Lots of smiles
so-so chapter! Gets better somewhere in the middle!
I need to get back in the saddle!
Lots of smiles
so-so chapter! Gets better somewhere in the middle!
I need to get back in the saddle!
The cut on her hand, caused by the shovel was deep, but not deep enough to require a trip to the ER. The nearest one was still miles away and she was thankful it wasn’t necessary. After cleaning the wound and applying the home-made salve Binny was exceptionally proud of, the bleeding stopped. Marina closed the wound, now a deep shade of pink, by putting one of those invisible bandages over it. They were quite popular because it stopped people from asking questions like ‘what happened’ or ‘are you okay’. A line the promoters actually put in the commercials. Each time she used one for whatever reason, she smirked when remembering the commercial. Today was one of those times.
Marina rinsed her shirt in the sink after noticing a few drops of blood on them from when she sheltered her hand from the wind. Blood stains were always the hardest to remove, but not impossible. She left the shirt to soak in the sink for a little while longer before searching for something else to wear. As she suspected, their co-op with the vegetable garden left them an entire work-free afternoon. At some point during her bathroom-break, Binny disappeared into her room. Marina considered asking her to do something fun, but then she heard the buzzing of the vacuum-cleaner. A sign she knew as a none-verbal back-off. Whenever Binny doesn’t want to talk about something or just plain wants to be left alone, she hides behind excessive cleaning.
Marina retreated to the living-room, grabbed an armful of books and sat down on the fluffy red carpet in front of the fireplace. One of her usual reading places. Turning her attention to the books she had in front of her, she found a few she had read 2 days ago. Separating them from the others, she came upon a small, old looking, gold and green book. Embedded in the green crest on the book cover were the initials “J.J.A.”
Jacob John Astor. It looked like one of his many hidden diaries. Rumored to have close to 8 diaries; only 6 have been found so far… Marina grew quiet at the sight of number 7. Which secrets of her father did this one contain? Marina sighed and reached for the book.
‘Your friend Binny doesn’t like me does she?’
Marina jerked her hand away from the book startled by his voice and looked up. For a minute there she had forgotten they had a guest. How he managed to get into the living-room and sit on the couch without her noticing was beyond her.
‘I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to frighten you!’
She continued to stare at him. In a way Raven somewhat reminded her of her father. He also had the ability to catch her right before she slipped into the world of depression or sadness. No wonder she never thought about him when Raven was near.
‘Nn, don’t worry about it… and Binny isn’t one to trust easily. It took my cousin 2 years to get on well-enough terms with her and, well, you’ve got to admit, you are kinda shady! No offence’
‘None taken’ Raven said with a smile, ‘I’m working on the shady bit. Just then in the vegetable garden, I remembered I’ve done some gardening before’
‘Another memory? That’s a good sign… do you remember when? Or where?’ Marina said pulling her legs to her chest. His memory had been slow at coming back in the first few days, but it seemed to be picking up its pace.
‘It was a long time ago, I was a teenager. Big field of rice… daybreak… Beyond the rice field were great plains of land, but that’s as far as the memory let me see… There were 2 others around my age helping out on the field and an older guy drinking from a water flask…’
‘You’re father maybe?’
‘Possibly…’ Raven replied glancing out the window looking lost in his thoughts. ‘Can I ask you something?’
‘Why are you always sad?’ Raven eyes rested on her once more. He had surprised her with his question; it was clearly written on her face. ‘I do not mean to pry, but from the day I first met you I sensed it. You smile and laugh at times, but not wholeheartedly. Forgive me if I seem intrusive!’ he added seeing her face somber somewhat.
‘I… I’ve just been having a pretty rough year. My father died in a car crash around late February. Drunk driver… and my brother’s been MIA since 2 months ago. He’s in the Navy, same as my father was. I can still see his face the day he received his letter…’ A brief, but wide smile appeared on Marina’s face.
Raven gave her one of his reassuring smiles before turning his attention to the diary she was reaching for a minute ago. Or at least he assumed it was a diary… ‘Did that belong to him?’
Marina shook her head. ‘No, this is… was my father’s. There are supposedly 8 of them, but we’ve only found 6, well, 7 now’ she said running her fingers over the leather front of the diary.
‘Let me guess, the silly ramblings of an old man?’ Raven smiled again to keep her amused. He didn’t like it when she was sad and he would do all he could to keep her from it.
‘Something like that, yes. He often wrote about crazy inventions he wanted to make some day or about his days in the Navy; in the later diaries there’s more about his family, my brother and I growing up. Always happy things, but whenever he wrote about my mother, after remembering the wonderful years with her, he had a long apology to her about something he did. It kept occurring in about 4 diaries. And he wrote about his family quite a lot. So that’s a lot of apologizing… I kept thinking that maybe in the next diary he would say what he did, but nothing. And then today I came across number 7’ She ran her fingers over the initials of her father, carved in the leather front.
‘You shouldn’t hold on so strongly you know…’
Marina looked up at Raven. She was sharing a sentimental moment with him and he just shot it down. ‘What are you Binny now?’
‘No, I’m not siding with her, she doesn’t like me remember?! But if she’s mentioned that to you, I can’t help but agree. You cling onto those diaries with your life…’
‘…trying to find out what was haunting your father. I understand, but you shouldn’t let it take over your life, your smile… When was the last time you’ve wanted to get out of the house to do something fun?’
Marina thought back on the night the neighbor brought Raven and Club Beatzz. She was out then, but it was Binny who brought her there. She didn’t want to go herself…
‘Exactly!’ Raven said at her silence. ‘Now I’d like to take you to go have some fun, but I don’t know much of anything right now, let alone this place, so we’re at a dead end there’
The slightly frustrated look on his face was enough to get a smile out of her. Raven realized he had become quite fond of her smile, whenever she felt like showing it of course.
‘You’re sweet you know that? But you don’t have to worry about me. I’m dealing in my own way. Besides, you have your own problems to worry about right now’
‘True, but I shall add you to the list just the same. Maybe we can get through them together’
Raven held her gaze for a long time before she turned her face. He could’ve sworn there was a small sparkle in her eyes, but that could’ve easily been the sun outside that was nowhere near her.
Marina got up to hide the light blush on her face. She was mesmerized by his eyes, but she would not… could not admit it. No matter how sweet and kind he was, he was still a stranger they knew nothing about. The trip to the police station Binny made yesterday was a waste of time. He had no accent to tie him to a place and there was no one reported missing that matched his description.
One by one she put back the books she planned on reading before Raven came, lingering on the diary. She sighed and returned it to the shelf along with the one underneath it.
Raven’s eyes never left her when she got up and he was the first to notice the shaking of the books on the shelf above her. She hadn’t even returned the last book when it snapped in two.
Marina heard the sound and closed her eyes tightly, waiting to feel the weight of the books coming down on her. Instead she felt a pair of strong arms nudge her to the side and hold her there. The thudding sound of the books falling to the ground kept her eyes closed giving Raven a perfect and undisturbed view of her face. Behind him books were still crashing down, but all he knew was that she had long eye lashes; Beautiful eyelashes shielding a pair of sparkling blue eyes. He could see them as clearly as if she were watching him now. Her skin was smooth and she had cheek bones that framed her face just right. He wanted to reach up and touch the lips that made up her pink rosebud mouth when he noticed the thudding sound had stopped.
Marina noticed it too and slowly opened her eyes. ‘Are you okay?’ Raven’s hoarse, but concerned voice sounded. She couldn’t bring herself to look in his eyes in fear of blushing like an idiot again and settled for his lips. ‘Are you hurt?’
‘N-no…’ she stammered, ‘I’m fine’
‘My, are you the unlucky one’ Raven tried to make light of the situation, ‘First you shovel yourself and now you’re trying to bury yourself in books… literally. I should keep an eye on you. You’re a danger to yourself’ he half-laughed.
Without taking a step back, Raven turned his head and inspected the broken shelf. He said an entire sentence, no doubt, but Marina, very aware of the nearness of him, caught only one word ‘Termites’. She breathed in his musky, manly scent laced with a hint of mint. He was standing so close it was hard not to. It proved a bad idea since it spun her head a little, but she didn’t mind and leaned in a bit to do it again.
Oh dear, I should not be doing this, his name is Raven, but he is a stranger still. And, oh dear, a tasty smelling stranger at that. Does he taste as good as he smells? His lips are right there, I could just… SNAP OUT OF IT!
‘...before they affect the other shelves. I’ll make you some new ones…’
Marina needed to regain her composure and bend down to clean up the rubble that piled up behind Raven.
He followed her movement and held her hands. She flinched unnoticeable at his touch. ‘No leave them. Today isn’t your day. With your luck you’ll definitely get a splinter in one of those fingers. I’ll take care of it’ he said and started to gather the books; piling them up. Leaving Marina with nothing to do but watch him. Something she couldn’t bring herself to do right now, so she got up. ‘I think I’m going to lie down of a bit; my head is spinning…’ If he missed the flinch, the increase of her heartbeat didn’t slip past him. And it still sounded rapid as she made her way to the kitchen. She came to a halt at Binny’s door, knocked and told her she was going to lie down.
Binny came out of her room and started cleaning the hall and kitchen. Raven knew it was kind of a tag ‘You watch him now’. The kitchen and the hall were places from where she could easily monitor his moves from a distance. He paid her no mind and pushed a few book-piles to the wall so no one would trip over them. He heard a door close upstairs and water running. Raven smiled when a vision of Marina, as she got ready for her bath, came to mind and started gathering the remaining books…
That night it wasn’t Marina that cleaned his wound, but Binny. She came, cleaned his wound and left. All of those things she did in silence. He expected a certain roughness from her, but it never came. Binny acted normal, but they still didn’t exchange words like he usually did with Marina.
When he was alone, he thought back at what happened that afternoon. It isn’t wise to let accidental transformations creep up on him like that. This time he was able to control himself, but what if next time he can’t? The urge to feed was gaining up on him now. Ever since that smell entered his nose he had to admit; he was hungry… very hungry.
Raven waited a good hour after hearing Binny’s door close to ensure that she was really asleep. He moved the end table next to the bed away from the window. He had to smile at the size of the window. It was a floor length window that seemed to have been made especially for what he was about to use it for. Pushing open the window he admired the vastness of the night’s sky inviting him with open arms.
Raven stood on the edge of the windowsill; spread open his arms and fell forward letting the wind carry him to where he longed to be.
Why was her window open? That is one of the known ways for a vampire to feed in the night; slipping through an unknowing victim’s window while they slept. Marina looked so peaceful as she lay there. Her long dark tresses spread out like a fan on the pillow. The covers, slightly pulled back, rested just under her breasts and Raven watched as they rose with every breath she took.
I could do it you know… all it takes is two little puncture wounds on the wrist and she would never know... Raven eyes turned a bright red at the thought of her blood touching his tongue and the sweet taste that would accompany it. Did he prefer the wrist or the neck? A simple thought that had never occurred to him until now. He moved closer to the bed, but froze when she moved in her sleep; turning onto her back with her left hand on the edge of the bed… wrist up. Could this get any easier tonight Raven thought. He reached for her face and brushed away a stubborn lock of hair that clung to her forehead. He brought his head closer to hers until they were on the same level and took in her scent. If he moved a little closer their lips would meet… another sweet taste he was sure would linger. She breathed in and parted her lips. ‘Raven…’
In the blink of an eye his back was against the wall and stayed there as long as she continued to move. Stupid he realized; if he was close enough to take in her scent she undoubtedly took in his. And if she remembered his scent, she’d figure it out quickly…
Raven moved the covers up to her chin when he saw her shiver and jumped out of the window. By the soft thud with which he landed on the ground no one would be able to tell he just jumped out of a high-rise building. As he straightened his body from his crouching position, he noticed his bandage was gone. He looked up and saw it flutter for a minute before landing on the ground next to him. It’d be foolish to tie it again now that it had been soiled, so he threw it in the trashcan not far from him. He closed the lid and his attention shifted towards the stables, where he heard a noise…
One of the horses, a chestnut brown mare, was restless in her stall. Raven’s presence made it even worse. With his vampire nature it was normal for animals to act nervous around him. He was after all a predator high on the food-chain. The mare started trashing in the stall and Raven was afraid the noise would wake not only the other horses, but the women too. He rushed towards the mare and stared her down. ‘Easy girl, easy! Calm down’ he whispered while looking deep into her eyes. As if someone flipped a switch, she was quiet. Still afraid, but quiet…
Raven stroked her face and neck and whispered soft words during the process. When he moved to the side of her, she started to fuss again; trampling on the spot.
~ No Animals Were Harmed During The Writing of This Chapter!!!!!