do it. One of his two gifts. He could communicate with animals the same way Keela could. Nathaniel knew she would come around. He wasn't very happy about it, either, but at least he knew she might not have gone to bed with him on her own. She loved him, after all. He was more happy and more blessed than he felt he deserved. There was no way he would ever let her go. Keela's talents were revealed more everyday. That she had so many had confused Nathaniel and Phillip, but as Keela couldn't follow her genetics back, they assumed that her family line had to be responsible for so many of the talents she had. Already, she could communicate with animals, she could start fires, she could move objects with her mind, she was shooting lightening from her palms, and

she could shape shift. Some of those powers had happened accidentally when she was trying to use others. She had been able to pick a thought out of Nathaniel's head once when she had been meaning to listen to the animals. This had led them to believe that mind reading and animal communication were closely related talents. Nathaniel's one talent, which was to shape-shift, was also possessed by Keela. They had been in bed together one night and Keela had bitten him, playfully. For the next hour, she experienced headaches and nausea and pain that resembled the conversion. This confused them all, but when it had ended, she was fine. An hour later, she was petting Peanut in the bedroom and spontaneously changed. She took the shape of her cat. She had run to Nathaniel when this happened. He'd been in his study when she burst into the room and jumped up onto the desk, only to change back into her human form. He'd been stunned. He'd never known it was possible for one person to absorb the talents of another. Everyday was the same. Everyday was mostly peaceful, unless a new talent was revealed. Every morning, Keela would talk to her wedding planner over the phone and approve or deny changes, while Nathaniel was at the office. At about noon, Nathaniel and Keela would meet in her room for sex, and then after they were done, they would work together on anything Nathaniel needed for the company and sometimes, if necessary, Nathaniel would return to the office. At night, Keela would play with the dogs and practice using her talents. Targets were set up all about the property and she would shoot at stuff randomly. Phillip and Nathaniel took turns putting out the fires. Afterwards, she would do some more silent practices. She would choose her victim and make him sit in front of her while she attempted to read their thoughts. It usually embarrassed Phillip, but Nathaniel had fun with it. He

would think the most inappropriate thoughts and then when her eyes became liquid pools of desire, he would throw her over his shoulder and carry her to bed. Time passed quickly for everyone but Phillip, who brooded over his decision to find the woman vampire who had changed him. It wouldn't be easy, he didn't even know her name. He had no idea where to look for her, although his memory seemed to tell him that she had been English or French. He had also been drunk, he couldn't trust himself to remember everything. He had already decided to start back where it all began. To go to London and begin looking there. Keela had pulled this information from Phillip's mind one night when he had become her chosen mindreading victim. She had become excited and asked if he would be too upset if Nathaniel and herself tagged along with him for a week. She said they needed a honeymoon idea, and seeing where Nathaniel and Phillip were born seemed like a great destination. Phillip was upset with himself for thinking of his plans at the wrong time. He could deny Keela nothing. She was his new sister and he loved her as much as he loved Nathaniel. Indeed, he was having much more success thinking of her as his sister than he'd had at the announcement of their engagement. With things settled, life went back to it's peculiar routine. The wedding plans came along well, and Keela had stopped having target practice in the back yard. She didn't want things to be charred where the ceremony was taking place. Human workers began showing up a week before the wedding was to be held. Keela oversaw them when she could, but between the hours of noon and three, she had to retreat back indoors. Even with sunglasses, the sun was too much for her. It was one of these such days when a large pre-

wedding gift arrived. The box didn't have a return address, but was wrapped in very nice, silver wrapping paper. Nathaniel, Keela, and Phillip had gathered around the gift. They could think of no one who could have sent it. Keela's curiosity was killing her more than she could bear and began opening the gift. Inside was a dog collar and a note. Keela ran outside, forgetting her sunglasses. It was noon and she could feel the sun burning into her eyes with every step she took. Nathaniel was behind her. She wished that she didn't have to go at a human pace. She reached the kennels and all three dogs were there. Butch was missing his collar. Otherwise, he looked unharmed as Keela jumped the high fence that held the dogs. She checked him over and hugged him, crying. She had thought someone had killed him and sent back the collar as proof. She laughed. “He says he doesn't know what all the commotion is about, but he's alright with me running out here just to hug him.” She told Nathaniel. She was crying tears of blood from relief. She sighed, got up and cleared the fence yet again. Promising Butch and the others that she would be back in a few hours, no doubt to question them as to who took the collar. Nathaniel walked her back to the house, his arm around her waist. He'd handed her the forgotten sun glasses first. Phillip had the note when they rejoined him. He'd already opened it for them and was reading it over when they arrived. “Keela, it seems to be from your father. He says he can't be here to walk you down the isle, but he'll be watching. Then there's a meeting place for after the wedding. He wants to meet his new son-in-law.” Phillip said to them, obviously confused.

“I didn't send him a wedding invitation. I had no way to contact him except a post box that was in my mother's files when she died. The instructions were to write a letter if she needed any more money. He sent her six thousand a month to live off of, and also paid for my college. We never saw him after I was ten and he visited for the last time. Nathaniel, I want to see him. I want to know why he left my mother and thought that money would make up for it. He never even saw me, and I'm his daughter.” “Of course, Keela. We will meet with him after the wedding in the place he's instructed.” He could deny her nothing. She was his life. However, he would be finding out this father's name and investigating him throughly before they met. He needed to make sure Keela was in no danger from him. She was now immortal, but that didn't make her immune to pain. Especially the emotional kind that came from an absent father. The wedding was beautiful. Red roses lined the isles and were everywhere in the yard that they could see. She walked in Phillip's arm down to Nathaniel, who stood alone. Her gown was white, strapless, and full length. She had opted for a simple design. Her hair was mostly up and had white roses throughout the design, which left some of her hair to fall out intentionally. Her bouquet was more red roses with white mixed in sparingly. This was her dream come true and she could feel the happiness overwhelming her. She had to remember not to cry. There were too many humans in the audience. Everyone from their office had come. A few of Keela's girlfriends from college had been invited. They showed up with their husbands and boyfriends. The ceremony was simple and went off without any problems. The house had been set up to host the reception. It was to be a small, private affair. The guests

were pleased with the catered food, and everyone stood, walked around and conversed with each other. When it was time to throw the bouquet, all the women gathered around. One of the ladies from the office was the lucky recipient. Another gentleman from the office caught the garter that Nathaniel threw, but Keela suspected it had been done on purpose, as the couple had arrived together. The guests started to file out two hours before the assigned meeting was to take place. Keela had changed into a simple white sun dress. It was much like the one she had worn on her first official vampire day. The left early, wanting to arrive at the destination first. They had no idea what they were walking into.

Part Two: Chapter 1: Meeting Chapter 2: Connor's Story Chapter3: Forever Chapter 4: Plan for Vengeance, Leave None Alive Chapter 5: Las Vegas Chapter 6: The Return Chapter 7: The Last Stand Chapter 8: Another One Bites the Dust Chapter 9: New Day Conclusion

Chapter One, Part Two “Meeting”
Nathaniel, Keela, and Phillip entered the clearing. Keela's father had left directions to meet in a park that overlooked the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a safe distance from humans, deep within the park. It was nearing midnight, the appointed time designated by Keela's father. Keela was still hopeful that he'd merely wanted to wish them well in their marriage, but Nathaniel wasn't taking any chances. Having a father appear out of nowhere and wish to meet you in seclusion set off alarm bells in his head. There was a park bench along a narrow side walk on the edge of clearing. They all chose to sit and wait for their company. It would appear human. Keela had filled them all in on their trip over of all the information she had on her father. He had come from a rich family and married her mother, who was a drifter, after her mother had become pregnant. He was rarely there throughout the pregnancy, and only visited regularly for the first three years of Keela's life. He sent her mother money from an off-shore account in the sum of six thousand dollars, and every month of Keela's life. When her mother had died, the checks had stopped coming. She knew her father had known about her mother's death. He had never attended the funeral, and had never contacted Keela afterward with anything but a note expressing his condolences. Midnight. Keela felt like she didn't have time for anything anymore. Just a month ago, she had been an average human, in an average job. Things were changing so quickly she didn't have time to keep up. Here she was, married, a vampire, and about to see her father for the first time in almost 15 years. She had been ten years old. She didn't even remember what he looked like. She knew he

was handsome, with long blond hair. He had much of the same facial features, but his were larger and more masculine. His eyes, she remembered, were blue. And here he was. Her father had arrived at that moment, when she had been deep in thought, trying to conjure up memories of him. He looked exactly as she remembered and he smelled... Her father wasn't human. Her father was a vampire, too. This couldn't be right. He was her father. Could vampires have children? Had he been turned after she was born, then? She looked at Nathaniel, who was starting at her father dumbfounded. He recognized him. Keela didn't need to read his mind to see it written on his face. Phillip, too, knew who he was. They all jumped to their feet in unison. Nathaniel pushed Keela behind him and tensed as if ready to fight. “Nathaniel. Please, don't. What is going on?” Keela asked. She was still confused. Who was her father, really? Why did Nathaniel and Philip feel threatened by him? “Nathaniel, Phillip.” Her father acknowledged them. “I assure you I come alone and in peace. It is time I met my daughter. I'm sure she has some questions for me.” Her father looked pained. He addressed Keela next. “Keela, I apologize for not being there to walk you down the isle, as is a father's duty. I was in New York dispatching one of the ancients and his newborn menaces when my man called with the news. I was here as soon as I could be. I mean no harm to your husband and your brother-in-law. Indeed, I've been trying to recruit their help for years. Such self-control in the two of these, you couldn't have done better, my dear.” Her father said to her. Recruit? Years? Keela remembered the conversation they'd had

about the group of rogue vampires that went around killing all the others. They had wanted to recruit Nathaniel and Phillip. Could her father be a part of this killing group? It didn't seem to fit. There was no other conclusion to draw. “You are part of that group, then? That crazy group that kills all the vampires? How long have you been a vampire? Can vampires have children?” She let all her questions come out in a storm. She needed answers for this because her advanced brain was having trouble grasping. “All in good time, Keela. You were always impatient when you were a child. I think you get it from your mother. You have so much of me in you as well, I can see.” He paused, memorizing Keela's face. “I will tell you my story of how I came to be and why I started that group. Why we've had to kill so many. I will tell you about your mother, and her mother before her. The oath I made to a pregnant human woman. I was so disgusted with myself until I saw you. You made it worth it, Keela. “ “Now, shall we relocate to your home, Nathaniel? This story that needs telling will take quite a bit of time, and Keela needn't be exposed to the sun, if it should come up before I am finished.” Just like that they were back in Nathaniel's yard, where a few hours before they'd been married. Obviously, Keela's father was just as talented as she was.

Part Two, Chapter Two “Connor's Story”
They sat in chairs that had been used for the wedding earlier that day. Connor lifted a rose to his nose and inhaled the scent. They were all waiting on him, now. He could take his time, he loved the feel of their anticipation. He sighed to himself. Keela was a beauty. She would hate him for all this, but she did have a right to know. If he didn't love her, he wouldn't be here. If he didn't love her, he wouldn't do what he had to do to protect her. “Unlike most of our kind, I was born, not made. My father was an Irish Vampire, and he was ancient. My mother was a young Indian woman who was lucky enough to survive him. She bore me a few months later. These were a superstitious people, she hid her pregnancy from her village, knowing they would name me a demon. They would blame me for the many deaths that had come to them the months before my birth. I grew quickly, and my mother kept me hidden. She fed me small amounts of her blood to keep me alive. We were found out when I was not larger or any more developed than a ten year old child. I had only been alive for a few weeks and I was on my own. It was easy to get blood from humans, but my mother was human. I didn't want to kill someone who could be so fragile as she was. I hid in forests. I hid on mountains. When I was full grown and at full strength a month later, I went back to her village and she was gone. I searched for my father. I learned many things, and the years past by quickly. My father had left other survivors, but none of those children were like me. They were all born human. I followed his trail back to civilization, where I found him. “I spent many years with my father. He gave me this name, Connor. He was thrilled with my existence.

Unfortunately, he was a cruel monster who tortured and raped his victims, who were usually very young girls like my mother had been. I took my time, learning much from him about our kind. None of it was good. They fought amongst each other, killing for power and territory. “When we drain the blood from another of our kind, we absorb their talents. The virus that causes us to be what we are feeds on DNA. The DNA of our victims will usually hold no more for us than to sate our hunger. The DNA of another vampire is indestructible and will bond with that of the one who drains them. I drained my father and destroyed his remains. I began hunting my own kind. “I wandered for many years, killing the infestation as I came upon it. In China, there are no more left of my kind. The Indian covens are dead, as well as the Russians, the Africans, and the South American. The only covens who remain are the Canadian, American, and European. I have drained all others looking for more power. Hungry for one thing, just the power. If your kind was created to feed from humans, I was created to feed from you. I considered myself the ultimate hunter. There was never another on earth like me. Humans couldn't survive what we do to them. My mother the only exception throughout history. “Years later, I had immeasurable powers. My goals to kill off all of our kind and then myself were being thwarted at every turn. I founded the Trinity. It wasn't so difficult to do, I just had to convince a few I had turned that I was their God come to rid the world of the plague of the undead. None ever questioned me, but they were expendable creatures, I have ended their existence. The Trinity is no more, by my own choice. “I came to America afterwards, where I met Keela's grandmother. She was more than beautiful, and she was in a delicate condition. I could hear the fetus's

heartbeat as she lay, half-starved on a park bench. I saved her life. She reminded me of my own Mother. I stayed with her a while, I cared for her until the child came. She was a psychic woman and knew what I was. She was never afraid. I refused to turn her, when she asked. She died shortly after the birth. She begged me to look after the baby, and I found her a nice foster home. I watched her grow and something in me grew with her. “Eventually, I let her know of my presence. It was inevitable that we would be together. I loved her as I'd never loved another. Keela was conceived and we were happy together for a time. I then had to go back to ensure the safety of my unborn daughter. I left her for a time and went out to kill again, under the guise of the Trinity. Indeed, only those who would swear to me to never make another were allowed to live. I monitor them to this day. They all uphold their oaths, but they do seem convinced that I am many. They may find out someday, but I am unstoppable. “I had to leave Keela's mother after a time. Living that near to humans, especially psychic humans, means they will eventually find out that you are not human. Keela's mother begged me to change her. She was certain that I would come back to her to do so after Keela was in college, but I couldn't make myself do it. I loved her, but I could not condemn her to this life. I could not let her exist as I did, needing to kill every day to live. I could not change her just in case the others became aware that I was acting alone and teamed up to stop me. Then she was gone so quickly. I could not have saved her unless I had changed her. She held onto that hope until she died. I then went about looking for ways to destroy myself. I needed to follow her to the other side. Instincts take over when you're attempting to destroy yourself. I never succeeded. I would not burn completely without another there to help.

“I discreetly began the rumor that I alone made up the Trinity. I had hoped that the others that I'd let live would come for me, wishing to have their freedom. Wishing to make for themselves a companion. They come for me, now. They try to kill me. I do not let them. They are creating small armies that are uncontrollable. The deaths are staggering. These new young ones are uncontrollable. There must be order to this world, and I cannot do it alone anymore. I need the help of the only one strong enough, talented enough to help destroy them. I had anticipated having to turn Keela myself. It is my luck that she doesn't need me to do so, anymore. I need you, Keela. We have to destroy them all. Then, we have to destroy each other.” He acted quickly, then, sending out two lightening bolts directed for Nathaniel and Phillip. Phillip must have expected it, because he had no difficulty dodging the first of them. Nathaniel wasn't so lucky.

Part Two, Chapter Three “Forever”
Keela stared, dumbfounded, as Nathaniel's face registered that he'd been struck. The horror that crossed his features as he crumpled to the ground. This was her Nathaniel. This was her life's love, her soul, and her very breath. Her own father would try to take that love away from her. Her own father would betray her in this way. She pulled up the energy within her as she watched. She was fueled by rage, she couldn't be stopped. She sent all she had out, a massive bolt of electricity. She struck her target. He faltered, but didn't fall. He was stunned enough not to react, giving Keela a few seconds to reach, once again, for the energy. This time, she focused it at his head. If she could move objects and start fire, she had to be able to inflict damage to the brain, the one place where there was no return from injury. Her lips curled cruelly as her father gasped in pain and grabbed his head. He was forced to his knees. “You would dare to come to our home and attack my husband? You will die, father. You will die for hurting him.” She sneered. “You... cannot... do....” Her father tried to say. His words were failing him as she gripped his brain in a vice like hold. He could not shake her off. She never knew that this was possible, but she knew she held the upper hand with this. He hadn't launched any attacks on her person, she was fully capable and uninjured. She toyed with the idea of just incinerating his body. The power was there and she was now aware of it in a way she'd never been before. She was stronger. She was born with this, while his abilities came unnaturally. She was pure energy. She was light and darkness. She was all powerful, she held every power known to this vampire world. If she wanted it to rain, it

would. If she wanted light, the sun would shine. Anything and everything was hers. She should have never been made, but she was. And she could do anything she wanted. The power called to her, begging her to use it. He'd made a mistake when he had allowed her to live. All his precious DNA that he'd been collecting since he'd learned he could was in her. She was the one who was really unstoppable. Phillip's cry of outrage caught her attention, and she made the mistake of faltering in her control of the energy she'd released. She turned to Phillip, and saw that he was crouched over the body of Nathaniel. Nathaniel's eyes were closed. Phillip was shaking him, shouting into his unresponsive face. We don't sleep, she thought to herself, he's really dead. She screamed. The scream seemed to go on and on. When she opened her eyes again, her father was gone and she was crumpled on the ground in the back yard of her husband's home. Phillip was rocking back and forth on the ground by Nathaniel's body. Nathaniel was still unresponsive, his eyes closed. There was a huge hole in his chest where the lightening bolt had struck him. His lungs, his heart. All incinerated. There could be no hope. The tears rolled down her cheeks. She knew they would be blood. She crawled forward to where Nathaniel lay and stretched out next to him. She would be here when he awoke. He would wake up, she told herself. He had no choice. She was with him and she would stay with him for forever. They'd promised. Forever.

Phillip moved both her body and Nathaniel's into the house when the dawn came. She vaguely registered that any movement had taken place. He tried to part them,

she'd screamed again until he had carried her to lay next to Nathaniel's body. They were in the living room that had been cleared of furniture for the wedding. She still wore her white sun dress, the one she'd put on after the ceremony. It was torn and tattered and dirty. Her face was smeared with the dirt she had let it rest in while she stayed next to Nathaniel. Her hair was wild, tangled, and still stiff from the products she had put in it for the wedding. She needed to bathe herself. She needed to get up and get away from Nathaniel, but she couldn't. She stared at his face, willing him to wake up. She stared for hours. She would stare for days. If her father came back to kill her now, she would be here. She would let him kill her because there was no life without Nathaniel. She had only begun to exist when he's begun to love her. There was no life without him, no breath. She would lay here and will herself to die. It couldn't be so bad, she thought to herself. Nathaniel's face looked peaceful in it's stillness. She would follow him. She would allow herself to die. She would lay here and will her spirit from her body. She refused to go on without him. She let it happen, she trusted her father enough to meet him. She deserved to be lying there as lifeless as Nathaniel. Her choice made, she got up. She went to the kitchen area and grabbed a knife that had been left behind by the catering company. Had they not been married today, she would have no knife. This kitchen was never used, it was usually kept empty, but for the refrigerator that contained the blood and a few cups. A microwave was kept on the cabinets for the instances where the blood could be nuked to take the chill off of it. She walked back into the living area where Nathaniel lay. She joined him there on the floor, in her original position. Phillip sat on the staircase, unaware that she'd moved. He was still in shock. He would not notice

what she'd planned until it was too late. She sliced her wrist. The blood flowed onto the floor. She lay back down and waited. Every few minutes, she would re-open the wound. Phillip didn't look at them. He was too far gone into his grief. She would be with him, now. He couldn't stay with her in this world any longer, she would follow him into the next. She had promised him forever, and she would keep that promise. Her blood flowed and soaked the floor under the two bodies. Her blood flowed, and flowed. It even flowed into Nathaniel's open chest.

Part Two, Chapter Four “Plan for vengeance, leave no one alive.”
Phillip smelled the blood. He smelled the blood as it flowed. He knew what she had done, but he couldn't stir himself to stop her. He fought against the shock that was clouding his ability to move. He tore his gaze away from the door he'd been staring at for hours. It took baby steps to get him out of his stupor. He saw, out of the corner of his eye that she had reopened the wound. He forced his legs to move. He forced his body to stand. He forced his arms to flex. He was normal again. The grief was still there, threatening to change that. He had to save Keela, though. Nathaniel would want her to live. They must kill her father before he killed more of their kind. She must be ready in case he came back. The wounds she'd given him already were grave, but he had gotten away and would feed and be healed. He walked towards her. She was about to slash her wrist again, when Phillip snatched the knife out of her hand. She lay there. She would need to replace that blood. He would have to force her out of the hole she had dug herself. Just as he had just done for himself. He went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. He obtained three pouches of blood and poured them into two cups. He placed both cups in the microwave and set it. He waited until the little contraption beeped. He carried both cups into the living area. She wouldn't fight the instinctual call for blood. Her body wouldn't allow it. He lifted her up, and put the cup to her lips. She drank, as he'd known she would. Her eyes half-closed in pleasure. He remembered how she had been the night they had spent together. She was passion and fire. Now she was frigid and emotionless. He would

fight to bring it back to her. He would shock her if he had to. He took the cup away from her mouth as she emptied the last of it. He would have to try to talk to her first. If he could reach her and make her see reason, he wouldn't have to do anything rash. He knew how powerful she was, now. You didn't enrage someone as powerful and expect to walk away. He would do what he had to do, though, to bring her out of this. “Keela, dear. You have to listen to me.” Phillip said. Her eyes reacted, but then went flat. “Your father could come back at any time and you're the only one in the world who would be able to stop him. Please, just come back. We have to hunt him. We cannot allow him to live. This is what Nathaniel would have wanted. He's dangerous. If he succeeds in killing off our kind, he will begin to kill off the humans. The world is in danger if he's allowed to live. Keela, blink of you understood me.” Phillip urged. She blinked. He could see in her eyes that she was fighting against the grief. She was coming back around from her shock. She was fighting, and she would win. “Good, Keela, now start slowly. Move your feet, good. Now, move your legs.” Phillip coached her, encouraging her to come out of it.

Two hours later, Keela was pacing the room. She was planning and re-planning. Going over everything in her head to find a clue as to where to start finding her father. Phillip had gone out to follow the scent. He would have to stay out of the sun with all the wounds he'd received. He would find the location where he was hiding and he would alert Keela. They would go together to find

him and kill him. Keela waited for Phillip to return. She was planning to convince Connor that she would join with him to kill the rest. She would bring Phillip in as a hostage and pass him off as a sacrifice. She would then turn on her father, once he allowed her to get close. It would be the performance of a lifetime and she couldn't afford to lose control and show her grief for Nathaniel. Time seemed to pass by slowly. She would be at the advantage when they found his location, as he was still injured and she was not. The blood she had lost on the floor was replaced by feeding, and she was at full strength. She was stronger, already, than her father. She had rage on her side. They would hunt him this night, and he would fall. After that, she would beg Phillip to kill her and willingly allow him. She would not live without her love. She would join him wherever he had gone.

Phillip followed the scent North. Connor had run at full speed through five counties, stopping to feed at a farm inland. He had continued to Las Vegas. Phillip knew where he was. He was in a house on the outskirts of town. The house was large and expensive. The grounds were large. This is where Connor would make his last stand. Phillip tore himself away from the urge to go in alone and try to finish him by himself. He ran, full speed back to Nathaniel's home. The total time of the trip was a few hours. Keela was still as he'd left her. Pacing the living room, her clothes still a mess. “You will have to shower and dress. We will leave within the hour. He's in Las Vegas. It would take less time to run than to wait for a plane. You will need to wear something durable.” Phillip informed her, watching as she

left the room to get ready. Nathaniel's body was still on the floor of this room. He looked over his brother. He would need to move the body. He lifted him as if he weighted nothing. He carried him down to the basement and set him on the table that had been moved to allow for the reception. He never thought he would see his brother like this. It wasn't possible for their kind to die. The grief was still there, threatening to take him under again. He fought it back and left Nathaniel. Connor would pay this night. If Keela were to fall, it would take an army to stop him. He would kill Connor O'Rourke.

Part Two, Chapter Five “Las Vegas”
The arrived in Las Vegas as the sun was setting. They had ended up driving. Keela didn't want to use up the energy she had, as it would take everything to kill Connor. They didn't talk in the car, they drove in silence. Phillip had sped along at over a hundred miles an hour. Keela watched for cops. She knew when they'd arrived, because Keela could smell him. There was a few humans in the residence, she assumed they were paid workers. They stepped out of the car and looked around. Keela scanned the area. Open land, no other signs of life. The wind changed, and Keela caught the scent of others. Vampires. “Phillip, there's more. He must have lied about the Trinity. How many do you make out?” She asked him. In the back of her mind, she thought this might happen. Phillip would have to hunt the others first. She was not afraid for his safety. If any of these had talents, Connor would have killed them long before now. They were fresh, and easily killed. He must have known he would need any of her accomplices distracted to have a fair fight. He'd instigated this, and she would end it. She would kill her own father just has her father had killed his. “I'll go. They're young, I can still smell the human on them. It will be easy. I will find you, but you'll need to draw him out into the open. Be careful, and avoid traps.” He said to her. “And Keela? Don't let him live. No matter what. Don't let him life, but save yourself. You are my sister, and I will not lose both siblings. I love you.” Phillip said to her with saddened eyes. “As I love you, Phillip. Until we meet again.” Keela said back to him. Her eyes were hard, but she meant what she said. She did love Phillip, and she would

protect him if he had to. These new young vampires would be no match, but he was no match against her father.

She chose to challenge him from the back entrance of the house. She planted her feet, and called to him. He could hear her from inside, and he was before her in a blink of the eye. He had not changed from the night before, and his clothes revealed the large hole she'd blown out of him. His body had already healed around the wound, leaving no trace of the damage she had done. “You lied to us, father. I thought you'd dispatched those that idiot Trinity group you created. Phillip is killing them as we speak. I can smell their blood.” She said to him. “I smell Phillip's blood as well. They are young, but I have taught them well. You do not have the advantage here. I am ready for you this time.” He answered. “You were ready for me last time, too. I still blew a nice chunk out of you. It's cute, though. This misplaced confidence you show.” “And you? This vengeance you seek for your fallen lover is pathetic. Join with me now, and we will be strong. We will rule this world.” “Rule the world? Oh, please. Only megalomaniacs, with stupid empty heads would attempt to rule the world. You are nothing, and I will crush you beneath my feet. You shouldn't be allowed to live. All the years have turned your brains into pudding.” “Pudding? You attempted to turn my brains into pudding last night, so you of all people should know how resilient my brain really is. It was impressive. I will give you another chance to join me. You could be my queen.” “You are disgusting. I am your daughter. I would be the

princess. You are right, we are too great to let this world alone. Let us rule.” She said, changing tactics. She would need to get closer. She would kill him the way he'd killed Nathaniel and burn his body. “Very well. Prove yourself to me. Kill Phillip.” He demanded. “Fine.” She agreed. She concentrated to find him. She pushed her energy out to him and told him to play dead. She sent the fire to consume the young vampire he was fighting. It burned and fell. “Impressive, Keela. I would have to be within a few yards. We will make a good team.” Connor praised her. “There's just one thing I want in return, father. You must allow me to have your blood. Just enough. I want that cool trick you did in the clearing. What is it? Some kind of teleportation?” Keela asked. She might as well play with it for a few. Convince him. She could then get close enough to destroy him. She could hear Phillip's thoughts, he was confused. She rushed her energy to him again with another message. Be calm, Phillip. I need to get close enough. She told him. Her father agreed to her request and invited her into the house. She hesitated. She would lose her advantage of escape, but she would be closer to him inside. She sighed, she had no choice. Keela followed her father into the house. She gasped as she looked around. There were more vampires in this house than she had ever been able to guess. Something about this home kept one from catching the scent of more than one vampire. She would die if she killed them all. It would take all of the energy she had. She had no choice. She couldn't let them go on to kill more. They would destroy the world. I need to get more information. Kill the young ones you can find and stand by. He still thinks you're

dead, but there are older vampires in this house. I have to kill them all when I kill Connor. It will take all the energy I have, I may not recover. Take my body back to our house. I want to rest with Nathaniel. Keela told him. Then she added, I love you, Phillip. This is the only way. She would be keeping her promise to Nathaniel after all. She would die in the house tonight along with her father and his fanatical Trinity. It was the only way.

Chapter Six “The Return”
Nathaniel struggled to recall where they had said they were going as he sat up. He felt so good, it was like he had woken up a vampire for the second time. It had not been the rest. Indeed, it was as if he were sleeping for the first time since becoming a vampire. His kind didn't need sleep and he did not attempt such things. Ancients went to ground to sleep when the years weighed on them and they lost the desire to live. It wasn't real sleep, though. It was a state of suspended animation. No breath, no thought. They would eventually appear as skeletons, their bodies shrinking in from lack of nourishment. Nathaniel was much different. He remembered feeling his body absorbing Keela's blood when she had tried to to kill herself alongside him. It had been the first thing he had felt as he was sucked back into his body. He had been floating around above them, watching. He didn't struggle. It felt good to be out of that shell. Then he was back inside it, trapped. He listened to everything they said. He was aware of Keela pacing. Then Phillip had moved him down to the basement. That was where the pain had begun. A few hours of torture, similar to that of the conversion. Then it was over. He needed to get to Vegas, and fast. They were going to face Connor again without him. He knew he had Keela's talents. He had drawn that conclusion when the pain started. His body healing should have been uncomfortable, but this was different. Everything in his body was changed now, she had saved him. He took his Ferrari, choosing the fastest car he owned. He didn't have time to change, he needed to make it before she got hurt. He wouldn't be able to bear it if Phillip were destroyed, either. He didn't have time to lose. He was only a few hours behind them in his estimation.

They would probably be arriving as he left. He drove as fast as he could. The miles took only seconds as they flew by. It wouldn't be long. Connor would pay for every tear she'd shed.

Phillip faced off against a young female vampire. She was very pretty, this one. If she wasn't so eager to kill him, Phillip might like to know her. He needed to get this over with and join Keela. She couldn't kill Connor without him there. He might not be able to do it, but he needed to see it done. The rage was incomprehensible. He had no issue taking it out on these newborns, but he knew it would never leave him unless he saw Connor destroyed. They were circling each other. Phillip was absorbing the information on how she moved. It would be important for when she struck. He would know exactly what steps she would take and how he would deflect her. “Darlin', we can do this the hard way, or the easy way. Your choice.” Phillip told her. “Sweetheart. There's only one way.” She replied. She lunged at him then. He caught her arms and ripped them off as she screamed. He threw the limbs far away behind him. He looked at her again. She was less attractive now that she had no arms. “It seems you've chosen the hard way. You must know that you're no match for one as old as I am. I have fought your leader himself and walked away. If you give in now and leave this place, we will let you go in peace. I'll even help you put your arms back on, if you'd like. It will be a year or two, but they'll be very useful again.” Phillip offered her. “It is better to die than not serve my God.” She supplied. “GOD?” Phillip asked incredulously. “This is not exactly

the kind of fanaticism I expected, but it's pretty fanatic. You'll have to go, now.” Phillip said. He attacked first this time. She was almost defenseless without her arms. He ripped off her head and burned the body. He took her head to the place he'd thrown her arms and legs and set them all ablaze. She was the last one. He would join Keela, now. Or maybe not, he thought. A blue ferarri was pulling in, driving fast. He would have yet another one to kill before he could provide aid to his sister. The driver got out and looked directly at him. Recognition dawned on Phillip and he lauched himself to the driver in a great bear hug. Tears of blood were running down his face. He hadn't cried since he'd been a human boy and was punished for a mistake on his studies. That particular tutor was harsh. Still, here he was, sobbing like an infant. “Nathaniel, how can it be?” He asked. “Keela's blood. She cut herself beside me and some got inside the wound. I absorbed her talents. I need to go help her, where are they?” Nathaniel asked. Keela, now. Phillip later. “Inside. She said there were more than Connor. I was just about to go give her aid.” “We go now.” Nathaniel said as he turned to walk into the house.

Part Two, Chapter Seven “The Last Stand”
Keela was listening to her father talk with his companions. They weren't eager for her to join them. Her father explained that she was his daughter. She was powerful. They didn't want to except her. They seemed to have the right kind of premonition of danger. The one her father lacked as he so easily excepted her eagerness to join. Indeed, his ego may not let him think that someone may not want him to join. She understood the solitary life he'd led. Felt compassion for the loneliness, for the abuse, for the loss of his mother. She couldn't allow him to live, however. All the same, he was a killer and he was wrong. He must die. And she was the only one who could stop him. If Nathaniel were here, they would just kill them all right now. Then go home and make love. Happily ever after might have been hers if her father hadn't ruined it all. She would kill him for it. He'd taken the only thing she'd ever truly wanted in this life. Lost in thought, she didn't realize it when the first one sprang. She was young, but Keela still fell down onto her back, with the young one on top of her. Her father was quiet, waiting to see what would happen. She burst into flame, and Keela pushed her off easily. Her father clapped and the others stared at her wide-eyed. She hadn't done it. They were applauding her, but she wasn't the one who had done it. She felt the power rush from behind her. No one was behind her. Had Phillip come, then. She sniffed the air. She couldn't tell whom it was. The burning one made a terrible stench. Her father was back in deep discussion with his associates. She risked a glance behind her. Nothing. This wasn't possible. Who was there? She could feel it.

Phillip peeked out from behind a wall. She sighed, relieved. Phillip was there as back up. She must have done it unconsciously. She focused back on her father. Making sure that no other attack would take her off guard and Phillip wouldn't have to reveal himself to help her. She couldn't let him die. If she were to die, that would be okay. She would just be re-joining her soul's mate in the after life. Living or dying no longer mattered to her. Just get it over with, she thought to herself. Maybe it was time to assert herself. She could pick off a few here and claim they annoyed her. She flexed her energy. She hadn't used it in a while, it would feel good, like scratching an itch. A deadly itch. She shot it out, killing off the five of them that were still arguing. Her father turned sharply to her, braced as if to fight. She needed to smooth him over, make it easy. “I'm getting bored over here.” She said, and shrugged. He was obviously pleased at her dominant display. “Yes, well. Anyone else who wants to question Keela may speak now.” He paused, then continued. “Didn't think so. Well, Keela. It is your turn to ask the questions.” He was smug. He wouldn't be so smug when he burned. “Father, you've forgotten my other request. I want what you have. This can't be equal, otherwise.” She said to him. She suddenly wanted him to deny her so the fight could start. Her energy was still drawn up protectively around her. It wanted release. It seemed to be responding well to the hate she felt for him, for having killed Nathaniel. “Yes, come dear.” Her father beaconed her. She went to him, bit into his extended wrist and drank. It took three of the others to pull her off. She needed to cover for the fact that she'd been making sure he

was weakened. She didn't care about his powers, she just had to make sure he was weak when she struck. “Sorry, I'm new at this. Never had it fresh before, we bought ours in pouches.” She shrugged again, trying to look bored. Her father was buying it all and was pleased with this display of personality. It was only because he could understand it. His warped, twisted, egomaniac mind would only see her as a kindred spirit in this light. She felt a deep disgust for herself, but hid it. She needed to play the part. She heard Phillip shuffle behind her. She held her breath, waiting to see if any of the others noticed. They did not. She let her breath out. Easy, Phillip, I'm just playing the part he wants to see. She sent to him. She knew she looked deep in thought, so she facilitated a question. “How long before it hurts?” She asked. “It should already hurt, Keela. You took more than needed. Perhaps it's not enough. I don't usually take unless I need to kill.” He explained to her. “How does the movement thing work? We can test it out.” She asked. “You just focus a mental image of where you want to be and who you want to take with you. Make sure you detail it, or you might end up somewhere else that's close.” He explained to her. This was the chance. She gave her deep in thought look again. She needed to have Phillip ready. Phillip, I'm taking him with me. I'll come back for you if this works, but he'll be dead. Kill the others, they should be easy. There were only six of them left. Phillip should have no difficulties killing them all. They had the element of surprise. She knew exactly where to take them, as she closed her eyes and concentrated. She would kill her

father in the same spot he had killed her lover.

Part Two, Chapter Eight “Another One Bites the Dust”
They shimmered and disappeared out of Nathaniel and Phillip's view. Nathaniel was mentally frantic, because he did not know where Keela had taken her father exactly. He needed to be with her to make sure her father could not hurt her. Logically, he knew she was powerful; the other part of his brain was convinced that she would be harmed if she left his sight. He made quick work of the remaining six. They were still dazed and obviously upset that they hadn't been included in the disappearing act. Then they all began to scream as they combusted. Nathaniel focused on sending the energy deep within them, so their death would be quick. He set a few key things ablaze in the house, too, before he pulled an astonished Phillip out the door with him. She wasn't outside. He had hoped she would keep it simple. His luck was starting to falter. Phillip was still staring at him incredulously. “How did you do that?” He asked, stunned. “Keela's talents are my talents. When she bled, I took it in. My body took on the DNA. I was aware the whole time you two were making plans.” Nathaniel informed him. “That's so cool. Can you share the wealth?” Phillip asked “Yeah, but first we need to get to her. We have to help. Where did they go? Do you have any guesses?” He asked, hopefully. Phillip Nodded. “If it were me, I'd go for the dramatic. That means she'll kill him where he killed you. You could have let her see you. She wouldn't have left. We need to drive.” Phillip said as he started for the car. Nathaniel's luck couldn't be worse. It would take

at least two hours to get back. He walked toward the car and got in. Phillip followed, and they began their journey back home. It would be a long one. They were both worried about what they'd find when they got there.

Keela grinned. She had done it, and it was the greatest feeling in the world. This new talent would come in handy. First things first, she thought as her smile dropped and was replaced by open contempt for her tagalong. “Well, father. We are alone, now. You can begin with why you lied about the Trinity, what their purpose was, and why I should keep you alive after you've killed my husband. Then, we shall see who wins. I have a little more incentive. You killed my soul mate, and I'm pretty put out with you.” Keela told him. “The Trinity was there to police our world, Keela. Surely, you see how important that is. I may have overstepped my bounds a few times, but such is my prize for having to do this work.” He tried to tell her. “What had Nathaniel done? What had Phillip done? You attacked my husband and my brother for no reason. Surely, you'd like to defend yourself better than to claim them as a prize?” She said. It was harder now for her to control her rage. “You are my prize, Keela. I need you with me. I need someone to truly love me and not fear me.” He told her. He did his best to look innocent, but Keela was more furious. “You cannot force someone to love you. You are an idiot.” She was seriously at risk of losing her control. She watched his face. “You will respect me and not call me such childish names. You are my child. I could have easily killed you, killed

your mother. I didn't.” She needed a moment from him. She gave him her back. She could trust him not to attack her. She walked to the back of the yard, to the spot that was still charred from where Nathaniel had lay. She thought about it. He would still have to die. She knew it fell on her to stop him. She didn't like the burden, but there was always hope. She could convince another to kill her. She could follow Nathaniel to the life that must exist after this one. It didn't make it any easier that she did love her father. She loved him and she hated him. She had wanted him all her life. Wished for him to come home, to make her mother happy. She still loved him. He would still have to die. She sighed. Her father was behind her. Her guilt would be difficult to bear. It would be worse if he were alive and killing again. She turned to him, then. She smiled and she let the love flow out to him. She let him feel what she felt for him. He was a lost soul who only wanted to be loved. She did love him. His eyes were teared up with blood. He looked like a normal, adoring father. She would always remember him this way. She walked to him, then. She put her arms around him and hugged him. “I forgive you, father, and I do love you.” She said to him. She let her energy come up and her father burst into flame. His tears fell down his face as he burned. He looked happy. Tears flowed down her face. It was a sad life he'd led. She would let it all out now and forget about him. She wouldn't let herself feel guilty for what he'd become. She had a new duty now, she would police this vampire world. She would keep them a secret, but she would keep them fair. She wouldn't let another exist as her father had been forced to.

Part Two, Chapter Nine “A New Day”
Nathaniel and Phillip pulled into the drive that led to Nathaniel's home. They could smell the stench of burning flesh, so they knew they were too late. They just hoped they had missed out on Connor's exit and not Keela's. Nathaniel jumped from the car as soon as it was stopped and ran to where the smell was generating. Keela lay, curled up into the fetal position. Sobs racked her body. His first instinct told him that she was injured. He ran to her, picked her up and cradled her against his chest. She seemed to have no obvious injury. She didn't seem surprised that Nathaniel was holding her. She kept on crying. “Keela, are you alright? I'm really here, I am okay, now. Your blood healed me.” He tried to tell her. Her eyes grew wide and she began shaking her head back and forth. She didn't know whether it was possible for vampires to have mental breaks. Her father had to be a prime example of one. Nathaniel was there telling her he was okay because her grief for him was too great. It was a fantasy, nothing more. Phillip was watching her, gaging her reaction. “No, Nathaniel is dead. Phillip, who is this? Am I going crazy, after all?” She asked, still sobbing. “Keela, look at me.” Nathaniel commanded. She brought her eyes to his at his sharp tone. Something deep within her clicked. “Oh god, Nathaniel. You're really here? I thought I would die without you.” Keela sobbed, even louder. The relief was so great. Tears of happiness rolled down her face, now.

“You tried to hurt yourself, it saved me. I took all the blood from the floor and I healed. It hurt again, like being converted. Now I get to do all the cool stuff you do. We'll never be apart again.” He told her. His voice was soothing, like he was reassuring a child. It helped Keela immensely. She put her arms around her and held herself tighter to him. The fire returned immediately. “Ahh, Phillip?” She asked. “We're going to need some privacy. Better, yet...” She trailed off. She could move them through space and time, now. The bedroom was certainly called for.

Keela still marveled over the happiness she and Nathaniel shared. Every day was blissful, now. She couldn't love him more. It was an impossibility. Each day, Keela and Nathaniel made love. Then they practiced their talents together. Nathaniel usually ended each practice session with a trip somewhere private, always surprising Keela. Phillip eventually joined the practice sessions. There had been an exchange of blood and Phillip had gone off on his own to deal with the pain of a second conversion. He delighted in his new abilities. They had all decided that the responsibility did fall to them to monitor the others. They sent out invitations to all the vampires they knew. The invitation explained that the Trinity was no more, dismantled by their new group. The others came now, in their covens, alone. Sometimes many covens were there. Some were surprised with their new leader's youth. Some were delighted with the change. New rules were laid down, designed to keep their world hidden from the human world. New freedoms were established, and also restrictions on the taking of actual life. Most of the covens that visited had no problems with the new restrictions. They wanted only to be reassured that if an accident were to happen, they wouldn't be hunted. Keela encouraged them all to buy their blood from Thorn, the Canadian vampire that owned the blood banks. They were all obviously intrigued. Many hadn't known of this option. Policing the Vampire World was looking like a full time job. Luckily, for now, all the ancients left were intelligent enough to understand the new rules. They did seek to make companions, however. That could not be denied. When you had to live forever, it could be lonely.

Responsibility had to be taken for the newborns. They could not be allowed to go on killing sprees. All was peaceful for almost a year. Each individual had their own responsibilities for each different territory. They were looking to recruit another coven or so for help, eventually. It just had to be the right kind of coven. They would not be allowed to share the talents the three of them possessed, however. Phillip was looking more sullen every day. Keela had commented on it to Nathaniel, and he had said simply that Phillip needed to go find someone. Keela didn't know who he needed to find that had not come directly to their home. It was exactly why Phillip was worried. She had not come directly to their home. She might be dead. It was an idea that he found he didn't like much. No one was upset or surprised when Phillip decided to leave. They had seen it coming in his sullen behavior. He left them to themselves, and began his own journey. Keela and Nathaniel remained happy. They had eternity. They still met more than once a day to remind themselves of that fact. Sometimes Nathaniel would sneak up on her and take her off to a private location. Love would still be with them, even in the vampire world.

The End.

About the Author
Leigh Carpenter lives in Peru, Indiana. She had two sons, a dog, and a cat. She usually spends her days reading or writing new material. Look for more from this author, including the continuation of the Vampire World Series.

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