So, we've solved the problem with the virus!
Now there is the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it!CHAPTER 1
Tess Carter woke up with a start. Her heart was racing, the long forgotten fear creeping up in her again. It had been a long time since she had this dream the last time, but it would return from time to time to haunt her. Though the dream was so vivid, she knew it was only that; a bad dream.
Turning her still with sleep clouded head towards the small nightstand, the glowing numbers on her alarm clock showed her that it was almost time to get up.
Sighing she closed her eyes again, only to see those deep red eyes glowing, burning themselves in her mind. The intensity of the dream didn’t fright her as much as it used to when she started having those dreams at a young age, but those deep red eyes still sent a chill down her spine. They were ruthless, merciless and so cold.Beep. Beep.
When the alarm on her clock went off, Tess knew she must have drifted off again. Switching-off the annoying sound with one hand, she slowly pushed away the thick covers, keeping away the chilly air of the room. Though wearing a thick pajama, Tess felt the cold air in her room and hurried to retrieve some clothes from the wardrobe, before leaving the cold room.
Still being aware of the cold chill in her heart, Tess enjoyed the comfortable warm temperature in her living room. Though only small, her apartment was everything to her. It was her home and her safe place, protecting her from the outside.
Putting down the fresh clothing on her counter next to the small bathroom, Tess went to the small kitchen and turned on the coffee maker, which she had filled up already in the evening.
Soon the rich dark aroma of Brazilian coffee filled the apartment, tempting the young woman to inhale deeply before disappearing into the bathroom to take a warm shower.
Hoping that the warm stream would also warm her up on the inside, she stepped into the cubicle. Hot steam filled the small room until the window and mirror fogged up.
Sighing, Tess stood still, letting the warm water flow over her slender body. She enjoyed standing in the shower almost as much as her hot, freshly brewed coffee in the mornings before heading off into a new, stressful day. The hot shower would always wake her up and helped to banish the creepy feeling, left over from her nightmare.
Grabbing the bottle with her favorite shampoo, she squeezed a small amount in her hand, slowly massaging it in her scalp. The coconut aroma filled the foggy air, making her sigh with happiness. It had always been her favorite along with the shower bath with strawberry flavor.
Her thoughts returned back to the dream. She couldn’t remember when having these strange dreams started, but it must have been at a young age. Strangely they only returned during Christmas time, a time which Tess didn’t like very much. Being alone in this world without family made it very hard to enjoy the love and joy spreading in the cold winter air. Seeing all those happy families always let her heart ache and strengthened the longing to find someone to share it with.
Surely not with the lifestyle she had now, only existing of sleeping, working and grabbing dinner on her way home, Tess thought sarcastically while turning off the shower.
Leaving the small cubicle, she crabbed a towel, making her way over to the fogged-up mirror. Wiping over the mirror to get a clearer view, Tess stared at her reflection.
Big, deep brown eyes stared back at her, surrounded by long black lashes, emphasizing the tiredness. Long time ago those eyes used to sparkle with happiness and joy but those times had long been gone. Now she was a grown woman, still searching for her place in the world.
Her face was pale, a small group of freckles around her nose and full lips. She once had been told to be beautiful, but now the reflection showed a plain face. Black, slightly wavy hair framed her face and fell down to the mid of her back.
Shrugging, Tess grabbed her toothbrush and paste and brushed her teeth feverously. It was her job to look plain, not to stand out of the crowd. But this thought stirred something inside her, so she grabbed her makeup bag after and put up some mascara and lip-gloss.
Being slightly happy with the result, Tess left the bathroom and changed into her outfit for the day, consisting of a maroon colored blouse and black pants.
Before fixing her breakfast, Tess went to the stereo and turned it on. The soft voice of Sarah McLachlan filled the small room, singing of love.
Tess’ breakfast consisted of only two slices of bread, one with cheese and the other with strawberry marmalade. Carrying the plate and a big mug, filled with steaming hot coffee, she made her way into the living room, sitting down at the small table.
Taking a careful sip from her coffee mug, she looked around her home. It wasn’t much and it certainly wasn’t stylish but it was something she could call her own. For years the only personal belongings had fit into a small suitcase, which accompanied her on her moves from host family to host family. Tess couldn’t count the numbers of how often she had to change the families because they thought her to be strange and not fitting, but it had hurt the same each time. Rejection as something, the small Tess had learned at a young age and still was afraid of.
Pushing those dreadful and sad memories aside, Tess stood up and put her now empty plate and mug in the sink. Turning off the stereo, she slipped into her warm coat and equally warm boots, before grabbing her purse and heading off to work.
It was still dark outside, when Tess left her apartment and made her way towards the subway. She wasn’t aware of the dark shadow following the young woman.
* * *
The day had been tiring and worn her out just as any other day for the past couple of months. Tess could feel the headache approaching, but knew also that it wouldn’t arrive for another couple of hours before it would hit with full force. Swallowing a pill to ease at least some of the pain, Tess turned around in her seat to take a look around the huge laboratory.
Like always she was the last person in the laboratory, everybody else having left already with a cheerful “Merry Christmas!” on their lips before heading off to their families to enjoy a few days of peace and calmness before the busy life drags them away again.
Sighing, Tess decided that she would also call it a day and leave. Today she would do something extraordinary she had decided during her lunch break. She would go to her favorite Italian restaurant just around the corner and order the wonderful tasting lasagna with a glass of red wine, something she rarely did.
Shutting down her computer, she piled the wild spread papers up and put them away in their respective folders, before grabbing her purse and coat and heading out of the office and to the elevator.
Tess had been the last one in this building it seemed, except for the receptionist and security staff. When she arrived in the big entrance, Tess was greeted with someone whistling ‘Jingle Bells’ and the huge Christmas tree, enlightened by hundreds of small lamps.
Being said goodbye with the usual ‘Merry Christmas!’ Tess hurried out of the building and onto the noisy and cold streets of the city. Pedestrians filled the sidewalks, children looking around, curiosity and happiness radiating off their small faces, wrapped up in thick jackets to save them from the cold air.
The windows of the shops where filled with Christmas decorations, mostly fake snow and reindeer dummies. In front of some even stood a man in a Santa Clause costume, sharing out sweets and small gifts. Happy laughs and the occasional ‘hohoho’ filled the air here and there, being supported by happy chatter.
Tess pushed through the crowd, passing happy families and young couples, before rounding a corner and walking up to the restaurant, which had been her favorite for quite some time now.
A smile crept over her face when she entered the restaurant, a smell mixture of lavender and espresso enveloping her. The heat of the room made the color return to her cheeks while she disposed of her coat and went to a secluded booth in the far corner.
Sitting down, the waiter brought her the menu, but Tess signaled him that she had already made her choice. Giving him her orders, she darted her gaze out of the window facing the busy street. Seeing all those happy people made Tess sad. She had always been alone, since she can remember, never really belonging somewhere. It had been difficult for her to get adapt to the changing lifestyles of the host families she had been carried off to but, Tess thought honestly, she had never really wanted to belong anywhere.
“Somehow I knew I would meet you here!” A voice suddenly interrupted her thoughts.
Averting her gaze from the window, Tess looked up into the smiling face of Hannah Thulston. Hannah was someone that came very close to be calling a friend, but Tess still hesitated to let her into her thoughts.
“Hi.” Tess answered smiling up at the woman towering over her. “Do you want to sit down?”
Hannah sat down opposite from her, peeling off her jacket and gloves. Her light blue eyes twinkled of joy, her shortly cut blonde hair was a typical mess on her head.
Tess groaned. “Please don’t tell me you like all of this!” gesturing outside.
“Why not?” Hannah laughed, “Its Christmas after all. Don’t you like it?”
Tess was relieved when the waiter brought her red wine, together with a small basked of crackers. It spared her giving the answer to a question she couldn’t really answer. Why didn’t she like Christmas? Why was her mind refusing to give her the answer? Tess knew that it had to do something with her family, but each time she tried to remember, a sudden hot stream of pain flashed her brain, laboring her breath.
Gritting her teeth, Tess pulled herself together and forced the pain in the back of her mind. It was painful to think of her past, especially of the time before she had gone into governmental custody. Since thinking of her past always came together with a sharp pain, Tess tried to avoid thinking about it as best as she could.
Taking a sip from the red wine, Tess looked over at Hannah. The eyes of the woman opposite her have never left Tess’ face, watching curiously and expectantly.
“No, I don’t like Christmas very much.” Tess mumbled into her glass, averting her gaze from the intently staring blue orbs. Hannah always gave her the feeling to be able to look into her soul, leaving Tess with an uneasy feeling of vulnerability.
Hannah kept her gaze fixed on Tess’ face for a several more moments, before turning her head to watch the busy street. “You don’t want to tell me, do you?”
Tess sighed. “I can’t.” she probably was the only one who could comprehend how true this statement was. Hot pain kept her from this particular memory.
Hannah looked back at Tess, smiling. “But you don’t mind me being here.” It was more of a statement than a question; therefore Tess shook her head shortly, cracking a small smile.
Meanwhile Hannah ordered something for herself too, also not wanting to be alone tonight. Tess didn’t knew much about her, only that she had come from an abusive household, running away at the age of sixteen and having lived in the streets for some years. When a young cop had caught her steeling some food at a small gas station, he hadn’t turned her in but instead found her a job at the same gas station. They were still good friends with Tim looking over her protectively.
“So how did you know where to find me?” Tess asked curiously.
Hannah smiled at her. “I know you like this restaurant and I came here to look for you.”
Tess shook her head unbelievingly. “You’re kidding.”
“Yes, I was. I walked by the window, and saw you sitting here all alone by yourself. So I decided to be your company for tonight.”
“Thank you!” Tess smiled, being thankful for Hannah’s decision to stay with her tonight. She already felt the resentment of having to stay alone in her apartment during Christmas. Feeling lonely was something Tess was used to, but didn’t like.
Both women fell silent when their meals where being served, the wonderful smell of lasagna wavering between them. Pitching into their food, they chatted away and enjoyed the company. The similarities between the women where striking, both fighting in this life but having learnt failure already, yet still keeping closed up towards other people.
Though knowing that they could rely on each other, both young women couldn’t bring themselves to trust the other but knowing that someday they would be able to do so.
Late at night they separated after animatedly chatter and a few glasses of red wine, both going their respective ways.
The air still was chilly, smelling like snow. Tess wandered through the streets, having decided to walk the few blocks to her apartment to enjoy the cold air. Every window was enlightened and shadows moved behind the drawn curtains. She pictured herself, surrounded by loved ones, giving out and receiving presents. Sighing inwardly, she walked on to the loneliness awaiting her in her apartment.
Arriving at her door, the first snowflakes started to fall from the black sky. Today would be another day for her, holding surprises Tess would have never expected for her in store.
Obliviously to the drastic changes in her life soon, the young woman entered through the door and disappeared in the safety of her apartment. Again she missed the dark form standing across the street, watching each of her steps.
* * *
He smelled the steely taste of freshly spilled blood before rounding the corner of the building and walking into the small alley. Crouching down into a defensive position, Darien slowly pulled out his steel blade, balancing in one hand, while the other grabbed for one of the smaller knifes in his boot shaft.
Darien could feel the power vibrating through the weapons, singing for blood to be spilled tonight. These weapons had been his best friends; even closer than brothers since they would follow his lead without doubt, not hesitating once.
When the smell reached his sensitive nostrils, Darien felt the changes it always caused. He knew that white, deathly fangs were filling his mouth, his almost black eyes shining, a soft red glimmer permeating.
Pushing his body forward towards the corner of the building and the dark alley, he inhaled deeply. It was quiet, not a sound reaching his over sensitive ears. Though knowing that he was the only thing alive in a close radius, Darien still took precautions in case somebody might appear unexpected. Steeling a glance around the corner he saw a small form hunched motionless next to some garbage cans.
Still being on high alert, he cautiously rounded the corner and stepped into the dark alley. Looking up he saw the rood of the buildings, their silhouettes enlightened by the full moon. No one seemed to be up there, but still he didn’t take down in his security precautions.
Reaching out for the huddled person, Darien cautiously touched their shoulder, turning the person around slowly.
Cursing between his fangs, he jumped back. Dead eyes stared back up at him from the face of a young woman, her features contorted up in fear and pain. Long, brown locks spilled around her; her slender body clothes in a warm sweater and jeans. The sweater used to be colored in a joyful yellow but now the deep red color of her blood soaked it, giving it a sick brown color.
Still the blood flowed freely from her violently opened aorta.
Darien stepped back, the smell of the blood still educing his smelling sense, urging him to drink it. But he knew that the blood of a dead person would never satisfy him fully. Also it seemed like a crime to take something from a woman, that wasn’t able to make the decision about giving her blood freely.
He had done this once, he would never do this again as he had promised his mother. Darien was known as someone to keep his promises once given, never backing out no matter what the circumstances.
Darien knew there was nothing he could do for this woman, except for hoping that her death came unexpected and sudden though her features didn’t look like it. Her capturers obviously had had their sick little game with her, before killing her off. Putting his weapons back into their respective places, he sighed.
Hot rage cursed through his body; clenching his fists Darien stepped towards the corpse again, closing her eyes with his hand softly while reciting a silent prayer for her soul. Nobody deserved to die at the merciless hands of his enemy, especially not such a young and pure life.
When the mobile in his pocket went off, Darien walked deeper into the alley to answer it without having the danger of prying ears.
“Yes?” he said gruffly, his hunger still burning deep down, reminding him that he needed to feed soon.
“Darien?” the crisp voice of Adrian, his superior asked, his voice as impatient as ever.
“Yes. What’s it, Ad?” Though Adrian was his superior, they both had been through too much to still care for their respective positions in hierarchy. A close bond of friendship and understanding kept them close to each other.
“We need you to come back to the base, pal. The big one wants to talk to you.”
Darien cursed under his breath silently. It never meant something good could come out of it, when his own father, master of their clan, called for him.
“Let me feed first, Adrian. I’ll be at the manor in two hours.” Darien hissed, still not sure what the real reason for this sudden call was. “I’m having a dead body here, too. Can you take car eof that?”
“Sure, just give me the coordinates and I’ll send a team to deposit the corpse.”
Darien named his position, giving exact detail where to find the corpse of the young woman, now being drained off blood.
“Okay. See you.” Adrian’s voice sounded, before the line was cut.
Putting the sleek mobile back into its pocket, Darien swiftly left the dark alley, heading towards the more busy part of the cold city with long strides.
This city had been his home for so many years now, always keeping him busy fighting against their enemies, a breed called Rogues, and having enough distractions for him, to keep him and his friends busy.
But tonight was different. He could feel it in the air and hearing this happy chatter he knew why: Christmas time. Again. The happenings around Christmas were nothing of great importance to his kind of breed, though some of them seemed to enjoy it.
Darien couldn’t understand what was so special about the snow, making the streets slippery, the sweets everywhere, he couldn’t enjoy and the presents giving. He certainly didn’t need a special occasion to give out presents; not that he had somebody whom he could give them to anyway. His father wasn’t very fond of getting presents, that’s for sure.
Making his way through the filled sidewalks, he grumbled, knowing that it would be difficult to find a good feeder he could pull into an empty alley without being watched. His species still had to live in the shadows of the human breed, which made living in such a big city difficult. Especially with Rogues killing humans like hungry wolves in a sheep herd.
Spotting a chance to get his feast, he quickened his steps, following a tall man behind a building into a dark and dirty backyard. His eyes didn’t need any time to adjust the sight, so he spotted the tall man quickly, crouching down behind some waste bins.
‘What’s it always with these waste bins?’ Dante thought sarcastically, silently walking towards the dark figure. When sweet smoke filled his nostrils, he knew why this human had sought such a secluded place: he was about to enjoy a joint.
“Can I have a smoke, too?” Darien asked silently as soon as he had approached the figure silently.
Startled the man jumped up, looking scared.
“I won’t turn you in if you’ll lend me smoke.” Darien pressed smiling inwardly. Beckoning the man closer to him with a secretive wave of his hand, the man obeyed.
As soon as the man was near enough, Darien grabbed for his head and pulled him aside without problems, letting his fangs sink deeply into the warm flesh of the human. Instantly, the body slacked beneath him, for the endorphins in Darien’s fangs had kicked in and eased the pain and fogged up the human’s mind.
Drinking with deep long gulps, Darien soon felt his burning hunger diminish, knowing that he would never really vanish completely.
Only his rightful breed made would be able to satisfy these needs. Unfortunately he still hadn’t found her during the last hundred years of his existence. His chance of finding her was ebbing from day to day. Lately he had lost all hopes to find her at all.
When he was seated, he closed the wound with a short lick of his lip, his spit having the ability to heal immediately. Grabbing the man by the head, Darien murmured words in an ancient language to alter the human’s memory.
Since their bread still lived undetected among humans, it was important to destroy all evidence that could lead towards their secret existence. Once they hadn’t been so careful and had nearly been wiped out by the humans and had to return to secrecy to survive.
“You wanna have a joint?” The man asked, still swaying a bit from the blood loss, holding out his joint towards Darien.
“No, thank you. I would advise you to quit with this stuff.” Darien said, pointing at the joint. “It’s not really healthy.”
With that he turned around, leaving the man and the dirty courtyard behind. Emerging onto the busy streets, Darien turned towards the side road where he had parked his car at nightfall. His mind still working on the reason why his father had requested for his presence rather sooner than later, he folded his tall frame into the sleek black Ferrari and sped off.
* * *
When Darien entered the huge mansion, instantly all chatter was cut off and all heads turned towards him. He was the son of their master, therefore a very sought after male. Every woman nearly crawled as soon as he entered a room, yearning for his attention. He surely didn’t reject their offered bodies for every use he sought after, but neither of them could satisfy his needs for long.
That’s where his breed mate would step in, not only satisfying his hunger but also attending to his sexual needs.
Ignoring the longings gazes wandering over his well built body, Darien strode towards the big staircase taking two steps at a time. Reaching the top, he turned to his right and followed the exclusively decorated hallway to his father’s study.
Walking down the corridor towards the door at the very end of the hallway, a tall frame that had been leaning at the wall straightened out and waited for him a few meters away from the oak doors.
“He’s already waiting for you.” Adrian greeted Darien, as soon as he had caught up with him.
“Do you know what he wants?” Darien asked, having an idea what this meeting would be about.
“I think you know what this will be about. Your hundredth birthday with only few days away, my guess is as good as yours.” Adrian said, giving him a small smile before walking down the hallway, disappearing in one of the many rooms.
Seeing his dark thoughts being confirmed, Darien shook his head, opening the door to his father’s study swiftly.
“Here I am, father. What do you want?”
His dark gaze locked with the equally tall figure, sitting in a comfortable armchair behind his huge mahogany desk.
Lucian was a tall man, his hair still a fully black mass on his head and his eyes burned with an intensity that made everyone shrink back. His clothes had been sorted according to his importance for the clan. Broad shoulders where covered by a black shirt, its hems being accented with small golden clan signs. His black slacks covered long muscular legs. Although being an Old one, Lucian was still a man no one wanted to mess with without having a death wish. He was told to be ruthless, having no mercy with his enemies and leading his clan with a strong hand.
Being the master of their clan had worn him out during the last years but he still stood proud and strong.
These thoughts where running through Darien’s head when looking closer at his father. Being a power to reckon with, his father stared back with the same intensity in his eyes.
“I think you know exactly what I need to talk to you about.” Lucian’s voice was even, thought still held the power to order everyone around.
“I’ve been looking for her and you know that.” Darien said, his voice matching his father’s nearly identically.
Dark eyes burned themselves into Darien’s, challenging him to object. “You’ve not been looking thoroughly. We know that she lives here, in this city, yet you didn’t find her in all those years?” His voice was dripping with sarcasm. “You should stop running around with your weapons as if you’re some ordinary Guardian!”
Darien felt his anger rising, knowing that his temper was equally as bad as his father’s. Though his father always seemed to tempt him into losing his temper, Darien didn’t want to bend. It’s been always like this as long as Darien can remember; just the ordinary quarrel between two strong minded and equally bad tempered males of their bread.
“I’m not running around playing Guardian, father! I am a Guardian, as you may know.” He hissed between clenched teeth, fighting his boiling anger inside. “I was looking for her but couldn’t find her.”
“Hm.” His father humped, clearly not believing a word he was hearing. Locking his hands firmly behind his back, Lucian started to walk around his huge desk, picking up a file on his way.
“Let me help you, son.” Lucian said, coming to a stop in front of his son. Wordlessly he handed the file to Darien, turning around to sit back down behind his desk.
Darien held the file in his hands, curiously opening it. It only contained one picture; a young woman with long brown wavy hair and equally brown eyes smiled up at him.
“This is her. This will be your wife!” Lucian said, already distractedly filing through the other papers on his desk.
“What’s her name?” Darien asked, curious to get further details about his soon-to-be-wife.
Lucian looked up, startled about the question of his son. Taking a moment to think, he finally answered. “Carter. Tess Carter.”
So, what do you think?? Please tell me whether you liked it or not (as well as the grammatical errors you've found). Thank you!