My name is Solaine.
I have been human, vampire, Redeemer and am The Reclaimer.
I never wanted it, it simply is.
I’m afraid I can’t start at ‘the beginning’ because there have been too many beginnings. So I’ll start from where my life gets interesting, and if I jink around please forgive me. Life is so rarely remembered as a linear progression of events—and given that I’m working with a number of lifetimes—it’s very difficult for me to keep track of it all.
I’m confusing you already. Sorry for that. Let me just start by saying…
“Thank you for your patronage, Master Jarvis.” It’s not particularly comfortable to have all your interactions be six inches from the buttons of a finely tailored shirt, but it’s a lot better than being Enthralled by a vampire through sheer carelessness or worse, maliciousness.
“Solaine, you know it is always my pleasure,” Jarvis purrs and even though his voice rolls over me like molten chocolate I manage to keep from shivering.
“As the painting has been duly transferred, I will take my leave of you,” I hate, hate, HATE all the formalities and innuendo and verbal sparring the vampires enjoy, but since I make my living procuring rarities for them I have to do it or risk working at BurgerWorld.
“Have you no response to my offer, then?” he asks and if I dared more than a glance at his midnight-blue eyes or chiseled profile I’d glare at him defiantly.
“My previous answer stands, Master Jarvis. Although I appreciate your interest, I am respectfully declining,” it’s the most polite way to say, “Hell NO I don’t want to be a vampire, you freak!”
It’s not like I’m opposed to OTHER people choosing to become vampires. What people choose to do with their lives—as long as it hurts no one else—is none of my business. But, quaint though it may seem (especially given that my parents didn’t raise me under any particular religious constraints) I’ll be damned before I join their ranks.
Literally. Damned. I know it in my soul or whatever you call that spark of animation that keeps my meat machine functioning. And (not to sound inane or shallow here) but who wants to spend eternity as a slightly overweight, blocky, 5’8” vampire with a B-cup? No one ever sees an ugly vampire…and I don’t want to be the first. But my musings are interrupted as Jarvis purrs,
“It’s not an offer you’re likely to receive again, not with the current… restrictive… climate,” Master Jarvis is the vampire overlord of the Haven coven, and even though Haven is supposed to be a human/post-human “Free Zone” you still don’t want to upset him. I know I can stare him in the eyes and not fall under his sway, but it’s exhausting and I’m not up to it. Not after the work I’ve had to do in order to fulfill his most recent request.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to be given such a choice, especially from someone so esteemed within the community, but this unworthy one could not bear the weight of more than one lifetime,”
“You’d be surprised,” he mumbles before I watch a slight tremor vibrate through his chest and vanish just as quickly.
“Master Jarvis, with your permission, I will take my leave of you,” I say, stepping back slightly as if I had even a minute chance of making it to the door before him.
“Solaine,” Jarvis barks and I have to stop the impulse to meet his eyes by bending my head to stare at his shiny Italian loafers, “if you refuse me again I will be done with you.” I don’t know if he means for it to be a threat or if he thinks that by bullying me he’ll get me to change my mind. Perhaps it’s his way of tricking me into compliance but if there’s one thing I hate in the world it’s someone who thinks they have the right to command me.
Now that he’s thrown down the gauntlet, I can reply as I would have liked to initially, when he so generously ‘offered’ to murder me and make me something ‘else.’ Eyes snapping up from his shoes—locking on to the swirling pools of midnight that mean he’s barely in control of himself—I say (louder than I should but still below a shout),
“Then, with regret, I will take my leave of you. Thank you for your patronage,” It’s a mistake—I know it’s a mistake, one that started with my working for him and would have come to this end one way or another—but I won’t give myself over to anyone.
I try to remind myself of that as Jarvis closes the space between us before I can bat an eyelash and the white-hot-pleasure-pain of his fangs sinking into my neck send me screaming through torment and straight into blinding ecstasy. When I contracted into Jarvis’s employ he bit me, but it wasn’t like this. It was more like a blood draw at the hospital; a civil, slightly painful, easily forgettable experience. It wasn’t every orgasm I’ve ever had times the gravity of a black hole sending me shooting through existence in an incandescent burst of shining-molten light feeling.
And it’s not right. I feel myself swirling down into a starless void even before the tangy-acrid coppery taste of blood hits my tongue and chases me down into the everlasting darkness.
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