Nicoletta Ch. 07byjesstoyou©
"Alessandro, dear one, wake up." Alessandro's mother, Paola whispered through the gossamer bed drapes to her son, but instead, I woke with a start before he stirred.
"Jesus! This family has a lot to learn about privacy!" I whispered as I tried to pull the blankets further up over Alessandro and me.
"I apologize if I frightened you Nicolette, I did knock ..." She purred through half a smile looking us up and down.
"Mmmm, Mother what is it?" Alessandro's contented sleepy voice seemed to fill the room as he wrapped his arms around my body pulling me into his.
"You have forgotten about dinner tonight?"
"Ugghhh, yes, I suppose I did. What time is it?" he groaned as he nuzzled my neck.
"It is now six o'clock. Our guests have already begun arriving Angel. Drinks are at seven, and dinner is at eight, I suggest you both get up, now. The rest of the family is eager to meet your Nicolette. Oh, and Alessandro, do not forget, you and Luca are to be kind to Azazel tonight. Your father and I want him in this family. You will make a good impression." She said staring directly at me. Once again, the sweetness in her voice seemed to betray a threat in her words which I felt were somehow directed towards me.
"Of course Mother." He breathed rolling on top of me.
"Alessandro your mother is right there!" I shrieked in mortification.
"Son, you two do not have time ..." Paola chided. He took a cleansing breath bowing his forehead to mine.
"Later Amore ..." he whispered. Silently I thanked Paola as she took her leave. Don't get me wrong; as much as I hated the fact that I did, I loved sex with Alessandro. But, the more he and I were together, the more I wanted him, and the weaker I became. We both knew he was breaking me; but just then, there was nothing to be done about it, not as long as Paola was lurking anyways, and I was ever so grateful to the evil woman for that.
"What is an Azazel, and why is he so important to your mother?" I asked Alessandro as I slowly pulled the chocolate silken straps of the evening gown Alessandro had chosen for me to wear up over my caramel shoulders. Without an answer he pushed his body into mine while pulling the zipper up to just above my bottom, where the backless dress stopped.
"I-is he a ..." I began to ask stopping before my lips were able to form the word vampire. I remembered the name Azazel from books my father had read me as a child. The Azazel I knew had been an angel, a fallen angel, one of the chief Grigori. He taught men how to make weapons and armor, and he taught women the intricacies of deception through use of make-up and body adornments. It is said that Azazel taught the people even the secrets of witchcraft. It was said he held a particular interest in human women, and that the ones he chose to lay with bore him progeny said to be giants. When my Father spoke of Azazel, for some reason my blood ran cold. Of all of the demons, and the nasties in Father's books, Azazel seemed to be the worst.
"Azazel is important to this family Sweet. He is a very powerful, very rich vampire; he is an ancient, vampire royalty and a terrific match for Donata, perhaps her last chance really." As Alessandro praised the 'terrific match' for Donata his words took a sudden edge of ice. "Nicolette, Azazel can be quite malicious when he wants to be, I want you to steer clear of him, do you understand?"
"If he is so nasty, why marry him off to your sister?" I questioned further. The tiny possessive kisses he planted over my right shoulder threatened to bring me to my knees as between them he relayed the grisly tale of Azazel and a young French girl called Genève Renau.
"Let's just say Amore, Azazel sets his sight on what he wants, and will allow nothing to stop him from getting it, no matter the cost." Alessandro sighed whist pulling me with him to a lounge in his reading nook. "You see, centuries ago Azazel happened upon a girl, she was young maybe fifteen at the time." He said tugging me into his lap. "As it was conveyed to me my love, Genève was sitting by a stream gazing at her reflection. The girl was known for her classic beauty, her parents had already received numerous offers for her hand. Even Azazel impervious as he is and always has been was taken aback by her piercing azure eyes and flowing black hair the first time he set eyes on her." Alessandro's voice was almost hypnotic as he spoke while winding a lock of my chocolate hair around his long alabaster finger.
"I asked Azazel about her once, you know, I asked him to tell the story. All he would say is that when he looked at her he saw himself feminized. And for the briefest of moments, he knew what real love felt like." Alessandro's grip on me tightened almost painfully as he spoke.
"So he loved her then? Who was she?" I asked squirming in his hold.
"No Nicolette, he did not love the girl. No Sweetling, Azazel loved the illusion he saw reflecting in her young eyes. He fell in love with himself. According legend Azazel went to the girl as she sat by the river on a hot summer evening. As silently as if he had floated in on the evening fog his reflection appeared behind hers. Startled, she stood and turned so abruptly she almost stumbled into the water. Azazel caught her by the waist and held her to him, and for the briefest of moments he thought about releasing her, until she spoke."
It was now my turn to have an iron grip on Alessandro as I drank in every sordid detail of Azazel's encounter with the girl. Right then it seemed Alessandro and I found the place where he wished us to be. I was not the victim held against my will. In that moment as he spoke barely breathing words over the flesh of my trembling cheek I hung on his every word like a silly school girl in love.
"So what happened?" I asked with enthusiasm.
"Oh Nicolette, you are cute when your morbid curiosity gets the better of you Amore..." He murmured bringing the lock of hair closer to his face to savor its scent.
"Alessandro, what happened?" I whined needing to hear the rest of the tale. It was not curiosity driving me, but a need to better understand Alessandro and the life he demanded I be a part of. For some reason, well I had hoped that in hearing some history, Azazel's history, I would be able to have some compassion for what Alessandro wished of me.
"Well Love, let's see, where was I?"
"The girl spoke ..." I said hastily.
"Ah yes, she had sealed her fate in Azazel's clutches ... she said to Azazel ..."
'Sir, be you a man, or Angel ...?'
"'Angel ...' He lied. " Alessandro said on a whisper. His beautiful golden coal flecked eyes shined in the fading light as it spilled into the room as the sun set. He seemed to be centuries away right then, as if he were sitting behind a tree watching Azazel ensnare his prey with his own preternatural exquisiteness. And thus, Alessandro spoke ...
"I suppose Azazel could not resist the implications. After he told the girl he was an angel, without any preamble, he raped her. He stripped her of her clothes. As she begged him to release her Azazel took her there by the river with no remorse." He seethed through clenched teeth. "They say when she raked her fingernails into his face in an attempt to get away from him he continued his assault and the wounds she opened healed almost immediately. Azazel watched her expression with levity worthy of Satan himself as she witnessed the miracle and then she plead with him to spare her life and her virtue. And beyond that, she prayed. When he finished with her, he kissed her mouth and told her that her prayers were heard and her life would be ... spared at a cost."
As Alessandro spoke, the disgust in his tone was almost tangible. This confused me to the point of anger as he continued. I mean, had he not put me into the same position, even worse so than Azazel had done with Genève Renau? "So, Alessandro, what you are telling me is that this Azazel, the 'terrific match' you have found for your sister forced a teenage girl to have sex with him back in the dark ages, after convincing her that he was an angel?" I bit out forcing his arms from around my waist making sure to shoot up fast enough that he not rests me down again. "You feel anguish for this girl, yet for the past month you keep me here, with you, to be used at your leisure?" Suddenly instead of finding answers, I found myself inundated with even more questions laced with accusations which would likely serve only to feed my abhorrence with Alessandro for what he had done to me.
"No Nicolette! No ..." He growled with a vigorous shake of his head as he too stood to tower over me. As I looked on his face, for the very first time, I saw remorse in his eyes to match that that I had heard in his voice. But still, I did not know if that remorse was for poor Genève or for me.
"Then what Alessandro? You tell me how what you have done to me here is any better that what your precious Azazel did to her then?" I asked taking a couple of steps away from him unsure of what I had hoped to hear.
"The difference Nicolette, our difference, is that I love you. I need you in my life now, and forever!" His aforementioned whisper had turned into an enhanced rumble as he stepped towards me. "After the encounter, word of the girl's attack spread, she told her parents an angel had come to her and stole her favors. But of course they did not believe her and punished her licentious behavior. She became withdrawn and depressed in the passing months." Alessandro's speech had become hurried and desperate as he tried to clean up the mess he had made in the telling of Azazel's story. "Genève began drawing disturbing pictures of a tall man with hair that rolled like salt dusted black seas past his shoulders. His shining jade eyes reflected nothing, and in his sneer one could make out the dangerous animalistic teeth hidden behind a menacing smile. Always somewhere on the drawings a name was written ... Azazel." Alessandro had turned his face from me, and had gone silent. In my own exacerbation I turned from him to look on the cresting waves of true black seas illuminated by the biggest fullest buttermilk moon I had ever seen.
"The difference my love, between what Azazel did, and what I have done is that I would never have taken you, I would never have awaken your vampiric nature, and left you to fend for yourself, never!" Though I could not see his tears, I knew they were there flowing like a river down his immaculate cheeks as he tried to beg my forgiveness. Alas, only a small part of my mind was ready to forgive him, too small to win my soul. He would have to settle for bygones, and in so doing, finish Azazel's horrid tale, because right then, that was all I was willing to listen to from him.
"So Alessandro, what happened to her? Did she ever recover?" Before uttering a word Alessandro dragged himself to the in suite bar as I questioned him further. He looked more miserable than I had ever seen him. And as he poured himself a drink he finished the girl's tragic story.
"Genève's parents took her and the drawings to the church for guidance. The priests there told them the girl had been defiled by a demon, and that her soul bore a mark that would never come clean. As this was during the dark times when the Inquisition was at its peak, the girl was labeled a witch, how else could she have tempted an angel to leave heaven to partake of her flesh? The girl was arrested on the spot, tortured in every heinous manner known to man at the time until she confessed to being a witch. At dawn the next day, Genève Renau was hung in front of a bloodthirsty crowd. All while Azazel, alongside her parents, watched." He seethed taking in a swift draught of his drink before going on. "Genève's drawings were taken from Provence to the Vatican to be studied. The scholars there had locked in their vaults manuscripts the world has to this day never seen. They compared the girl's description of the angel, and the drawings, to the ancient texts they had locked away and they contended the 'angel' that had lain with the girl was Azazel." And just as before, the last word on Alessandro's lips was Azazel's name. As we stood in silence he poured more drink, this time two.
"What will this stuff do to you?" I coughed as I took a sip of what tasted like straight vodka. "I mean, vampires, I thought alcohol had no effect ..."
"If I drink too much, I will become drunk, just as you would my love ..." He said. "Which is why I do not partake often ..." He muttered through half a smile as he raised his glass.
"Salute Mi amore ..."
"And what are we drinking to?" I asked hurriedly.
"Tonight sweet Nicolette, I think we should drink to Genève Renau ..." He whispered, looking to the bedroom door before finishing his drink in one gulp.
"So, Alessandro, Where is she now, Genève? What happened to her?" Before I finished my sentence his face had turned to stone, confused stone, but stone none the less.
"But I said Amore ... she was hung ..."
"Yes, Alessandro, you did say that, in front of a blood thirsty crowd no less. But you also implied that Azazel had woken her vampiric nature right?" I questioned before taking my second sip of poison.
"Ah so I did piccolo mio, you are very smart indeed, and just now, as much as I hunger for your flesh, your mind drives me into an absolute frenzy, but no ..." he said before quickly downing his third drink ... "now is not the time for such nightmarish tales dear heart. If my ears do not deceive me, our guests, including Azazel, have arrived, and it is time for us to greet them."
I knew even before Alessandro had finished speaking, that I did not wish to share a table with Azazel, but at the same time, I knew as well, that Paola would not tolerate my absence. So, as my protector for the evening so graciously held out his hand, I took it with pleasure as in hearing Azazel's tale this night, I would need all the protection I could muster.