I waited for Petunia to get back and looked around while I did. Trevor and his lunch date were shooting me glares so I grinned at them, making sure my fangs showed. That got their attention and they left. I chuckled quietly. Suddenly, two she-elves appeared at the table. They sat down and stared at me.
"Er...." I said, getting uncomfortable after a few minutes.
"Are you really a vampire?" one asked.
"Yes," I answered, wishing Petunia or Lillian would come back soon.
"Can you prove it?" the other asked and I frowned at her, showing her my fangs. "No. I heard that you can-"
"I'd rather not," I interrupted and they glanced at each other.
"Why not?" the first one asked.
"It's unpleasant," I said. "Now please excuse me. I'm waiting for-"
"Why did you agree to marry Lillian?" the second one asked suddenly.
I pulled uncomfortably at the collar of my shirt.
"It is to merge our people," I said and saw Petunia come back. I nearly cried out in relief. "Please, I-"
"You do realize her parents were murderers, right?"
I frowned and Petunia slammed the deer on the table.
"Shoo," she snapped to the two elves. "We have work to do."
The just smirked and walked off. I watched them go and Petunia sighed heavily.
"Don't listen to them, Roan," she said. "Lily's parents were the most honorable pair of elves I had ever met."
"We have a deer to skin," she said and I narrowed my eyes.
Did she just interrupt me!?
I let it go, though, still a little disturbed by what those two she-elves said. I didn't have time to dwell, though, as Petunia passed me a jagged knife. I looked at it nervously, holding it at arm's length in just two fingers.
"You do realize this is made of silver, right?" I breathed.
Petunia's eyes went wide as her face turned red.
"I am so sorry!" she spluttered and quickly snatched it away, giving me the other knife which was made of iron. "I- The silver is sharper and-"
"Calm yourself, Oaken," I laughed. "It's all right. Now, where do we begin?"
She was still embarrassed but showed me where to make the appropriate cuts. I could see why it would make Lillian sick to her stomach. For me, though, it was fascinating. Watching the skin leave so smoothly....
"What do you do with it?" I asked curiously while Petunia put it in some water.
"Once it's been cleaned of all blood, it's presented to the elf who killed the animal," she answered. She was more comfortable around me which was easier on both of us. "What they do with it from there is up to them. Usually they made an article of clothing from it and wear it as a sort of badge of honor."
I nodded. "Greentree doesn't seem like the kind of elf to do that," I muttered to myself.
Petunia stared. "Why do you refer to us by our last names? Is that a custom of the vampires?"
"No," I said. "It is a personal preference. What happens with the blood?"
Petunia was tilting the board which had a groove so that the blood ran into a bowl. She went pink again.
"Well, it depends," she said. "Usually, the elf burns it but... I read that vampires sometimes...."
"I've never cared for it," I said, feeling uncomfortable, too. "We'll just let Greentree do whatever she wants with it."
Petunia nodded just as Lillian arrived. She smiled at us, her arms full of herbs.
"Everything taken care of?" she asked, putting the herbs on the table next to the board.
"Just need to clean the board," Petunia said, holding it up. "I'll go do that while you finish up."
Lillian did a mock salute. "Yes ma'am."
She laughed, walking off with a smile. I sighed.
"What's wrong?" Lillian asked, washing her hands and I did the same.
"Just- Greentree, what were your parents' occupations?"
She stared at me, her smile gone. To my shock, it was anger I was feeling.
"Who have you spoken with?" she asked in a quiet voice.
I frowned. "Just some she-elves that came by said-"
Lillian looked murderous. "The twins," she hissed under her breath. "I see. Well, we'll talk about my parents later."
"Later!" she yelled, pointing the silver blade at me.
I hissed a little and leaned back.
"Fine," I said through clenched teeth, "but you better get that damn blade out of my face." She looked confused and I rolled my eyes. "Silver, Greentree."
She blinked and looked at the blade. Her reaction was the same as Petunia's.
"Shit! I'm sorry!" she said.
"What the next part of this strange ritual?" I asked, trying to ease the tension that arrived with the mention of her parents.
"Well, we prepare the seasoning," she said, standing beside me and gave me a clean iron knife. "Do you know how to chop herbs?" I stared at her and she giggled. "Right. Prince. It's simple enough. Just be careful not to cut your finger. Even as a vampire I'm sure it would hurt."
"Most likely," I agreed and watched as she instructed.
I was incredibly curious about her parents. What happened to them? And why did those she-elves say they were murderers?
Other elves were starting to arrive as the sun began to set. To my surprise, Lillian kept shifting the umbrella so it protected me still. Her concern was new to me.
"And now you rub it on," she said after mixing all the herbs and thrusting the bowl in my hands.
"Why me?" I demanded, looking at the carcass nervously.
"Because-Because... um... you're the man," she said quickly. "Yes. That's why."
I glared at her and grabbed her arm, dragging her to the deer.
"We'll both do it," I said.
"Actually, I think there's a-a little elf that needs my help," she said in a high-pitched voice but I kept my hold on her. "Roan," she whined when I put the bowl beside the deer.
"Greentree," I mocked. "Don't make me freeze you."
She stared, distracted. "You can freeze people?"
"Yep," I said. "Now help me season this corpse."
She shuddered, mixing the oils together that Petunia passed her. I stirred the herbs into the oil with a wooden spoon as more elves came over.
"I feel like a caged animal on display," I said through clenched teeth as we both dipped our hands into the mixture and rubbed it into the meat.
She sighed. "Welcome to my life," she whispered and I frowned at her. "A conversation for later," she said quickly.
"And it will happen," I whispered back. "Vampires do not forget."
"And elves are stubborn," she retorted.
We had finished rubbing the herbs on the deer and I smirked at her.
"Shall we make another bed?" I asked, leaning against the table after washing my hands.
"Fine," she said, doing the same. "What kind of bet?"
We both crossed our arms in unison.
"Whoever brings up the topic next loses," I said and she frowned. "That's right. If you bring your parents up first, I win. If I do, you win."
"And what are the stakes?"
I tapped my chin. "If you win, I'll drink a whole jug of that disgusting grass tea. If I win," I added and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Well, I'm sure you know what my prize will be."
"Why are you so intent on kissing me?" she whispered, her face going red.
I sighed and watched the elves put the deer's carcass on a spit and over a large fire. We both stared as it turned slowly so it cooked evenly.
"Because, even though people like to pretend otherwise, vampires are just as lonely as every other race," I mumbled.
"So you're bored."
She sounded insulted and I groaned.
"Shit. That's not what I meant, Greentree. It's just-"
I turned but she was gone.