Blood Jewel, Page 2Georgia Cates
Lairah shook her head with disgust at my lack of expertise. “I do say so and it is an excellent choice, my dear boy. Your taste in fine jewelry is impeccable even if you were unaware.”
“Would I have a choice after living with you and Gia all these years?” I questioned.
“You’re right, you never had a chance at poor taste,” Gia agreed, then she turned to Chansey and said, “We trained him well. You’re welcome.”
“Um, thank you. I think,” Chansey laughed.
“When is this wedding going to happen?” Gia asked.
Chansey and I looked at each other with uncertainty and she reported, “We didn’t discuss a date. It was all a little sudden and unexpected.”
“Well, most of the wedding plans will be based on the date, so we need it ASAP,” Gia suggested.
“Yes, ma'am. We’ll get right on that so we can let you know. Does that work for you?” I sarcastically asked my pushy sisters since I could see they were going to be all up in the middle of planning this wedding without being asked.
They ignored my sarcasm and Lairah clapped like a toddler as she squealed, “Exciting! Come on, Chansey, let’s go look at some dresses online.”
Both of them looped an arm through Chansey’s, one on each side, and they stole her from me to begin making plans for the wedding of Lairah and Gia’s dreams. As Chansey was being dragged away, she turned and mouthed the words, “Help me,” but I shrugged my shoulders and offered her no assistance because I knew it was better to let them have their way even if it meant I would pay for it later with Chansey.
“Chansey better watch them closely, or they’ll plan a wedding worthy of royalty for the two of you since we all know they will live vicariously through her,” Sebastian warned.
“Never fear, that one can hold her own,” I reassured.
“We know Chansey is a little firecracker that can hold her own. You don’t have to tell us,” Solomon commented while he chuckled, referring to the argument he overheard between us.
Living in a house of vampires had it’s disadvantages. I hated how every exchange between me and my future wife could be heard by the entire household and I needed to consider options in alleviating that problem before we were married if we decided to live here. “Sol, you don’t have to repetitively remind me of how we have no privacy, so please don’t.”
“Sorry, I won’t mention it again,” he lied, knowing he would never let an opportunity to yank my chain go to waste. I had learned to excuse him over the years because he was my best friend, but I wouldn’t allow him to cause Chansey embarrassment or discomfort.
“Consider this your only warning to never bring it up in front of Chansey. She won’t appreciate jokes about how she doesn’t have a single private moment in this house,” I warned.
“Curry, I got it,” he reassured me. “You know I love taking a jab at you every opportunity because you make it so much fun, but I wouldn’t do that to Chansey. I’m scared of her.”
“As you should be. Chansey can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” I warned.
Sebastian spoke up. “It’s not her fault she isn’t meek and submissive. She’s designed to be strong because a weakling couldn’t survive the life of an Agápe.”
Survive the life of an Agápe. His words reminded me of how she was always going to be in danger and I was back to that place where I questioned if I had made the right decision. My doubtful thoughts were interrupted when I heard Sebastian ask, “When will you and Chansey be returning to Pascagoula?”
“We’ll need to be back before Anna and Grady return from their trip. I don’t want them to find her gone and worry that something happened to her.” I laughed as I said, “I’m afraid I did things a little out of order and now I have to ask Grady and Anna for their blessing instead of permission to ask for her hand.”
I felt a pang of nervousness at the thought of asking for their blessing when they knew how badly I had hurt Chansey not so long ago when I left her.
“They will be honored to have you as a husband for their granddaughter,” Sebastian reassured me.
The thought of their disapproval made me feel anxious and I said, “I hope you’re right because I don’t know what I would do if they didn’t give us their blessing.”
“Chansey is an adult, so their approval isn’t really a requirement,” Solomon added.
“I know that, but Chansey would be heartbroken if they didn’t support our decision and accept me as her husband. We haven’t known each other long by human standards and as far as they know, I abandoned her for a job in New York not so long ago. They don’t know that I’m back in her life and they will probably think it’s a little too sudden for a marriage proposal.”
“You’re always going to be a worrier. My vote is to stop sweating it already,” my carefree friend advised.
“I’d love to see how you would handle your own Agápe. I guarantee that you wouldn’t be quite so carefree about it.”
“Hate it for you, Bro, but that’s an observation you’ll never get to make. Besides, I could never be with someone that fragile,” he laughed.
I would likely never see him with an Agápe. Statistically speaking, the odds of Solomon having one somewhere out there waiting for him were zilch. However, it didn’t prevent me from hoping that one would come along and knock him on his smart ass. The sweet thought of seeing him meet his match in an Agápe unconsciously made me laugh.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
I enjoyed making him the ass of my humor without his knowledge and I replied, “Nothing you would find funny.”
Sebastian caught my attention by clearing his voice and said, “Curry, I think now is as good a time as any to speak with Sully. Do you agree?”
He was referring to our intention of asking Sully to join us. I agreed that it was the right time to speak with him and Sebastian wanted me to be the one to extend our invitation to Sully.
“Now that you have spent time around my vampire family in this compound, do you think you would like to join us permanently?”
I saw pure joy on Sully’s face as he answered, “Yes. I would like nothing more than to stay and become part of this family. I don’t believe Curry and I were randomly reunited by the gods without a purpose. I believe this haven is my destiny.”
“Our family welcomes you, but please know that it is no easy task taking this lifestyle as your own. The training and discipline required is incredibly difficult and you must accept your role as a servant to those in need of your help. If you are willing to give selflessly, we will gladly teach you the skills needed to be a great mentor,” Sebastian explained.
“I humbly accept your offer and I will do my best to make you proud,” Sully professed.
Sebastian was pleased by Sully’s acceptance and said, “I am placing the sole responsibility of training you on Lairah.” I saw the pleased expression on Sully’s face and suspected it suited him well to be paired with her. Sebastian laughed as he added, “That is, if she can tear herself away from planning a wedding.”
“I heard that,” she unnecessarily yelled from the direction of her bedroom and I felt the sting of how Lairah’s outburst might alert Chansey to the fact that nothing went unheard by this family.
“It’s was my intention you hear, my dear. Otherwise, this conversation would have taken place in my office,” Sebastian said.
His words struck a notion and reminded me there was a way to live here without our every word and action being heard. “Sebastian, I would like to have a word with you in your office when you are available.”
“I’m available now if this a good time for you join me?”
“It’s actually perfect,” I replied.
We walked toward his office and I felt a rush of embarrassment as I thought about why I needed to speak with Sebastian in private. I reminded myself that he was familiar with my situation and I tried to push the awkward feeling aside as I entered his office. With our voices shut off from the others in the house, he c
uriously asked, “What is it that I can do for you, Curry?”
I started with the easy part first. “Chansey and I will need to make a decision about where we will live once we are married. I need to know if we are welcome to live here.”
Sebastian warmly said, “Of course you are both welcome here. This will always be your home if it’s where you choose to live.”
“Thank you for your hospitality, but I have an issue with bringing my new wife to live here,” I confessed. “Not an issue of safety.”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “An issue of privacy, perhaps?” he questioned.
I was relieved by his intuitiveness. “Exactly. Chansey and I have not discussed it, but I’m certain she suspects that nothing goes unheard around here. I need a solution for that problem because we will not be able to live here if we lack the privacy that a husband needs with his wife.”
Sebastian smiled and said, “Your dilemma is easily alleviated by having soundproof quarters built for you and Chansey. If you choose to live elsewhere, you’ll still need your own quarters when you visit. I’ll have my contractor start on that immediately since I assume you will not have a long engagement.”
“I’m not planning a long engagement and I hope Chansey isn’t either.” I hesitated briefly and searched for the courage to ask the question that had tormented me since discovering what Chansey was to me. “I know this probably isn’t my business and I don’t mean to pry, but you’re the only one I can ask.”
“You can always ask me anything, Curry, ” he encouraged.
I felt like an immature adolescent asking about the birds and the bees. “When you explained about our physical relationship, you were vague about what to expect. I was wondering if you could expand a little-maybe give me some kind of idea about what to anticipate.”
“I was purposely vague because I didn’t want to place any type of expectations on you or Chansey,” he explained. He saw my lack of reassurance and added, “I don’t mind sharing my experience with Ella if you believe it would help your feelings.”
“I feel terribly intrusive for asking you to do that. I know it must be painful to speak about her.”
He smiled and said, “No, I love to talk about Ella because she represents the most spectacular time in my life. She’s been a secret I’ve kept all of these years, but now I get to share my memories of her with you.”
His face lit up as he continued to speak of Ella and I saw his love for her was as strong today as it was when she was in his life. He laughed as he said, “It’s fascinating how much Chansey reminds me of Ella. I have to tell you to be prepared because it’s going to be a wild ride. She is a fighter just like my Ella and I learned a valuable lesson I feel required to pass along to you. The stronger the fighter, the stronger the lover. Without doubt, our passion was the most powerful and wonderful thing I have ever known. Your first taste of blood as a newly turned vampire doesn’t hold a candle to it and I strongly suspect it will be the same for you and Chansey.”
Sebastian’s experience with Ella was encouraging, but not a guarantee that everything would go well for me and Chansey. “I have this overwhelming fear of disappointing her. Although she’s my Agápe, she’s still human and I’m not. What if I don’t meet her expectations?”
Sebastian seemed to be choosing his words carefully. “Tell me how she makes you feel when she’s close to you, when she touches you or looks into your eyes.”
I thought about my answer for a second before saying, “The simple graze of her hand against my skin is the most splendid thing I have ever felt. It’s addicting. A little is never enough. I feel drawn to be a part of her because being close simply isn’t enough for me.”
Sebastian’s face took on that wise, fatherly smile I was accustomed to seeing whenever he advised me on an issue troubling me. “I want you to think about the words you used to describe your physical attraction to Chansey and tell me how you could ever doubt your ability to be intimate with her.” He gave me a minute to reflect on my description before he added, “Now, if I understand things correctly, marriage vows must be exchanged before you are agreeable to proceeding with the only act that will finally eliminate these concerns. My advice is to set a wedding date sooner, rather than later.”
“Thank you for speaking so openly with me about your relationship with Ella. I know you miss her terribly.”
“It is my hope and prayer that you never experience the pain of missing Chansey the way I miss Ella,” he said and sparked a change in the topic.
He didn’t want me to repeat what he considered his mistake with Ella. “I have promised Chansey that I will think about turning her, but not until after we are married and only after she has followed the complete transformation of a fledgling.
He laughed like I was in the dark about something. “She will see your promise of consideration as an agreement.”
“Knowing her, she probably will,” I agreed.
“Be ready, Curry,” Sebastian warned. “She will probably want to spend your honeymoon right here waiting for the first newly turned vampire to come through the doors of the compound.”
It might be what she wanted, but it wasn’t what I wanted. “What can I say, Sebastian? I’m a selfish bastard. I want to be married to Chansey, the human. I love her the way she is now-breakable and all.”
He wove his fingers together and placed them on top of his desk. “Allow me to give you forewarning. If she is anything like my Ella, she will be persistent in her pursuit for you to change her. She won’t be afraid to use her power of persuasion on you. And by her power of persuasion, I mean she will use your newfound sexual desire to her advantage.”
I wasn’t opposed to that kind of scheming on her part. It sounded like fun to me.
I drifted back from thinking about how Chansey would use her power of persuasion over me and heard Sebastian continue, “I know you have your reasons and I support your decision completely. I think it is a fine idea to let Chansey see what vampirism is all about before she becomes one of us.”
“You mean if she becomes one of us,” I corrected. “Have you considered the possibility that it could be too much for her?”
He shook his head at me. “No, I haven’t and I highly doubt she has either. In fact, I believe you are probably in that category by yourself. Gia and Lairah would do it tonight if you’d allow it.”
Although I might not have one family member on my side, I had one weapon in my corner-Chansey’s lack of knowledge. “She doesn’t know how bad the transformation is.”
“Don’t you think you should warn her?” Sebastian questioned.
“My goal isn’t to make it easy or comfortable for her. I want her to see it for the hell it is so there is no misconception about the process,” I explained.
“She is going to be terrified if you don’t prepare her,” he warned.
“Good. That’s what I’m counting on and the way I want it,” I openly confessed, but only because we were in a soundproof room, out of hearing range of the others.
2 The Power of Persuasion
Gia and Lairah forewent going to bed as the sun rose as they held Chansey hostage for several hours discussing wedding plans. I wanted some time with her that didn’t include my family’s eavesdropping. The sun was high in the sky and I took this opportunity to ensure we would be alone.
“Would you take a walk on the grounds with me? I’d love to show you the rest of the property.”
“Sure, I’d love to see it,” she happily accepted.
I tucked a blanket under my arm before we walked outside and I took her hand in mine, as we started our journey on the compound’s property. She wore a short, slightly gothic, black baby doll dress. Her apparel told me it was Gia’s day to dress her and despite her dark apparel, she was the brightest light in my life.
“It feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere,” she said as we strolled toward a forest of trees behind the house.
“We sort of are because the house is in the middle of
about 5,000 acres. As you can imagine, we don’t need curious neighbors,” I explained.
“There’s no chance of that,” she agreed.
“We wanted to be close to New Orleans without being in the middle of it, so we were quite pleased when we found this place for sale. It was built by a manquadroon for his legitimate family.”
She wrinkled her brow in confusion and laughed, “A man-qua what?”
“A manquadroon. He would have been a french creole man that took a light-skinned, free woman of color as his mistress. He would set her up in a home and have children with her before he married a French woman. The family he raised with his wife was referred to as his legitimate family.”
I saw the outrage on her face as she said, “That’s a terrible thing to do.”
“Terrible or not, that’s the way it was. Most of the daughters born to a manquadroon and his mistress were raised to be the next generation of mistresses for Creole men, while the sons were often sent to Paris to be educated.”
“How could a mother raise her daughter to become a mistress?” she asked with disgust on her face.
“It was the only life they knew,” I explained.
“My father’s family is French Creole from New Orleans,” she whispered. She shook with a rigor. “Can we change the subject? I don’t want to think about how my ancestors were part of such a heinous practice. It creeps me out.”
I stopped walking and said, “Your wish is my command.”
She smiled and said, “Well, in that case...kiss me.” She reached up onto her tiptoes and lightly brushed her lips across mine and then reached for the blanket under my arm. “Here, let me help you,” she said as she took the opposite corners of the blanket and helped spread it on the ground under a large live oak.
I sat with my legs outstretched; leaning back on my palms and Chansey mimicked my position. She reached for her dress and scooted it up her thighs until she was satisfied with the amount of sun exposure on her legs. She enjoyed being in the sun and I wondered if she had given any thought as to how she would miss it if she became a vampire.