[Author's Note: Okay I must warn you this is an almost fan-fiction. It was inspired by Kalamazoo707's Sinclaire stories. I hadn't originally planned on posting it because I wasn't sure about it, but since I owe you guys, and this was just burning a hole on my desktop, here it is.]
Dee said under her breath. She cranked up the car and the gas light came on instantly. She shared this car with her twin sister and Denise always left the tank empty. Normally it didn't bother Dee that much, but she was running late. Being late made her anxious.
She sighed and sent a prayer heavenward that she could make it to work before the car sputtered to a halt. She hated getting gas in tourist side of Fort Lauderdale; the drive alone from North Miami was enough to worry. As she turned onto the turnpike anxiety rose in her throat and burned her eyes as her breath came out in spurts.
'Calm down' She whispered to herself before blasting some hardcore rap song to distract her. By the time she was merging onto the I-95 she was calm but still not looking forward to the work day. Retail was no picnic, and to add on to that a stuffy upscale mall with no natural light and customers that only knew the word 'discount' in English made the work day nearly joyless. Today she was working from 5 am until just after six at night, which meant she wouldn't see the sun today.
Dee forced herself to ignore the clock as she pulled into the gas station. She was pretty sure that if she'd cut off the car she wouldn't be able to start it up again. As she stepped out she chose to ignore the gas price as well, resolving to only put in five dollars, enough to get home and fill the tank with more affordable gasoline. Dee headed inside cursing her sister under her breath. Just as she reached for the door it swung open forcefully and someone slammed into her. It was a guy, a very tall one, she added, this guy grabbed her long enough to steady her then stalked off.
"Ugh, these South Florida people," She griped as she shot him an angry glance.
He must have heard because he turned to say "Yo, watch where you're going!"
It was in that moment that Dee saw him as a whole and felt something stir within her. This was silly she thought, if it was one thing she hated it was rude guys and ignorant people no matter how tall or dangerous or sexy they looked when they frowned. She shook it off and headed inside.
"Fuck!" Gian said as he looked into the face of what he believed to be his mate. That couldn't be, though. People, as in vampires, didn't meet their mates until they were nine minutes older than dirt and he'd just turned twenty three, he was a baby compared to most. His own father is 900 years old and his mother can, and does, look back on the Renaissance with fondness. As unbelievable as it was he knew she was his as much as he knew his name was GianCarlo. "Fuck" he said again more to himself. A horrible end to a horrible night, he thought.
His dad was on his ass again about using. Gian hadn't used in a while but every day there was an itch he couldn't scratch. It wasn't easy to use, since he was a vampire, but it made the voices stop. Tonight was one of the worst nights, Gian left his apartment hoping to spot a junkie and feed from him but finding a junkie in Fort Lauderdale was becoming a harder and harder task.
He would normally head to downtown Miami and take his fill of the women in the night club scene, where cocaine and heroin were as free floating as the alcohol itself. Gian wanted badly to go but there was too much risk in that. His father had people watching the South beach scene and even if he could duck his father's cahoots the risk of getting high and wandering around until sunrise was too great.
Lost in thought, Gian paced the front of the gas station. He didn't realize that the girl had come out of the store and headed toward the pump in front of a small Jeep. Gian found himself staring. What was he supposed to do? He wasn't prepared for this. God, she was beautiful. He couldn't lose her. Just like whispers at the back of his mind the voices simmered to the forefront to remind him over and over that he was a screw up, he'd screw this up, and she'll never accept a fuck up like him.
He stared a bit more at her wondering how he can avoid screwing it up, he was already off to a bad start. She had on these wrinkled jeans that looked to be too big but even so he could make out long legs and a long torso. The button down she wore was only buttoned up to just under her breast with a tight undershirt peeking through, containing her abundance of breast. Her tummy, hips and, butt were all rounded. She was no frail flower. His eyes drifted upward, her neck was by no means long and slender but it held a head with a round face and high cheek bones. Her almond eyes were expressive, complimented by lips that could be in a Maybelline commercial. Even with the horrible lighting above the gas pumps he can see her skin was beautiful, exactly the color of a Hershey's bar and a glorious afro like a curly halo.
He smiled to himself, you rarely spotted someone with an afro but hers was magnificent. He wondered how the strands would feel in his hands. 'Fuck' he hissed again when he realized that she'd caught him staring. One side of him screamed 'Do something!' the other side screamed "You've fucked it up!"
'I do not need to be accosted before work' Dee found herself thinking as that strange, rude hottie posted up at the entrance of the gas station staring at her. 'Maybe if I am accosted I could call in and fall back into my bed.' She found herself musing. 'Dee, that's silly. If you get accosted you'd likely end up raped and left for dead in the alley, besides this guy looks strong.'
"I really need to stop talking to myself" She said aloud before stealing a glance at the rude hottie. She turned to stop the pump and cap her tank when she heard him directly behind her.
"You're excused," Dee said not finding the strength to keep the attitude from her voice.
Gian's head exploded with voices telling him that it was over and that he'd fucked it up. He began to walk away when he heard her speak again.
"I'm sorry...it's just that...it's been a long morning...and I only woke up thirty minutes ago." She gave a small laugh before looking up at him and closing the gas door.
"I just wanted to, you know, apologize. I've had a long night too."
It had been a long night. Gian knew that the owner of this gas station liked to mix his narcotics and had a high tolerance it barely took an ounce of his blood to have him smashed until dusk of the next night. Unfortunately, he was off to rehab and his wife berated Gian as soon as he walked into the door. She accused him of being a dealer. He wasn't a dealer but he was no less guilty.
"Thanks for apologizing. It just took that much shit out of my day." Dee said her smile bringing him out of his reverie. She had this darling little gap in between her front two teeth. He found himself smiling. Before he knew it she was hopping into her car. "I,ve got to go, I'm late for work."
"Where do you work?" He said.
"The Republic in the Galleria,"
"Sounds like loads of fun." Gian said sarcastically
"My sentiments exactly, Nice to meet you." She said before pulling the door closed and cranking up the car. A deep bass shook her entire car and she quickly irked out of the gas station. Gian took a deep breath as he watched the little silver jeep patriot swing out of the gas station.
Dee walked into the small store feigning as if she was rushed. The lighting in this place was dim which only served to bum her out and the air was freezing. Yet, she had to admit she did like the fashions they sold here. That was what mostly filled her day. She'd daydream about one day coming in and trying on half the store before buying. Her purchase would border a couple thousand dollars and she wouldn't blink twice at the number, just pull out one of those thick metal black cards, swipe, and be on her merry way. She'd seen this happen so many times and couldn't wait for the day when it would be her.
"Hey, pretty girl!" Her boss exclaimed. Aileen was great she had these super model qualities; looks good in anything, effortlessly flawless, and blissfully unaware of how beautiful she was. Her only downfall was her blatant insecurity.
"Hey, sorry, I'm late. There was this thing with my car." Dee said keeping her excuse ambiguous to avoid a write up.
"No worries, just clock in and get on the floor." Aileen said jovially as she flitted to the next customer.
Dee shuffled to the back room and shoved her things into her locker before fixing her clothes in the full size mirror they provided for the employees. She switched her flats for some comfortable wedges and rolled the hem of her jeans until they looked like the fashionable boyfriend cut.
Dee walked out on the floor feeling as awkward as she always did. She was an overweight black Amazonian girl with a huge afro in a store with predominately Latin women whom she towered over. Of course it occurred to Dee that she could simply blend in with a quick perm, flats, and a high-protein diet but that seemed so much worse than the stares she garnered. She couldn't imagine being anyone else except who she was. Besides, customers gravitated to her and her boss saw her as an asset to the store.
"Hey Dee," Ashton said passing her on his way to clock in.
"Hi," She replied even though he was already out of earshot. Dee had a huge crush on Ashton. If she was honest with herself she knew exactly why. It was because he made her laugh. Ashton was one of those aloof, funny, hipster white guys who thought her afro was a "sweet". His hair cut was different every week and he got a kick out of the strange mannerisms of customers.
Dee made her way to the cash wrap to take her spot behind the register. She heaved a sigh. Ashton had a girlfriend. They were a perfect match. It didn't escape Dee's notice that she was her exact opposite. She was petite, straight blonde hair and sparkling hazel eyes. Dee liked her but she wouldn't lie and say that she wasn't jealous.
Dee's never had a boyfriend...well, a boyfriend that she truly wanted to date. If there was a guy that she did enjoy being around they couldn't imagine being with her. Maybe there wasn't anyone for her? Maybe she was doomed to be the twenty five percent of black women to never marry? The thought wretched at her heart. Realistically, it was way too soon to draw that conclusion, she was only twenty.
'Aw damn he's found one' Stefan thought as he watched Gian from afar. He compelled the older couples whose condo had a great view of the gas station to make love in the next room and completely ignore his presence. Stefan had a sick sense of humor but the sound of the bed squeak and old man groans had him laughing inwardly, until he saw Gian walk up to this woman, well, girl. He'd been watching Gian for going on three years; it was his father's orders.
His father was an evil bastard with control issues but the pay was good and he'd been doing Gian a service. The boy could easily destroy himself with his actions and Stefan knew that Gian had run out of fucks to give about his own well being.
Stefan watched Gian wander the streets looking for drug users. It took Stefan awhile to track down all of his go to users and compel them to seek help, which made Gian's search harder by the week. But Stefan guessed that It didn't take him long to spot another.
The fact that Gian walked up to and began to speak with this girl told Stefan that she had to be a drug user. Gian didn't socialize with anyone, he was too afraid of them turning out to be a spy of his father and the amount of opiates that he's digested over his short life has only upped his paranoia, add sobriety to that and he was a ticking time bomb. But he's found someone to feed off of. Gian would slowly gain her confidence and feed her addiction.
Nothing gave indication that the girl was an addict, her car was nice enough and though hastily thrown on her clothes were nice as well. Her face was bright and there were no telltale signs of addiction but he wasn't close enough to smell the drugs in her veins while Gian was at the perfect distance to do so.
'Why do I put up with this?' Stefan found himself asking. He knew that by him working for his father he was more a part of the problem than the solution but truth be told he needed the money. Not every vampire was rolling in dough and he was creating a nice little nest egg to start a business that he could one day cultivate into millions but for now he was working for one of the wealthiest of his kind. Durante Contiello.
Stefan watched as the girl got in her car and drove away. 'Who gave her a license?' He thought looking at the reckless way she drove away only to travel maybe a few yards down the street and swerve into the parking garage of the huge Galleria. The sky began to turn a deep purple and he knew the sun would be up soon. Stefan watched Gian as he stared list-fully after the car. Maybe he'll stomp home like a disappointed spoiled brat. Gian only lived a few blocks away in a condo near the beach. Stefan wasn't off of watchdog duty until Gian was safely in his condo in a fitful yet sober sleep.
He watched with a sinking feeling as Gian stopped at a near intersection and dashed across the street, disappearing into the parking garage. What was this boy up to? Stefan took the girl leaving as the end of a bad relationship before it began but it seemed Gian didn't know what rejection was.
'What if I lose her?' Gian thought over and over as he began to walk home or what he'd lovingly refer to as his cell. He just couldn't lose her. For some reason she felt like a salvation or maybe it had just been a long time since he's spoken to someone without compelling them and he was just excited about having someone to talk to instead of someone to berate him. The sun was coming up and somewhere inside Gian knew that he wouldn't be able to leave until sundown, he was just grateful that there was no natural light in the mall. As soon as Gian spotted...he didn't know her name...as soon as he saw his mate he disappeared remaining in a state that she wouldn't see him and followed her.
Being a vampire afforded him certain abilities unknown to most humans. He was able to supernaturally compel humans and a few young vampires into doing, saying or thinking whatever he chose. Though handy, this ability merely turned most he acquainted into living puppets and not worth his time.
He was also able to transport himself instantly to wherever he chose. He guessed this was an ability vampires acquired over time to avoid the UV rays of the sun. Along with this ability he is also able to go unnoticed by the human eye for short periods of time. It was a drain and only older and stronger vampires were able to do so for longer periods of time.
These abilities set him apart from humans. They were meant to be an asset to him in more primitive times, but now they only successfully alienated him from life. Alienation he didn't particularly hate. He didn't trust anyone so why would he socialize with them? It was still a surprise that he'd found his mate.
A mate was special to his kind, a partner, a confidant, and a lover. They couldn't be lied to and very few can be compelled. Gian had given up on the idea of ever finding a mate. His paranoia kept him from many people. He figured the fear would wither him from the inside out and he would slip slowly into madness. It wasn't the brightest future but as the days passed by he cared less and less.
The morning had been pretty busy; Dee couldn't even get a proper thought into her head as her sleep deprived body went into a sort of auto pilot. Now the afternoon lull came through. Most everyone was eating lunch and merchandise returns were fast and easy. As she resolved herself to re-folding ruined stacks of clothes her mind wondered.
For some reason it landed on the guy at the gas station this morning. He was gorgeous but this was South Florida, there was no shortage of gorgeous people. This guy was different, not beautiful in a general sense but had untraceable attribute that called to her. He towered her, head and shoulders. She smiled to herself, which never happens. His face was angular and his eyes were wide and piercing green as if he were staring into her soul. He also had long hair that seemed to float around his face and shoulders in waves of black licorice.
"That was quick...this table is looking great!" Aileen said coming up behind her and making her jump.
"Oh, thanks." Dee said
"Hey, so how is school going?" Aileen said trying to make conversation, but truth be told they didn't have anything in common except their fashion sense.
"Good, I guess, but not fast enough for my taste. I'm only taking a few classes so that I can work at the same time, you know."
"Be patient, you're young and have got your whole life ahead of you, girl. Just enjoy being young because you're going to miss it when it's gone." Aileen said checking herself out in a nearby full length mirror "Lord, knows I do." She said chuckling.
"What're you talking about you just turned thirty. Remember, thirty, flirty and thriving." Dee said.
Aileen stuck her tongue out at her "Yeah, I'm thirty and a store clerk"
Her insecurity became so apparent. Dee didn't think she'd ever let on how insecure she really was, it would just show weakness.
"You make way more money than me and you're a manager, don't take it for granted, missy."
Aileen smiled at her before telling her she was stepping off the floor for a minute. Almost as if Dee's thoughts weren't interrupted her mind went right back to...she didn't know his name.
"Maybe that's a sign that you shouldn't be thinking about him." Dee said aloud.
'She's so....' Gian thought but had grown tired of calling her beautiful. She was so much more than that. During the morning rush he watched her flitter around the small store smiling and laughing with customers, she pulled clothes for customers in the dressing room and even managed to laugh and joke with her co-workers in between rushing. When she spoke to people her smile was genuine and she didn't sound as if she were saying all the practiced phrases. She seemed so comfortable around all the people, sliding in and out of conversations with them.
"Leave her alone, you're playing with fire, kid."
"You don't know anything about her!" Gian said surprised by the anger he felt. The truth was he didn't know much about her either. Yet, everything about Stefan irritated him, if only for the fact that he was paid to monitor Gian. He hated the fact that Stefan thinks being a silent spectator isn't good enough.
"Gian, think before you act. You'll ruin her life." He said softly beside him. It wasn't what Stefan said but how he said it that made the words feel like a swift kick to the gut, as if it were a certainty.
"Call me Mr. Contiello. You still work for my father's company, I own shares in said company, so I'm still sort of your boss, and you've got one more time to call me 'kid'"
"Listen, Mr. Contiello, I consider you to be like my little brother and I'll always watch out for you. Stay away from her, for both of your sakes or I'll be forced to end it."
"Fuck off, asshole." Gian muttered his eyes glued to his mate in the store front.
"Okay Gian, but big brother's watching you...kid." Stefan said and vanished on a chuckle.
He must have thought he was so clever. Besides, how does Stefan know he'll ruin her life, he doesn't know a thing about his mate. But he does know everything about Gian. Even still, she was his mate and he could never ruin her life...intentionally, and if she was his mate being with her wouldn't ruin her life unintentionally. It was fate.