Dark Fate Ch. 04byEnclosedOne©
Levy wondered what Aislinn would think of him if she ever found out about all the things he'd done to keep her safe. Not that the intruder hadn't deserved what he got but it didn't change the fact that Levy was a murderer.
He had learned long ago that peace without sacrifice was an impossible dream. He could no longer remember now just how many people had lost their lives by his hand or by a command he had given.
People these days could never hope to understand that the peace they so freely enjoyed now was based on fear, murder, and, often times, deception. The Mercer clan was feared by everyone. Humans and vampires alike knew without a doubt they would be taken out if they dared to cause chaos or ever try to usurp the Mercers absolute rule.
Levy straightened his wind-ravaged clothes before returning to Aislinn. She was sleeping peacefully so he headed downstairs to relax on the couch for awhile. It had been decades since he'd witnessed a woman going through so much pain in front of him. He was thankful that these days there was a multitude of drugs available for the pain associated with a woman's monthly cycle.
He drifted off to sleep, recalling his younger days when such seemingly simple medical advances weren't even contemplated. All the things the world took for granted today would have been considered something close to magic back then.
Levy opened his eyes to find himself standing on the balcony of his house. The sun dipping low on the horizon coloring the sky in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and crystal pink.
"Levy, there you are!" A familiar voice called out to him. He turned around to see the radiant smile of Sadie, the woman who had once been his wife.
"So this is were you've been hiding? It's almost time for you to go."
This wasn't so much a dream as it was reliving a memory he had thought long buried.
"Come now, the carriage is waiting for you," Sadie said, grabbing his hand and leading him back into the house.
"Sadie, you should come with me, as well as the children," Levy begged, despite already knowing the answer she would give him.
"You know how I hate those types of events. I'll wait here for you as usual."
"No, Sadie, you don't understand. Something bad is going to happen if you don't come..." He urged, grabbing her firmly by the shoulders.
"I already told you, if that man is going to be there, then I will not go. I can't explain it, but I just don't like him," she replied, pulling away from him.
The man in question was a young Italian vampire by the name of Claudio Frediano, who had just recently arrived in the Boston area. He was a prideful young upstart, seeking to lay claim to Donovan's territory, and although he hadn't done anything yet, it was obvious what his intentions were.
Of course Sadie didn't know he was a vampire but she'd always been a good judge of character and she was terrified of him. Unfortunately for Levy he had no choice but to attend the ball and mingle with the rest of the merchants and high society people with whom Donovan had business relationships with.
"You know I'd never let him hurt you, so please come with me, I'm begging you."
"Why don't you stay here with us instead of running off to some ball you're not even interested in?"
"You know I can't do that," Levy replied.
"Then my answer remains the same, I will not set foot in any building that he occupies."
"I've done everything you've ever asked of me, but this I will not do. Now hurry or you'll be late," she stated, handing him his hat and coat. Levy sighed.
"I love you, Sadie," Levy whispered, pulling her close to him.
"I love you too, Levy," she responded, wrapping her arms around his neck to kiss him.
They remained entwined until the butler motioned Levy towards the door. He knew the moment he walked out the door the dreamlike memory would turn into a nightmare, one in which he was forced to watch everyone and everything he loved burn and turn to ash.
Levy opened his eyes to find Aislinn standing over her, looking concerned and hurt. He sat up as she excused herself to the kitchen.
"Sadie was a good friend of mine. She died in a fire many year ago." Levy explained, answering the question that burned in the forefront of her mind.
It was impossible to tell Aislinn the truth of who Sadie really was without having to reveal the truth about himself. Yes, Levy had loved Sadie dearly but he had known then that she was not his true mate, and the close to two hundred years since her death had almost completely snuffed out the remnants of his feelings for her.
How long had Aislinn been awake? Her damp hair was held up in yet another black hair claw so she'd obviously taken a shower. Perhaps that habit of hers would be harder to break than he'd first thought. At any rate, he would enjoy breaking her of it.
"Are you upset?" Levy asked, making his way into the kitchen.
"I don't know. I really don't have a reason to be," she replied after a moment.
Levy caught her hands in his before she could go after the eggs and bacon that she'd set out on the counter.
"The only person I see is you, Aislinn. No matter what you're worried about or upset over, I will be here for you,"
Levy found it damn near impossible not to get lost in Aislinn's gorgeous emerald eyes, made more brilliant by her fiery red hair. He set to memorizing every curve and freckle of her heart-shaped face with his hands. The sudden attention made her blush deeply.
"You're so adorable when you blush," Levy teased, kissing her on the forehead.
That kiss quickly led to another one on the tip of her nose and then on her lips. She became pliant in his embrace, her body reacting to his touch long before her mind could catch up to say no.
Levy wanted to curse out loud. Her monthly cycle was quickly becoming quite a nuisance for him. Just as he lifted her up to sit on the counter he heard the click of the door lock. Aislinn's mother walked in before he could set Aislinn back down. In her shock she dropped the bags she'd been carrying.
"Well, if you'd like me to come back later..." Mrs. Koralee spoke while giving Levy the infamous female death glare. Aislinn turned a bright red and was too embarrassed to say anything.
"Mrs. Koralee, it's nice to finally be able to meet you, I'm..."
"I know exactly who you are. That doesn't mean I'm going to let you run off with my daughter. Now scram before I decide to tie you to the underside of my car!"
"Mother!!" Aislinn cried out in shock.
"OUT!" Mrs. Koralee commanded again.
Levy grabbed his coat and keys and gave Aislinn a little wave before excusing himself out the front door. He had no doubts that he would be able to win over her mother but for now it was best to keep himself from going up any higher on her black list.
Levy spent the next few hours driving around aimlessly. He desperately wanted to return to Aislinn but he decided their separation right was a good thing. Not a moment had gone by since their first meeting that he hadn't wanted to devour her whole so it was for the best that her mother had interrupted them when she had.
Aislinn was his true mate, a fact set in stone in his mind, so why had the memory of Sadie decided to visit him now, after so long? He couldn't deny that her death still haunted him but things were different these days.
Donovan had long since united all the clans under his control, no vampire or human entered the city without his knowledge. Sadie's death had sparked a massive war and Donovan was in no hurry to repeat it. He would not be pleased when he learned that Aislinn was still human.
Things were becoming significantly more complicated but he wanted Aislinn to remain as blissfully ignorant of the darker side of his life for as long as was possible.
As he drove through the neighborhood commonly referred to as Sound end more memories floated through his mind. Long ago he himself had failed to dethrone Donovan but his defeat had turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Donovan had recognized his many talents and took him under his wing. With Levy's help Donovan had branched out into countless routes of commerce, yet to this day, Levy still couldn't beat him in a game of chess. Donovan's nickname, King of the East, was certainly a well-earned one, one he had carefully raised Levy to take from him when the time came.
It was also here, in this part of the city, that Levy had met Sadie. She was the only daughter of a prominent baker's family. She was a radiant, happy woman who went out of her way to help others, no matter the cost to herself, and it often landed in her trouble with her strict father.
Levy had loved her and their two children dearly and their deaths at the hands of Claudio Frediano had nearly destroyed him. In the years that followed their deaths Levy's life had become a blur of more death and destruction as their clans waged a terrible war against each other. The Mercer clan won but not without heavy losses. It had taken a great deal of effort to rebuild but no others had dared to go against them since that time.
As Levy recalled the darker moments of his past he remembered that he still wore their wedding rings on silver chain around his neck. He parked the car and took the chain off. The two simple gold bands glittered brightly in the light.
He sat there for a few minutes letting the light breeze caress the rings, making them swing back and forth. He was about to put them in his pocket when he glimpsed a familiar face in the corner of his vision.
Of course when he took a second look no one was there. He cursed himself for even thinking such an absurd thought. She was long dead and with Aislinn by his side now it was time to completely let her go.
Asteia is at the house. She's quite pissed that she can't reach you.
A telepathic communication from Kayan pulled him from his musings. He sighed. He had totally forgotten she was coming back for a visit. Asteia was one of the few vampires he knew of that could receive but not send telepathic communications. However, she made up for that deficit by being able to to walk through people's dreams. She could even take control of someone while they slept, no matter the distance.
Levy looked around for his cell only to realize that he'd left it at Aislinn's house.
Sorry left my cell at Aislinn's house.
She's not with you?
Her mother returned this morning and kinda kicked me out of the house...
Levy could feel Kayan's physical laughter reverberate through their mind link. Kayan was thoroughly amused by the fact that a human woman had the nerve to go toe-to-toe with Levy and successfully force him to leave his mate.
Yeah, yeah, you can stop laughing now.
Sorry, couldn't help myself! Anyway, you might want to return asap before your dear little sister decides to go on a rampage looking for you. Tell her I'm on my way.
With that, Levy severed their link and started the car.
Asteia's return couldn't have come at a worse time. He knew she would immediately start in on some huge lecture when they met. She would go and on about all the reasons why keeping the truth from Aislinn and keeping her human was a huge mistake.
She would undoubtedly remind him about Sadie and tell him that he was going down the same road with Aislinn. Levy had only made his move to win over Aislinn two days ago; telling her what he was this early on was the most surefire way to make her turn away from him.
He took his time driving home, readying himself for their inevitable conflict. Levy found her waiting in the study upon his return.
"Brother," Asteia greeted him.
"Where have you been all day?" she asked, crossing her arms in an effort to show her disapproval of whatever it was she thought he'd had been doing.
"With her, I imagine?"
"Only part of the day."
"Have you told her yet?"
"And here I thought you'd at least give me a hug before starting in on your lecture," He sighed, taking a seat at his desk.
"The Council is aware that you are interested in a human. They sent me here to check up on you, amongst other things."
"They should mind their damned own business," Levy said coldly.
"Yeah, well, I hate to be the one to remind you about what happened the last time you got yourself involved with a human. You don't think they have a right to be concerned?"
"Not really, no."
"Levy, you obviously already know what I'm going to say, so why are you beating around the bush with her? Just turn her and everything will be fine."
"We've been together for two days and you're telling me to end her life like it's nothing?"
"Two days? Are you serious? You've been ogling her for years and you're just now making a move?"
"So you expected me to turn her when she was a child?"
"Humans are exceedingly fragile. She could die at any moment, you know this, and yet you still hesitate. If she is your true mate as you suspect, then everything will work out."
"Her being my true mate does not give me the right to destroy her world and bring ours crashing down on her head. I will not make the same mistakes I did in the past. I'm warning you Asteia, Aislinn is not your concern. If you even think about going behind my back, you will regret it."
Levy hadn't raised his voice but Asteia took a step back and brought her hands up as if to defend herself from him.
"I won't say anything, but you better get around to it soon, before father decides its time to intervene," she replied shakily, before spinning on her heel and leaving.
He hadn't wanted to resort to a threat but Asteia was an incredibly stubborn person. He knew she only wanted to help but she really had no sense of tact when it came to things like this. She tended to do what she thought was right and ask the necessary questions afterwards.
He sat back in his chair, running his hand through his hair. Yes, things were definitely becoming more complicated.
Levy kept his distance from Aislinn for the rest of the weekend trying to figure out exactly what he should do. Asteia was right, Aislinn could die at any moment and everyone knew that if he lost her then he would not survive. Nonetheless, it was still none of their business how he handled matters.
Aislinn was still confused by him. It was obvious by the way she gravitated towards him without realizing it that her heart and soul recognized him as her other half. Aislinn was the light to his darkness, the one person who was capable of loving him unconditionally for the rest of eternity. The problem was her logical side, that tiny voice in the back of her mind that dictated to her what she should accept as being possible. And Levy, well, he was on its blacklist right from the get go.
He wanted to believe Asteia's words, that no matter what happened between them everything would turn out right in the end because they were destined to be together, but his fear of losing her to the truth was still to strong for him to overcome.
Levy showed up unannounced at Aislinn's door early Monday morning before classes to treat her to breakfast. Despite the disapproving look he got from her mother, she still allowed him inside to wait.
Aislinn's thoughts were jumbled. She was still trying to analyze their relationship from every possible angle and figure out where he intended to lead her. She was exited by him yet, fearful at the same time.
She was too lost in her own world to notice Levy standing by the door when she came down the stairs to join her mother in the kitchen. Her mother had to nudge her and look in Levy's direction several times before she got the hint.
"Good morning, Csitri."
Levy smiled. She was so cute when she was surprised, a feat easily accomplished. Had her mother not been standing right beside her, she probably would have pounced on him, hugging him in delight.
"Ah, right, you left your cell phone here..."
And there was that little voice kicking in right on schedule again.
"I actually came to see if you would allow me to treat you to breakfast before classes start," Levy interrupted.
"O, um, sure, I guess. Let me go grab my backpack," she replied, blush creeping up her neck.
Levy had to keep his jaw tightly clenched to keep his fangs from extending. The sight and smell of her were driving him to his limit and they hadn't even been in the same room for ten minutes. He was able to breathe a little easier once they got outside and her heady scent mixed with the early morning air, becoming slightly less provocative.
"Was your mother angry?" Levy asked, opening the passenger door for her. He took his time pulling out into the early morning traffic.
"A little. More surprised than angry really. It's always just been the two of us, so she's concerned. She doesn't want to see me get hurt."
"Let me guess, you're both thinking that I have some kind of bet going on with my friends about how long it'll take to seduce you or something along those lines?"
"You're really good at reading people's minds."
"I don't have to read your mind, I would be thinking the same thing if our positions were reversed."
"Sometimes I hate you," Aislinn replied after a moment of silence.
"Because I feel like you can see right through me. You know exactly what to say and do to make me fall head over heels for you, despite the harm that I know is waiting for me on the horizon."
"You think I'm so shallow that I'd hurt you just for the fun of it?
"I intend to prove to you that I'm quite serious in my affections towards you Aislinn."
The serious tone in his voice caught her off guard and she blushed. Not knowing what else to say she simply ended the conversation by staring out the window.
"Have you ever seen something that you felt you just had to have, that you'd forever be incomplete without it?" Levy asked, after awhile.
"Well, Aislinn, that's how I feel about you."
"You're crazy. We barely know each other."
"Easily remedied, if you're not afraid to find out." Levy teased.
"I hate you," Aislinn murmured, blushing deeply. Of course she wasn't ready to admit that she was more then willing to take his challenge head-on.
"You won't for long," He stated matter-of-factly, reaching over to gently push her bangs out of her face.
Levy grinned watching the gooseflesh spread across her skin. She glared at him before returning her gaze to the world passing by outside. He drove to the same little cafe they'd shared chocolate milk at the first day they'd met. Aislinn recognized it immediately.
"I'm glad you recognize the place."
"Of course I would," she countered.
Levy even made sure to sit at the same table as before. It took a little coaxing, but soon he had her talking about a multitude of things that interested her, her anger towards him completely forgotten.
"We're late for classes you know," she pointed out, finally realizing what time it was.
"So we are."
"You don't care?"
"Not really, no. I much prefer spending my time with you here then getting dragged around by you-know-who all day!" Levy scowled, earning him a cute giggle from Aislinn.
"You're just going full speed ahead with your whole 'seduce Aislinn' plan, aren't you?" she asked as they left the cafe and started to walk down the sidewalk.
"Is it working?"
"Isn't what you're trying to do generally called a whirlwind romance?"
"I suppose you could call it that, but that doesn't mean things won't work out," Levy boasted.
"Confidence is one of your strong points, isn't it?"
"I never leave home without it!" He grinned, taking her hand in his as they waited at a crosswalk.
As they walked down the street in silence, enjoying the sun and each others presence, something caught Aislinn's eye. It was a ring in a window display case. A heart-shaped emerald set on a simple sterling silver band, accompanied by two small pear-shaped sapphires. After a moment of staring at it, Aislinn sighed and continued walking.