Chapter Two

Sometime later, Tatyana awakens to an intoxicating yet soothing scent of vanilla. As she slowly flutters her hazy blue eyes open, she finds herself surrounded by the glow of vanilla candles. The intense dull light comforts her eyes and adds to the dream-like quarters she finds herself in. She was placed on a large bed with beautiful light blue silk covers that cool and caresses her skin where as the dark blue comforter keeps her warm and gives her a feeling of security. Much to her surprise, she is also wearing a light blue silk, spaghetti-strap nightgown that reaches just past her waist, exposing most of her bruises. Where the hell am I? she thinks to herself, her mind a little fuzzy. As she sits up, her head begins to throb. Memories of what happened in the alley came pouring into her mind's eye, like a damn busting through its concrete barrier. She remembers walking down the alley way, the man on the ground - Marius - the one who attacked her, and...Absentmindedly, her hand flew up to her neck, feeling two large punctures. Jagged edges, much like the wounds the man called Marius sustained.

Tatyana's curiosity takes over as she slips out of the bed and walks to the door. She slowly pushes it open and sticks her head out to see if anyone is there. She sees no one. She creeps out of the room and down the long hallway decorated with paintings and statues on the dark wooden walls. The deep red carpeting cushioned her steps. When she reaches the staircase, she notices flickering lights reflecting off the floor. She walks down and looks toward where the lights are coming from. Two large doors are slightly open and she can hear men talking from the other side.

"Exactly why did we have to bring her here?" she heard a distinctly weakened voice say in an English accent. She thought back and recognizes the voice to be Marius'. As she gazes through the somewhat opened doors, she can see a lit fireplace, leather chairs, and a glass coffee table. "Couldn't we have left her for someone to find?" She hears Marius talking but she doesn't know who the one is that he is talking to.

"She vas injured," she heard the other man say. This one seems to have a heavy German accent. She just can't see who he is. "She needed to be helped. Sofort." The voice was calm but sturdy and insistent.

Surprisingly, her fear subsided in this strange place with these strange men. Somehow she sensed that she should trust them. After all, if they wanted to hurt her, they wouldn't have taken her in and nursed her. Or were they planning to use her? Treat her just to beat her? After all, she wouldn't expect less from a man. They could just want her in good shape for when they play with her. Her expectations began to overshadow her instincts. As she started to back away, she could feel someone looking at her. She turns around quickly to see a handsome young man with shaggy, dirty-blonde hair about two inches long and deep, ocean blue eyes. He was dressed comfortably in blue jeans and a half buttoned up white shirt that exposed his smooth and fit chest. He looks to be about six feet tall with a fairly muscular body.

He gives her a warm smile. "Well, hello there. I see you are feeling better," came that familiar Irish accent from the alley. She looks away from him, not used to men treating her kindly. "Shall we go in and talk?" He places his hand on her shoulder and she shutters. The gentleman guides her into the room where the other two men were talking. As they walk in, the others look at Tatyana and the dirty-blonde turns the dimmer lights on a little brighter. He walks back over to her. "Please, take a seat." The blue eyed man motions her to a chair and she hesitantly obeys. When she sits down, she places her hands on her knees and look down at the ground. "Oh, how rude of me. Me name is Michael. This is Damien," he says motioning to a very tall man with short dark hair and emerald green eyes. She remembers those eyes. The man - Damien - looked so majestic standing next to the fireplace. He looks to be around six-foot-five - taller than her father - wearing black cargo pants and a dark blue unbuttoned shirt exposing his very muscular physique. "I'm sure you've already met Marius." She looks up at Marius but then quickly look down. From what she could tell, Marius is about five-foot-eleven with slightly long, reddish-brown hair and yellowish-brown eyes. He is wearing a dark maroon shirt that is also unbuttoned and black dress pants, bandages covering his wounded neck. He is not as muscular as Damien but still has a strong body. It is easy to tell that they all work out. All three of the men look to be in their early twenties and in great shape. Though the men are polite when meeting her, Tatyana is still trembling with uncertainty and unfamiliarity. "What is your name?" Michael politely asks her.

"T-Tatyana. Tatyana R-Rodriguez." She stutters out trying to stay calm. She doesn't know these people and she just doesn't trust anyone. Men in particular. Who could blame her? The way she has been treated by those who are supposed to be called her family, no one could.

"You have a Hispanic last name but you don't look or sound it. Are you of Russian decent?" Michael asks. He has a curiously graceful smile on his angelic face. His hair slightly falls in his eyes and his voice seems to sing whenever he speaks. It is a strong and masculine yet gentle and warm voice. In fact, everything about him seems to be strong yet gentle. It is like he evenly contrasts himself. Like he is in perfect balance.

"Yes. My parents came from Russia but I was adopted by a Hispanic fam..." She trails off and freezes when she realizes that she completely forgot about Pedro. She knew that he was going the beat her half to death for not getting home quickly. He could care less for what happens to her but never would he allow her to disobey him. She stands up quickly, now rushing her words. "I have to go. I'm sorry." When she begins to walk out, Michael stands up - alarmed - and gently grabs her wrist. She turns towards him quickly with fear in her eyes.

"Is everything okay? You still need some more rest." Michael asks with concern. With her feet still separated from her attempted steps and her hair out of the way, the men notice her bruises. Michael lets go of her wrist and she wraps her arms in front of herself. "How di-"

"Por favor! I need to get home immediately! Or my father will..." She shutters at the thoughts she could only attempt to make about what Pedro will do to her. Fear engulfs her face and she drop to her knees. "I know he's going to be mad now. I've been gone for too long," she says to herself in a harsh whisper, her body trembling. She was shaking and her eyes were shifting side to side with uncertainty and fear as they began to sting with tears.

"If you don't vant to go home, fraulein, you can shtay here," Damien says in his deep, masculine voice. His tone, thick in his German accent, radiates with concerned. Although his masculinity overpowers any attempts he can make at being softhearted. Tatyana hears his invitation to stay only her mind doesn't register it out of her shock of panic.

"If she has problems at home, that's her deal. Why should we have to get involved?" Marius says without any feelings in his hoarse and weak voice. He doesn't seem very caring towards people he doesn't know but that's something she can't hold against him. She has never trusted anybody so she can kind of relate to him.

"If I remember correctly, Gravevood, ze only reason you are shtill alive ish because she got involved. If she didn't help you ven she did, you vould have bled out or been killed," Damien snaps back at Marius. Marius throws a glare at Damien, so cold it could freeze the air in the room. Marius weakenly stands and marches out of the room as quick as his exhausted body could take him. Damien looks over at Michael and they nod to each other. A silent understanding. Damien then walks out of the room also. Probably to confront Marius and help him to his room.

Michael kneels down in front of Tatyana and lifts her chin up to look her in the eyes. Fear filled tears glistening her eyes. "If you wish to stay here, you can. For as long as you want." He places a soft kiss on the forehead, sending a sensation of comfort throughout her body. She puts her head down, closes her eyes tightly, and nods. Satisfied with her decision, Michael smiles and leads her back to the beautiful blue bedroom that she woke up in. "Apaga las velas antes de que te vayas a dormir." A small smile crept onto Tatyana's face after Michael continued down the hall. Though she hated the ones she learned it from, she was more comfortable when someone spoke to her in Spanish. She did what was told and blew out the candles. Laying down on the soft bed, she quickly fell back to sleep. The scent of vanilla still engulfed the room and relaxed her body as she drifted into sub-consciousness.

In the deep crevasse of the earth, an evil creature sulked over a defeat within the confines of his hidden cave. The cape of his dark coat blew back with the underground breeze as he stormed down the cave. "What the hell was I thinking? I should have killed that bastard child and brought that girl with me," he scours at himself, pacing in a line over the jagged stalagmite of the dwelling. "That blood. That deliciously marvelous blood. I have to find out what type of blood that was. I wonder if it was...No. It couldn't have been. They've been wiped out for over a decade. Maybe I should call an expert." A devilish grin twisted his lips. He sits upon an elevated flat rock - acting as a thrown in his diluted mind - as he tends to the wounds forced upon him by that bastard child's friends. "Don't worry, Marius. You will get yours."
The next morning, Tatyana wakes up to find clothes neatly folded on the chair next to her bed. She slips out of bed, grabs the clothes, and walks over to a different door at the left corner of the room to find a beautiful large restroom behind it. The marble sink has a large mirror over it with silver flower-designed bordering. The large tub was wide and deep. Almost large enough to swim in. The shower was separate from the tub but just as big. As she slips her nightgown off, Tatyana notices that her bruises are almost completely healed. Along with the wounds on her neck and head. She always felt lucky that she was such a quick healer. Too bad she would always have a fresh supply of bruising waiting for her every day. She turns the shower on and steps in. She lets the water flow down her body. It is so warm and comfortable. She stays in for a while, letting the warmth cover her body and relax her muscles. After the shower, she dries off and puts on the clothes that were given to her. There are black lingerie style under-garments, black dress pants that set on her hips and a dark-red, low-cut, off-shoulder shirt that shows off her stomach and cleavage. They looked to be designer clothes and could very well have cost quite a bit of money. She brushes her hair and pins it up. As she steps out of her room, Michael is just walking up.

"Ah, good morning, Tatyana. You look lovely. Would you like some breakfast?" he asks with his usual gentle smile. She simply nods her head shyly and walks with him downstairs to the dining room.

Michael seats her in the high-back wooden chair at the large dining table and takes his seat next to her. Just as if on cue, Damien walks in from the adjacent kitchen and serves the breakfast that he had personally prepared. As Damien sits, Tatyana questioningly looks at the open seat next to the mountain of a man. "It's alright. Marius never eats breakfast with us. That's just how he is," Michael says softly, answering the unasked question. The three of them finish their meal while chatting a bit and Michael decides to show Tatyana around the manor.

"This place is so large," Tatyana says softly, not used to speaking out of question. Or not used to speaking at all. Michael gently smiles at her beautifully altered accent of Russian-Mexican. Letting her know that it is okay for her to speak her mind. He explains how the mansion has been passed down from generation to generation in his family. That he's known Damien and Marius since they were kids. And as he takes her from room to room, he tells her the childhood stories that each one of them contains. About how he accidentally knocked over the bookshelves in the library like dominos when he was chasing a stray bird in the house. About how he broke a fish bowl in the living room playing tag with his friends and then covered the mess with a couch. Then he took her to the garden.

Flora of different breeds, sizes, and color littered the grounds. The various scents mixed together in an indescribable intoxicating aroma. Stone caldrons with pictures of beautiful creatures and patterns carved into them were filled with more exotic plants and flowers lined the walkways. A thick forest in the distance surrounded the manor in a barrier of bushes and tall trees. The gleaming sun made it all the more beautiful.

"This is me favorite place." Michael's voice echoes with a distant tone. Nostalgic gleams dancing in his bright blue eyes. "Once, when I was nine, me nanny was looking for me. She wanted to give me one of those 'soup bowl' haircuts. Wickedly sweet woman, she was. So I came out here and was ducking behind the bushes so she wouldn't find me. All of a sudden, a man was behind me and knocked me out. The next thing I knew, I was in the back of some van being held for ransom. Well, the guy was a total moron. He left the doors unlocked. So I found a crow bar in the back and hit him when he wasn't looking. Well, when I got out of the van, I was only about a block away from me house. Unfortunately, I didn't hit him hard enough and he hit me over the head and knocked me out again. Last thing I heard were the sirens. When I finally woke up, I was back in me house with me nanny taking care of me. I was so grateful to be home again."

"So everything turned out all right," Tatyana says as he turns towards her.

"Not really. The worst of it came when I got out of bed and went into the restroom." He sighed heavily. "It turned out that..." He paused as he looked into her eyes. The eyes that pleaded for him to continue. "It turned out that me nanny gave me that haircut when I was unconscious." Tatyana covers her mouth as she begins to giggle at his dramatic pause and horrified face for something so trivial. Plus at what his nanny did. He looks at her with astonishment and smiles. "You have a beautiful laugh." Tatyana stops giggling and blushed looking away. "And you look beautiful when you smile," he says as he lifts up her chin to face him and softly kisses her lips, a rush of cool warmth washing over her body from the contact. "You should always look like that." She blushes even deeper causing him to chuckle.