The tall golden doors opened, admitting the three hunters. All eyes upon them the three descended, gracefully and softly, down the stairs. Edward led the way through the crowd to a bunch of expensively dressed Parisians who turned to greet him. A portly old man with a moustache and a gold topped walking cane was the first to speak to him.
“Ah Edward, lovely to see you old boy, and with two pretty female friends today!”
He looked over Charlotte quizzically then turned to Lucia. “I am so glad that you decided to return to Paris Miss D’Angelo, I am sure your cousin is pleased to see you have returned.”
“He is the same as always Monsieur Verren, just like stone.” She laughed and he joined in.
“Ah, Monsieur,” said Edward, “My cousin likes to joke, it is her way. By the way, I don’t believe you have met Miss Myron.”
“I have not had the pleasure,” he bowed to her then asked, “How do you know the Count my dear?”
“I was introduced earlier today by Miss D’Angelo Monsieur.”
“Ah yes, and how do you know Miss D’Angelo?”
“We have been friends for a long time Monsieur,” interrupted Lucia “Miss Myron just did not have the chance to visit until now.”
“Ah well I hope they are looking after you well Miss Myron.”
“Oh they are, they have both been fighting over who gets to show me the city.”
“Ah that sounds like them. May I introduce you to my friends? This is Madame Bellire,” he indicated her, “Monsieur Auietre, Madame Autietre and my son, Pierre Verren.”
The man he pointed out as his son inclined his head to her then kissed her hand.
“Charmed.” He spoke with a rich voice, which most ladies would find highly irresistible.
She fluttered her eyes and looked down as if embarrassed. A hint of a smile raised itself unnoticeably on Edwards face and he turned to Madame Bellire. They struck up a conversation and Lucia was engaged in a conversation with Monsieur and Madame Autietre. Pierre Verren looked at Charlotte.
“So how long are you in Paris for Miss Myron?”
“Well I was thinking of living here, because, well, I like the country and the D’Angelo’s are kind to me.”
“Well, if that is what you say.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean.”
“Well Edward D’Angelo is, well, he is known as a bit of a ladies man. Many a woman has been seen with him one night, and then they are never seen again. Some people think that he has them sent away, because they are pregnant, or he gets bored with them. I think that maybe it is something more than that.”
“What do you think?” Charlotte put on an awed voice, and as she did she was aware that Edward was listening from across the room where he had moved to talk to a pretty young girl in red.
“I think he uses them for what he wants and then disposes of them. But I shouldn’t be telling you this. You probably think I am mad, you are too delicate to hear such ideas anyway.”
“Oh no, do go on, I love a good mystery. I find them fascinating. Perhaps I’ll investigate while I stay at their house.”
“I would not think to let you put yourself in danger. You may be his next victim.”
“But why would he come after me?”
“Well you are pretty and you thought that he was so kind. Maybe he thought you were an easy target.”
“Oh no, I am sure he wouldn’t do anything to me. Besides, I would not fall for him, you have warned me after all.”
“Well I would be on your guard. Has he not overwhelmed you yet? He has overwhelmed almost every woman in this room. But I have scared you now, come we shall eat something and then I will escort you home, if you will permit me of course.”
“I shall be glad of the company, thank you.”
They made their way to the next room, which was just as beautiful as the previous. The seats were set out in order already, but they were opposite each other anyway. Edward arrived only a few seconds later. As he slipped in to his seat next to her his hand trailed down her arm. Pierre’s eyes narrowed. Edward turned to her and whispered
“So you are my victim Miss Myron, if that is the expectation then I shall have to find a new way of overwhelming you, as my little test didn’t seem to work when we first met.”
She smiled and whispered back, “But I have been warned about you now, and I wouldn’t want to be done away with.”
He laughed quietly and then whispered lower to her.
“Pierre is quite the ladies man himself, we are rivals, and it seems he has tried to claim you for himself in an effort to beat me. He is an alcoholic who has quite a reputation himself. The women he has been with tend to end up with a child and no home, because as soon as they are no use to him he throws them out, and saves the finery for his next woman.”
“Thank you for the warning.”
He smirked, and then turned to Pierre.
“Pierre, you seem to have made quite an impression on Miss Myron. She says that you are taking her home, not a thing she usually lets strangers do. You must have raised your charm to a whole new level.”
“Ah Edward, you know that I was only trying to help a young woman in a harsh city. I would not want anybody to harm her on her way home.”
They eyed each other until the food was served and then they looked away from each other, Edward smirking and Pierre scowling.
The meal lasted until ten at which point Charlotte asked Pierre to escort her home for she was feeling tired. He immediately accepted, and escorted her to the door to get her coat, and to lead her outside.
When they reached the D’Angelo house, Pierre followed her to the room in which she had first met Edward. He looked around him amazed at the richness of the room.
“Edward has a nice house. It doesn’t really suit his colouring does it?”
”Not at all Pierre, oh you don’t mind if I call you Pierre do you?”
“Not at all.” He walked forward until he stood right in front of her. “Well I suppose that I had better go as you are home safely.”
“Oh do you have to? Won’t you have some wine first?”
”Well if you insist.”
She turned and picked up the wine bottle and two glasses from the table. Then she walked over to the fire and placed them on the table by the big chair.
“Will you pour or shall I?”
“I will.” He walked forward and sat on the chair that Edward had occupied recently. He took a glass and the wine bottle and poured the liquid in to the glass.
Several minutes later Edward walked in to the room silently. Unobserved by Pierre he stood in the corner, watching. Charlotte was stood at the window and Pierre was by the fire. He turned and walked silently towards her. His arm was around her waist quickly, spinning her to face him. His hands moved upward, but they were suddenly held in the strong grip of Charlotte. He reached in to kiss her, but she held him away. He groaned.
“What’s the matter?”
“What are you doing?”
“Isn’t this what you wanted?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh come on. I know you want it.”
“You’re right. I do,” she answered and in doing so she grabbed his neck. She leaned forward and bit down deep. The smell of fresh flowing blood filled the room, along with the shriek of the victim. Charlotte pulled away from his neck, a sliver of blood running down from her lip. She turned to Edward and her eyes were a deep red. He walked forward and she turned the body to him, inviting him to take a bite. His mouth caressed the bite she had made, drinking deeply. Charlotte lowered herself to Pierre’s arm, and she punctured his skin, drinking for herself. When his body had no more blood it went limp, useless and they looked up at each other. Pierre’s corpse fell behind the curtain and Edward held out his hand to Charlotte. She took it and turning it she tasted the blood that was on his arm, her tongue trailing over his icy skin. She looked up and saw him open his eyes, and they too were red, but darker, showing his age. He stood, bringing her with him and then he kissed her hand.
“Magnificent, just how Lucia described.” His voice was richer than usual, deep with the blood that had just quenched just a small part of his thirst.
“Thank you, I appreciate the complement. Now do you not have a friend with you?”
“Ah yes, she is waiting downstairs, I think I shall have to see to her.”
“Well invite her up, and then I can watch you as you watched me.”
He turned to leave then but she caught him and spun him around. She paused, breathing in deeply and looked down.
“You have blood on your shirt.” He looked down too.
“Oh dear, and I did like this one. Well I shall have to change.” He turned and was gone, only to be back a few seconds later with another shirt, similar to the one he had earlier worn, now on and smoothed. He kissed her hand again, caressing the tips of her fingers with his tongue, cleaning them of blood. Then, once again, he was gone. Charlotte hid herself by the wall hangings close to the door. When Edward re-entered, a woman, who was extremely beautiful, with long blond hair and tanned skin, followed him. She held herself high, and anyone could tell she was used to being well looked after. He led her to the fireplace, and then kissed her hand. Slowly his lips moved up her arm, to her shoulder. He pulled the strap of her dress of her shoulder and down her arm. His kisses carried on up her shoulder to her neck. Her hands slowly moved to the collar of his shirt, unbuttoning it and carrying on down his shirt. When all of the shirts buttons were undone her hands moved down his arms, pulling it off him and throwing it to the side. Her tongue trailed down his neck to his collarbone, pausing to kiss his Adams apple. His kisses were more vicious now, he was gathering her to him, and as her hands slid down his naked torso his hands arrested hers. His head lowered, kissing her neck again, pulling her down to kneel on the floor. As she struggled against his now firm and painful stone grip, his teeth sank in to her neck, and she let out a strangled cry as the life poured out of her. Then she was silent. He turned, his eyes smouldering, to Charlotte who came slowly out of her hiding place and went to him. She knelt gracefully in front of him, taking the victim and placing her mouth over the holes that Edward had made. He sank his teeth in to her shoulder and drank deeply. When this victim was drained too, he threw her to where Pierre was lying, and then he turned to Charlotte. She looked at him, her eyes smouldering as his were now, her eyes tracing the bare skin of his torso, the muscles that ran along his arms. He watched her until her gaze drifted back to his face. She pulled away, her eyes lightening, turning back to their normal black. Standing she turned and walked to the door, holding it open.
“Shouldn’t we go and get Lucia, before she has all of them to herself?”
He nodded once and stood up. He joined her at the door, and they both went down together.
The room was a mass of bodies. Blood carpeted the floors and walls and the stench was strong and metallic. In the middle of the room, coated in blood was the one living human in the room. Held in the air by the throat a small, weasel faced man was gasping for breath. Her pale hand clasped around his neck, her dress stained in blood, was Lucia. With a flick of her wrist, she snapped his neck and dropped him to the floor. The door opened. Edward and Charlotte entered, pulling back at the sight of the carnage in the room.
“Lucia, you didn’t kill them all yourself?”
“Of course Edward. We have a feast tonight.”
“Well I am impressed; I didn’t know your appetite was so big.”
“Oh just dig in before anyone finds out.”
They made their way down the stairs to join her and picked out a human. They fed and began on another. Each victim took only a few seconds to drain. While they fed they wandered around, trying to find the freshest victims, leaving those they did not want. After a few minutes Edward, his eyes red, but not smouldering this time, came over to join Charlotte.
“I saw you looking at me earlier. What did you find so interesting?”
“The technique you use is so similar to mine, I was astounded.”
“That is not what I meant, and you know it.”
Charlotte hissed under her breath and turned away.
“I was tracing her smell on you.”
Charlotte hissed again then turned to face him.
“You may think that everyone is under your thrall but it is not true. I know that I at least will always resist.”
“Why do you resist? Plenty of women are dazzled by me and I see no reason for you to be different.”
“I will not give in. Someone has to show you that you are not irresistible.”
“So have you been in love before? Or is there someone that you have been dragged away from by Lucia?”
“Why should I tell you? You would just carry on.”
“I would not do such a thing.”
“Thank you.” Her tone was sarcastic and Edward smiled at her tone.
He took her hand and kissed it, then placed it on his face. She stared at him for a moment, and then pulled away. A snarl interrupted them. Whirling around they saw Lucia backing away from a tall figure that had appeared silently in the middle of the room. It was a male vampire of great age. His skin was pure white and his eyes glowed with an eerie red light. A scar ran close to the right eye, from his temple to his jaw. He was wearing a black leather coat that trailed to the ground and his shoes the only other thing they could see. They all knew he was a tracker. A tracker finds vampires for other vampires and delivers them in one piece, which is more than what normal vampires can do. All three of them growled. He chuckled and stepped forward to Lucia. Immediately she snarled and backed away again. He stopped and grimaced. Then he turned to face Edward and Charlotte, who were both crouching and snarling defensively. He spoke his voice rasping and deadly,
“Well Edward, I see you have two followers now. When did you turn this one?”
“I didn’t Tristan; she was already a vampire when I met her.”
“Well that seems to be becoming a pattern with you.” Tristan was looking at Charlotte with a gleam in his eyes. Edward snarled again and stepped in front of her. Tristan chuckled again. “Don’t worry Edward, I won’t hurt her.”
“I can tell what you are thinking Tristan. I’ve seen that look before.”
Tristan chuckled again and took a step. Edward snarled again and took a step forward to meet him. They gazed at each other for a while, and then Tristan looked at Charlotte again and said with a cruel grin,
“You must be special my dear, because Edward doesn’t normally protect women this way, do you Edward?” Edward snarled and Tristan backed off, “What, you haven’t told her about Emily? Oh I am so sorry!” He grinned again at Edward, trying to get him to attack. He spat on the floor, and Edward snarled again. Tristan gazed at him. Suddenly he was next to Lucia and holding her by her arms in front of himself. Charlotte snarled and pounced at him. He wasn’t prepared for the speed she was capable of and only just managed to move in time, letting go of Lucia with blood dripping from a long scratch on his arm. He swivelled to meet Charlotte again and this time was more prepared. As she leapt for his throat his hand closed around her neck and he threw her in the air. She smashed in to the roof and fell back down, while he grabbed Lucia again. Edward snarled and leapt forward, past Charlotte towards Tristan. Blood poured from Charlotte’s head and one of her arms was broken. Edward glanced at her as he ran past to check she was okay, and then his gaze flicked to Tristan, who was fighting to keep Lucia still as he prepared to jump out of a window. He turned and spoke to Edward with a laugh that showed he was triumphant.
“Edward, I’ve never seen you attach yourself to anyone since Emily. Maybe you shouldn’t do it. It seems to go badly every time. If you hadn’t have cared about Lucia so much you would still have her, and her new friend wouldn’t be hurt. It was entertaining to watch you though. She doesn’t seem to like you. I’m sorry I interrupted. Think about that.”
Edward snarled and leapt towards him but he had jumped out of the window. By the time he was at the window Tristan was already many buildings away. Edward hesitated, and then turned to Charlotte. Her arm was already back in place and the blood had stopped flowing. She lay on the floor with her eyes closed, stunned. He came towards her and picked her up, hoisting her up in to his arms. He carried her through the bodies on the floor and through the doors, turning outside and heading swiftly for his house.