A Dark Night with a Dark Stranger Ch. 11byBellstoires©
Apologies to everyone for not posting this sooner. I haven't been able to get in contact with my editor, but I have gotten a few emails asking where the next chapter was, so I thought I would post it. So excuse the mistakes (it's all me)... Enjoy! Oh and thank you to everyone who keeps commenting. I love it.
CHAPTER 11- THE HALLOWEEN PARTY
Bell had waited until after 3 in the morning for Ragon to return. She had sat on the couch with Sandra and Larissa, playing card games and chatting, all the while her thoughts stuck on Ragon. Patrick had gone to bed early. Occasionally from his room on the second floor, the girls could hear outbursts of songs from 'Pricilla Queen of the Desert.'
"He always loved that film," Larissa said, after one particularly off tune chorus came blasting from above.
"I like the night life, I like to boogie, On the..." Patrick's voice sung loudly.
"What happened to Sameth's gaffa tape?" Sandra asked, carrying her voice so that the other vampires on the veranda could hear her.
There was muffled laughter from outside, but no one got up.
"Well I think I am going to call it a night... or day... or whatever" Bell said, hopping up from the couch.
Her left leg had gone numb from having it tucked under her right one for so long, and she hobbled for a moment, waiting for the pins and needles to abate.
"Honey, wait a moment," Sandra said, reaching up for Bell's hand.
Bell fell back onto the couch, her numb leg giving out the moment Sandra had pulled her. Instantly she rubbed hard, hoping to fight off the pain of blood re-circulating.
"You know with Ragon, well any vampire really, it's hard for us to control ourselves around mortals. At the end of the day we are predators, when you put a predator in a room with a blood source, no matter how much they care for them... Sometimes emotions just take over. He wouldn't hurt you in his normal frame of mind, but when a vampire is... excited, it's a little more difficult to control ourselves, especially when we are already hungry," Sandra explained.
"I get it," Bell said, failing to hide her disappointment.
"But I don't think you do," Larissa said.
"No I do. Maybe vampires and humans shouldn't be together?" Bell asked.
Larissa and Sandra exchanged looks.
"Well, I don't know. I have never dated a mortal," Sandra said, directing a long glance at Larissa.
"But I have," Larissa added.
"What?" Bell asked, before adding, "but I thought you and Cambridge had been together for ages?
"We have, but he wasn't always a vampire, not until I decided I couldn't live without him and turned him," Larissa said.
Bell had stopped rubbing her leg; in fact she had stopped doing anything: even breathing. She was staring unblinking, transfixed at Larissa, as if she were looking at her for the first time.
"Tell me everything," Bell said.
Larissa smiled warmly and said, "well it was the late 1780's, and my father was the owner of a large tobacco farm in Minnesota. I was only 6 years old when the first black slaves came to work the fields. Black labour was cheaper than any other sort. I had been forbidden to converse with the Negro men and women. I still had my governess, her name was Mary, but her thoughts were exact opposite to that of my fathers. She spoke of black and white equality, though never around my father. She was what you might say, a forward thinker. In hind sight, had I told anyone back then how she thought, she probably would have been hung.
So it wasn't until my 8th birthday, when I was playing hide and seek in the grounds with friends from neighbouring estates, that I had my first conversation with a black person. He was about my age, although he was much taller and larger, having been bred for hard labour. I had been hiding behind one of the less used barns when he found me. I can still remember his disjointed English. I had ignored him at first, my father's warnings swimming in my head. But looking closer at the boy, I couldn't see anything dangerous about him. For over two hours we spoke, until finally a large search party, headed by my father, found me. The boy had managed to get away without being seen, and I had lied and told them that I had fallen asleep in the sun.
It was two full weeks before I saw him again. This time when we met, we talked for almost half of the day and I found out his name; Cambridge. For the next few years we continued meeting in secret and going on adventures. I would spend the day with him, and the night talking to Mary about him. He was the closest thing to a friend I had ever had. He told me about Africa, and the animals there and the arid landscape. It wasn't long before I dreamed of his home land often, seeing what I imagined to be lions, giraffes and elephants.
By the age of 15 I stopped seeing him as a friend, and began dreaming about the two of us, living in Africa together. My mother had died the previous year, and almost as soon as my father was re-married, his new wife Selena wanted to send me to the city for boarding school. I screamed and cried, but my father was deaf to my requests and spoke only of how it was the premier school for young ladies. On the eve of my departure I decided to meet with Cambridge one last time. I knew that I might be followed; that it was stupid to go out at night: but I had to risk it.
I can still remember trailing through the black people's camps, calling his name. His people didn't want us together almost as much as my family. I could tell by the way they looked at me, that they despised me. But I didn't care if they saw me that night; I had to say goodbye. For a few blissful hours we talked, holding hands. I promised that as soon as I could, I would return. He laughed at me, called me a silly white girl, but I didn't care; I think even then I loved him. Maybe an hour or so later one of Cambridge's friends found us. He told us that my father was looking for me. I moved robotically over to Cambridge, desperation overpowering my innocence and did the one thing I had wanted to for years: kissed him. He returned the kiss eagerly; his hand cupping my cheek, and for the first time in my life I felt uncontrolled and alive. Moments later and I heard a man scream, and felt myself being ripped from Cambridge's arms.
I was packaged up and sent away that night. Very few females were privy to education in those times, not that you could really call what we learnt, education, but back then it was the elite. The school in the city was full of snobby girls. Each aimed to outcompete the other with the latest fashions, the tightest curls, the largest estate; whatever was coveted at the time. For four horrible years I was stuck there, with only the memory of Cambridge's lips on mine, to keep me company. My father, who had by now had two sons with his new wife and had not forgotten of my betrayal, probably saw me as a mistake. He did not ask me to return home for the summers, and every holiday I remained at the hall. Still, my father did not entirely abandon me. He had left me a tidy sum of money, which I promptly invested, eager to run away at the first chance.
I must have been about 18 years old when Mary, my old governess, came to visit me one night. She was still just as lovely as before, and asked me about Cambridge, and if I still thought of him. When I told her that I thought of him every day, she told me that she knew a way that he and I could be together: forever. At the time her promise had sounded like the best thing in the world, and I agreed instantly. She told me the cost would be great; that we would not be able to live among normal men and women, and that we would need to be creatures of the night. These terms seemed to me to be acceptable. After all, it was illegal for mixing of black and white people in those days. Off course we would have to keep our lives a secret.
That night she turned me. As soon as I woke as a vampire I felt a hunger within me, and commenced feeding on anything in my path. Desperate to leave my old life behind me, we lit my room on fire, and left the corpse of a girl I had drained in there, so that my father would think I was dead. I was completely different, not just in my abilities: but in my thoughts. I still craved Cambridge, but not as much as I craved blood. Perhaps my upbringing had left me resentful and bitter? Anyway, Mary described my appetite as insatiable. It took her months to get me to calm down and kill with style, and even then, I couldn't drink from a mortal without killing them. Needless to say, I wasn't going to be able to see Cambridge in that state, let along persuade him to be a vampire with me.
Three years after my transformation I decided I could wait no longer. I was gradually getting better and better, and had even managed drinking from sources without ending their lives. I had also learnt how to disassociate them afterwards, which made life a hell of allot easier. Mary and I commissioned a carriage, and fashioned it so that no light could get in. The trip from town into the country took two days hard riding. We brought a donor with us; some young man from one of the villages we passed through, who directed the carriage during the day, and we feed off during the night. It was late one night when we rode into my father's farm. I was tense with anticipation. I prayed that my father had kept Cambridge on as a farm hand, but even still, I had no idea what he might look like or how he would respond to seeing me.
You can't imagine how happy I was when I saw him. He was still young and handsome, with full lips, large muscles and long black dreadlocks that were slightly golden at the edges from all his hours of work under the sun. I asked him to leave with me and he agreed. It was as if no time had passed, and we picked up things right where we left off. That night we said goodbye to Mary and boarded a boat to South America. There were very few options for a black and white couple back then, let alone a black man and a white vampire. For a while I hide what I was from him. It wasn't easy, not being able to go out into the sunlight. I pretended to have caught some mysterious illness on the voyage over. But eventually he worked it out. I thought for sure that he was going to leave me. But he didn't. He just told me that he needed time to think. You can imagine the late night conversations and screaming matches. He wanted to be with me but not as a monster; he had to die to be with me; he was too young to die; he would keep aging while I stayed the same; we could be together forever. There were so many points, for and against, his becoming a vampire to be with me.
"So," Bell said eagerly, "what happened?"
As she had listened to Larissa's story, she had leaned closer and closer towards her. It was absolutely insane to conceive that for a time Cambridge had contemplated not being with Larissa, vampirism or not; they were such a perfect couple.
"You know what happened," Sandra said smiling, "can you, or can you not see two vampires, madly in love, in front of you today?"
"Yea, No I know, I mean..." Bell began.
"It's ok," Larissa said, "I know what you mean. Well for about 6 months we continued like this. We were living in a small fishing village off the coast of Columbia. Cambridge had commissioned a job on the docks. From only being there for those few months my activities had drawn attentions, and there was talk of something biting people, draining their blood. Offcourse I disassociated all my victims afterwards, and only took what I needed to survive. But in a small village, full of superstitious natives, my activities did not go unnoticed. Finally one night the villages had had enough, and set a trap for the blood drinker. They cut the wrists of a sacrificial lamb and left the girl outside. When I smelt her blood I was consumed with hunger. I ran straight for her without thinking. As soon as I heard the first scream I knew I had been discovered. The villages surrounded me, holding large flaming torches and yelling in their native tongue. They were spitting at me, and calling me a demon and witch. Cambridge, who had heard the commotion, came over to see what was happening. There was blood all down my dress, and thick red liquid stained my lips from where I had tasted the girl. Without thinking and moving in a flash I leapt over the torches, running as fast as I could into the night. I dared not return to our house, but went to ground for the night.
The next evening I left a note for Cambridge explaining that I was leaving for Latvia. I had heard from Mary that there were colonies of vampires there and that the weather made it possible for us to come out during the day. I had enough wealth from my investments to buy two tickets for the voyage. I left one ticket for Cambridge and wrote for him to come with me.
4 days later the boat left. I spent the entire first night looking everywhere for Cambridge. Just when I had convinced myself that he had decided to let me go; I found him! He was sitting at the edge of the boat, his shoes were off and his eyes were closed. 'I'm ready' was all he said to me. And the rest is history."
Bell had listened to Larissa and Cambridge's fairy tale intently, comparing it with her own 300 year later version. Still one question remained.
"Do you think you would have stayed together if he decided he didn't want to become a vampire?" Bell asked.
Larissa frowned for a moment, and Bell knew what she was thinking; no. One mortal and one vampire couldn't be together. It was impractical. In twenty years' time, Bell would be almost 50, and Ragon would be as handsome and perfect as ever. For a few years she could get away being a cougar, but what about when she was 70 or 80 or older; that's if she even lived that long with Kiara, and the rest of Ragon's crazy lifestyle trying to kill her. Not that Ragon would even want her when she was old and wrinkly? But was that her answer? If she didn't want to become a vampire could they really not be together? Bell shuddered at the thought. Only hours ago she had been in utter heaven in his arms, and now she was thinking of how they must be apart. Perhaps being a vampire wouldn't be so bad? It would defiantly suck not being able to go into the sun for the rest of her life; and it might take her a while to get use to the whole drinking blood thing; but look at Larissa and Sandra. Apart from being over 200 years old, they seemed to be normal. They were certainly able to sit here and have a normal conversation with her. But did she want to be with Ragon enough to give up her life? It wasn't quite the same as moving town for a husband's job; this would literally be the end of everything she knew.
"If you had the choice again; would you decide to become a vampire?" Bell asked both girls.
This was the question she needed answered the most. Perhaps she was jumping the gun a bit. She and Ragon weren't even officially together. Still, it seemed crazy for Bell to start a relationship with someone that she ultimately couldn't be with. But perhaps, if love were enough, she would give up everything to be with him.
Larissa spoke first, 'in a heartbeat," she said, before adding with a small laugh, "or rather without a heartbeat."
Both Bell and Larissa turned to Sandra, who shook her head, saying, "I don't know."
Larissa's jaw dropped. She had expected Sandra to agree with her, to say that being with Thomas was worth more than all the tea in China; hell anything, but this.
"What?" Larissa asked her voice high pitched from the shock.
"It's not that I wouldn't want to be with Thomas, but I think I would have wanted to have one lifetime with him, and..." she paused, chewing her bottom lip, as her eyes went glassy, "and gotten to have children and be a mother."
Shit, Bell thought to herself. Was she so completely thick? Until now she did not realise what becoming a vampire meant for women especially. No children, forever. Bell had thought that the worst part would have been watching all the people you loved die, but she supposed that after a while, those wounds might close; but what about all the people you never got to know? The children and the grandchildren you had to give up?
Bell had lots to consider when she finally went to bed. Ragon had still not returned, and to be honest, after the conversation with Larissa and Sandra, she wasn't too sure she knew what she would have done if he were there. Crawling under the covers, Bell thought about Larissa's story and what she should do with her own. Her decision was to wait and see. After all, Bell had only known Ragon for a short time. It would be crazy for her to think that she loved him already; wouldn't it? Still, she couldn't help but remember the look in his eyes when he had reached for her, saying that he wanted her. How was she supposed to ignore how her heart had jumped at that moment? Tomorrow night it would be the Halloween party. Perhaps after that she would know...
The night of Wednesday the 31st of October was a cold one. A southerly wind had swept a storm from the coastline; bringing with it rain and lightning. As if in welcome of Halloween, the moon was full and round, and cast an eerie yellow glow over the city; that was occasionally punctuated by thick grey storm clouds. Even the habitual night-time wildlife surrounding the area had quietened; the normally screeching bats, who swept over the city at sun down, like a black veil, had chosen to rest early, waiting out the storm.
Bell woke just after 5pm, creeping quickly from her bedroom and returning later with some cereal and milk.
"Yuck," she said, after taking a mouthful of her breakfast and then spitting it out, so that small bits of cornflakes and milk splattered the bed sheets.
Her hands reached for the milk container and she frowned. Pushing the cereal away she got up, stripped the bed and jumped into the shower. With her head under the water, Bell didn't hear the small knock on her bedroom door. She had taken a hell of a lot longer in the shower than she normally would have. Her mind was still so clouded from last night, and when she finally left the steamy bathroom she startled at the time.
"6.15?" she said, looking at the small clock by her bedside, "Shit."
Still wearing her towel, she swept over to the mirror and begun apply moisturiser. For a moment she considered asking Sandra and Larissa to borrow some foundation, but she quickly dismissed this. The black mascara and eyeliner was still in her bathroom from the night before, and she eyed them nervously. It wasn't her custom to wear allot of makeup. Her face had enough natural colours to get away with a simple layer of moisturiser and a little blush to highlight her cheeks most days. She rarely wore mascara, let alone eyeliner; her eyes being dark enough without either.
Still, it was a party, she thought, reaching for the eyeliner first.
By the time she was done and had adjusted her costume she didn't even have a moment to check how she looked in the mirror. There was a knock at her bedroom door, and holding the silver and diamond mask onto her face she reached for the knob and opened it.
"Wow," Ragon said locking eyes with the angel before him, "you look angelic."
Bell blushed, but her mask covered it. Reaching behind her, Ragon took the strings for the mask from her, and tied them silently. This close to Bells neck had him instantly thinking of last night. He had knocked on her door earlier, hoping to apologise and speak with her about it, but she had not answered.
"Thanks," Bell said.
"If we don't leave now we are going to be late," Clyde said from the hallway.
There was a loud thud, and Clyde said, "ouch."
Sandra had kicked him hard in the shins. She had just about had enough of him trying to put a wedge between Bell and Ragon.