I stood in front of the door and took a slow breath in as I raised my arm to knock. A centimeter before my knuckles came into contact with the wood, the door swung open. Just as I had imagined him on the phone earlier, his hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail, he was in a robe, barefoot, with a book in his hand. A pleased smile spread across his face at the sight of me.

All thoughts of anger and irritation vanished as our eyes met. Those beautiful violet orbs drew a smile on my face to match his. Without looking, he placed the book on a table I couldn't see inside the door, and held out his arms. Without thinking I nearly collapsed into them. The soft velvet of his maroon robe felt good against my chilled skin. Allious leaned his head down against the top of mine and hugged me gently. He still didn't trust his strength around me after almost two years. I breathed in his scent deeply, realizing I had missed it desperately since he disappeared. As if his own skin matched his eyes, a faint lavender was his natural scent. No soap. No cologne. No body spray or lingering air freshener. As strange as it was, I loved it.

"My Angel," he cooed softly. I lifted my face to stare into his, my smile never leaving. "We don't have much time." Those few words dissolved the smile from my face. I knew he was right. I sighed as he released me from his comforting hold. Even with his icy skin, it warmed me just to be around him. He motioned with one hand for me to enter the 'living room' as he closed the door with the other. After securing the locks, he said, "Please make yourself comfortable, my Angel. We have much to discuss."

"You're damn right we do," I snapped, then instantly regretted it when his face hardened in surprise. I looked away and around the room as I made my way to the the modern couch that faced the larger-than-normal-for-hotels entertainment system. The price of this room must have been higher than my long elevator trip. The walls were also a typical pastel peach, lighter than the halls outside the room. A few photo copied paintings of flowers and fruit bowls hung on the walls encased in cheap-looking silver frames. White-shaded lamps sat at each end table on either side of the couch. The simple dark stained coffee table in front of me had an array of things on it. A few books stacked neatly in one corner, a blank note pad with an expensive-looking pen resting on top. Next to the note pad was a glass of red wine on a black coaster; the opened bottle next to it. In the middle of the table was a glass bowl that was too short to be a punch bowl, but just as wide, filled with water. Blue rose-shaped candles were floating on the top. They looked like they'd never been lit. Further into the room, a door opened to what I guessed was the bedroom. I contemplated wither I should really make myself comfortable and run into the bedroom, tearing my clothes off as I went. Wether he'd follow me or not was his choice. I decided to unsnap the belt from under my jacket that contained my Pride and Joy. I set it gently on the coffee table, away from the wine as I took a seat on the plush couch. I had gotten comfortable enough around Allious that I could allow myself to be unarmed for short amounts of time. Just around Allious, and only Allious. Me? Nervous? Please.

"My Angel," he sang, bringing my attention back to his beautiful face. He was sitting next to me on the couch, but far enough away so that he didn't startle me. He was hunched over with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped in front of him, a very atypical position for a nine hundred plus year old vampire. But this was his serious human position, rarely used.

"Sorry about that," I said simply. He could see the lie in my eyes. I looked at the wine. "Starting early? It's not even noon yet," I teased.

He reached a lovely hand out to the glass, picked it up, and held it in front of his face, swirling it. Tall columns lined the nearly invisible crystalline glass. "Vintage nineteen fourty-five, Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva" he purred, and handed the glass to me. I raised an eyebrow. This was very bad indeed, if he was giving me alcohol before a talk. "From Italy," he concluded. I took the glass and took a small sip. The rich, bitter but sweet taste of aged grapes tickled my pallet. It glided down my throat smoothly. Another small sip, savory, and... was that a hint of... truffle? Oh my. Bad vampire. He seemed pleased at the look on my face. Allious spoiled me, and I knew it, not that I was complaining.

I put the glass back on the coaster. Reluctantly, might I add, and looked seriously at my vampire love. "Why has your phone been off for a week?" Obviously, after finding the gum wrapper and not Allious, the first thing I did was call his phone, and he had turned it off. After days of searching with no success, I had started to think he was dead. This morning at breakfast was the first inclination that he was alive. Back home, I'd gone to every source I could think of to get information, but it was well and truly sudden, his departure. No one knew where he had gone, not even my room mate Dillon, who was one of Allious's children. Not paternally. Allious had turned Dillon 2 years ago. He had been one of my best friends since I was in grade school, and was dying from brain cancer. He found Allious, who agreed to turn him to save his life...In a matter of speaking.

Allious looked at me with a mixture of wonder and confusion in his eyes. "How did you find out I was in Colorado?"

I glared at him for ignoring my question and skipping to his own. He only blinked, waiting for my response. I gave a forced sigh through my nostrils. "Damnit, Allious, I thought you were dead!" I threw my jacket at him, and is arm moved too fast for me to see when he caught it without so much as a twitch. He calmly set it over the arm of the couch and leaned back against the cushions with his hands in his lap. Again, he awaited my response. I spoke quickly, trying not to yell again. "The council is here, duh." He blinked. I continued, "but you never told me why or when they summoned you. Why didn't you tell me?"

He sighed and stood, walking to the door I assumed was the bedroom. His hand went to the doorknob and he paused to look at me. "Come, my Angel," he said, and opened the door. Voila. Bedroom.

"I'm too pissed for sex, Allious," I said as I followed him into the next room. He chuckled, and it felt like velvet against my skin. I sat on the king sized bed before my knees could give out. I was hoping he wasn't going to try to seduce me. Then it was over.

"I am simply getting dressed, il mio angelo lussuria," he mused. When he started spitting out Italian, it meant he was nervous, and it was brushing off on me. I started to get fidgety. His sudden use of his native tongue meant there was something he wasn't telling me.

My eyes followed Allious to the closet next to the open bathroom. I watched in silence as he opened the double mirrored door, revealing the closet to contain but one outfit on a hanger. It was covered in clear plastic, as if it had just come from the dry-cleaner's. As he removed the plastic I noticed the outfit looked more like a costume, but I recognized it from a painting Allious had at his home, of himself, wearing that same outfit. The painting, might I add, was almost as old as he was.

Allious dressed quickly, as if he were late for something, but said nothing as he did. When he was finished he turned to me, as if seeking my approval. He looked like he'd just stepped out of his own picture, or through a time machine. He had taken his hair down and it flowed like dark water over his collar, framing his perfect face. The jacket was of royal blue velvet, with maroon rope decorations along the edges. The sleeves were belled, almost enough to be feminine. Underneath he wore a vest, trimmed in the same maroon rope, but more on the purple side of color itself, and not velvet. The pants were of the same velvet as the jacket, and was tucked into his knee-high black boots. He looked like a dream. "What do you think, my Angel?" he said, holding his arms out.

I tried to smile, but it was shaky as I said, "How long have you had those clothes?"

He chuckled and sat down beside me, putting an arm around my shoulders. "Ah, amore moi, this is merely a precise replica of what you have seen in the painting." A twinkle in his eyes told me I was missing something.

"What's so funny?"

He shook his head and stood up. "Nothing, my Angel."

An unnecessarily loud knock at the door interrupted what I was about to say. Allious and I looked up in unison. He walked swiftly over to the door and stopped. I watched his nostrils flare as he taste the air, to get a better feel of who was on the other side. His eyes widened, and he looked at me.

"What is it?" I asked. He turned and pulled the door open faster than I could see. There, wrapped in a white cloak, was a man that looked shockingly like Allious, but with a few differences. The eyes were a bit wider set than Allious's, and a dark shade of grey. There was a rough, shiny scar running from just above his right eyebrow and disappeared down into the neck of the cloak. He was just slightly taller, but had those same, kissable lips. His hair was the main trait that set the two apart. Lightning blond, but just as wavy as the dark haired man standing before him.

"Julius," Allious said just above a whisper. The blond at the door gave a half-smile and looked the other vampire up and down slowly, shaking his head as he looked into Allious's face.

"Still wearing the old fashions to the council, I see." The blond opened his cloak, producing a lump of something of the same fabric. Why was it that every vampire over one hundred years old has a thing for velvet? "We've recently come to use a... uniform of sorts. I took it upon myself to bring this for you so you wouldn't look completely out of place." Allious took it as Julius looked past him at me. "Oh I am sorry, brother. I did not realize you were before a meal." He looked back at Allious and the half smile turned into a grin. "May I join you?"

"Excuse me, but I am no one's meal," I said as I stood up. The blond vampire glared at me. I had a second thought. "Wait. Did you just say broth-" Before I could blink, I was being held in the air by my throat. Struggling to take a breath, I looked down at a snarling blond Allious-look-alike. My eyes went briefly to my Pride and Joy on the coffee table. Damnit.

"And what makes this human think that she can speak without first being spoken to?" Julius raged. Allious was quickly at his side, a hand on the arm holding me in the air.

"Julius, release her now." Simple, quick, and to the point. How I loved my vampire.

The hand on my throat let go, and I started to make my way down to the floor before Allious caught me. Holding me in his arms like a damsel in distress, he looked at Julius, who was staring at me like some freak of nature. What a good first impression.

"She must be truly delectable for you to be so protective, Allious," Said the blond, a defiant look spreading on his face. If I wasn't being held like such a girl I'd have smacked him.

"Julius, may I present Angelica Chains. My Angel, this is my brother, Julius." Ah, awkward moments.

"Hi," I rasped, a hand going to my throat.

Julius tilted his head in my direction, looking more like a cat eyeing a juicy mouse. He tentatively licked his lips.

"Julius!" Allious snapped. His brother looked at him.

"If you look at her in such a manner again, you are no longer my brother."

Shock happened on Julius's face. He took a low bow, holding a hand out as he did so. "Please forgive me, dear brother. I did not realize she was precious to you."

Allious set me on my feet and took his brother's hand, raising the other vampire to stand upright once more. I immediately grabbed my belt from the coffee table and returned my Pride and Joy to their proper homes, Julius gave me a suspicious glance. "I am courting her, not that it is any of your business, so yes, she is precious to me," Allious stated. He let go of his brother's hand, who gave a small nod.

A few minutes of awkward and irritating silence took forever until I finally mustered up the courage to say something.

"Excuse me boys, but I have to pee." Oh yes. What an announcement. I made my way to the bathroom, trying to hide the redness that was suddenly upon my cheeks. I heard Allious give a low chuckle before I made it to the bathroom and shut the door, locking it behind me. I turned on the faucet to drown out the sound of my relieving my bladder. I had originally meant my escape to get away from Julius, but I didn't realize until that moment that I really had to pee. Coffee goes right through you. When I was done I washed my hands quickly, using the cheap hotel soap that leaves your hands dry as sand. As I was drying my hands, I strained my ears to listen in on the conversation that was taking place.

"Allious, I have no other hope. I have no one else," pleaded the voice of Julius.

"You should not have broken such a law. You well know the consequences," Allious had a sound of disappointment in his tone.

"Brother, I beg you...Help me." Julius's voice was strained with emotion.

I took this moment to turn off the faucet and come out of the bathroom. The brothers turned to me, looking like an angel and a demon, but equally as beautiful. I took a moment to breath again, and walked to the chair to retrieve my jacket. Allious tilted his head at me.

"Going somewhere, my Angel?"

I shrugged the coat on. "I just get the feeling that you're supposed to be somewhere."

"And what makes you think that?"

I gestured to the clothes hugging his body. "The get-up. Unless someone's having a costume party in the middle of winter."

Allious looked down at himself and gave a hearty chuckle. The sound moved over my skin like silk and made things lower in my body tighten on their own. "Yes, amore moi. I am expected at a council meeting." He began to throw the white velvet cloak around his interesting clothing, not bothering to change. Dark hair was piled onto his shoulders. The contrast with it and his white skin with the velvet of the cloak made my heart skip a beat.

I watched as Julius reacted to the statement his brother had just made. A nervous glance from Julius to his brother made me raise an eyebrow at Allious. "What am I missing?"

"It is no concern of yours, hu-... Miss Angelica," Julius rethought his words due to a heated glance from his brother.

Allious held out a hand from behind the cloak. I went to him and took it automatically. He looked down at me and said, "I will arrange to have you taken to the airport. You are to return home and-"

"Did I not just fucking tell you that I don't need protecting?" I snapped. He didn't flinch.

"I did not say you needed protecting. I am merely saying that it is not safe for you where I am going."

"That's the same thing." I was not a child, damnit.

"If you think about it, it is not, my Angel."

"Allious, we run short of time," Julius interrupted. The vampire at my side looked at his brother and heaved a sigh.

"Allious, just what the hell is going on?" Hello, hello. Remember me?

"There are... difficult matters that I must attend to," he said, still looking at his brother, who was holding his gaze steady.

"Care to fill me in?"

Julius took that moment to move his gaze to me, and I met his eyes. Oh, that was a bad move.

The world disappeared, except for those eyes. The grey turned into rain clouds. They swirled and flashed, calling to me. I fell into that calling. I could have been dying, I could have been stabbed to death, but nothing else mattered except falling into the calling of those eyes. They got bigger, closer, filling up my vision. I wanted to answer that calling. I had to, just had to.

Then my world went dark, and I fell into a dreamless sleep.