Oh and one last note, this chapter might be a little mature for younguns, vampires and some such. So caution! A safe man is a breathing one!
Serena you are a genius. Yes I'm the master, of course I am. I stared out over the dais and watched small groups of people running around. Although they barely qualified as "people." How sweet, they are so bent on making everything perfect. I allowed a smile to grace my lips. Everything would be just right. Tomorrow was the big day. Tomorrow at dusk, to be precise.
From behind, I felt one of Danyel's strong hands come to rest on my shoulder. Danyel was my "second in command" I guess you could say. I had become master only two short weeks ago, and now I was getting a chance to prove myself worthy of the title. He had supported me the whole way; he'd always been there to back me up. I was beyond simple appreciation; he was without a doubt my closest…maybe only, friend.
I clicked my tongue in mock disappointment and turned to him, "My dear Danyel, Danyel my love! You know how the council feels about our public displays of affection, my dear, we simply must be more discreet!" A smile played on his lips. I gave him a "No no" look. "Now then, we wouldn't want to upset dear old Natalya now would be? She would have a litter of kittens!" Danyel gave a short laugh, which caused a few of the people working below to glance up and stare.
Natalya was on of the eight council members, and she was by all means, a stick in the mud. She had fits when any of "her people"(No! they're mine you old hag!) would display any affection toward one another. She would say, "This is neither the time nor place for silly romance! If you would stop dawdling we might get some work done here!" I was still trying to get on her good side.
"Of course my love, I acted impulsively." He was visibly choking on a laugh. "Now what am I supposed to say, 'later my dear, I can wait for your eyes, the color of the bluest cornflowers, and your laugh, the sound of a Canadian brook rushing against the stones.' And then I'll sweep you off your feet. Sound good?" He gave a ravishing gesture, most likely to be seen illustrated on the cover of a trashy romance novel.
"I always said you'd make a great writer." I replied. He just grinned, his teeth shining white and pearly through his lips. He turned and watched the confusion below. "You know, I knew you could do it. You're the leader now, the "big man on campus," and no one can change that. Not even that old bag Natalya. And I want you to know how proud I am." I turned to look at him.
"Yes, I know. I couldn't have done it without you. I hope you realize just how much I really needed you all those times…" I gave him a quick hug (you could never be sure when Natalya or one of her lackeys were on the prowl) and smiled. He smiled back and returned his gaze to the ground floor.
He snickered. "Tomorrow is the red letter day, eh?"
"Yes," I replied. "And it's going to be perfect. If it isn't someone is going to bloody well pay for it."
Danyel just laughed lightly. "And they know that. See? They know if they screw up, there'll be hell to pay, literally." He sobered. "It's not going be very easy. You know there will be those who oppose you for breathing. Don't worry though; I'll always be around. Getting rid of me won't be so easy." He winked.
To clear things up, Danyel and I were not dating. We liked to tease each other, but it wasn't like that. It never had been and in the foreseeable future, it never would be. I thought it would have been strange to date him, considering how long we'd been friends. But we'd never tried. Who knows?
Although, having him as a boyfriend wouldn't be so bad. He was tall, maybe 6'1" or so, and had thick black hair that was spiked on the top. At first glance his eyes were obsidian, but he had flecks of green and blue that could be seen glistening slightly, when you got a chance to look. He had finely chiseled features, and naturally olive skin that no tanning bed could duplicate.
"What, might I ask, are you two doing, sitting around likes this, there is much work to be done, non?" Natalya stood behind us, arms akimbo. Her voice was heavily accented, and she still wove French into her sentences.
"Just watching the progress Natalya." I replied with a smile.
Natalya arched a delicate eyebrow and smiled in return, stiff and forced. She had an air of disapproval and her gaze fell upon Danyel. "And you, monsieur?" I still had to smile when she called him "monsieur Danyel," it just sounded so absurd.
"Just…ah, taking a break, I'm sure Serena doesn't mind, do you?" He knew he had Natalya there. She knew well that Danyel and I were friends, and that I didn't mind one bit.
"Of course not. We wouldn't want to overwork ourselves, now would we?" I smiled, a bit of petty satisfaction in it.
"Oui." Natalya nodded curtly and walked away. She might have been one of the oldest of the council, but she still had the grace of a cat. Her strides long, and ground devouring, yet somehow willowy and graceful. Her auburn hair was held in an antique clasp that must have cost a fortune. You could barely detect a wrinkle on her face, and if not for the burning intelligence in her eyes, you would barely know she was over 35.
"Oh dear Danyel, it does look as though we've upset her! How tragic! The stick in her ass has further lodged itself." I rolled my eyes.
"You really ought to stand up to her Serena, she has no right to reprimand you like that. You can command her, not vice versa. You should make that clear."
"Yeah yeah I know that. But I don't want to push my rank around. Everyone will resent me and then where'll I be?" I sighed.
"Maybe a little bit of rank is a good thing. If you don't stand up to her, and the rest of the council, for that matter, they'll think you're a pushover and take advantage of you. Just don't overdo it," he replied.
"Well I guess it couldn't hurt…" I sighed. "I'll try it, okay?"
A young man came striding toward me confidently. He had the look of a little boy who'd just tied his shoes on his own. His hair was blonde and there was a large grin on his face.
"The message has been delivered, Madame." He grinned.
"Very good, Nathaniel. And you know you don't have to call me Madame, or anything formal, when we aren't in the presence of guests or council members. Serena is just fine." I replied with a smile.
"Oui, I know, but I think it sounds, how you say…very French." He beamed. His accent was genuine. He'd come over from France with Natalya recently; she'd been on vacation there and brought home some…"gifts."
"Did the bartender send any reply?" I inquired.
"Good enough. And did you ask him who he'll be choosing?"
He smiled. "Oui, he did not say who, but he seemed confident about his choice."
I smiled back, and it seemed sinister, even to me. "Magnifique my dear Nathaniel. You've done well."
He glowed. His ego was growing by the minute. "I shall be going, there is much work to be done." The way he said it reminded me of Natalya, and I wondered if the French had some rule that one must take work over all else. He inclined his head and sauntered off in the direction he'd come.
"So everything is set up," Danyel commented.
"Yes, it seems that way," I replied.
"The bartender's confidence could prove reckless."
"I don't think he's that stupid. False confidence would earn him a few days with Yvette." I said. Yvette happened to be our torturer.
Danyel nodded. It would all go as planned. We had given him orders to send two of his employees down to the basement, for sound equipment or something of the like. The basement was where the real Underworld nightclub existed. The dance floor and bar above were merely a cover up for what went on in its depths. The Underworld, the hottest club in New York City, hah, to those who knew the truth, it was all rather humorous.
When the two employees came downstairs, we would be waiting for them. Oh, yes. This plan was going to work. It was all very simple, actually. The bartender was one of us.
"Hn," Danyel mumbled. He winced and inclined his head.
A sharp pain shot up my spine and made me wince, as he had. But the reaction was not as severe, I was so used to it. It was time to feed. A cold and painful sensation shot through my stomach. Hunger rode up my spine like a snake, raising its ugly head to strike. Bracing my hands on the railing, I straightened. I hadn't realized I had crouched in the first place. A short glance at Danyel told me he was feeling the same. His eyes were glowing, ever so slightly.
We walked briskly over to a dark hallway, where a set of stairs led upward. Around us, a few others were going the same way, obviously on the way to feed. Their eyes glowed and one of the newer ones doubled over in agony. It was not a pleasant feeling.
At the top of the stairway, we reached a large black door. It could only be opened from the inside, so it was not visible from the club on the other side. I opened it slowly and slipped through.
I was greeted by deafeningly loud rave music. People were raving and dancing just down the hall, they all seemed very happy. Little did they realize they were the little white mice in the snake's cage. I walked down that dark hallway and waded into the crowd, Danyel at my back. I saw a few girls eyeing him curiously and snickered to myself. We parted and I found my way to the bar. I ordered a drink and sat there, scanning the crowd and the bar for a vulnerable person.
A young man seemed to be eyeing me and I winked at him. His face showed utter surprise, followed by embarrassment, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. His clothes screamed, "preppy," and he was alone. Perfect.
I approached him and smiled warmly and innocently as possible. "You alone here?" I had to shout to be heard over the music.
"Yeah, my friend left with some chick."
"Some friend he is," I grinned.
"Heh, yeah. So what about you?"
"I'm just hangin around, I've never been to this club before, and I figured I'd find out what all the hype was about."
My drink came and I took a sip, glancing around. "My friends seem to have disappeared," I commented absently.
"So what do you do?" He asked.
"I'm a dancer," I replied with a smile. Seeing his expression flutter, I quickly added, "Ballet."
He smiled. "Nice occupation, where do you perform?"
"I was in the Cleveland ballet, but I moved here, it's a small stage in the Village, but it's nice, and the pay's not bad. I plan to move on to Broadway, once I get myself together."
"New to New York, I gather," he smiled.
"Yep," I lied. "So what about you? What do you do?"
"I work technical support at a company that makes web cams." He snickered, "Sounds boring, yes, but I plan to move on."
I smiled. "Seems we both have a lot ahead of us, career-wise."
He nodded. God, fresh out of college. It almost made me feel guilty. Almost.
"Oh! I think I spotted one of my friends, could you come with me?" I jumped up and nodded towards a hallway on the other side of the crowd. There were a few people milling around near it.
"Ah…sure." He followed me as we quickly waded through the crowd and, after much squirming, shoving, and bumping, we got across to the other side.
"Hmm, I could've sworn she was right here." I said absently as I craned my neck to look over the dance floor. He was looking around also, but it seemed absurd. He had no idea what to look for. I suddenly wondered what his name was.
"I don't see anyone." He said.
"Maybe she went down there," I suggested, motioning toward the hall that led to the basement. "Shall we?" I smiled.
"I think so." He smiled back and walked down the steps beside me. "By the way, I didn't catch your name…"
"Serena." I said simply. I didn't elaborate.
"Thomas. You can just call me Tom." He added.
"Nice to meet you Tom." I grinned as we reached the bottom of the stairs. A door was right ahead of us, and above it a message.
"Employees only." Tom read it aloud. "Hm, maybe we shouldn't…" he trailed off.
"But I could have sworn I saw her right up there. I've always known her to be curious…she probably came down here." I insisted.
"Well…" he frowned, "alright."
I pushed open the door and we were met by rave music and another crowd of dancers. This was all familiar to me, but Tom's eyes widened in awe, and I did the same so as not to seem I'd been down there millions of times before. He stepped back a bit and I grabbed his arm. "I wonder what this is…" I said in wonderment. Fake wonderment of course. I'd been down there so many times I could make my way blindfolded.
"We really ought to go back…" He trailed off.
"Oh don't be so nervous," I grinned. "It's another section of the club! The employees only sign must be a mistake, or maybe this section is only for the special clubbers." I grinned at him with excitement shining in my eyes. Or what seemed like excitement; it was actually hunger, I was starved.
"Well if it's only for special clubbers we probably shouldn't…I mean neither of us seem to come here a lot…" Little did he know how close to the truth that was. It was only for "special clubbers," the ones that weren't human.
"Oh come on." I dragged him in and joined the other dancers. I began to dance, so as to blend in. He danced too, stiffly, and I bit off a smile. He danced like a duck with a hernia. I kept scanning the crowd for "my friend" who really didn't exist in the first place. I pulled him off to a small corner. "I don't see her anywhere." I frowned.
"Maybe she didn't come down here." He suggested.
"Maybe not…" I sighed with exasperation. "But I could've sworn…"
He looked at me uneasily. "I really don't like it down here…it's so dark. The atmosphere is uncomfortable, why don't we go back, I'm sure you'll find her eventually…"
"I guess…" I sighed again. "We may as well go dance some more."
He smiled and started to walk away. I glanced at a nearby dancer and he met my eyes. He studied them for a minute, and then nodded. He blocked Tom's path. "Excuse me, sir." He said.
"Y-yes?" Tom stuttered. I came up behind him and arched an eyebrow at the man. "What's going on? Is something wrong, sir?"
"You two should not be down here, this is for members only," he growled, but his attention was mainly on Tom. "You'll have to come with me."
Tom swallowed visibly and followed the large man down the hallway and into a small room. He nodded at me as we entered.
"This will do, Raphael, thank you," I said to him.
"Anytime, Serena." Raphael bowed slightly, a simple bend of the hips, and shut the door, leaving Tom and me alone.
"What's going on here Serena? You know that man?" Tom asked uneasily.
I didn't answer him; I merely approached him and patted his shoulder. "Don't worry about a thing, dear." I put my arms around his neck and grinned. He smiled back slowly, maybe still unsure. I bent my head forward, as if to kiss him, and he loosened. He seemed to think I'd brought him here for something else…Pity.
I shoved him against the wall suddenly, and pinned him there. I pushed his neck aside with one hand, and held him with the other. He made to push me away, but discovered he couldn't budge. He stared at me in horror. "W-what in God's name are you doing?" he stuttered.
"What I do every night my dear." I whispered into his ear. "I'm going to feed. You are merely one of the faceless many who go through the same experience." He struggled and squirmed, but I held him firmly. His eyes widened and he screamed, but to no avail. There was no one to hear him, and those within earshot would not be concerned.
"Don't worry, it'll all be over soon." I whispered a few last words into his ear, my mouth hovering there, breath caressing his earlobe. I'm sure he didn't understand them, they were in French. "Je vais rever de tois." They were the words for "I'll dream of you." I closed my eyes, sank my teeth into his neck, and fed.