A/N: Ok got a couple of important shoutouts here. The first is to intl_incident who not only created the gorgeous manor that I have used for the prologue as well as all the Interlude shots, but you will see her amazing Ultramodern Penthouse in this update. Go check out her stuff! It’s wonderful!
And of course, a HUGE thank you to Louise, AKA Notjustabook of Hollander fame, for the absolutely awesome poses she made for me for not just this update, but the ones following it. If you go here: Her Blog you can find the poses she did. I also have to apologize profusely once again to her for all I put her through XD I had originally intended to have her make them piece-meal, just a few at a time. But because I was having some difficulties in RL, I ended up dumping them on her all at once. I’m sorry Louise! However, they came out soooo awesome! I hope you enjoy how they are used ^^
Several months later
The woman looked out the window of the quiet apartment, her beautiful face marred by a melancholy expression. In the depths of her red eyes, anguish and pain roiled within them. She looked down at her swollen stomach, resting her two hands upon it, feeling the life inside of her.
Tears stood in her eyes, though they didn’t fall, just swam there, making the evening light reflect oddly against her irises. “I’m so scared, little one,” she whispered. “So scared…” At that moment, she wanted her mother. She wanted her with a fierceness that shocked her to her core. After months of feeling as if she were trapped in a deep well of her own making, Luna finally knew what she had to do.
She picked up her phone, punched the #1, and then let it ring. As soon as the voice on the other end of the line picked up, something tore loose in the girl. “Mommy,” she whispered. “It’s me. It’s Luna. Mommy… I messed up. I messed up bad. C-can I come home?”
Aurora froze, her grip on the phone extra tight. Her daughter’s voice sounded so unlike her. She hadn’t heard Luna speak like that since she’d been a toddler, after Draco had almost been killed. And her connection to her daughter brought a whirlwind of feelings. Guilt, fear, sadness, grief… confusion. It was a miasma of emotion. But Luna was alive. And she needed her mommy. “Ssshhh, baby,” Aurora soothed. “Tell your mama what’s wrong, baby. And you shouldn’t even have to ask. You know better than that. You are always welcome here. Here is your home, no matter where you are.”
The last part said in such a scolding, no-nonsense way brought a giggle out. It surprised Luna. Yes. Yes, this is exactly what she needed. “Mom… I-I really messed up. I’m so sorry.”
“Sweetheart, why don’t you tell me what happened. Start at the beginning, ok?”
Luna drew in a deep breath. “I-it all started… when I met my Vampire Prince.” Luna took her mother through her first meeting with Roark; she didn’t hear the gasp on the other end of the line as she continued on, her voice rising and falling, even cracking with emotion. Aurora’s heart went out to her. Her baby had found love… and heartache, and tragedy. It poured off her in waves, something that even through a phone connection, Aurora could feel it. She let go on, though, knowing Luna needed to tell her story.
I had decided that I was going to give Roark and I few days to cool off. I concentrated on my work as much as I could, but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt bad about our disagreement… or whatever you’d call what we had. I should have stayed, talked it out. Things had happened kinda fast between us, despite what we had intended. While I waited and debated whether to call him, my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID, hoping it was him and yet calling myself a bloody fool for being disappointed that I didn’t recognize the number. Rolling my eyes at my own foolishness, I answered the phone.
“Luna Wyvern, Private Investigator Services.”
“Hello Miss Wyvern.” The voice on the other end was masculine, and there was definitely an air about him. “I find myself in need of certain services. The kind of services that I hear you excel at. Would you be interested in meeting with me tomorrow night?” He rattled off the address. “You can find me in the penthouse suite.”
“Of course, Mr. –“
“I’ll see you tomorrow night, Miss Wyvern. I look forward to meeting you. I’ve heard some very good things. Until then.” I had to look at my phone after I heard the click. I’d gotten some strange phone calls, but that was one of the strangest I’d had yet. Should prove interesting, though. It would be a much needed distraction.
So the next night, I found myself heading out, using my GPS to guide me. After the valet parked my car… yes, the valet, I looked up. I’d seen a lot of great buildings in this city. But this one took the cake. It was gorgeous. It went up and up and up. Everything was top of the line. Marble and glass and steel combined to make a truly beautiful spectacle.
I’d been in the city almost two years now, so this kinda thing really shouldn’t take me by such surprise, but I was pretty impressed. I was intrigued by my new client especially since he had told me he had the penthouse suite. In a building like this, you had to not only be wealthy, but have some major pull. I rode the elevator up; even that was luxurious with a dark purple velvet over the walls. Wondering if I shouldn’t have dressed a bit more… professionally, or at least provocatively, I stepped off the elevator and entered into a small foyer that opened up into what I assumed was his office.
The décor was certainly eclectic… and surprising. As was the man behind the desk.
He was definitely something else. The nonchalant, even flippant way he sat there, leaning back, his feet on the desk spoke of power. As I got closer, I realized he was a vampire.
As I approached the desk, he leaned forward, a smile on his face as he extended his hand in welcome. “You’re prompt, Miss Wyvern. Very prompt. I trust you didn’t have a problem finding your way here?”
I chuckled as I took his hand. Before he could try to kiss my knuckles, I took my hand away. “Yes, it wasn’t a problem. Now, shall we get down to business, Mr. -?”
“You can call me Alaric. Would you mind if I call you Luna?”
“Not at all, Alaric. Not at all.” I think I was a bit more… coy than I otherwise might have been. I could tell he was one that liked to play games. And while I’d dealt with all sorts, his type was often difficult to pin down on just what they wanted. That and playing the mysterious vampire, but with friendly tendencies made me want to giggle. It was a bit cliché, yet I couldn’t deny that he was handsome, nor could I deny that I was intrigued just on principle.
He got up and came around the desk, sliding one hip onto the mahogany surface as he grinned at me. “I see you’re a woman who likes to get straight to business, hm?”
“Yes, I like knowing why I’ve been… summoned,” I answered tartly. His charm was oozing from him, but a lot of the time I found that to be more cloying for some reason. Still, I was intrigued by him. There was a sense of… familiarity about him.
“Ah yes, I should have known,” he murmured, nodding.
“Should have known what?” I asked him, tilting my head to the side, growing a little tired of the game.
“Why, I should have known only a woman of your beauty and… skills would have attracted my brother.”
I froze for a moment. “Your brother?”
“Ah… so Roark hasn’t mentioned me? I was afraid of that.” He shook his head sadly. “My brother and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms, unfortunately.” He shrugged. “Since our mother and father were incarcerated, we haven’t seen eye to eye on many things.”
“I-incarcerated?” I whispered, though I knew. It all made so much sense.
Alaric looked taken aback, even shocked. “He didn’t tell you?” He searched my face for a long moment and gave a low whistle. “You don’t know… Luna, our name is Donovan now. But we were born Slayer. Elvira Slayer is our mother.”
I couldn’t seem to draw in a breath as the room spun around me.
I don’t remember stumbling out of his office. I don’t even really remember leaving at all. Nor do I remember how I ended up across town, over the bridge almost to the mountains. But the next thing I knew, I was standing in front of Roark’s house. My chest was so tight. I didn’t know that I had been crying until that moment. I scrubbed my tears away and that’s when the rage hit. It boiled over me, wiping away the hurt, the confusion until anger was all that was left. I saw him through the window and that rage went cold.
I stalked up the steps, gave two sharp knocks, then walked in. I still had the key Roark had given me. He looked shocked to see me. “Luna? What are you doing here? Are you ok?”
I laughed bitterly. “No, no I’m not.”
“What’s wrong? What’s wrong!” I crossed my arms over my chest, having to take a deep breath. “What’s wrong is that you lied to me!”
“No, let me rephrase that… to lie to me, you actually have to say something, I guess, unless you count a lie by omission.” He just stared at me, as if struck dumb. “How could you not tell me who you were!?” I finally shouted. “How could you not tell me who you were? How could you not tell me that [i]she’s[/i] your mother!” I wanted to know. I wanted to know why he hadn’t told me. Now I knew why he hadn’t wanted to go meet my family. It was too much for him.
He looked poleaxed. That was the only word that seemed to fit. “H-how did you…” He swallowed, looking away. “I was afraid,” he whispered. “I didn’t know who you were at first, didn’t make the connection, I guess. When I did… I was just afraid.” He looked at me, his gaze hardening. “Who told you, Luna?”
“Your brother. I met Alaric tonight. Why didn’t you tell me about him?”
He crossed his arms over his chest, everything about him going still. “My brother? [i]He[/i] told you?”
The rage and anger had begun to die away, only to leave this terrible ache in the center of my chest. I had to put my hand over my face for a moment. “Roark, what does it matter? I just want to know… why?”
He didn’t seem to hear me. He just turned away, his face utterly devoid of emotion. “Stay away from Alaric.” His voice was low and controlled. “He’s dangerous.”
That imperious tone… the rage flared back with a vengeance. “Excuuuuuse me?” I hissed. “Stay away from him? ‘He’s dangerous’? At least he told me the truth! Which is more than I can say for you!”
I whirled around, intending to leave. My heart hammered in my chest when I heard no movement. He wasn’t going to stop me…
I think my heart broke then. A sob escaped and I raced out of the door, tears streaming down my face. As if sensing the heartache, the skies chose that moment to open up above me.
As the door slammed behind her, it seemed to snap Roark out of it. He jolted and whirled around, his heart freezing in his chest. He ran to the door, intending to follow her. But what right did he have? She was right, he’d lied to her. He hadn’t told her who he was. And he should have. He’d been terrified, terrified she’d hate him. But he’d seen her face. There had been more hurt than anger there. And Alaric… With a violent oath, he slammed his fist against the doorframe, leaning there, wondering how things had gone so very wrong and how he’d fix them.
I stumbled into my apartment and threw myself on my bed. The sobs wracked my body. I couldn’t stop them, no matter how hard I tried.
I’m not sure how long I cried; it was a long time, that’s all I know. I was all cried out by that point. I had nothing left in me. I was feeling numb. I slowly rolled over, just lying there, staring up at the ceiling.
I tried sliding under the covers, still fully clothed to get some sleep. But no sooner than I’d close my eyes did they snap open again. I still didn’t have any tears left, but I sure felt like I could use some. It would have been better than this horrid numbness.
Finally, knowing sleep was useless, I got up and went to the couch, intending to find something to watch on TV. But as I just sat there, staring at the blank screen, I knew that wouldn’t work either.
I languished on the couch for quite a while before getting up to go stare out of the window. As I did, my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and recognized the number as the one Alaric had called me from before. I thought about just letting it go to voicemail, ignoring it all together. I didn’t want his money. I…
I stopped, my head going up. Stay away from him, hm? Why should I? He only told me the truth. In what I’d now call a fit of spite, I answered the phone. “Alaric. Yes, I’m alright. I apologize for leaving the way I did. Why, yes, I’d love to join you for a drink.” I checked my watch. “In an hour ok? Great, I’ll see you there.”