Dangerous Choices Ch. 04byHalovete©
Adrian heard the music before he was even awake. The obnoxiously joyful tune the fiddle played coerced him into a dream. He was with a large group of people around a bonfire. Danielle was with him. The firelight danced off of her face and her eyes held a happiness that he had never seen before. She took his hand and tried to pull him from his perch on a log, and he playfully made her drag him into the fray of dancing people. He swung her in circles, danced the chaotically choreographed steps from a dance created long before she was born. But he didn't care. None of it made sense but he didn't care. The look of joy on her face as she danced in the firelight made everything alright. He lifted her by her waist, swung her around, and dropped her to her feet just to do it all over again. He was laughing. He had never laughed like that. Ever. With one of the great swings he gathered her up in his arms and kissed her for all he was worth. Her kiss was just as passionate as his and she looked into his eyes with her own beautiful brown flashing gold.
He realized suddenly that there was no movement around them and glanced up at the rest of those who had been in the circle. He felt the chill run up his spine as he realized they were all standing motionless, staring at the two of them. Wait.. no.. they were staring at Danielle. He realized a moment too late that their eyes had all expanded to black and it was then that he felt hands, dozens of steel-like hands grabbing him from behind. The next moment a half dozen of the spectators descended upon Danielle and wrenched her from him. She screamed. The joyful expression on her face was replaced with complete terror and he roared her name, trying to fight off the grasp of those holding him back. They were dragging her away from him, away from the fire, into the darkness. She screamed his name back as the first of them latched onto her shoulder, the blood dripping down her arm and staining the ground. He screamed his rage as he fought, watching them drag her away, till he couldn't see her anymore. Till he knew she was gone. He heard a wolf howl in the distance..
The music never stopped.
He opened his eyes to her face. She was sleeping deeply, a small smile curving her lips. Her hand was lightly wrapped around his arm as if, even though she had pulled out of his arms during the night, she just wanted to keep some kind of contact with him. The relief that flooded his chest was mind numbing. She was fine. She was still there in bed with him and she was fine. He drew in a deep breath to calm himself. Though he was motionless, he felt the panic that had overwhelmed him in his dream dancing just under his skin like electricity. With that breath he caught her scent and closed his eyes, pulling her hand closer so he could place a soft kiss on her skin, breathing her in even deeper.
He didn't understand what was happening to him.
He didn't care.
The music was still playing outside the window.
He released her hand and slid silently from the bed to look out to the street below her bedroom window. He growled softly to himself. Outside and across the street there was a man playing a joyful dancing tune on his fiddle as a small crowd gathered around him. The people all had smiles on their faces and a few of them were dancing. He saw those that were walking down the street toward their unknown destinations make a detour and come closer, eventually joining the crowd as if it were a completely natural thing to do. Some were in business suits, obviously having somewhere important to be. Later they would wonder how it was that they missed their important meeting just to sit and listen to a street musician. The younger ones would be appalled by themselves that they missed class. Adrian would even bet that there were a few professors in there as well, their students sitting in an empty classroom and wondering how much more time they should allot their absent professors before it was acceptable to leave. He sighed. He'd seen it all before.
The musician was smiling at his crowd. His shoulder length copper hair was loose around his sunglass clad face and he held a joyful expression as if he lived for only making people happy with his music. He had no tip can, no hat on the ground, no empty fiddle case to fill. He played for the joy of playing, and for the joy of owning his audience. Literally. They would follow him straight off a cliff if he dared make the dive himself and continue playing all the way down. It had happened before.
Adrian felt a rage boil up into his chest. This wasn't acceptable. There was no way he would let anyone near Danielle. No one who may even be tempted to use her. No matter how unlikely. He moved away from the window and found his clothes. He watched Danielle as he slipped them on soundlessly. A wasted effort. She'd probably sleep through anything right now. That was one thing about her kind. They definitely needed their rest. He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead. He smiled at her, then shook himself out of it. What was she doing to him? He'd known her less than two days.. but he'd kill for her. He wondered if he'd die for her. Then he stopped. That wasn't a thought he was prepared to entertain right now. But he'd kill for her. Yes. And maybe he'd start with the fiddle player on the street.
Adrian left the apartment building and made his way to the sidewalk, the only thing separating himself from the crowd was the black pavement of the street. The fiddler was watching him and smiled at his approach. He ended the song on the second verse, even though there were five more to go, and abruptly bowed.
"That's the end of the show, folks! I'm sure you all have places to be!" He spoke in a charming Irish accent, an accent that Adrian knew he had dropped 30 or so years ago. Guess old habits die hard. Like playing to a crowd.
At his statement the crowd groaned. Then several people cursed at once, having realized what time it was. Moments later most of the people were gone, having dashed off in one direction or the other trying to get to where ever it was they were supposed to be. It took a few more moments for the rest of the crowd to disperse, some of them shaking their heads as if they wondered how they had gotten there in the first place. Eventually, only the fiddler stood there, standing tall and still, watching Adrian intently.
"What are you doing here, Charlie?" Adrian supposed he could at least let the vampire explain himself, though every instinct was screaming at him to protect Danielle and that he didn't know if his old friend could be trusted.
Charlie just smiled. "You really thought you could just drop a bombshell like that on me and not expect me to come see what the hell is going on over here? You, my friend, would stir up a storm if left to your own devices. So tell me, Jack... or should I just drop that lie all together and call you Adrian? Tell me, what is it about this girl?"
"It's Adrian. And I have a feeling you may already know. Curiosity killed the cat, Charlie."
"Ah, yes. But satisfaction brought it back." Charlie tucked the fiddle and bow under his arm and strode across the street as if he had nothing to fear from the other vampire. He even continued to smile. That's something Adrian always liked about this man. His confidence overshadowed all else and most of the time he didn't even realize he was in danger till after the fact. "So, I didn't tell them anything. Figured I'd let them stew a little bit. Didn't really want to deal with the chaos that would surround me announcing that you're back on the radar as you foolishly suggested. But I did a little digging. Came to the correct conclusion by the smell on you. So, Adrian Malice has found a Wolf to run with again, 'eh? Seems to be your calling; big bad Wolf advocate." He shook his head and chuckled. "You're making some dangerous choices here, my friend. Is she worth it?"
Adrian stayed silent. He knew commenting wasn't really necessary. Charlie just liked the sound of his own voice.
"Hm.. I guess she'd have to be," Charlie continued, cocking his head to the side as he studied Adrian. "Can I meet her?"
Adrian didn't know whether to laugh or rip his friend's head from his shoulders. He balanced it out by glaring. "Absolutely not."
"Why? What do you think I'm gonna do? Steal her from you? At this point I believe it's quite impossible."
"What are you talking about?" Adrian snapped.
"I have a theory about you, Adrian. One that I came up with long before I even knew that my good ol' buddy Jackson and you were one in the same. I think I know why you don't die. I think I know why your zest for life never fades and why you grow stronger as you age while others simply grow complacent and bored. I know you've wondered about it. Probably for centuries. You're probably frightened out of your mind that some day that need to finally end this repetitive existence is going to punch you in the face. Let me put your fears to rest. That may never happen. At least it wouldn't have until now."
"You think you know everything, don't you Charlie?"
"No, I don't know everything, I just know everything I've ever learned. And I come up with theories that are always right." He shrugged, smirking. "It's not my fault. I'm just that good."
"Right. And did you come up with the theory that, despite my earlier warnings, you would be able to just come up here and play a little tune out in the street below the window of the one person I've placed under my protection? And nothing would happen to you?"
Charlie nodded. "That's right."
Adrian stood there nearly gaping at him. The absurdity of this vampire's actions was slightly unsettling. "What's to stop me from tearing you apart, Charlie?"
Charlie folded his arms, then glanced up, nodding towards the apartment building. Adrian turned to find Danielle standing at the screenless open window, leaning out of it slightly and watching the two of them intently. Her eyebrows raised as he met her eyes and he sighed. She was bed ragged and her hair was tangled and she wore a dark satin robe. She was beautiful. As he took in the sight of her, a small smile spread across her soft lips and she stared right back at him. Once again the thought entered his mind Should have killed her when I had the chance.. With that, he knew he was lost. One simple look and everything he had ever known seemed to not matter anymore. He hated it. He couldn't help it. God, it sucked.
Danielle's eyes flickered back to Charlie and it was like the line of gravity that connected him to her was severed. He steadied himself as a physical shudder ran down his back. He took a deep breath, then felt a soft pat on his back but couldn't muster the energy to be phased by it.
"Oh yes, I'm definitely right about this one." Charlie spoke softly. "And I'm kind of sorry about that. Because, you see, since she's not a full Wolf, she doesn't feel that bond that you feel right now my friend. At least not as deeply. And as long as she remains mostly human, she never will. But you, Adrian, the vampire in you is just enough of a beast to make that part of you completely active. The Wolf within you, which has been in you since your human birth, has found its mate. You've made it your purpose to protect her and to make sure she's never turned. If you achieve your goal, you will be forced to watch her grow old and die. And that is when you will finally wish to die. And so you will."
Adrian turned a startled face to his old friend as the words sunk in and opened his mouth to deny it. Nothing came out. He felt something within him clench as everything Charlie said made such perfect sense. Then he looked up at the beautiful young woman in the window and knew that it was true. This woman, with her soft brown eyes and frail bones and flesh, would be the death of him.
"That's why you were always so comfortable with their kind. Because once, before you were turned, you had the potential to be one of them. It's something that had never been attempted before, and I still can't piece together how it happened to you." All the mirth had left his voice as he explained to Adrian his own existence. Then, he sighed, as if he had made his final decision. "And that's why I'm here. Because you need me to keep your head on straight, Adrian. You're not going to be able to do this alone. And it won't hurt to have a friend."
Adrian simply nodded, unable to tear his gaze away from Danielle.
"Good. That's settled then." Charlie concluded with a brisk nod. "Danielle!" he called up to her. "Shall we go get you some breakfast, my dear? And maybe Adrian won't be so rude as to continue to not make proper introductions."
* * *
Lucian's rage turned the edges of his vision dark as he watched his Wolf gazing down from her window at the other vampire. Lucian wasn't sure who he was but when he was through with him there wouldn't be anything left for her to admire. Lucian saw Charles there as well. Everyone knew Charles. He was probably one of the more famous of their kind with his special skills and abilities, but why was he here? Were they going to try to take Danielle for themselves? Did Danielle even realize that she was dealing with vampires? Wait, of course she did. She had sensed him immediately when he had first seen her those two long years ago. He grumbled his frustration.
Charles called up to Danielle. From his perch on a roof a little ways down the block, he couldn't hear any of the conversation that they had been having before but he now distinctly heard Charles refer to the other vampire as Adrian. He wracked his brain for any vampires he had heard of named Adrian and drew a blank. The only one he could think of was the fabled Adrian Malice, but everyone knew he was dead. He hadn't been seen in years and no one lives that long. At least not anymore. Lucian planned to change that. He knew that, with Danielle by his side, he would never feel the tugg of death shroud him again. More and more often Lucian felt the pull of and ending to this repetitive existence. Danielle was going to save him. He needed a companion, someone that he could keep with him and that he could protect and cherish. Her blood was delectable. She would keep him alive in all ways. He glanced over to the window once again and saw her straighten and brush her hair back from her face. The fabric of the robe she wore clung to her taught body and the line of her neck was straight and strong and begged to be taken. He had a flash of her under him against the bed, squirming as he slid his fangs into her skin. She was more beautiful than he had remembered. Once he gave her the injection she would finally come fully into herself and be a gorgeous creature. As soon as he got rid of the other two, she would be his.
* * *
Danielle sat heavily on her bed and waited for Adrian to come back to the bedroom. She was still tying to quelch the crazy panic that she had felt when she had awakened. She woke with a thundering heart and a horrible sense that something was missing. The thought kept running through her head, He's gone, he's gone, we must find him! Over and over again. It was that pleading that had awoken her.
She groaned and shook her head as if trying to forget the craziness that was in her mind, then buried her face in her hands. It was getting worse. It seemed that now that she knew what she was, knew that there was something more inside of her, the beast that was in the back of her mind was growing, changing, becoming more than just a personality quirk. She knew that at the rate she was going, if she didn't get this under control fast she was going to end up in an institution somewhere. It would drive her mad. There was simply no doubt about it. She felt complete hopelessness over the situation. There was nothing she could do about it. It was too late. This wasn't something she could roll back uphill and pretend it never happened. She grit her teeth. She would sure as hell try.
She looked up to see Adrian standing in the door way watching her carefully with a frown. And just like that, her panic evaporated. She had flung herself into his arms before she realized what she was doing, knowing that it wasn't completely her doing. She took a deep breath, inhaling her scent as his fingers ran gently through her hair and she felt him lay a kiss on the top of her head.
"What's wrong?" he whispered gently.
She just shook her head. They had enough problems without her bringing up her mental hell right now. There would be plenty of time to deal with it later, when the immediate threat was over. At least she hoped.
"Where's your friend?" she asked in an abrupt subject change. He pulled away and raised an eyebrow at her, letting her know he had noticed and he'd let her get away with it, for now.
"He's downstairs. Outside. He's not coming in."
"Because I told him he couldn't."
"Oh.. Is he not your friend then?"
"He is.. .I guess. As much as a friend as I can have. But he's still a vampire. I'm not letting any vampires get near you if I can help it. You're too valuable to my kind."
She chuckled gently, pulling herself out of his arms and turning away. "But you're a vampire. How do I know you don't want me for your own reasons?"
She could hear the amusement in his voice. "Oh, don't worry. I do. Want you, that is, and for reasons all my own. But not for the same reasons they would." She then heard him sigh and glanced back to catch a flicker of an expression she'd never seen on his face before. It was only for an instant, so she couldn't be sure, but it was a look of grief that nearly broke her heart. He was looking at her now with such a self-assured cockiness now that she knew he hadn't intended on her to see it. So she let it go, storing it in her mind as something to reference back to.
"Well, I don't want to keep your friend waiting," she mumbled, off kilter from the sudden awkwardness of the moment. "I'll just hop in the shower really quick."
"Yeah, I was thinking that too. And my friend is a few centuries old. He can wait a few extra minutes for us, I'm sure. And he's an expert at amusing himself if he gets bored."
Danielle suddenly found herself being scooped up into his arms and couldn't help the girlish screech she let escape. Adrian chuckled then quickly found her lips, kissing her deeply as he coddled her close to his chest, feeling her heart race. She opened her lips to him and the kiss deepened automatically. He held her there for a few moments, then planted her on her feet. She felt the cold tile under her and realized that he had made his way into the hall bathroom without her even realizing he was moving with her.
His fingers deftly untied the sash of her robe and let it fall open. She felt the blush rising to her skin but refused to cover herself. It was pointless. He'd seen and touched every part of her. She knew it was only her stubborn human ways that made her feel even more naked simply because she was in the light. He tilted her face up to his and kissed her again, gently, while brushing the fabric of her robe across her shoulders and down her arms to pool on the floor. He let his fingertips slide down her back slowly, then lower still across the swell of her ass. She shuddered in his arms and felt the smile slide across his lips. She pressed into him and there was something about her naked flesh touching his fully clothed body that made her even more aroused. Her nipples hardened against the cloth of his shirt and she felt herself getting wet instantly. She moaned into his kiss.
That moan quickly turned into his whine as he pulled away, still smiling at her. He pulled his shirt over his head in one quick movement, then leaned over to the tub to start the shower spray. She came up behind him, possessed by a bravery she didn't have until this moment, and slid her arms around his waist to unbutton his jeans. She slid them down his hips and pressed her body against the length of his back simply because she couldn't get enough of the feel of his skin on hers. She felt as if she yearned to be possessed by this man and couldn't see how she could ever lay with another...