We had arranged another meeting for the night after. The moon was full and I could feel her power coursing through my veins. Emilia was sat at a long mahogany table, silver candelabra adorned the middle, and two glasses sat at the two ends. I stood behind Emilia and an empty chair was pulled up where Flora would sit. Away from Thorn’s touch and directly between him and Emilia.
I lit the blood-scented candles and stood behind Emilia once more, my eyes empty, focused.
Flora walked in, her fingers entwined with Thorn's. Both looked extremely happy and Thorn's hair was slightly tousled as though Flora had been running her fingers through it again and again. It gave him a carefree air; both radiated pleasure. Inside it hurt, it twisted at the dagger she’d embedded in my stomach.
"Good evening. Alex – their chairs," She ordered and I bowed, pulling out Flora's, then Thorn's chair for each of them and returning to my place with a whimper past Flora.
Flora gazed across at Thorn. "Miss you," she said with a mock woeful expression on her face.
He chuckled. "You too, darling." He turned to Emilia. "It was grand of you to invite us for dinner." It took every ounce of energy not to attack him, to tear out his throat and swallow his organs whole and Flora? I’d take my time. I couldn’t care less about Night World laws.
"Yes well, I would've prepared something fresh for you but... it may offend your pet," she smiled as I came round with a silver canister, pouring blood into their cups at the expense of the burning in my hands as I clutched it tightly.
Flora looked sympathetic towards my pain and I almost smiled, it was working. I could pull her away by her sympathy. "Oh, she's not my pet anymore," Thorn said cheerfully. Flora smiled at him. He continued. "It was all one great big misunderstanding." I choked back the retching noises I was itching to make.
"Do not make me laugh, you are a vampire. She is a witch. What will you do when she dies?" Emilia inquired lightly, taking a sip from her gold-gilded crystal goblet. It was A- her favourite, she said it was sweeter, like a fruity chardonnay. I never got it. She said I was a beast, I didn’t savour my food. Well, I wouldn’t, I tear it open and enjoy the sensation of flesh-under-claw.
"I intend to change her before her nineteenth birthday,” he replied without a sour tone or growl. I felt Emilia shiver.
"That thing is going to be introduced to our ranks? Are you serious?" She sounded appalled, sickened. "You would taint our bloodline so?" Her eyes were wide and I snarled.
"If you wanted to die together, I could make it so right now. No need to walk the night world..." I looked away as I said it, unable to look into Flora's eyes.
Thorn snarled. "I would rather you did not talk about my girlfriend in that manner." He rose to his feet. "If she is not welcome in your house, I do not wish to be here either."
"What happened? You hated each other, you were going to kill her... now this?" She started saying something else, but I cut her off, looking longingly and painfully at Flora.
"Yeah... what happened?" Tears pooled behind my eyes, and inside I was crying. But the moon's warmth that night kept me together; she was helping me so graciously. The lie had gotten hold of me; I wasn’t sure what was happening. I wasn’t sure if I was lying any more.
"I love her," Thorn said quietly. "I lost sight of that for the briefest of moments. Looking back, I can't quite believe what I was about to do. But I was wrong. And now I'll make it up to her."
"Shut up." I growled, to him, but without looking in his direction. "Flora. What, happened?" I pulled the words painfully from my lips, tugging at the collar round my neck as my throat began to close in. What had she done to me?
"He thought I cheated on him. But I hadn't. And he looked. For the very first time he looked. And now he knows." I frowned in concern at Alex. "Can he breathe?”
"I'm not bothered about my breath, I’m more bothered about my soul.... you've -"
"Alex!" Emilia scowled, slapping her hand around my face in an instant and I whimpered, falling backwards and bowing. "I-I'm sorry."
"What did I do to your soul?" I asked, alarmed. "Or what did Emilia do? What's going on?"
"Nothing, I brought you here to dinner and I won't have this night going astray. Alex - sit." I did so, sitting crossed legged between Flora and Emilia. Her tone immediately simmered to a welcoming, warm hostess voice, her voice becoming warmer the closer Thorn became to sitting down. "I wasn't sure on your favourite blood type, so I stuck to mine. A- I think it has a certain, kick to it, the human was fed nothing but grapes to give it the extra sweet taste."
Thorn sat down. "Hmm, I don't mind really. Flora's is nice." He grinned cheekily at her and I winced, drawing my attention to the chair leg in front of me.
"You just try it," she replied, amused.
Thorn took a sip. He winced slightly, just as I had. "It's better warm, but hey, it's delicious." He stands up suddenly and walks around to lean against the table where Emilia is. "Why do you care so much what I feel for Flora, eh? Has the Thorn charm gotten to you?" She remained cool and in fact, smiled at his cockiness.
Flora took this opportunity to slide off her chair and move to me, though this did not go unnoticed by Emilia. She began to stroke my hair, telling me she was sorry, safe to say I didn’t believe her.
Instead I sat there, blinking, unmoving, my breathing shallow and hardly apparent. "No, your 'charm' has not gotten to me, but you do seem like a valuable asset to have. Asset's are best had when they're not chained down. You have yet to access the true power you wield and that is such a shame."
"I wouldn't sacrifice Flora for power," he said. "But you sure you don't want a little bit of romance in your life? I mean, I've heard that even vampire promiscuity is fun."
"Thorn," Flora snapped.
He winked at her. "Love you, darling."
She ceased petting me and proceeded to embrace me. "I still want to be friends," she whispered. "I never meant for us to be enemies." she kissed me on the cheek and I couldn’t stop the shudder that ran through me.
I hugged her back whispering into her ear, close so the others couldn’t hear, "you're being blinded by the sun... its beauty is making you blind."
Emilia laughed, "I have Romance, I have Sex, I have experienced more to this life than you have, youngling. Don't lecture me about stuff you don't know about yourself."
"Fair enough," Thorn said, shrugging.
"Thorn loves me," I whispered back. "Truly. Thank you for caring. I care about you too. Don't let Emilia hurt you."
"You don't understand..." I whimpered, looking down as Emilia smiled.
"Thorn... your love will be your downfall,” she looked at him and in turn, we all looked at Emilia. Her voice was soft, something was wrong...
"What's wrong?" Flora asked, noticing what Emilia said. "Why will Thorn's love be his downfall? Love only ever works for people's good, doesn't it?"
Thorn looked uncomfortable. "Why would you say that?"
"Love, is only good when the power is overwhelming. When it feels like the sun is on your skin again and the midday breeze is tousling your hair. Thorn..." she sighed, and I stood up, putting my hands on Emilia's shoulders I whispered into her ear.
“He’s gone and so should you.” With that she stood up and walked away stiffly.
"I am sorry for this, just, go..." I leaned on her chair and a part inside me smiled.
"Go?" he asked, confused. "And what do you mean when the power is overwhelming? The power of love or hypnotic power?"
Flora stood up, too. "Alex?"
"I can only explain so much... do you know, about soul mates? You do, surely?" I asked, the lie weaving into my mind until it solidified into words.
Thorn froze. "I've heard of it. I didn't really believe it. And then, I wondered when I met Flora but I thought that if such a thing existed, she would be mine, so I doubted it again."
"What are soul mates?" Flora asked. Thorn turned towards her.
"They're each other's destinies."
"Then surely we are."
"The effects are obvious," Thorn murmured. "I ... We've been together so long there's no chance of it.
I frowned. "Then ... how is this relevant to us?"
“I will simply say that, Emilia lost hers... Love, is a painful memory. I think you should go and just leave her be for a moment. She wished, for tonight... she was going to train you, Thorn.”
"Train me?" he asked, mystified. "For what?"
Flora began to walk out. "Come with me, Alex."
I looked to Flora, then back to Thorn, "so you can simply know the true extent of your powers. To make you stronger."
"I'll pass, thanks," he murmured. He began to walk out, taking Flora from me as he did.
"Look after yourself," she whispered as they left. Outside, I caught them hugging each other tightly, Flora sounding distressed. But I swiftly moved past them, going round to Emilia.
“Emilia... it’s worked.”