"Victoria, how good to see you again. I thought you had done something stupid, like try to run away. Again." Lucien replied, sarcasm dripping from the lips that had tried to seduce me the year before.

"How could I resist staying here? If I ran away I wouldn't get to see your pasty white face every day, now would I?" My own sarcasm seething with slight anger and frustration. Lucien smiled at the little old woman who'd returned me back to him, and walked her to a small station wagon she'd come in. I stood in the entry way, not by choice, but because I'd been subtly tied to a side table. After raising a hand in the form of good-bye, Lucien strode back in the house, glaring at me.

"How many times are we going to play this game Victoria? There isn't a place you can go where I can't find you." Lucien snarled.

"I'll never know until I try, will I?" I replied, my words still ripe with sarcasm and anger. Gripping my arm tighter than a vise, Lucien untied me and led me upstairs to my room. The dark room was more like my private Alcatraz. Thrusting me through the doorway, I stumbled to the bed, and recovered myself in time to seem him stride forward and shut the door as if he knew we were being watched by the maids.

"Victoria," he replied in a tired voice, "When are you going to realize that this is now your only home? You have been gone a full year, and people have stopped looking for you. You live in a foreign country. Everyone you knew thinks you are dead and gone by now. You belong here now." He said, speaking quietly, seeming as if he'd calmed down. I sank onto the bed and felt the goose down comforter envelope me, making me want to sleep. I closed my eyes for what seemed like only a second, but when I woke up, everything was dark. My blanket had been pulled up over me to my shoulders, and my shoes were removed. I had no recollection of doing anything. Getting up, I didn't feel any after-effects of drugs, so I figured Lucien hadn't put anything into my body. I gave myself a few moments just so I wouldn't stumble down the stairs. I could tell it was past the midnight hour. The maids were asleep and all the candelabra were lit as were the few candles on the walls. As I made my way down the stairs, and through a few hallways, I finally reached the kitchen. Albert, the chef, had already gone to bed along with the rest of the staff Lucien kept on hand. The house Lucien and I lived in was definitely not a castle, but bigger than a mansion. Rummaging through the giant refrigerator, I moved things around looking for something to eat. Pulling out shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, lettuce leaves, and ranch dressing, I made a salad that looked delicious. Making sure to put everything back where I had found it, which was Big Al's rule, I grabbed a fork and began to eat. I was so involved with my food that I didn't notice anyone enter the kitchen.

"Mind if I join you?" Lucien asked quietly, his emerald eyes holding no malicious or impish intent for once. I nodded my head. He seemed to be harmless for the moment. Preparing his own meal, Lucien said nothing. When he sat down on the wooden barstool beside me, he didn't even lift his eyes to look at me. I felt as though I had done something wrong. At the same time though, it was nice to be in his company.