The top floor was split into three sections, two larger than the third. The first, and smallest, section I dreamily walked past was very colonial. Most of the furniture inside was made from a light wood. Everything was very warm and welcoming but it wasn’t the room I wanted. The next room was Ren’s, no doubt about it. It was Victorian style and very gothic. It was cold, dark, unwelcoming and completely Ren. The furniture was made of a dark wood. Several gas lamps lit the room with a dim light, casting irregular shadows and making the room seem a lot darker. I walked past as Ren looked up. She had been sat at a desk with her head down. Amy glared at me as she shut the double doors that led into Ren’s room. The final room belonged to Trace. Light spilled out into the hallway.
“That’s it, little hazelnut, just a little further” Trace said.
I still wasn’t sure if it was in my mind or if he was just ahead of me. But I still followed the voice. It was like I didn’t have any control over my body anymore. My instincts were telling me to stay away from Trace, that it was Morrigan’s job. But I was still walking towards the third room. There were a combination of era in the room and nothing to really hint when he was from. There was a black leather sofa in the corner of the room. Hunched over on said sofa was Trace. He looked up, blood staining his chin.
“I’m sorry, hazelnut, I got bored and I had to have a little snack” he said, standing up.
Shortly after, a confused looking girl rose from the sofa. She had dishevelled mousy hair and looked like she’d never seen the sun. Her eyes were dull and glazed over. Around her neck was a black collar, attached to which was a long chain that led into what looked like a wardrobe.
“Mathilde, aller,” Trace said softly into her ear and she disappeared into the wardrobe, “She’s a good girl, does what she’s told and her blood is fantastic”.
“Shouldn’t she be a vampire?” I asked, partially out of the dreamlike state.
“I’m sorry, hazelnut, I didn’t quite catch your name”.
“It’s Hannah” at least I still had control over my speech.
“Hannah… Come and sit with me, Hannah” Trace said, sitting back down on the sofa.
Every fibre of my being was screaming at me to turn and run. To wake up Morrigan and Adrianna and Luc, the ones who said they’d protect me, and to get out of there. But something about Trace made me walk into the room and sit next to him. He smiled. His canines curved into the same delicate point as Lilith’s.
“So, how did you find today?” he asked as if he were my dad after my first day of school.
“It was…difficult” I didn’t want to sound too cocky or too weak and give myself away.
“Really. Most of the newbies find the first day a little tough. Normally it’s because they’re not used to discipline”.
“I guess I’m a little homesick as well. Before I came here I was part of a close-knit clan” I didn’t want to say that. I hadn’t planned to say that. Was I losing control of my speech?
“You seem to have gotten pretty close to those girls. And that boy, the sandy-haired one. Now, Hannah, it’s not against the rules but romance here is frowned upon”.
“There’s no need to worry about that. I’m not here for romance. Romance gets in the way of power” I said it harshly and with conviction. It seemed like something a mob boss would want to hear.
“Now, Hannah, I know you don’t believe that. Besides, there are some benefits of romance” he said and was silent for a while, as if he were remembering something.
I could hear footsteps in the hallway. They headed towards Trace’s room and stopped just outside. Trace’s expression changed. His face hardened and he regained his air of seriousness.
“You’ll have to go it alone tonight” he said solemnly.
I heard the footsteps again but this time they were heading away from the room. I didn’t know who it was but I was sure it wasn’t Ren. She wouldn’t have waited outside. Trace looked at me and smiled. It was a fake smile. There was no emotion behind it.
“You know, I’m curious as to what secrets lie in your blood” he said, standing up. He was the least formal dressed vampire I’d met, wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans.
“Sharing blood memories with someone such as yourself would be an honour” I said. Once again, it was something I hadn’t been intending to say. The thought had never even crossed my mind.
“Yes…but not tonight. My blood isn’t my own. See, you kept me waiting too long and I had to feed on Mathilde. If we shared memories now, some of hers would be mixed in with it and that just wouldn’t be fair” he said.
I found myself standing up. Trace waved me goodbye and I was walking out of the room. Down the hallway and back to the room with the slumbering vampires. Morrigan, who had only drunk a little, was starting to come round. She was groggy and irritable so I kept out of her way. Luc was the next to come round. He stumbled into the room I was in and tripped over his “brother” who still showed no sign of waking up. Adrianna was the last to come round and blunder into the bedroom to wait for Ren. And faintly, over the commotion of Morrigan and Bruno arguing, I could hear the silky smooth voice of Trace.
“Next time, come faster. I’d hate to miss another opportunity”.