instinctively, knocking a pretty crystal ballerina off the table by her
thumped into the plush oriental carpet, unhurt. Two stared out the
the reflection of the lamplight she saw Theroen shake his head. He
to pick up the
The bed held softness unlike anything she had ever experienced. Or
perhaps it was her skin, newly remade, that made it feel that way. Silk
pillow covers, heavy down blankets enveloping her, warming her, giving
sense of comfor
Another spasm. Another cramp. Two cried out, arms wrapped around her
stomach, Abrahams words coming back to her.
She is unclean.
Theroens protest, that the change, her rebirth into immortality, would
cleanse this need from her. Abrahams deceptive chuckle.
time since the horse had hit him, spoke for the first time since he had
into the depths of coma, five months before.
Mother, I wish to go to church.
From that day forward, there was no question in my mind what I was
meant to do. I was meant to
Oh. Two honestly didnt know. Shed never tried it. Why not?
Melissa laughed, took a basket from the shelf above, dropped hundreds
upon hundreds of blossoms into the bath water. Their fragrance filled the
immediately, cherry blossoms, rose petals, the
and not this monster.
The vampire leaned his head down, settled the points of his teeth against
her neck, waited. Just as before, the moment stretched out into eternity.
world became surreal, painted in shades of grey and yet more vibrant
Two laughed, wincing at the pain this brought. A vampire carrying ganja.
Wonders never ceased. Melissa grinned as well, maybe seeing the humor,
just happy to see Two smile.
You can smoke that? Two asked.
And its, like, the same as for a human?
hate him, but he would not be rid of me. I am his, do you understand? Or
Two took his hand, kissed the fingertips.
This is the world within the world, Two. Theroens voice was gentle
He looked again into her eyes. This is a secret life un
were lessening. Yes, she would soon be free of it. It didnt dampen her
sense that it was profoundly unfair that she should have to go through
this at all.
After a few weeks, Two had grown curious as to why her transformation
was not progressing
What kind of drug? Melissa asked. There was a faint accent to her
Two couldnt place it.
Two did not look up. Cant you read it? Its sort of been on my mind.
Im not like Theroen. I mean, I might be someday, but not now. His
powers are way beyond mine
Like the number?
Yes, like the number.
Melissa laughed and clapped her hands. Thats so cool! Thats much
better than Jennifer or Betty or Melissa.
Two shrugged. I guess?
People with cool names never appreciate them. Now then. What you
is a bath. Thatl
salon, Two reflected, and laughed slightly. Melissa seemed to catch this
and smiled as well.
She helped Two from the bath, dried her, helped her choose perfumes
Theroen might like, helped her dress in a long, flowing gown. Green, like
Melissa came forward into the light. She was a study in contrast. Her
was jet black, long and straight. Her brown eyes had not been lightened
vampirism, only intensified into deep black pools. Her skin was white
her lips a deep, sensual
Oh, fuck. I think Im going to puke.
Are you sure theres nothing I can do?
Theroens blood stops it. I dont know. Would yours? Two spoke slowly,
through clenched teeth, trying to fight against the sudden onset of
Melissa shrugged. Beats me. W
draw in a breath, but he said nothing. Two understood now that Theroen
fear for himself, held no question of his own safety, but that he feared for
very greatly. The final moment of the interview had come, judgment was
handed down, and
course. She turned, sitting up before he could speak. She didnt want him
speak. Not now. Catching him in her bright green eyes, now luminescent
vampire blood in her veins, trying to hold him there.
An interminable moment, but sweet, as they lo
heard herself as if from down a long hall, and was aghast at her own
To speak, and so impertinently, in front of this creature who had given
pain, such pleasure. Surely now he would strike her down.
But Abraham only roared his horrible
soon she would try to crawl, crawl back to New York, back to Darren, on
hands and knees. She had no choice.
More howling from the outside, and then quiet. Just the wind, the
of leaves, the sound of grass shivering under its assault. Twos eyes
feed two even three times a night.
Two didnt know. Of the thirst she knew only a vague desire, not a
desperate need. Of the heroin, she knew nothing else.
Time passed. Several times Two was one the verge of asking Melissa for
more blood, but stopped herse
cartilage crush between her teeth. A tearing sound, like wet cloth,
giving way as she jerked and twisted her head. Two screamed out loud at
sensation, in her bedroom in the mansion.
The blood sprayed, coating her face in warmth. Below her,
chance to drink. Her words to him had shaken him quite badly, more so
fact that she clearly had not heard them herself.
Hed made the cut at his throat immediately following her declaration,
pressed her lips to it, imploring her to drink. He fe
From anyone else, this would have set her slightly on edge. With Theroen
Who are you? Two asked, smiling slightly.
Theroen nodded, as if he approved of the question.
I am Theroen Anders. I was born in Norway, in the late 16th centur
birth, a land he would never see again.
Never? Two asked, pulling back from the vision momentarily, never in so
Never has there been time, nor any great desire, Theroen answered.
It was a happy childhood. London before the industrial revolutio
Are you reading my mind? She questioned, a mischievous grin
pretending to be offended. Is that another crazy thing you can do?
Theroen smiled. Your mind is a fascinating place. I find it hard to draw
Where are you going? Why cant
consciousness. A bed somewhere, his father sitting in a chair, looking out
cold London rain and weeping without realizing it. Rough shadow of a
unkempt hair. Staring and weeping. It was the most frightening vision
could recall, worse e
had been sweet on her lips, hot and powerful. It had left her breathless.
You have to kill at the start. You wont be able to stop yourself, but you
over it, Melissa continued. Mortals die all the time. Thats what makes
beautiful. They get all
I can handle it!
Theroen sighed. Its not your ability to handle it that Im concerned
Its my ability to handle Tori. She doesnt like vampires, other than
Missy, she doesnt seem to know the difference. She tolerates me only
Theroen cut through the sea of unbelievers around him without a fear in
Two resisted this vision, incredulous. Theroen, a priest? It was
this being who seemed so utterly comfortable with his vampire nature.
reminded her agai
single body, but she had seen more than enough proof of Melissas dual
No, no one truly is, but Missy is certainly much closer than Melissa. I
cant claim to fathom Abraham, and Ive served him for nearly half a
Melissa is not wha
gave it to her very quickly, nearly drowned her in it, and it destroyed her
She is, in some respects, the perfect vampire. Alert, aware, incredibly
stronger even than Melissa, who is many years her senior.
Theroen glanced again out the window,
I dont understand.
Someday soon, Ill tell you much more of Abraham, and myself, and
Melissa and why we are who we are. You are lucky, Two.
His smile, though, was bitter.
We are unlike any other clan of vampires I have ever come across. We
The change will cleanse her.
And what drug is this?
Heroin, father. Do you know it?
Processed chemically, but yes.
She is unclean.
She is pure in heart, father. She is pure in soul. The blood will strip her
mortal needs, mortal addictions,
I am sorry, Two. It was foolish of me to leave without giving you this. It
my fault. Ill not leave you again now. We will be together until this is
The pain receded. Gone, not forever, but for the moment, and for the
feet, toward the bedroom and away from the darkness that had
since her first memory.
There was pain, but not like before. Theroens teeth pierced the flesh of
neck, but to Two it seemed minor. Far away. The pain was a vehicle to an
No. She sat up, leaned forward, kissed his lips. I was thinking about
Theroen touched her cheek, touched her hair, held her head in his hands,
kissed the skin of her forehead.
That comforts me, he said at last, and you make me regret hee