A/N: Please, tell me if you liked it, didn't like it. I really want to know what you think no matter how harsh.

3

Recovery

"He's not going to be there, Mila—Ember," Adei promised me from the outside of my locked bathroom door.

I refused to answer him and acted like he wasn't really talking to me, that I wasn't there to begin with. I swayed in front of my bathroom counter and rearranged the pink and purple, heart shaped hand soaps that I only used for decoration. I couldn't stand how they became big misshapen mounds that stuck to each other after a single use. They smelled good though: lavender and sweet pea.

"Ember," he whined and knocked gently on the bathroom door. "I'm going to be late for school, and your father will throw a fit if he knew that I left without you."

I pouted and tightened my white silk and lace robe around me. "Why's he picking on me?" I whined childishly as I pressed my back to my side of the door.

"Armaan told you, didn't he?"

"And you really think that's the reason?"

"Who cares?" Adei muttered. "Why does it matter, Ember?"

"It doesn't, Adei!" I shouted and smacked the door, hearing him jump back on the other side. I sighed, "Everyone saw though. It would've been different if he just walked up to me and did, but I gave it to him and –"

"What were you expecting him to do? You said all Prowls were the same, remember? You should've expected him to be a jerk."

"I guess."

"Fine, hurry up, your blood's coagulating," he chuckled.

I opened the bathroom door slowly and reached out with open arms for his warmth. The breakfast tray was already on my bed and left his hands free. So, he took me in and embraced me as lovingly as always. His heated hand rubbing roughly against my back, not gentle the way most boys were with girls.

I unfastened the belt of my robe and let it hang open as I went to the tray on my bed and sipped the blood. It didn't taste as good as it usually had; I waited too long. I crossed one leg over the other as I picked at the bagel that had been spread with strawberry cream cheese.

"That outfit," Adei mentioned with a blush, "it's a little on the 'sexy' side, isn't it?"

He might've been right. It was a short pink fishnet chemise laced with yellow trim. I wasn't sure why my mother had decided to stock my closet with lingerie, but once I could fill them out they were there.

"Having some steamy dream about the bully at school?" he asked.

I gaped and tossed the bagel down. "No! Are you crazy? I'm promised to Armaan, Adei."

Adei shrugged and looked off. "Doesn't mean you can't have a fantasy man? Do you think he's hot?"

"I didn't notice."

He couldn't judge whether or not I was lying. I was, but I shouldn't. It didn't matter what I thought of him, and as of right now, anything I minutely found attractive was superficial. Who cares that he had extraordinary magic? And why should I care that unlike all the rest us, he smelled divine with his clean from not being laced with sunscreen? And so what if he was tall and had broad shoulders that gave the illusion that he was meant to hold up the world?

None of it matters anyway.

I decided to get ready while Adei told me in vivid detail about the fight that had occurred at his school the day before. He said that my day sounded more interesting and I offered gladly to switch with him, but he only laughed. But I'm not joking. We discussed Black Manor and it was with no doubt that the Prowls were staying there. Although, according to Adei, it wasn't for long. They didn't bring anything with them and the house wasn't being filled with anything that wasn't already there. It'd been over a century since it had been inhabited. The place must be decrepit and falling about by now; I wasn't sure if anyone had cleaned the blood off the floors after what happened there.

I locked my collar around my neck and applied sunscreen to every inch of my skin that wasn't already covered, which was basically my face and that small area between the base of my neck and my chest that wasn't covered up by my jacket. Then also my hands before I had to pull on my gloves (just a precaution).

As we walked down the stairs, I saw my mother busily managing our pets on where to place flowers and how to arrange the seating from the parlor to the dining hall. I went to her and wrapped my arms around her from behind. My parents babied me so often that I was hard to act any other way.

"Mum'ma," I whined. "I don't want to go today. Can't I stay home with you?"

Her smile was so endearing when she looked at me and planted a kiss on my forehead. "I'm sorry, dear. But your father and I have a lot to get done. We're having some guests tonight."

My eyelids slid halfway shut. "It wouldn't happen to be the Prowls, would it?" I asked coldly, my voice low and incomprehensible to Adei or the other pets.

"As a matter of fact, it is," she stated and fixed a bunch on flowers in a vase. "I expect you to be on your best behavior. As long as they're staying in La Dona, you're to be a responsible, young lady."—she looked down at the table with her nose wrinkling in a sneer—"No matter how juvenile they behave."—her smile brightened in a split second—"Hurry off then. I don't want you to be late."

I nodded with my hands clasped behind my back and followed Adei out the door.

I knew they weren't there the moment I stepped onto the campus. Then, why was I still looking for him… them! I meant them. No in particular person, but that group of vampires that didn't seem like the vampires I knew, but the ones I learned about in my classes. But the day went by fast, and whenever I turned a corner, I expected to see him. This caused a big distraction until the final bell rang.

A thin layer of clouds hazed over the sun, and though it was still bright out I didn't have to worry about the extra safety of an umbrella. I stepped out into the light and let its warmth sweep over me. There was a hand on the small of my back, distracting my attention from the warming sun, and when I glanced over my shoulder I saw Armaan standing there.

"May I escort you home?" he asked politely.

"I was waiting for Adei actually," I confessed, "But you can join us."

"I gave Adei the night off," he said. "I didn't to risk having him at the house tonight. I know how concerned you are about him."

"Oh," I breathed my lips pulling into a shy smile. "Thank you."

Armaan and I walked leisurely back to my house to enjoy the dim day while we could without cover. My arm was linked around his as we peered through the glass of the stores I knew by heart and admired the trees that were changing in hue as summer faded into autumn. In the direction he was leading, I could tell that we weren't going to my home, but his, which was the top floor of one of the old buildings on the other end of town.

I wasn't even sure what the building was originally used for, but it was made back in the twenties and it only got renovated whenever someone moved in. Currently only three of the floors were being used out of ten.

The apartment or flat, whatever you'd like to call it, was nice, modern, and manly like the cliché bachelor pads I saw in magazines. The living room, dining room, and kitchen were an open space that was separated by either furniture or panels of foggy looking glass. There were only two bedrooms and they were down the single hallway and they were directly across from each other, both of them substantial in size.

Large pieces of art hung on the walls of swirls, blurs, and splats of color. I didn't understand them. A two year old could probably replicate it without a problem. I was more into something that had something real inside of it. Even if it was something as simple as a ring or a square, at least they were easier to grasp that paint poured onto a canvas and smeared around.

"Why don't you go change?" he advised, his fingers finally moving in more of a stroke down the center of my back. "I'll go put on some tea."

I sauntered down the hall and opened the door to my room, which was to the right. Armaan had a room at my home as well out of convenience for those late when we didn't feel like walking home. And when we slept over, we slept; however, I'm sure that Armaan didn't approve of the arrangement. On the other hand, I didn't want to sleep in a bed that hundreds of other women had done more than sleep in especially considering how sensitive to scent I was.

I never showed any malice towards him for keeping them here. At least, he never allowed them in my room. But there were times when he'd invite them over while I was still there, which created an awkward tension between me and his friend. It wasn't that he actually wanted to be with any other women. He'd made it obvious since the moment I was physically "a woman" that he wanted to be with me that way even if I was only fourteen at the time. I supposed that now, parading them around was meant to make me jealous, to make me crawl into his arms in the middle of the night and give every little piece of me to him and belong to him the way I was meant to. But that was all I had that was mine right now.

He's a big boy. Armaan can wait two more years. Then I wouldn't have a choice.

A provocative red dress had already been laid out on the bed for me with a pair of black, strappy heels embellished with rhinestones. I made a face and went to my armoire, but the doors had been locked. I pulled a couple of times and gave up. With no other choice, other than staying in my school uniform I went back to the bed. I held up the fabric that didn't have any form of its own and slipped into it.

Armaan had bought me uncouth things before, but this took the cake. It had no actual "straps" the only thing that kept the front up was the two thin, silver chains that went down my back and linked together in a ring that held up the back of the skirt. I had to tug my gauzy panties lower onto my hips so that they wouldn't be seen in the back. Turning to the side my breasts were practically exposed as the silky material skimmed over the front of me. I strapped on the high heels and left the room.

I ventured back down the hall and saw that all the curtains had been pulled shut. Armaan would probably open them again when the sun had set. He knew I enjoyed the view because with La Dona sitting on a hill, we could see straight out towards the neighboring city and see all the lights that made night as lively as day.

"Aw, you wore the dress," Armaan chuckled as he admired from his low, black L-shaped couch with a glass of wine in his hand. He'd redressed too and now in loose fitting dark washed jeans with a blue and black button up tucked into it. It wasn't buttoned all the way up and no shirt lay beneath so the pale skin of his chest was in view.

"Did I have a choice?" I asked him as I went and sat a few cushions down from him with my legs pulled under me in a sultry way.

He took his time looking me over as he took a sip of his wine. "You could've been a little crafty. You might not do well in history, but you seem to figure your way out of things."

I shrugged and took a sip of the jasmine tea he'd made for me. "Dad's like that."

Armaan watched me like a mouse being observed by a scientist. It made me not want to look up from my cup. I did though, rubbing my hand up and down the cup to soak in its warmth.

"Your mind seems distant tonight," he replied as if I'd ask him a question and set his wine glass on the glass coffee table. "What are you thinking about?"

"About how you've steeped this tea for too long," I lied with an impish grin, gripping my cup with both hands and thrumming my fingers gently on it.

Armaan inclined towards me and caught my jaw gently between his thumb and forefinger to bring my lips to his. The first press was featherlike; a light brush of lips, and the next was more solid. I parted my lips slightly anticipating the sweep of his tongue. He removed the cup from my hands without letting our lips part for more than a breath's moment to pull me against him.

I'd kissed other boys, but kissing Armaan was different probably because he was a man and not a boy. It wasn't juvenile like Damien or Marcus, who made their kisses, too wet and made you want to push them back when you choked on their tongue. I'd always know what to expect from him, always knew exactly when he'd try. His motives were easy for me to distinguish and always moved in the same direction.

He slid his hand on my practically bare back while he moaned gently against my mouth. After he gave me a couple minutes for me to adjust to that touch, he slipped the other onto my thigh and rubbed it under my skirt. Laying me fluidly onto my back and shifting his hand to support my neck as he lied on top of me. It was when he began to tug on my panties when I pushed against his chest.

"Enough Armaan," I said steadily and leaned up again, but he wouldn't allow me to come up too far.

"We're not doing anything," he mumbled against my lips, urging me back down to the couch with my hands keeping our chests apart.

"Yet, you mean," I murmured under his smother.

I could feel him grin as he told me, "If this were to turn into something, I wouldn't be disappointed, my darling. You shouldn't either; we're bound for this sooner or later."

"'Or' would imply that I have a choice," I stated boldly, "I'll take later."

Armaan shifted to see my face fully, still smiling that charming way. "Who are you saving yourself for, Ember?"

"I'm just not ready for this yet," I whispered, unable to look at him.

He kissed my cheek and rolled us so that I was halfway on top of him. He dragged his fingers through my hair and placed my hand on his chest. "Stay with me tonight," he requested, his quiet voice almost begging. Staying would give him more chances. Attempts, even failing ones, were worth taking for him.

"I suppose," I whispered and closed my eyes as I rested on him. "Armaan?"

"Hm?" he hummed breathing in my hair.

"Why were the Prowls seeing my father?"

"Your father practically runs La Dona, Ember," Armaan mentioned. "They were bound to make an appearance there."

"What are they doing here though?" I asked in a childish, whiny voice.

I could feel him shake his head. "I have no idea, darling. I wish I could tell you, but the elders haven't spoken about it openly. All they said was that Prowl should only be here for a couple days to settle some business, and they'll be gone."

"Business," I repeated the word and wondered what kind of business Prowl could've possibly had in La Dona. We'd had almost gone a century without getting involved with each other. So, what could've changed all of a sudden? I wasn't even aware that we communicated with one another, but there were a lot of things about vampires outside of La Dona that I didn't understand or have any idea about.

"Armaan?" I said in hush again when it'd become too quiet.

"Yes?" he sighed in boredom. It was too early to sleep and talking wasn't really at the top of the list for things to do with a girl half naked on top of you.

I folded my arms on his chest and looked up at him. "What actually happened at Black Manor? What was the fight about?"

"Bad blood, Ember," he stated. "We don't talk about such things."

"You're a history professor, aren't you supposed to teach us about stuff that happened in the past?" I asked with challenge.

Armaan lifted up, supporting his weight with his elbows on the couch behind him. He looked at me with those stern, red eyes gleaming. "Some truths in history are never revealed. This is one of them, and let's just leave it at that," he replied severely.

"But—"

"No, Ember."

"Armaan…," I whined again pleadingly.

"That's it. End of conversation. As far as I'm concerned what happened at Black Manor never happened."

"That doesn't change the fact that something did happen though," I muttered.

"There are some things that you should never know, Ember," Armaan said gently and turned my head so that I'd face him. "Things you don't want to know."

I pushed up from his chest and turned so that I was sitting on the edge of the couch with him lying behind me. "I'm left out of everything. No one tells me anything because they're afraid of how I'll handle it. I hate how they tiptoe around me."

"You're very fragile, darling," he said as he sat up behind me and laid a kiss on my unclothed shoulder. "You're the only Morose female in our bloodline. We want what's best for you."

I nodded that I understood, which I did. I'd been lectured about this my entire life. About how it rested on my shoulders for the Morose bloodline to thrive once again and not become a herd of mutts. With every Morose male that took a bride of another line, our blood only weakened from the human taint of Siege and Haven. The strength of vampires were weakening with every generation and they feared that soon Purebloods would take over completely, wiping out the undesirable bloods.

So, Armaan and I were destined to sustain this family and keep it stable. That was my destiny, my fate, my lot in life. With all this pressure on me, I'd rather be digging my plot and swan diving in.

A/N: Please don't forget to post a review and tell me what you think. This is one that I'm not sure whether I should continue perusing so a little feedback would be appreciated.