The motorcycle howled up, then roared away, the noise of the engine fading into the distance. I stood by the front door watching it until it was out of my sight, worried sick.
Caleb had asked Blaine to accompany him to the meeting between Lucien and his father, the old Count. It sounded dangerous to me and I did not like the idea of Blaine going. At the very least I wanted to go with, but Caleb denied me. So many rules and I knew better than to test Caleb’s patience by going behind his back. Blaine was smart and if need be, could fend for himself, he had proven it many times over, I was well aware of that, yet I still worried.
The men walked in silence, down a long bare hallway, illuminated solely by small gaslight lamps along the wall casting a surreal, ancient light on the somber procession. Lucien was tied up again, hands behind his back, special ropes naturally, vampire-proof.
Caleb unlocked a heavy metal door, it squeaked slightly as he opened it to let the other two men pass.
Lucien had been silent, his gaze to the ground but now he looked up at the man hanging chained to a wall.
That man now raised his head as well, disgust appeared in his eyes when he addressed Lucien, his voice mirroring his disdain with the visitors echoing off the walls.
“You fool have been captured. That figures.”
“Wrong. I voluntarily surrendered.” Lucien corrected calmly.
“What a fool, a disgrace, you disgust me.”
“Caleb. I would like to hug him goodbye. This will be the very last time I will speak to my father. I promise no harm will come to you.”
“I am not worried about that. I am no fool, Lucien, measures have been put into place. Our powers are utterly useless here. At this very point we all possess the strength of mere mortals.”
“I expected that. Please. I am just a young fool and he is an old man now. No harm can be done to either of you by either of us.” Lucien mumbled.
“Fine.” Caleb gestured Blaine to untie Lucien, which he did, purposely rough as part of a payback for what he had done to Autumn.
Caleb unlocked the shackles of the Count, then returned to Blaine into the background.
Lucien walked up to his father. They looked at each other, when the old man spit into Lucien’s face.
Then everything happened fast.
Within seconds Lucien had his hands around the Count’s skinny neck lifting him up into the air.
The old vampire’s feet were flopping around inches off the ground, the Count gargling, before he landed on his back, Lucien atop him.
The struggle was brief.
Before either Blaine or Caleb could react, it was over, the Count lay still, an aura of light and then he was gone. This happened when a vampire was killed at the hand of another vampire. No falling to ashes, no dead body, just a poof of energy dissipating leaving merely a memory.
Blaine and Caleb had been baffled, before Caleb secured Lucien again.
“I should have foreseen this!” Caleb said.
“It’s for the better. I am going to die anyway, now at least I am leaving the world a better place.” Lucien said, now once more fully cooperative and calm.
“No argument there. But you are aware that this does not help you in the least to swing the vote to a lesser punishment.”
“I have nothing left to live for.” Lucien shook his head.
“It’s a mistake! I forbid it!” Blaine exploded.
“It is not for you to decide. The only reason I am informing you is out of courtesy. She is a grown woman, a young adult, fit to make her own decisions. This is what she chose and I see no reason to deny her request.” Caleb stated calmly.
“Request my ass. That girl is suffering from … what was that called? Munchhausen syndrome or something!”
“Blaine, honey, I think you mean Stockholm syndrome. Munchhausen syndrome is a pathological liar.” I corrected quietly.
“Whatever syndrome she has, it was something with a town in Europe!”
“Ummm .. Munchhausen is a fictional character, not a town.” I said.
“I do not give a shit! That kid is in shock. She should not go see him!!!” his eyes were glistening with anger.
“Hello Luke. Or should I say Lucien?” a soft feminine voice cut through the total silence.
The young man stood up from the cod he had been laying on and walked up to the bars of the jail cell he was in, somewhere underground.
“Autumn! Why are you here? To gloat? Payback?” he looked confused.
“Nothing like that. I wanted to see you, speak to you. I heard what you have done. So it was your father who made you like this.”
“Does it matter?” his voice was soft, resigned.
“It matters to me. I do not think you are evil. I think you are misguided, traumatized. I think you need help, therapy.”
“Am I your first subject now?” the corners of his mouth curled up slightly.
“Maybe.” she smiled at him.
“You have not turned yet.”
“No, not yet.”
“You should not be here. Bad for the baby.” he looked to the ground.
“Quit the charades. We both know there won’t be any baby.”
“Well, looks like another thing I failed at, just as my father always said.”
“Knock off the self-pity. You never even tried. Why lie about something like that?”
“How did you know?” he faced her now, visibly surprised.
“I went to the doctor, of course. Not only am I not pregnant, I am still intact. Still a virgin, just like before. Why did you lie?”
“Of course, you would be a virgin. Just my luck again. I am not even capable of a good lie. Well, then you know. I never touched you. I thought if there was no baby, everybody would just think it simply didn’t take. Just one more thing I failed at.”
“Why Lucien, why?”
“You’re the shrink, you tell me.”
“Ok, I’ll give it a shot. You wanted to gain your father’s love and respect. You probably always have tried everything to gain it, but he was just so cold and dead inside and incapable of loving his own son, making you into a mess in the process. I have heard stories about your mother, too, from her own children from her marriage to Marco Auditore, and she was cold as a fish. You never had a chance, but I still think there is good in you.”
“Aww, so are you here to save my soul? Better make it quick, as you may know, I will be sentenced to death soon.”
“Maybe. Caleb has a say in this, his vote weighs heavily as this all happened in his governing district, and he asked my opinion on what vote he should cast. Which is why I came. Convince me that you deserve a chance.”
“What for? There is nothing here for me. I am an outlaw, outcast, shunned. Humans hate me, as do vampires. Where am I supposed to go? No, let me die, it’s the merciful thing to do. I should never have been born to begin with, born into a union of two cold people incapable of love, only to continue the bloodline, but always just an afterthought, a burden. No, I’ve had enough.”
“And if I helped you? I am willing to go out on a limb for you, if you prove worth it.”
“Why? After all I have done to you?”
“Because I am a mortal fool, who believes in the good in people and I am bound and determined to make you my proof in point.”
“Give it up, Autumn, I am not worth the effort.”
“I think you are. And redheads do not only have a temper, but are also stubborn as hell.” she smiled.