Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

tales of the daywalkers (week 5)

Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 4)

The Daywalker ChroniclesClaude glanced from Sebastian to me and flashed a crooked grin.  “Well isn’t this awkward.” 

That was an understatement if I’d ever heard one.  My arms and legs were still twined around Sebastian like we were interrupted playing a naughty game of Twister.  I tried to gracefully extricate myself, but I fear I only drew more attention to my predicament.

“It’s not what you think…” I couldn’t finish.  For a vampire, I was a terrible liar. 

“Oh it’s not?  I’m so relieved.  I thought you were in the midst of having sex with your estranged husband while I lay dying beside you like some sort of discarded, half-eaten Happy Meal.”  My own guilty expression was mirrored in his gruesome face.

I couldn’t bear to look at Claude, but I couldn’t turn away.  With his mouth circled in dark red, like a child who had experimented with his mother’s lipstick, he seemed oddly sinister.  I dropped my eyes to the dark stain in the wool carpet below me. “It’s definitely not the way I intended to spend my evening.”

Claude rose gracefully, examining his blood-soaked clothes. He fingered the two little holes in his neck.  “My thoughts exactly.”

“I’m sorry.  I was just so…hungry.”  I peered at him through the veil of my hair, thinking back to my belated dinner with a shiver of delight. 

“So it would seem.  Well, mistress…what do we do now?”  He raised both eyebrows and waited.

“You have got to be kidding me.” Sebastian hammered the floor with his fist.  “This isn’t possible.  No one transitions that quickly.”  He sat up, running long fingers through his wild hair until it was perfectly tamed.  I knew this for what it was…the calm before the storm.

Claude smirked. “I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say…you’re mistaken.”

My eyes went back to the disturbing smirk on his face.  “You’ve got a little…” I tapped a finger against my mouth, hoping he would get the point.

Claude wiped the blood from his lips with one finger then paused to taste it.  “Interesting.”

I raised an eyebrow.

He eyed me up and down.  “As it turns out, you are good enough to eat.” 

“That’s a lovely sentiment.” I rolled my eyes, crossing my arms over my chest to cover myself.  He had seen me undressed before.  Hundreds of times before.   So why did I suddenly feel so unnerved? “Would you please stop looking at me that way?”

“Just admiring with new eyes.”  He held a hand out for me to stand. I swatted it away.

“I’m fine where I am…has anyone seen my clothes?” I was relieved I didn’t have the capacity to blush. 

“Now why would you want to do something like that?” Claude paused to leer at me as he finished licking my blood from his lips.

“Instead of staring at Victoria like she’s your next meal, why don’t you go change?” Sebastian said.

Claude looked at Sebastian as if surprised to see him there. “Oh…You’re still here? I’d almost forgotten.” He smiled, exposing his teeth.  “Haven’t I done enough changing for one night?” He slowly ran his tongue over his newly extended fangs.

“Your clothes.” Sebastian nodded to the front of Claude’s shirt.  “You should probably get out of those bloody clothes. They’re starting to smell.” 

“Don’t mind if I do.” Claude unbuttoned his sodden shirt to expose a set of muscles I wasn’t aware existed.

“Surely you have a room somewhere in this manse. One far from this one?” Sebastian stood, not the least bit embarrassed by his nudity.  He scooped my gown from the floor, thrusting it into my hands.  “Put this on, please.”

I reluctantly moved my arms from my chest to slip it over my head.  Claude’s eyes followed my every move. 

He leaned toward me.  “You do realize you have effectively screwed yourself out of a servant, right?”

I dropped my head in my hands. “I’m sorry.”  It was destined to be my new mantra.  I had broken a promise and, vampire or not, I don’t break promises.

“I’ll save the reminding for later. For now, I think I’ll slip into something more comfortable.”

I picked up my head just in time to see Claude’s shirt drop to the floor as he shimmied out of his pants. “What are you doing?”

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Sebastian echoed.

“You didn’t really expect me to sit here and watch while everyone else was having all the fun, did you?”  Claude reached out and took my hand, tugging me into his arms.

Our lips were a breath apart. “Claude, really.” 

There was no rational explanation for it but I found myself drawn to him in some bizarre manner.  It was very different from the way I felt when I was near Sebastian, but not at all uncomfortable.  In fact, it was a little thrilling.  I had never thought of Claude as much more than a responsibility…a cross to bear in my already tortured existence.  Well…maybe not tortured, but unusual for certain.  We took care of each other.  There wasn’t anything more to it than that.  And now there was something else.  Something I couldn’t yet describe.

Sebastian flew  to my side and seized Claude by the shoulder.  “Take your hands off my wife.”

“Your wife?” Claude barked out a laugh.  “Since when has that meant anything to either of you?”

Sebastian eyed me carefully as he spoke.  “Since just a few minutes ago, if you must know.”

“Your timing is impeccable.” Claude bit off each word.

“Boys, please.  I would appreciate it if you didn’t fight over me like a shiny new toy.”  My hand rested on Sebastian’s chest, prepared to hold him back if necessary.  “Sebastian, I need just a few moments alone with Claude.  I need to explain…everything.”

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed as he glared at Claude’s amused expression.  “You have five minutes.”

The moment Sebastian was out the door, Claude swept me into a tight embrace. “I thought he’d never leave.” 

“Don’t be ridiculous…” I laughed, but the sound was cut off as Claude covered my mouth with his. 

I had known him for nearly his entire life, and I was sure I knew him as well as I knew myself, but I never expected this.  His lips reignited a fire that had barely gone out.  My head was screaming don’t do it. But my body was in control and it had other ideas. 

He was infinitely better at kissing than cleaning. 

It would figure.  Not a single suitor in nearly thirty years and suddenly I had two.  My estranged husband who mysteriously reappears in search of a dusty old necklace he gave me over two hundred years ago, and my defiant, highly overpaid manservant.  My head was swirling. 

He tore his lips from mine, whispering against my ear.  “I’ve wanted to do that since the first time I saw you kiss my father.”

I froze at the mention of his father.  I wasn’t quite ready to dredge that up again.  I knew I would be forced to relive it sooner or later, but not today.  Not with Sebastian in the other room.

Before I could register what was happening, Claude had my hair swept aside and his fangs were penetrating my scarcely mended flesh.

I gasped loudly enough to draw Sebastian from the other room.

“Release her or forever regret it.” The menace in his voice was unmistakable. 

Claude lifted his head and smacked his lips loudly.  “Sorry…I was suddenly famished.”

 

Until the next time…I’ll be working on Daywalkers week 6!

(A special thanks for JFieldsJr for this awesome artwork!)

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