The sequel to Devastatingly Magnificent. Terri is in love with Christopher but she is experiencing attraction to Rick as well. What will happen? ...
Would you like to go out to dinner tonight?
The question confused me. "I thought I was dinner."
Well, for me, yes, but it doesn't mean I can't take you out.
Christopher and I were lying on our sides facing each other on my bed. It was late afternoon in December and the school term had recently finished. Winter was becoming my favourite season because longer nights meant more time to spend with Christopher. Ironically, Charlie hated winter. "It's too cold," he complained.
Anyway, dinner plans.
"Where would we go? People might just notice if I'm walking around with a glowing guy."
Christopher chuckled softly; his enchanting, musical laugh making my heart beat just that tiny bit quicker.
I can't guarantee no one will see us - or rather, me - but I certainly know a place where no one will notice.
"Where? You've never mentioned this before."
My dove, you're too distracting for me to remember everything I know.
My heart fluttered at his compliment. "So, where is it?"
It's a restaurant called ‘The Black Dove'.
"I've heard of that! But, loads of humans I know eat there. They don't say anything about vampires." I suddenly had a scary thought. "Wait! The customers aren't dinner, are they?"
No, my dove. And the reasons your friends don't say anything is because humans are hypnotised as they enter.
"What do the vampires do there? I mean, if they only drink blood, why go to a restaurant?"
Most vampires have social lives. They may go there to meet up with friends, catch up on the latest gossip, or some even go there looking for love.
"That sounds nice. At least the other customers aren't treated like snacks."
Christopher smiled. Well, the rule is you have to bring your own food if you're a vampire.
"Oh," I murmured. I didn't quite know what to make of that. "So, if we went there, they'd think I was your dinner?"
"And you'd like to go tonight?"
No, my dove. I'd like to know whether or not you'll go there with me.
"It sounds like a good idea."
"Well, the meal and the actual going to the restaurant will be nothing in comparison to spending the night with you."
‘My dove, I swear flattery comes to you as easy as breathing.' He leant in to kiss me. Before his lips touched mine, though, I said, "Wait!"
‘Yes?' Up until this point, his eyes had been mildly mesmerising, only holding my gaze so I could talk. Now, however, the depths loomed up to envelop me. My thoughts scattered. What was I going to ask?
If I'd kiss you in a special way? Christopher suggested.
"Your kisses are always special." I'd lost my train of thought now.
Was it a question to do with ‘The Black Dove', my dove?
"Oh yeah." That was it. "Are you having dinner there?"
If you don't mind.
"Have I ever minded?"
Well, there was that time you got annoyed at me in the summer.
"That was before I realised I loved you."
Fair point. Now, can we get back to the kiss?
"What time are we going?"
Six o'clock. Now, are we going to kiss or am I going to have to hypnotise you to be quiet?
My answer was a kiss. I felt love flow through my body, simultaneously emanated and received. In the same way that Christopher communicated his thoughts telepathically with me, I could feel his love in my mind. I stared into his eyes, allowing myself to be immersed in blue depths and captivated by them. I enjoyed that wonderful familiar falling sensation. Our arms slid around each other's bodies; mine up around his shoulders, and his down around my waist.
We finally broke apart when it got difficult to breathe. I didn't take my eyes off Christopher as my breathing gradually resumed its normal rate.
‘My dove?' Christopher asked, absent-mindedly toying with strands of my hair.
"You know I'm listening."
Can I pick what you wear tonight?
"Wow, I actually get a choice in the matter?" I teased.
Yup. I'm in that sort of mood.
"Of course you can."
I ended up in my favourite blue dress. Long, short-sleeved and made out of satin, it was comfortable yet pretty.
Christopher waited outside the room until I had changed and made myself up.
I joined him out in the passageway, with a blue jumper folded over my arm. Christopher smiled.
You look gorgeous, my dove. I'd think you were out to catch attention if I hadn't picked that dress and been confident in the knowledge you were mine.
"What if I still was?" I asked playfully.
Then I'd make you my slave for the night. I won't have my dove stealing other young vampire's hearts.
I was pensive for a while. "What would you do if another vampire fell in love with me?"
I'd show him you were mine. I wouldn't let him anywhere near you and if I had to, I'd take you home. Why?
Christopher walked me downstairs and to the living room.
My parents stared at my dress.
"Mr and Mrs Reynolds!" Christopher greeted jovially. "You wouldn't terribly mind if I took Terri out to dinner, would you?"
My dad answered. "It's a bit late to go out alone, isn't it?"
"I can assure you she'll be perfectly safe with me." Christopher's voice was enchanting and captivating in itself but the emphasis on the word ‘perfectly' had a subtle undertone of pure conviction. So, there's suggestion and conviction, I thought to myself randomly.
‘My dove, what are you thinking about?' Christopher chuckled in my mind. ‘And, no actually, it's called persuasion, not conviction.'
My dad blinked as if momentarily dazed by Christopher's powerful words, but he still looked dubious.
"You'll keep my girl out of danger?" he asked.
"I'll do everything in my power to keep her safe." I doubted there was much Christopher couldn't do.
I can't stop you from distracting me.
I smiled. Oh, I loved him.
His enchanting chuckle sounded in my head. I'd be a bit worried if you didn't.
Ten minutes later, my dad had dropped Christopher and me off in town. A road ran through the middle of the town, and it was on the left bank of this that ‘The Black Dove' was situated.
The restaurant resembled a public house. It had a thatched roof, stone walls and a wooden sign hanging from one of the walls. Outside, a man appeared to be drinking from a bottle of wine he was holding. When he approached the door he was standing in front of, he greeted us.
"Evenin' and welcome to ‘The Black Dove'."
I suddenly noticed the man was glowing faintly. He must be the one who hypnotises the humans, I thought to myself.
The man looked around me (Christopher's glow was quite difficult to miss) and gazed at my face intently.
"Evenin', miss. You ain't ‘alf got lovely eyes there."
I realised with a jolt that he was looking straight into my eyes. His eyes were a warm brown and, right now, they reminded me of chocolate. I felt an all-too-familiar falling sensation as my thoughts scattered.
Christopher realised what was happening and quickly said, "She's okay." The man blinked. I was able to look away.
"Oh. Um. As you were, then. Sorry miss."
We walked in to find a surprisingly modern interior. The low ceiling and walls were painted a creamy white and the floor was made up of wooden boards. When you entered you found yourself in a bar area with sofas around small, dark tables, but to the right of the bar itself, there was a doorway.
Christopher took me through the doorway and we found ourselves in the main section of the restaurant. The chairs in here were high-backed with dark brown leather for the seat and wood for the legs.
We sat on the right-hand side of the room where the windows looked out onto the main road. Across the street, you could see the other shops. I wouldn't have cared if the view had looked out onto mountains, though, because the only thing that held much significance for me here was Christopher. We sat at a table for four because there didn't appear to be any tables for two.
Christopher's voice was a murmur in my head. ‘My dove, do you like it here?'
"The atmosphere is brilliant - so warm and cosy - but all I really care about is you."
Suddenly, it felt like time had stopped. I was staring into Christopher's eyes and he was staring into mine, and I had the sensation of being inside a bubble with him. He leant forwards and I leant forwards and we shared a luxurious kiss. When we straightened up, we continued to stare at each other.
We should come here more often.
"We should," I smiled.
Christopher appeared to pause for a moment. Then he asked, quite out of the blue, ‘My dove, aren't you worried about going out in public with me? I mean, it would be ever so easy for me to make you embarrass yourself.' Something glinted in his eyes. It looked like mischief.
"Oh, that is quite worrying," I told him, truthfully, "but you're not that immature. And wouldn't your girlfriend's self-humiliating actions show you up, too?"
‘You are, of course, right; but you can never trust a vampire.' Here his eyes looked as if he were grinning wickedly, but I didn't want to tear my gaze away, even to look at his smile.
I suddenly heard a shy cough from the left. I unwillingly looked away from Christopher to see a tall, pretty blonde-haired girl holding a notebook. I realised she was a waitress.
"May I take your orders, please?" She looked at Christopher and gestured to me, saying, "I take it she's your ´dinner."
They both smiled. The warmth in Christopher's smile made me think he knew the waitress well.
The waitress turned back to me.
"Oh, um, could I have the sausage and mash, and a glass of Coke, please?" I asked, glancing at the menu and randomly choosing the first thing I saw.
"Sure." She picked up the menus from our table and walked away.
I turned back to find Christopher's eyes startlingly mesmerising.
"Whoa! Don't do that. It's so..." But my thoughts had scattered. All I could think was ‘His eyes are so powerful' as I fell through blue depths.
So powerfully what? Enchanting? Captivating?
"Captivating," I repeated.
That's not a reason not to do it then, is it?
"No," I replied, unable to think coherently.
I just thought that while you were waiting for your food, I could make a start of mine. Would that be all right?
"Yeah," I replied dazedly. His voice was so enchanting that it really drove away any hope you could object.
‘Thanks my dove.' He stared deeper, more intently. The world dissolved into black.
I woke up, slightly dizzy and light-headed. Christopher was smiling and the glow around him was brighter. Was the light around him dancing?
‘Yes,' Christopher replied, answering the question in my head. ‘It's showing I had a really nice dinner.'
"I'm glad you liked it."
Christopher rolled his eyes. ‘I can't believe you're saying that about your own blood.'
"I say it every day, don't I?" I pointed out.
No, you say it every two days because that's when I drink it. Even so, it still befuddles me.
"Good," I said. "If I befuddle you, you won't get bored of me."
Christopher shook his head, smiling. ‘I assure you, my dove, you could never bore me.'
I smiled back.
After a silence, filled for me by my reflections, I wondered aloud, "Does all blood taste the same? Do you have preferences?"
My dove, you're not worried I prefer someone else's blood to yours, are you?
"Maybe," I replied.
‘Terri,' he paused to smile as his utterance of my name sent thrills through me, ‘I adore your blood. I can honestly say that it's my favourite food. Unfortunately, not all blood tastes the same, so you're going to have to always be my friend.' He smiled wickedly. ‘But I think I'd probably drink your blood even if you hated me.'
I smiled wider. "I could never hate you, Christopher."
Ah, but what about the times when you see more of Charlie than of me, for example, because of school.
"Then I hate the fact that I only see you at night. I don't hate you personally. Sometimes, I hate myself because I miss you when I see Charlie."
Concern flooded Christopher's eyes, which I had resumed staring into.
‘My dove, you mustn't hate yourself.' He sounded so sad that I wished I hadn't said anything.
"But won't you be sad, say, when I have to marry Charlie first so he doesn't get confused when people call me Mrs. Parker?"
Christopher's eyes widened and happiness reigned in them. ‘You want to marry me?'
"Yes, silly, I can't see myself marrying anyone else at this point in time. But, wouldn't you be sad for something you couldn't help?"
His eyes darkened as he frowned. ‘I would, but I just don't like the idea of you being unhappy.'
I rolled my eyes. "What if I said I was sad because I loved you so much?"
Then I'd be worried about what I was going to you by encouraging those affections.
"Wouldn't you be happy that I loved you?"
Not if it hurt you.
"Well," I said, frowning, "tough, because it makes me happy too.
Christopher looked away. He looked very concerned. I hated it when he frowned.
"Christopher," I said gently, "I love you, and if it makes you happy, I'll endeavour to not hate myself."
He looked back at me, smiling sadly. ‘My dove, I'm sorry you ever did.'
"And I'm sorry for turning this conversation into a sad one..."
He grinned. I smiled back.
Just then, my sausage and mash arrived and I tucked in.
When I finished, I had an idea. "Why don't I take Charlie here?"
My dove, you've forgotten déjà vu.
"Oh, that's a shame." I frowned, then I wondered "Would he have had to been hypnotised, had he come?"
I thought about déjà vu again. "Surely you have to be really careful with déjà vu?"
Extremely so. In fact, Charlie rarely goes out. He thinks it's because of his fainting spells and that's partly true because I'm more outgoing. Something had to give.
Not really. He gets to see you most days. His own personal source of euphoria.
"Don't." I frowned. "You're my source of euphoria."
And Charlie isn't.
"You're so matter-of-fact! He's part of you."
One that I learnt early on that I couldn't control. If I hadn't accepted that, I'd be constantly worried and feel guilty about Charlie's actions. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I can't care too much.
"I see." I'd never really thought about what it must be like to have a separate personality you couldn't control.
‘Do you remember Dad telling us that he found Mum crying on a beach when they first met?' Christopher asked gently.
That's what happens when you care too much.
There was a short silence.
Oh, my dove. He grinned. We've talked about negative things again.
I smiled. "Let's not do that too often."