The Rebirth: Part II

IV

“I doubted myself. When I first saw you, I felt terrible having to come into your life and turn it upside down. But you’re beautiful, funny, and talented and I haven’t felt like this in a long time.”
She blushed “And here I thought the lime light was tough. Boy was I wrong, finding out about this makes the lime light look like a cake wake.”
He laughed and the door opened and footsteps could be heard coming down. An older woman came down. Her dirty blond hair was clipped up and she smiled seeing Sebastian and Rae.
“Oh; excuse me. I didn’t know anyone was down here.” She said
“It’s okay Faith. I know it’s been a long time since anyone came down to train.” Sebastian replied

“Is that what you call it these days?” Rae asked

Faith laughed and Sebastian sighed, putting his arm around Rae.

“Rae I’d like you to meet Faith. Faith this is Rae.” Sebastian continued

“It’s nice to meet you.” They said together

“Faith was Charlotte’s nanny. She also looked after Melanie and Tonya.”

“I had been with other families; children of the immortal. Meeting Cat and Armand and knowing their child would be gifted was fascinating. I’ll have this dress dry cleaned and brought back tomorrow.” Faith commented

She picked up Rae’s dress and draped it over her arm.
“Thank you.” Rae said

They all walked upstairs, she wondered into the throne room. She saw a celebration, Charlotte stood by the thrones. Sebastian appeared, she took her shoes off and they began to dance. The image faded, she walked out onto the balcony; staring up at the clear sky.
Being away from the city was a huge difference. The usual noises were miles away along with the media vultures. She was starting to understand the mansion was a safe place. Car lights shined into her eyes. Tonya got out and took someone out of the passenger side. As she walked in, Rea blurred and poked her head to see Sebastian and Faith meeting her at the door.
“Tonya what happened?” Faith asked

“Hunters attacked; they thought I was going to feed on him. I tackled him before a light bullet hit.” Tonya replied

“And you brought him here?” Sebastian interrupted

She sighed, “Yes. I didn’t want to risk him being captured and tortured to death.”

“Let’s take him upstairs.” Faith suggested

Tonya took his arms, Faith grabbed his feet and they walked upstairs. Sebastian stayed behind to see Rae walking up to him.

“Is he going to be okay?” She asked

“Yeah; it was better than taking him to any hospital.”

She walked upstairs and saw a light peeking through a half closed door. Edmond had regained consciousness, lying on Tonya’s bed. Faith cleaned his face with a wash cloth. Rae went in, they turned to see her.
Posters of ‘The Clash’ and ‘Rolling Stones’ hung on the light brown walls. Her silver lamp was turned on that sat on a large white desk with dark brown trim on the drawer handles. The bed was covered with off-white sheets and comforter.

“Who’s that?” Edmond asked in a hoarse voice

“I’m Rae a friend of Tonya’s.” Rae replied

“I think we have everything under control here.” Faith said

“Please trust me…”

He looked up at her, she smiled. Both of her hands began to move up and down, above his body. His wounds glowed red and gradually began to heal. She stepped back and whispered“Rest; you’ll feel better in the morning.” He fell asleep the three women left and went back downstairs.

“How did you do that?” Faith asked

“I’m not sure; I wanted to help. Then I felt a surge of power and followed my instincts.” Rae replied

“That was brilliant.” Tonya added

She smiled, “Thanks for trusting me.”

In the city Red walked into a jazz club. Black circular tables surrounded the small stage. Recessed lights were turned down low, red walls and checkered tiles glowed. She sat at a table in the corner with Blond and a young man sitting next to her.
A pair of dark brown eyes stared at her; his brown hair was spike up. He wore brown leather jacket, black t-shirt underneath, blue jeans and black shoes.

“You look like hell.” Blond commented

Red glared at both of them and then sighed.

“Thanks Brie. Now turn the dagger counter clockwise.”

Someone placed a glass of white wine in front of her. She took a sip and smiled.

“What happened?”

“We attacked the club and got our asses handed to us. The girl wasn’t there, but the cousin was with her next victim. It’s terrible we couldn’t save him.”

“Damn; good news we’ll get another shot. She’s co-hosting an exhibit with the Campbells.”

“Are you trying to get us killed? Those witches are just as powerful as us, even more so.”

Brie groaned and ran her fingers through her hair. The man began to massage her shoulder and she calmed down.

“Remember you’re here to destroy those demons. And more importantly kill that girl.” The man interrupted

“Marcus… I know and I can’t forget our mission.” Alison sighed

“Pull yourself together Alison. I believe you and Brie can do this. Don’t fail me…” He continued

“We won’t” They said together

She grabbed her glass and chugged the rest of her wine. The man kissed Brie on the cheek and disappeared.

“Let’s strategize.”

The next morning, she woke up feeling his arm around her. Her dress hung from the back of the door and there was a pair of blue jeans and blood red t-shirt on the dresser; with her shoes on top. Slowly she lifted his arm and went to the bathroom. After bathing and getting dressed, she caught herself in the mirror.
Her complexion hadn’t changed and she looked rested. Instead of staying in bed with him, to do her interview, she walked downstairs. A large take out box sat on the dining room table next to a cup of coffee. Her phone went off to see a message from Phil.

“Good morning Ms. Turner. I hope you enjoy your breakfast. If you need a ride anywhere you can call or text me at this number. Phil.”

“Good morning Phil; Thank you for breakfast and I will need a ride to my apartment later. Could you pick me up at four?”

“That won’t be a problem. I’ll see you later today.”

“Thanks.”

She had just hit the ‘Send’ button when Sam’s ringtone began to play.

“Good morning. I have an hour before my first interview. What’s up?” She asked

“Yeah… Yeah… Yeah… now I have been racking my brain over who you spent the night with. Was it that cute doctor or that fox Sebastian?” Sam replied

“Both…”

“Whoa… you have some explaining to missy…”

“Sebastian is the cute doctor I told you about. He helped me with my nightmares.”

“Wow. I’m happy for you. But if he breaks your heart I’m hiring a hitman.”

Rae giggled, “Well thanks. If you do make sure you instruct him not to tell the police, you hired him.”
“Well if Sebastian behaves himself. I’ll put the hitman idea on the back burner.”
She opened the takeout box to see a Belgian Waffle with fresh strawberries and packs of syrup on the side with utensils tucked underneath. Inside the brown paper bag, there were packets of sugar, ‘Splenda’, ‘Sweet and Low’, and packets of milk. The stirrer spun on its own, mixing the milk and ‘Splenda’. Balancing her phone on her shoulder, she picked up the box and coffee and sat down on the couch. There was a small coffee colored table in the corner and she set her coffee down.

“I have a feeling he will. Besides he has cousins to answer to, along with his parents.”

“That’s good to know. Anyway I got a voicemail from Mr. Zack Jackson. He sounded desperate. The photographer he hired canceled on him. So, it looks like I’ll be spending my evening with some drag queens.”

“Did you call him back?”

“Not yet.”

“Call him back. And text me the address.”

“Thinking of stopping by with Sebastian?”

“It could happen. I have to see if he’s opening the club tonight.”

“Great. Are you okay? I know you got a bad vibe at the museum last night.”

“I’m okay. It was just some obsessed fans.”

“Oh shit. I’m glad you’re okay. Anyway let me call Zack and I’ll text you the details.”

“Sounds good to me, bye”

“Bye…”

She hung up and noticed a wireless docking station. She placed her phone down and let it charge, and then turned on the television.

In the city Sam walked into the studio, carrying a tray with two cups of coffee and large paper bag sitting behind them. Gina was sitting behind the desk and had the website of the radio station Rae would be calling into with RJ and Andrea. The sound was turned down low, as Sam handed her coffee and the bag. She opened the bag and took out a breakfast sandwich.

“Thanks and pull up the other chair. She’ll be calling in soon.” Gina said

Sam sat down with her coffee and bagel. She had her cell phone in her hand and dialed Zack.

“You’re welcome. Hey Zack how are you?” Sam replied

“Sam, I’m alright. Thanks for calling me back. Are you available for tonight’s show?” He began

“You’re in luck I am. My original offer is still on the table. Eight hundred dollars; this includes photos of the girls getting ready in the dressing room, performances, and interactions with the audience members.”

“I’ll also include extra for audience members who want pictures with the girls. You can charge any amount you feel is best. Thanks again Sam, you are a life saver. I’ll text you the address and arrive here by seven. The show starts at eight.”

“Sounds great; text me the address and I’ll be there at six to set up. And then get started. See you later.”

Gina tapped her on the shoulder as she turned up the volume. Sam hung up and they began to eat while listening to ‘JJ Collins’. She hosted the morning show featuring well-known artists; whether painters, photographers, sculptures, musicians, and even internet DJ’s.

“Good morning New York. Welcome to another eddition of the JJ Collins show. I’m your host JJ and today, I have a real treat for everyone. This morning I’m being joined by Rae Turner, Andrea and RJ Campbell. They will be hosting a join exhibit in two weeks at Vega Hall. Tickets are still on sale, but let’s welcome them.” JJ began

“Hello JJ.” They said together

“Hello and welcome to the show. It’s been a long time since we last spoke. I was surprised to hear that you three were putting together a joint event. Tell me about it.”

“Each of us has attended an exhibit or event and we’ve run into each other. I think it was last year at my show, we decided to put this together.” Andrea continued

“RJ I hear this going to be your debut on the scene. Could you share what your collection features?” JJ asked

“Yes; it’s become one of my favorite hobbies. After long hours in the office, it’s a great stress reliever.”

“That is great. Do you think after this show you’ll do more?”

He laughed “Maybe; I would like to get through this show.”

“I understand. What about you Rae?”

“I found a lot of inspiration from historical landmarks. After doing some research, I found ones that were not very well-known. A good majority of them I found through the Weird New York magazine.” Rae continued

“Wow sounds like a fun trip; and a very interesting collection. And finally, Andy, tell us a little about your collection.”

“Similar to Rae I checked out some historical sites. When I started to put my sketch onto the canvas, I put my own spin on it. And of course, my skull string lights will be hanging throughout my room.”

“I think she likes those lights more than her paintings.” RJ muttered

“I heard that little brother. I have equal love for my lights and paintings.” Andrea snapped back
Rae and JJ laughed, as the two siblings muttered to each other and then there was silence.

“Anyway tickets are still on sale. Go to Vega Hall’s website to purchase and for directions. I would like to thank Rae, Andy, and RJ for calling in this morning. Next I’ll be taking your phone calls. Have a question for any of them? Call in. We’ll be right back.”

Rae put her phone on speaker and charged her phone. Soft elevator music played as she was put on hold. At the studio, Gina turned down the volume for commercials, she and Sam high fived.

“She’s come a long way.” Gina commented

“Agreed; a huge improvement from when she first started to do interviews.”

Sam sighed and slouched in her chair, sipping her coffee slowly.

“We’ll get you a ticket to the show.”

“Thanks Sam. I feel bad for RJ, one of the only males in the house with three sisters.”

“He has an older brother, AJ. He’s away at college. At least that’s what I read last.”

“Guess we’ll meet the entire family in two weeks.”

Sam nodded and picked up her coffee and sandwich.

“I’ll be in my office. Could you take out the money box? And could you go to the bank to break this hundred?”

“Sure. You need it for tonight?”

“Yeah; in addition to taking pictures of the show, I’ll be charging guests to get a picture with the performers.”

“Nice girl. I’ll go once I finish my breakfast.”

Sam got up and walked back into the studio, into her office. It was designed like Rea’s, but had signed movie posters and photos from different events. She sat down at her desk, reached down and opened the bottom drawer. Inside was her costumed blue camera case with her initials stitched on top.
Placing it in front of her she unzipped the main compartment and took out her Nikon. She checked the side compartments, seeing extra batteries, memory cards, and a larger lens.
“Perfect” She thought to herself

Later on in the day after two more rounds of interviews and questions from fans, Rae walked into Sebastian’s bedroom. He had turned over; she slowly sat down on the edge of the bed and then leaned over to kiss his cheek.

“Hey. Phil is giving me a ride to my apartment; I wanted to get an overnight bag. I’ll be back soon.” She whispered
She watched as he turned over and took her hand into his.

“I thought we were going to spend the day in bed.” He replied

“I will once I bring some clothes back here. Not that I don’t appreciate borrowing clothes, but I would like to keep some things here.”

He pulled her down and kissed her lips gently.

“Be careful…”

She kissed him again and then made her way downstairs. Phil’s limousine had pulled up out front, the door opened and she walked out.

“Good afternoon Ms. Turner.” He commented

“Hello Phil. Thanks for coming to pick me up.” Rae replied

“No problem.”

They both reached for the door, he let her open the door and get in. He got behind the driver’s seat and pulled away from the cottage.

“I take it you’re used to do things yourself?” He asked

She laughed, “I am; not that I don’t appreciate it, but still makes me feel human.”

“I can understand. You might be a celebrity, but you’re different.”

“Exactly; how long have you been working for Sebastian?”

“I was hired by Cat and Armand, when they first arrived in the states. It has been a pleasure working with them for over forty year.”

She noticed he looked no more than twenty-five. His brown hair was pushed back behind his pierced ear and there wasn’t one wrinkle on his face or hands.
“I’m sorry, but I have to ask. If my math is correct that would make you over sixty years old.”
He laughed, “I’m a lot older than that. I’m a werewolf. I didn’t tell Cat and Armand when we first met and nights of full moons were tough. I wouldn't return to human form until dawn. There was one night I had dropped off the Cat and Armand, the full moon rose into the sky and I morphed in front of them. At least today, I have control.”

“Wow; you’re the first werewolf I’ve met. It’s awesome to see that you remained so loyal to this coven.”

“They accepted me and I did the same. They were ahead of their time.”

He pulled up in front of her apartment building. She left herself out and walked inside. Getting off the elevator she had her keys out and went into her apartment. She walked into her closet and pulled a packed black and white patterned ‘Vera Bradly’ overnight bag. Inside there was a week’s worth of clothes, one pair of combat boots and ‘Nike’ sneakers.
Before leaving her phone pinged, she took her phone out of her clutch. She saw an e-mail from Mr. Ming’s office and an important text from Phil. Phil’s text was opened first.
“Ms. Turner, I hate to alarm you. I smelled hunters nearby. I think they’re just observing, but be prepared to fight. I’ll be waiting by the door, move quickly.”

“Great.” She groaned “At least I’d be able to test out my new skills.”

She locked up and got onto the elevator. Her heart pounded in her ears as the car slowly made its way to the lobby. The bell rang and the doors slowly opened, she stepped off and saw Phil waiting by the door. She saw the car trunk already open, she walked outside, handed Phil her bag and got into the limousine. He flashed into the driver’s seat and started the car.
They drove down to the end of the block.


“I’m sorry that I scared you.” He commented


She wiped the beads of sweat off her forehead; breathing a sigh of relief.

“At least you warned me. I was ready to fight.” She replied



The car pulled in front of the cottage. She let herself out, the trunk popped opened. Her bag slipped onto her shoulder. He rolled down the window.

“Thanks again Phil.” She called

“You’re welcome Ms. Turner.” He replied

“Please call me Rae.”

“Well Rae it is.”

He waved as she walked inside. Coming into the dark bedroom, her bag set itself on his dresser. She took off her shoes and lied down beside him. Slowly she pressed her body against his back, wrapping one leg around him. She began to kiss his neck; he took her hand into his. In a quick move, her hands were above her head and he on top of her.

“Morning…” She whispered

“Welcome back.” He replied

His head leaned down, her lips met his. Her tongue brushed against his fangs as, his lips left hers and found her neck. Moaning in his ear, he felt her hands moving beneath his, she wanted to touch him so badly, as heat rose all over her body.

It got quiet, his lips left her neck. She looked up to see him unbuttoning her jeans, he began pulling at one leg and she twisted and turned her body to help. He laughed as her jeans fell on the floor. Their lips met again, his fingers entered her. Arching her back, she hissed as he released her hands. She sat up and began to rub the bulge forming in his pants. Using her powers, his pajama bottoms were pushed down and her hand started to stroke him.

He moaned she pushed him onto his back. Taking him into her mouth, his head leaned back he felt his fangs grow. Something flew into her hand, he heard something being ripped. He felt her mouth, but then she straddled him. His hands began to massage her breasts; she started to grind against him.

She leaned down and their lips met again. He pumped faster; she sat up screaming in ecstasy.

“Sebastian…” She whispered

His paced increased and they both climaxed. She lied down on top of him, placing kisses on his chest.

“I have a question for you.” She whispered

“Shoot…”

“My friend Sam is going to be working tonight. She’s going to be at a drag queen dinner show. Would you want to come with me?”

“Sounds like fun. What time is the show?”

“It starts at eight. That gives us enough time to get ready.”

She got up and stood over by the door.

“Want to join me?”

“Don’t have to ask me twice.”

At the mansion Tonya woke up and sensed Edmond was downstairs. She got out of bed and went into her dresser. The leather sheath of her knife buckled around her leg. It became hidden by her dark green dress. She slipped on a pair of brown cowgirl boots and tied her hair pack into a ponytail.

Her bedroom door opened and she walked downstairs. She found him in the study sitting on the couch.

“Hey how are you feeling?” She asked

He looked up to see her sitting beside him.

“I’m feeling much better. Thanks to you and Rae.” He replied

“I’m glad. Do you remember anything from last night?

He blushed and pushed his hair back.

“You were tackling me to the ground. And something hit the car we were hiding behind. The rest was a blur.”

She sighed in relief. Lying had become an art form and she knew that the coven and war couldn’t be known to mortals. They started walking towards Sebastian’s cottage.

“It’s really quiet up here.” He continued

“Old habits; we lived out in the country in London. We like the city, but it’s nice to come home to silence.” She replied

“What about the rest of your family?”

“My mum and grandparents still live in London. And I live here with my sister and brother in-law.”

“No desire to visit the states?”

She shook her head, “They came in when my cousin Charlotte died. Guess you can call them stubborn or old fashioned.”

“Wow.”

He looked at his watch and then back at her.

“I’d better get home.”

“I could give you a ride.”

“Thanks.”

They started walking back towards the mansion. Rae stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom, finishing her make-up. He appeared in the doorway.

“You look beautiful.” He commented

“Thanks.” She replied

She had changed into a pair of jeans, a mauve t-shirt with a large cross on the front. After putting her make-up away in her cosmetic bag, she walked up to him.

“Ok, so here are a few tips to handle the vultures. Besides the flash of the camera, stand still for about ten seconds while walking in. If any of them ask, you’re my date for the evening. And most important, don’t let them get under your skin. They’ll try to annoy you and attacking them, it makes a better story.” She explained

“I understand. Are you ready to go?” He replied

Her clutch flew into her hand and she packed lip gloss and compact mirror.

“Let’s go.”

They walked outside and his car was parked out front. He opened the door for her and he got in started the car and they left. She stared out the window, smiling as the moon rose higher into the sky.

Pulling up to the hall, it was a two story restored ‘Brownstone’. A black metal balcony stretched out, there was a large window behind it; covered with a red curtain and gold braided rope held it together. A pair of matching six paned doors with a red carpet rolled out leading inside. She turned to look at him, he smiled.


“Are you ready?” She asked

“Yeah let’s go.” He replied

He got out of the car, she saw a young man about eighteen walking up to the car. He was shorter than Sebastian, short blond hair and blue eyes. The car door opened and the man helped her out of the car. Sebastian handed him his car keys.

“Take good care of it.” Sebastian whispered to the valet.

“No problem sir.” The valet replied

Numerous camera flashes went off, he put his arm around her waist. They began walking; shouts came for them to stop.

“One… Two… Three…” She whispered

He laughed as they continued to walk.

“Are you Rae’s new boyfriend?” Someone asked

“I’m her date for the evening.” Sebastian replied

They continued to walk inside. Rainbow lights danced across the black carpeted floor and white walls. Tables were spread out around the large stage, covered with dark red table cloths; and set with glasses, plates and silverware.

Servers were walking around with trays of appetizers, others were taking drink orders. Rae spotted Sam set up in the back of the room. She waved as Rae and Sebastian walked over to her.

“Hey you guys made it.” Sam said

“Yeah; looks like it’s going to be a full house tonight.” Rea replied

“It’s nice to see you again Sebastian.” Sam continued

“Same here Sam.” Sebastian paused and leaned in close to her ear. “I promise not to harm her in anyway.”

Sam smiled as he straightened up.

“So what have you done so far?” Rae asked

“I took shots of the girls preparing for tonight. And when the show starts, I’ll be taking shots of the performances. Plus after the show, guests can get pictures with the girls for ten dollars.”

“Sounds great...”

“Go find a place to sit and I’ll see you two later.”

VI

They waved as they took a seat a table for two in the center of the room. Their eyes lit up to see Brian walking up to them.

“Rae, Sebastian this is a surprise. First off welcome and what can I get you to drink?” He asked

“Hey Brian; you lent him for this event?” Rae replied

“I work for the same company my sister does. She asked me to switch with her.”

“Cool. Can I get a glass of white wine please?” Rae continued

“No problem sweetie. And a glass of red wine for you sir?”

“Red wine? I thought…” Rae paused

“Its red wine mixed with blood. We can’t eat human food, it causes severe pain.” Sebastian continued

“I’ll be right back.” Brian said

He turned on his heel and walked towards the bar.

“That’s something you didn’t tell me about.” She commented

“It’s something one of the coven members developed back in the seventies. That’s also when we perfected making synthetic blood.”

“And that’s what I drank the other night?”

He nodded, but then it got quiet as the lights were turned down. And the host came out, audience applauded.

“Thank you. And welcome to Dinner and Drag Queens. My name is Zack Jackson and I’ll be your host for the evening. We have a great show for you tonight and if you would like any photos you can visit Sam, from Turner Studios, who is set up in the back.”

A spotlight shined on Sam and she waved as the audience cheered and applauded.

“We also have celebrities with us tonight. I’d like to welcome Rae Turner and Sebastian Coleman to our show.”

“Great…” Rae sighed

The spotlight shined upon them and they waved. As the light retreated it moved back onto Alex.

“Well I hope everyone enjoys the show.”

Everyone applauded and the show began. Sam walked by and got close to the stage as a redhead came out dressed like ‘Jessica Rabbit’. Music came on and she began lip syncing and began interacting with the audience. Brian came back with their drinks and handed Rae a menu, he knelt down to hear what she wanted.

“I’ll have the eight ounce strip steak; cooked medium rare with fries.” She whispered in his ear

“It also comes with a house salad. What kind of dressing?”

“Italian…”

“No problem. Dinner will be served at intermission.”

She nodded as he got up and went to the next table. The next act was two Hispanic girls dancing to ‘Daddy Yankee’. Sam stayed close to the stage. At intermission, dinner was served, Brian brought over Rae’s meal.

“The smell of this isn’t going to make you sick?” Rae asked

Sebastian shook his head, “No, it smells great. I can’t eat it.” He replied

“Ok.”

By the end of the night, Rae got a photo with a couple of fans. Sam had started packing up and locked the cash box.

“So how did you do?” Rae asked

“Five hundred and ninety dollars…” Sam replied with a grin

“Excellent… don’t spend it all in one place.”

“Very funny… anyway I need to finish up and get home. I’ll see you on Monday and it was nice seeing you again Sebastian.”

She gave him a hug and then hugged Rae.

“It was good to see you too Sam.” Sebastian said

He put his arm around Rae and they made their way out. The valet, who parked his car earlier, took Sebastian’s ticket and went to get his car.

“That was a lot of fun.” He commented

“It was; especially when that couple got a lap dance, celebrating their engagement.” Rae added

He laughed in agreement as his car pulled up. The valet got out and ran to the passenger side to open the door for Rae. She sighed, “Thank you.” She whispered. They got in and pulled out into traffic. His phone rang and he reached into his pocket to get it. He handed it to Rae.

“It’s Melanie put it on speaker.” He whispered

“Melanie you’re on speaker with Sebastian and me.” Rae said

“Hello, have you two heard from Tonya?” Melanie asked

“No.” They replied together

“Phil told me she was taking her new friend home.”

“Were you two supposed to meet up?” Sebastian asked

“I just need to talk to her. I tried calling her, but it went straight to voicemail. It’s not like her to turn her phone off.”

“We’ll keep an eye out for her.”

“Thank you.”

She hung up and Rae hung onto his phone.

“What are you doing?” He asked

“I’m giving you my phone number. Not a lot of people have it, so you should feel honored.”

He laughed as they came to a stop light. She took his hand into hers and kissed the top of it.

“I definitely feel honored to have it. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about mixing wine with blood. There are some illusions that are better understood after being turned.”

She smiled, “Good. It’s ok, I guess I need to slow down and not expect everything in a New York minute.”

“It’s a huge change. Once it happens you can’t go back to being mortal.”

“I know…”

Melanie was standing outside the mansion as Sebastian pulled up. Rae’s window rolled down, she leaned in.

“We’re sorry Melanie.” Rae began

“I’m probably worrying for nothing. Bloody hell I’m starting to act like my mum. If I ever start to go stark raving mad, kill me.” Melanie replied

“I’ll be sure to push you out into the sunlight.” Sebastian continued

“Thank you. I’m heading into the city to investigate.” Melanie explained

“I’ll try and track her cell phone if it ever turns on.” He added

“I hope she turns up.” Rae chimed in

“Thanks Rae.”

She straightened up and walked towards the garage. A few minutes later, a dark blue ‘Harley Davidson’ bike pulled out. The motor hummed as she put on her black helmet, she revved the engine and took off.

Sebastian parked in the garage attached to the mansion and walked inside. He led her past the kitchen and into a large room. Six monitors were showing different house’s exteriors. There was a keyboard sitting in front of them. Next to it was a desktop computer with ‘Dark Palace’ written in red letters as a screensaver.

He jiggled the mouse and brought up a black screen with a cursor. As he sat down, Rae leaned against the desk as he started typing.

“You can trace her cellphone?” She asked

“I could. If it turns on, at least I’ll be able to narrow it to a certain area of the city.” He replied

His fingers flew over the keys and then hit ‘Enter’. They waited in silence. Both gasped when they heard a ping.

“Call Melanie…” He said

She took his phone and began dialing.

“This better be important…” Melanie said as she picked up

“It’s Rae… and Tonya’s cell phone turned on.” Rae replied

“Oh bullocks! I’m so sorry Rae. Where is the signal coming from?”

She looked at the screen and to where Sebastian was pointing.

“East Village Apartments; that’s all the way up on Third Avenue…”

“I parked a block down from there. Hang on.”

It got silent and then she heard her walking.

“Her car isn’t here. But she was here recently and I smell a mortal.”

“That was her friend Edmond. She brought him to the mansion after being attacked by the Hunters. He spent the night here and I guess she was taking him home.” Sebastian chimed in

“What kind of car does she drive?” Rae asked

“A gunmetal Volkswagen beetle. Thanks for the information; I’m going to continue looking on my bike.”

She hung up and Rae handed Sebastian his phone. After letting out a sigh of defeat, she felt a sharp pain in her head.

“Are you okay?” Sebastian asked

“Probably just a headache. What are these monitors for?” She replied

“Each one is for a safe house. If anyone enters them, they have to use a code to disarm the alarm. These are mostly used for our investigators who don’t make it back either here or their home. They are fully stocked with synthetic blood, weapons, and all the comforts of home.”

“Interesting…”

“C’mon we’ll head back to my place. I have a laptop that I can use to access our system.”

She followed him out of the room. He picked her up and the blurred out of the house and walked into his cottage. She went upstairs and came back down wearing a large blue t-shirt. He whistled as she sat next to him on the couch.

He had his laptop sitting on the small coffee table next to them. She sat beside him and turned on the television. By one in the morning she fell asleep, her head in his lap. The front door opened and Melanie walked in.

“Any luck?” He asked

She shook her head “I found her cell phone on the sidewalk. And the only thing I found was a text message she had started to me. I know she wouldn’t do anything stupid. I hope she finds shelter or gets to one of the safe houses before dawn.”

“We’ll know if she does.”

“Raven is waiting for me. I’m going to go back out tomorrow night and your parents are opening the club for me.

“I’ll keep you posted if she does get to one of the safe houses.”

She nodded and walked out and blurred down the path to the mansion. Rae woke up seeing Sebastian still awake.

“I’m going to head up to bed."

She got up and then kissed him on the cheek before walking upstairs. His cell phone rang and he heard a music box tune.

“Hey Mom.” He began

“Hey Sebastian; any word about Tonya?” Lisa asked

“No; Melanie is starting to get worried, which is definitely a new side of her.”

“I know. She always put up a rough exterior. I don’t know if this is going to help, but your father and I thought we saw Tonya with a little girl about twelve. They were at a coffee shop on twenty-third. The girl had short brown hair, blue eyes and was dressed in a black t-shirt, blue plaid shirt, skinny jeans and sneakers. Not sure what they were doing there, but the girl looked scared.”

“This does help mom, thank you.”

“I’m glad. How’s Rae?”

He muffled a groan, holding the phone away from him. After waiting ten seconds he put the phone back to his ear.

“She’s good. It’s surprising how she’s handling all this.” He continued

“Great. Don’t forget the council is coming at the end of this month.”

“I know; next Saturday. Anyway I’d better get going.”

“Alright; we’ll talk soon.”

“Bye mom.”

He ended the call and stared up at the ceiling. Lisa meant well, but he was glad that he didn’t move back into the mansion. He texted Melanie the description of the girl and where she was with Tonya.

“Thanks Sebastian.” She said

He got up, shut his laptop and brought it upstairs with him. Rae was asleep as he walked into the room and began to undress. He slipped on a pair of gray sweatpants and lied down and wrapped his arms around her. He fell asleep.

She woke up the next day around noon. It felt nice not having to wake up to an alarm, her phone rang, another text message. She slipped out of Sebastian’s arms and sat up, unlocking her phone. It was Gina.

“Hey girl. I hope that I’m not disturbing you. I got an email that your collection is finished. I made the first available appointment that is Monday at ten. Before responding back, I checked your schedule and you’re open. So I’ll arrange for a car service. See you Monday!”

“Thanks Gina! See you Monday!”

She smiled and then felt his hand caressing her arm.

“This is a surprise.” She whispered

“I am full of them.” He replied

She leaned down and kissed his lips gently.

“I’m going to text Phil to bring me some lunch. Any objection to me eating in bed?”

He pulled her down to him and deepened the first kiss. She sat up giggling.

“I’ll take that as a no.”

She sent the message and lied back down. He took her into his arms and squeezed her tightly.

“It’s the masquerade ball and the council is coming next weekend. Are you ready?”

“I think so. Do you think they’ll be a little angry that I’m not a vampire?”

“No; we’ll explain that you’re still in training. I think that’ll be the least of their worries. Most of them are huge fans of your work. So you could use that to your advantage.”

“Oh. I’d hate to use my celebrity status to advantage. But it I must… I will.”

They laughed and he yawned.

“Go back to sleep.”

He nodded and fell asleep. She got up and walked down to the bathroom. After taking a shower, she felt a sharp pain in her head. Her hands began to rub both sides of her head, the pain subsided and she went downstairs.

She turned on the television and the news came on with a breaking story.

“We interrupt your regular scheduled program to bring you breaking news. An hour ago there was a strange explosion by the fifty-seventh entrance to Central Park. Two cars caught on fire, seven people were injured and being rushed to the hospital. We’ll now go to Judy Chen who is a block away from the accident; Judy….”

The cameras cut to the young reporter, behind her fire trucks were parked lights on and firemen working to put the fire out.

“John it was a scene of confusion and panic. If you look behind me, firefighters are working diligently to contain and hopefully put the fires out. Witnesses say they heard shouting near the entrance to the park, between an older man and young girl. The argument escalated and then the explosions happened. Witnesses described the girl; twelve years old, short brown hair and blue eyes; either a runaway or homeless. The girl’s attacker stood about 6’0, wearing all black and a hood covering his face. If you have any information please call the tip line on the bottom of your screen. Back to you in the studio.”

The sharp pain returned as she saw an image of the girl flash before her eyes. She closed her eyes and saw an image of Tonya knelt down on one knee talking to her. The television turned off and she slowly stood up and walked back upstairs.

She picked up her phone as she sat down on the bed.

“What’s wrong?” He asked

“I was watching a story on the news downstairs. It triggered something, I saw Tonya talking to someone.” She replied

She handed Sebastian the phone to him and he began reading.

“This just aired?”

“Yeah. And then the headaches started.”

“This is weird. My mom called last night and saw Tonya with this girl at a diner. I’m going to forward this to Melanie.”

“I have the weirdest feeling Damien is behind this or somehow involved.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

In the city Brie was walking through the park when she spotted a large cave and someone waiting at the entrance. The figure was dressed in all black and the hood of its sweatshirt covered its face.

She walked up to the figure, putting her sunglasses on top of her head.

“What the hell happened?” She asked

“Believe me you don’t want to know.” The figure replied

“I do. If you want to keep living your sick life you’ll tell me.” She growled

“I was chasing her cousin and one of my daughters. I thought I’d use her as leverage to get Rae to give herself up. But that explosion was a diversion and now they’re probably hiding out either in the club or elsewhere that’s dark. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to rest.”

The figure turned and went deeper into the cave. Brie growled and stamped her foot on the ground. She flashed and appeared in front of Dark Palace and walked up to the front entrance.

The doors were locked; she pressed her ear to the door, but didn’t hear anyone inside.

Phil walked around the corner to see the young girl. The hair on the back of his neck stood up on end. He sensed that she was a witch; the stench of magic was strong.

VII

“Can I help you miss?” He called

“Shit...” She muttered under her breath

She looked to see Phil walking up to her. Reaching into her back pocket she took out a small vial filled with a dark blue liquid. He growled as he got closer.

“What do you want witch?” He asked

“Guess the rumors are true. They have a wolf working for them. It’s a shame, protected those demons.” Brie replied

“What do you want with them?”

“Tell me where Tonya is and I’ll spare you.”

“She’s not here.”

He morphed quickly and jumped to attack, but she side stepped him as he landed behind her. She went to throw the vial, but he caught it in his teeth and started running.

“Damn it.” She growled

Suddenly something pushed her away from the club and rolled on the sidewalk. She got up and flashed. There had to be a better way to draw Rae out and destroy her. Back at Sebastian’s cottage, Rae had fallen asleep after taking some ‘Tylenol’ for the headaches.

Sebastian woke up hearing someone knocking at the door. He went downstairs the curtains were drawn.

“Who is it?” He called

“It’s Phil.” Phil called back

He opened the door and Phil walked in.

“What happened to you? Get in a fight?” Sebastian asked

“It was a fight that ended in me retreating. I saw a hunter snooping around the club, she was looking for Tonya. When she tried to attack, I caught this in my mouth.”

He handed the vial to Sebastian.

“What is it?”

“I have no idea. And I didn’t want to stick around and ask her.”

“Head over to the mansion and have Adam check this out.”

“Sebastian what’s going on?” Rae asked

They looked up to see her walking down stairs.

“I’m sorry if I disturbed you Rae.” Phil began

Rae shook her head, “Don’t worry about it. What is that?”

“A potion that a hunter tried to use against me. I caught it and took off.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Thank you for bringing this over. Could you keep an eye out for Tonya? She went missing and Melanie’s beginning to get concerned.” Sebastian continued

“Of course. I’ll see you two later.”

He waved and left. He put his arm around her waist, pulling her close. Heat rose in her cheeks as she leaned her head against his chest.

“Have you heard from Melanie?” She asked

“No. I told her to call me later tonight, not to keep her from something this important.”

“True. Did you offer to help?”

“I did. And she immediately turned me down. She wanted to do this on her own.”

Rae sighed knowing that Melanie couldn’t handle this alone.

“I have a weird feeling she’s going to need our help.”

“Really?”

She nodded, “C’mon two more pairs of eyes couldn’t hurt.”

“If she catches us helping. We’re coming back here, because you don’t want to see her angry.”

Rae rolled her eyes thinking how bad could it be? They walked upstairs and into the bedroom to get dressed. A few minutes later they came back down, both wearing sneakers, blue jeans, blue and black sweatshirts with t-shirts underneath.

He locked up and blurred down to the garage to get his car. She waited pulling out black and white fingerless gloves from her sweatshirt pocket. Slipping them on, her hands felt warmer as Sebastian pulled up and leaned over to unlock the door. She got in and they left.

“So where should we go first?” He asked

“To the scene of the fires.” She replied

“Ok.”

In the city, Melanie stood outside the diner on the corner of twenty-Third Street. She walked in; it reminded her of the kitchen back home. It was fifties styled, same colors and floor. The wait staff was also dressed like the waitresses from back then. She walked up to the counter, taking her phone out of her trench coat pocket.

“Excuse me…” She called

A brunette with brown eyes walked up to her with a smile.

“Can I help you miss?” She asked

“I hope so. Did you see these two girls in here last night, around one?” Melanie replied

She held up her phone, showing a side by side of Tonya and the girl she was with. The brunette stared at it.

“Yeah I did see them last night. The younger one was eating up a storm. I don’t think she had in a couple of days.”

“Did you happen to hear what they were talking about?”

“The older one was saying she was going to protect her. And something about not letting him hurt her. They didn’t say anything else.”

“Ok; did you happen to see which way they went after they left?”

“They walked up to the next block.”

“Thank you.”

She walked out to see Raven leaning against the building.

“Hey…” He began

“Hi. What are you doing here?”

“I came to help. And don’t you start with you want to do this alone. Will one more pair of eyes or another brain hurt?”

“No, but most of the time I do work better alone.”

He smirked as she sighed and signaled for him to follow.

“I saw you talking to one of the servers. Did she see your sister last night?”

They had started walking up a block.

“She did. The girl with her is named Cassidy. She’s Damien’s little sister, they were close and I don’t know what changed now for her to leave.”

“Whatever it was Tonya knew to take her away someplace safe.”

She nodded as they continued to walk down the street. Sebastian parked across the street from the crime scene. The bright yellow tape blocked off the scene the cars were still there, it didn’t look like the crime scene unit had come to collect evidence. They walked up to the tape and began looking around.

“Looks like a rag was stuffed into both gas tanks and ignited somehow.” He commented

“I don’t see any footprints, so this must have been done from somewhere in the area.” Rae paused

He came up behind her.

“Let’s go into the park and see if we find anything.” He suggested

“Ok.”

In a quick move he picked her up and leaped into the air. They flew over the crime scene and landed in the park. He put her down and they started walking, half way down they stopped to see some of the ground was disturbed and marked off with crime tape. They walked further up and stopped.

“There are signs of a struggle.” He commented

“And three sets of footprints.” She added

“What the bloody hell are you two doing here?” Melanie asked

They turned to see her and Raven walking up to them.

“It was my idea Melanie. We thought two pairs of eyes couldn’t hurt.” Rae replied

“Great minds think alike.” Raven chimed in

Melanie sighed and Raven took a step to the side.

“Alright; what did you find out?” She asked

“The cars on fire were a diversion. And there was a struggle here.” Sebastian replied

“Damien must have caught up to them. Probably tried to get them to go with him.” Raven added

“I thought vampires couldn’t be out in the sunlight.” Rae said interrupting them

“If well covered we could, but it’s not something we bloody do all the time.” Melanie snapped

“Easy there killer.” Rave whispered

“Who is the girl with Tonya?” Sebastian asked

“Cassidy, Damien’s little sister.” Melanie paused; “Me, her, and Tonya were close when we were traveling with the family. On separate occasions.”

“Where would she go with Cassidy?” Rae asked

“I would think either the club or home.” She replied

“My parents opened the club and they haven’t called.” Sebastian continued

“And if she did go home Faith would have called.” Raven added

Melanie sighed, “I’m going to keep looking. Thank you for helping.”

She blurred, Rae was about to go after her, but Raven shook his head.

“Now she really wants to work alone.” He said

“So now what?” Rae asked

Both men shrugged and Rae sighed. They began walking in silence hearing the noises of the city echoing around them.

“Excuse me! You’re about to walk into the middle of a crime scene.” A female voice shouted

They looked up to see they were standing near the car fires. The female officer, looked to be in her mid-thirties, dark complexion, brown eyes, and black hair tied back into a ponytail. She guided the three around scene.

“Before you go. Were any of you here when this incident happened?” She asked

“No officer.” They said together

“Well let’s keep it moving young lady and gentlemen. Aren’t you Rae Turner?”

Rae stopped dead in her tracks and turned with a smile on her face.

“I am.” She replied

“This certainly makes my night. I love your work.” The officer continued

“Thank you, Officer Helms.”

“Well you all have a good night.”

They waved and turned walking towards Sebastian’s car.

“Well that was anti-climactic…” Rae commented

“And to think we would’ve been responsible for disturbing a crime scene.” Raven added

Sebastian’s phone rang and he stepped away from Raven and Rae to take the call.

“How long have you and Melanie been together?” She asked

“Almost forty years; she might put up a tough face for some, but she can be sweet sometimes.” He replied

“I guess around you. The rest of us, she looks like she’s ready to kill someone.”

He laughed, brushing a piece of hair behind his ear.

“It’s not just me; she and Tonya are very close. They don’t feel each other’s pain, but they do sense when the other is in trouble.”

Sebastian returned putting his phone into his back pocket.

“What’s up?” Rae asked

“That was Adam. He analyzed the potion Phil brought back, it’s nothing powerful. It’s just a stun gas, paralyzes your enemy long enough for you to get away.” Sebastian continued

“Interesting; usually they’re armed with some heavy duty potions.” Raven commented

They got into the car and Sebastian began driving. Rae started feeling the sharp pain in her head. She began rubbing the sides of her head again.

“The headaches starting again?” Sebastian asked

“Could you take me to the hotel where Charlotte and her family stayed at? I just have a feeling.” She replied

He nodded and she smiled. They pulled up in front of the hotel; Rae got out and walked inside towards the elevator. She took the elevator up and to the roof. Stepping off the elevator, she saw the door being held open with a wooden wedge. She walked through and saw Melanie sitting on the ledge of a small chimney.

“How did you find me?” She asked

“I just followed my instincts. You don’t have to feel like you failed.” Rae replied

“I know; I think I’m being hard on myself.”

Rae smirked, “I wasn’t going to say it.”

Melanie sighed as Rae climbed up sitting next to her.

“You really remind me of her so much.”

“Thanks. And maybe you’re thinking too hard. It happens to me all the time, and when I stop thinking about it; the answer suddenly comes.”

“Maybe; are you ready to meet the council next weekend?”

Rae sighed and looked up at the clear night sky. She turned to Melanie with a smile.

“I think so. But I’ll think that I’ll be more nervous that night.”

“Don’t be; they might be stern at times, but that’s because most of them were former political figures; senators and congress members.”

She offered Rae a half smile.

“He really cares about you. And it’s nice to see him happy again.”

“It’s weird. I never thought I’d care about someone that much. Compared to all the losers in the past, flipping my celebrity world on its head was a blessing.”

Melanie laughed, putting her arm around Rae. She gasped at first, but then decided to enjoy the moment. ‘Don’t spoil it…” She thought.

“What are you going to wear next weekend?” Melanie asked

“I’m not sure. Is it really that fancy?” Rae replied

Melanie shook her head.

“It’s not fancy. Maybe we could go to this shop I know that most of the coven members go to. How about tomorrow night?”

“Sounds like fun. It’ll be a nice change from well-known designers sending me things to wear. I was never a fan, but since becoming famous.”

“It must be annoying.”

They laughed and Rae hopped down.

“I’d better get going. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“I’ll pick you up after sunset.”

Rae waved and made her way back. She got into Sebastian’s car and nodded for him to go.

He started the car and began driving.

“Everything okay?” He asked

“Yeah and the headaches are finally gone.” She replied

“Good. My mom texted me and would like us to stop by the club.”

“Alright…”

They pulled up a block away from the club and headed inside. Lisa and Chris were seated at the bar as Sebastian, Rae and Raven walked up to them.

“Hello.” Lisa said

“It’s nice to see you again Mr. and Mrs. Masters.” Rae replied

“You too Rae; come upstairs to the office, Chris is waiting for us.” She replied

Raven sat down at the bar, while Lisa led them upstairs and into the office. Chris was seated behind the desk as they walked in, Rae and Sebastian sat on the couch.

“To start Sebastian, we’re not angry with you because working with Tonya and Melanie brought Rae here. We know the attacks are becoming more frequent, but thankfully controlled. Next weekend the council is coming and we wanted to see what arrangements you’ve made.” Chris explained

“Is there anything else needed?” Lisa asked

Sebastian sighed in relief and then collected himself.

“Melanie updated the club’s website, Facebook page to let the regular patrons we’re hosting a private party. The far right hand corner of the club, tables will be put together to meet with the council. Synthetic blood has been ordered and will be delivered by Friday. And the masks are going to arrive on Monday.” He said

“Excellent; now I don’t think the council will be angry that Rae hasn’t been turned. Don’t worry; no one is going to force you. But time is against us and at some point this war will escalate.” Lisa continued

“I understand.” Rae whispered

“Good.” Christ chimed in

“We apologize for interrupting your evening.” Lisa explain

“It’s alright.” Sebastian muttered under his breath

He and Rae stood up, the door opened and they walked. Walking downstairs she took his hand into hers and his stern face lightened slightly. Raven caught up with them leaving the club.

“What happened?” He asked

“It feels like we have a deadline.” Rae replied

“They wanted to make sure everything was in order for next weekend.” Sebastian added

“What’s the deadline?”

“To be turned…” Rae paused; “I’m not ready.”

All of them got into the car and Sebastian began to drive.

VIII

He dropped Raven off at the mansion and he pulled his car into the garage.

“Rae…” He whispered

She sighed, “Please just leave me alone.”

She got out of the car and texted Phil to come pick her up.

“Can’t we talk?” He asked

Phil pulled up and she got into the car. It slowly pulled away Sebastian growled and then blurred towards his cottage. She leaned back, tears rolled down her cheeks.

“What happened?” Phil asked

“This is becoming too much to handle.” She said through sniffling

“No one said it was going to be easy. But the magic chose you Rae for a reason.”

“Now I think it should’ve chosen someone else.”

“I know you don’t believe that.”

Before she could say something else his phone rang and he picked up. She couldn’t hear what was being said, but then he hung up.

“I don’t know what to believe Phil. Could you take me home please?”

“Of course Rae.”

An hour later they pulled up in front of her apartment building. There was some relief coming home and being able to think. Phil got out of the car and then she heard shouting, she rolled down her window to see the blond and redhead confronting Phil.

“We know she’s in there you dirty dog. Give her up and we’ll spare your life.” Brie commanded

She gasped recognizing the girls from the museum. At first she couldn’t believe that Phil was trying to protect her. She watched him morph as the two witches armed themselves with daggers. Watching him dodge their attacks, something snapped and she stepped out of the car.

“Well look who decided to join the party.” Alison commented

“Made our job a whole lot easier...” Brie added

“Rae, get back in the car!” Phil growled

“No

“Now you can either come with us quietly or do we have to get rough?” Alison asked

Rae didn’t answer as Phil got in front of her growling and exposing his fangs.

“So be it… you royal demon wannabe…” Brie muttered

She ran towards Rae aiming her knife, she began backing up dodging each swing. Phil tackled her to the ground, Brie leaped over them and started coming after Rae. She quickly ducked dodging the shiny blade swinging over her head.

Rae kicked knocking Brie off her feet; Phil flew past her as Alison blasted him with power. She ran over and knelt beside him.

“Phil… Phil... Are you okay?” She asked

“I’m fine.” He said

Before he could get up both girls threw their knives. Phil stood up, but Rae’s eyes widened and the blades stopped an inch from their faces. She flipped the knives aiming it at their attackers and sent them flying. The girls tried to dodge, but the blades quickly cut and they were both covered.

Brie conjured an energy ball and threw it at the knives. Both were destroyed, Phil got in front of her. Both girls conjured energy balls and began throwing them. They leaped out of the way, Rae landed in between two stoops and Phil landed behind a parked car.

She stood up only to duck back down as another attack came flying. Her heart pounded and felt out of breath. Phil appeared beside her and she had to keep calm from not jumping into the air.

“Any suggestions?” She whispered

“I say try to make a break for the car. And I’ll take you back to Sebastian.” He replied

“That sounds a lot better than what I was coming up with. Flash into the car and I’ll be right behind you.”

He morphed back into his human form and quickly flashed.

“Come out mortal! Give up now!” Alison shouted

Rae took a deep breath in and stood up. Brie and Alison were armed with energy balls, the car started, both girls attacked the car. She felt a burst of energy and held out her hands and both energy balls landed floating above her palms.

“What the hell?” Alison gasped

Slowly the energy balls lifted higher and combined into one. Rae threw it and as it gained speed it started shooting out lightning bolts. Both girls didn’t move, but took two potions and threw them on the ground. Smoke filled the entire street and Rae looked all around, but couldn’t see. Someone knocked her down; she stared up to see Brie standing over her.

“It makes me wonder what they see in you.” She paused; “A mere mortal getting involved with a war that those demons don’t stand a chance at winning. You may have your little parlor tricks, but I doubt they’ll help you now.”

Rae watched as she drew another dagger from its sheath attached to her hip. Brie twirled it and before throwing it her arm froze. She tried to move, but her body wasn’t listening. Rae lifted both her feet and kicked her in the stomach sending her flying backwards. The smoke cleared and Melanie appeared Alison was knocked unconscious; she helped Rae to her feet and hugged her.

“How did you know?” Rae asked

“Phil called me. Let’s get you back to the mansion and Faith can check you out.” Melanie replied

“No; you can have her come here. I’m not going back there.”

“Bloody hell Rae, fine. Let’s go inside.” Melanie paused; “Hey Phil! Head home and rest; I’ll get a ride from Faith!”

The limousine pulled away, Rae led Melanie inside and into the elevator.

“What happened tonight?” Melanie asked

“Sebastian’s parents asked us to stop by the club. After discussing the arrangements for next weekend I felt they gave me a deadline to be turned in a vampire. I’m not ready to give up this life, as much of an emotional roller coaster it is.” Rae replied holding back tears

“As council members they’re concerned. But they know, none of us would force you. You have to be ready and you’ll know when the time comes.”

The elevator doors opened and she unlocked her door. She sat down on her bed; Melanie sat on the leather chair in the living room.

“The worst part was Sebastian didn’t even stick up for me. Maybe I rushed into this and it’s finally happened. I lost my mind.” She continued

“He probably felt just as bad as they made you feel. And you didn’t lose your mind Rae. The first time he brought you home, I saw that he was interested in you. You brought him out of a depression that none of thought he’d come out of.”

There was a knock on the door. Melanie signaled for her not to move and got up walking towards the door. Looking through the peephole she saw Faith and opened the door. She appeared beside Rae carrying a small medical bag.

“What happened tonight?” She asked

“Other than a bruise to my ego; two hunters attacked Phil and I tonight.” Rae replied

Faith began checking Rae for any injuries. She noticed a couple of scratches, black and blue marks on her arms.

“You’re a doctor?” Rae asked

“I was a nurse before I started working as a nanny. Good news no serious injuries, I would suggest getting cleaned up and resting.” Faith replied

Rae nodded and walked into her bathroom. The water began to run and Faith walked over to Melanie.

“She got lucky. I’m glad she inherited your powers. But there was something else, I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Do another examination after she gets out of the shower. In case you missed anything.”

Faith nodded as she began looking around the small apartment. Rae came out wearing a long blue plaid night shirt and matching pajama bottoms. Faith walked over to her and began inspecting her body again.

“Did you miss something?” Rae asked

“I thought I did.” Faith replied

She checked Rae’s pulse and other vital signs. Everything came back normal, but she sensed something powerful. It seemed dormant now, but it was there. She shook her head and packed everything back into her bag.

“I would suggest resting tomorrow. And if you’re in any pain a Tylenol will take care of it.” Faith explained

Rae nodded as Faith left. Melanie got up from the chair; Rae sat down on her bed.

“Well I’m off. I’ll pick you up here tomorrow night to go shopping.” Melanie explained

“That’s what I could use tomorrow. Retail therapy...” Rae yawned; “Any new leads on Tonya and Cassidy?”

Melanie shook her head. The door opened as she stood in the entranceway.

“The last shelter they stayed at, they only stayed for three days. No one has seen them. I’m going to keep looking.”

Rae nodded as she climbed into bed and plugged her phone to charge. Melanie shut the door behind her and it locked. She stared up at the ceiling, playing the situation back in her head. Her eyes started to get heavy, but then she heard knocking on her window. She looked over to see Sebastian standing on her fire escape, wearing a long black leather coat.

Quickly she got out of bed and the window opened. He kneeled down as she sat on the floor, arms leaning on the window sill.

“What are you doing here?” She asked

“I came to apologize.” He paused

Their eyes met and she looked at him waiting.

“Rae… I’m so sorry that I didn’t stick up for you while my parents gave a slight lashing. I want you to know that becoming a vampire is your choice. No one is going to force you. I’m so sorry…” He paused

She offered him a half smile, his hand caressed her face.

“Get in here before the neighbors call the police.” She whispered

He climbed through and the window shut, and the blinds came down closing tight. She took him into her arms hugging him tightly. He took his jacket off, revealing a black thermal shirt, blue jeans, and black biker boots.

“I’m glad we’re on the same page. And to think I had a speech prepared.” She continued

He laughed as he took off his shoes and they lied down on her bed.

“I’d like to hear it someday.” He replied

She giggled as he took her into his arms; her head snuggled against his chest. He went to say something, but saw she had fallen asleep. His lips kissed the top of her head, smelling lavender. It’s sweet scent entered his nostrils and he felt calm.

The next day she woke feeling his arms around her. She sat up seeing the apartment looked dark enough.

“Sebastian… is it dark enough for you?” She whispered

He slowly opened his eyes and looked around.

“It’s fine Rae. Come back to bed.” He replied

“Hang on I want to get something to eat.”

She walked into the kitchen, white cabinets line both side. The black and gold granite counters complimented the stainless steel appliances. She went into the cabinet next to the fridge and took out a box of s’mores ‘Poptarts’. The fridge opened along with a cabinet full of cups, a container of milk came out, opened and poured into a glass.

Walking back towards her bed, Sebastian was turned on his side facing the window. She put her glass onto the night table and got back into bed. Her phone floated into her hand as she scrolled through e-mails. She saw one from Sam and opened it. There were to links for two separate websites. Clicking the first one, it brought her to the ‘TMZ’ website. She saw a picture of her and Sebastian.

Rae Turner and Sebastian Masters… possible new romance?” The caption read. Heat rose in her cheeks, Sebastian looked over her shoulder.

“Interesting…” Sebastian said

She nodded in agreement. “New? Yes… The possibility already came true. I hope…” She thought. “Tell me about you Sebastian.” She said

“You already met my parents. We’ve lived here for over forty year. Before moving into the mansion we lived a block away from the hotel where Charlotte’s family lived. My parents were afraid to go out and I was their link to the mortal world, other than newspapers and television. I mean now we have the internet, social media; it amazes me how far we’ve come.” He explained

“To think I only read about it. Most of you lived through it.”

He laughed, “Definitely a different experience…”

She leaned her head on his shoulder and he pulled her closer to him. At the mansion, Melanie sat at Tonya’s desk and was able to find where the text message was being sent from. She was near Central Park and then the signal disappeared. From what she remembered there were apartment buildings and offices. At one point she looked up the address of the shelter they had stayed at and it was in Manhattan.

“Where are you hiding?” She said out loud

“Wow I could never sneak up on you.” Raven replied

She looked over her shoulder; he was leaning against the doorway. He walked up behind her and started to massage her shoulders.

“Have you gotten any new leads?” He asked

“No; and I’m beginning to think she doesn’t want to be found.”

“Don’t say that. There has to be something you’re missing.”

She sighed leaning her head against his stomach. Horrible thoughts began to pollute her mind, but then she gasped and picked up her phone.

“Phil its Melanie. Could you do me a huge favor?” She paused

“What’s up?” He asked

“Could you check out a shelter and track Tonya? Thank you, call me if the trail goes cold and I can pick up where you left off.”

She hung up and yawned. He watched as she lied down on Tonya’s bed and fell asleep; he joined her. In the city, Brie and Alison were running through Times Square and stopped in front of ‘Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum’.

“She couldn’t have gotten that far.” Brie commented

“I’m surprised her and the child are still on the run. You would think they would have tried to go either to the club or their home.” Alison added

“They were at the club and sent me flying. But didn’t stay there long, the place I found them at was that homeless shelter.”

“And now they’re gone. I don’t understand why Damien wants her back so badly.”

“You know he trusts us and Marcus, just as much as we trust him.”

“Good point; let’s get out here. We’ll try tracking them later tonight. She has to go out and feed.”

They started walking and disappeared without disturbing anyone walking by. At Rae’s apartment, she sat at her desk answering an email from Andrea Campbell. Sebastian had fallen asleep and she didn’t want to disturb him. Besides with the new exhibit coming up there were a few things to finish.

Hello Andy. It still amazes me that everything is falling into place. I should be at the hall on Thursday to start hanging my work. Maybe I’ll see you and RJ there? If not we’ll meet before the show and go over opening statements to the press and guests.” Rae typed and then hit the ‘Send’ button.

“Are you excited about the show?” Sebastian asked

He was standing next to her as she looked up to see him.

“I thought you were asleep. But to answer your question, I am. And I was wondering if you’d like to come.” She replied

He leaned down and kissed her soft lips gently.

“I’d love to come.” He whispered

“Good. I reserved tickets for you, Sam, and Gina. And plus it’s going to be a full moon that night. I’ll need help staying in control and appearing human.”

“You’ll be great.”

“I just don’t want to randomly tackle someone and try to feed on them.”

He picked her up in his arms and carried her back to bed. Laying her down, she loved feeling his weight on top of her. She lifted her arms her head and he pulled off her night shirt and pajama bottoms. He leaned down kissed her lips, parting them with his tongue. Her tongue began to dance with his as her arms pulled him closer to her.

She rolled him onto his back, using her powers to unbutton his jeans; he sat up as she pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it behind her. He held her, kissing her neck and taking her breast into his mouth. She hissed feeling him suck and his tongue, her one hand reached into his jeans and began to stroke him.

He moved to her other breast as she slowly felt him getting hard. Slowly he lied her down; she used her powers to take off his jeans and boxer shorts. A moan escaped her mouth as he entered her and began to move. Her legs wrapped around his waist and she arched her back meeting his thrusts.

They climaxed together and she laid her head on his chest. Catching her breath, she kissed him.

He felt sweat dripping off her body as she wrapped her legs around his.

“Thanks for the vote in confidence.” She whispered

He laughed hugging her. That night she changed into a pair of blue jeans, blood red sweatshirt with a black t-shirt underneath. She slipped on a long leather coat and heeled boots. He came out from the bathroom, dressed and showered.

“I have to get back to the mansion. I know Melanie will take good care of you.” He commented

“I understand. And I think she’s starting to let me in.” She replied

His phone rang and he handed it to Rae.

“I’ll be right down.” She said

“I’m parked right outside.” Melanie replied

IX

They walked out together. He took her into his arms and kissed her lips gently.

“Get a room!” Melanie shouted

Her window of her ‘Porsche’ rolled down. Rae waved and got into the car, Sebastian began walking disappearing down the block.

“Well it’s nice to see you too.” Rae commented

“You’ll learn I have to give him a hard time.” Melanie laughed

She pulled in traffic and started driving. They rode in silence; Rae looked over at her and giggled.

“Now I see why you give him such a hard time. You liked him.” She said

Melanie’s eyes widened, but then she sighed.

“At one point I did. But after coming here, I knew Charlotte had feelings for him. And I’m not the type to ruin true love.”

“Don’t worry I won’t tell Sebastian.”

“Thank you.”

She smiled and continued driving. They pulled up in front of store ‘Wednesday’s Closet’. It’s black exterior with two oil lamps hanging on each end. Melanie got out, Rae followed as they walked inside. Black tiles lined the entire store, racks of dresses and mannequins lined both sides of the store. While dark gray walls peaked out in between. Circular lights were dimmed as the register stood in the center and dressing rooms in the back.

A young girl stood behind the register; pale skin, black hair and brown eyes. She wore a long sleeved red plaid shirt, black tank top underneath and matching pants.

“Melanie what’s up?” She asked

“Hello Amanda. My friend Rae needs something special for this weekend. It’s Dark Palace’s annual masquerade ball.” Melanie replied

“Hey Rae; take a look around, if you see something you like the dressing rooms are behind me and open.” Amanda replied

She began browsing through the numerous racks of clothes. A purple dress with black trim caught her eye. She pulled it from the rack and began to exam it. The skirt was knee length, bell sleeves, and a corset top. Something else caught her eye, a black thick strapped ‘A-line’ gown and she grabbed it and walked back to the dressing room.

Melanie pulled a gown off the rack. It was blue, capped sleeved, and round buttons going up the back.

“I was going to pull that for you.” Amanda commented

“Really?” Melanie asked

Amanda nodded and they walked back towards the dressing rooms. Rae walked out wearing the other dress. Amanda and Melanie nodded in approval.

“I really like this one too.” She commented

“Get both of them.” Melanie suggested

“I could always save the other for another occasion.”

“Good idea. I’ll ring you up when you’re ready.” Amanda chimed in

She walked back into the dressing room and changed into her clothes. Melanie’s phone rang and she heard her talking to someone. Her voice changed as she came out of the dressing, Melanie hung up and turned to see Rae.

“Who was on the phone?” Rae asked

“My Grandparents… they’re coming in from London to the ball this weekend. I just texted Sebastian to let him know.” Melanie replied

“Wow.”

“They would like to meet you. After meeting with the council.”

“Did you tell them about Tonya?”

She nodded, “They were shocked and my mum couldn’t stop yelling and screaming. My mum was very protective of Tonya and me; drove us bonkers and like I said we rebelled in the worst ways.”

“Is your mom coming too?”

“No. Better that she stays there. Believe me…”

Melanie sighed walking into the dressing room. Within five seconds she came back out in her clothes, slipping on her blood red trench coat.

“C’mon let’s go pay.” She said

They walked up the register and paid. She unlocked the trunk and they laid down their dresses. The doors unlocked and they got in.

“Thanks for taking me shopping.” Rae said

“You’re welcome. Are you hungry?”

She nodded as Melanie started the car and pulled away from the shop. Rae’s phone rang and smiled to see Sebastian’s number on the screen.

“Hey you what’s up?” She asked

“Hello beautiful. I came back to the mansion. Did Melanie tell you that her Grandparents are coming this weekend?” He replied

“She did. No pressure right?”

“Right; and you can tell Melanie that Faith is fixing a room for them.”

Rae put the call on speaker.

“You’re on speaker. Tell her.”

“Faith is fixing up a room for your Grandparents.” He repeated

“Good. I’m taking Rae to get something to eat and I’ll take her home.”

“Sounds great. I’ll see you later Melanie.”

“Bye…” They said together

She hung up and put her phone in her lap.

“Any preference on where to go?” Melanie asked

“A dinner would be fine.” She replied

Melanie continued driving until she saw they were close to Times Square. She turned onto a residential block and parked. They got out and began walking.

“There’s a dinner a block from here.” Melanie commented

Rae nodded and followed Melanie.

“Any news about Tonya?”

“Phil is tracking her. Last I spoke to him he was heading towards the Catskills. I don’t know what she’d be doing out there. I just hope she and Cassidy are alright.”

“She means a lot to you and Tonya. Doesn’t she?”

“She’s only twelve and Damien wanted to make her. Tonya and I protected her from him getting any ideas. The other kids… it makes me sick thinking they’re stuck between the mortal ages of thirteen to sixteen.”

They walked into the dinner. White tile ran throughout, the walls were painted a dark green, which complimented the wooden furniture. A young woman, about Rae’s age sat them in a booth.

A server walked up to them, he took Rae’s order and went into the kitchen.

“I heard your joint exhibit with the Campbell siblings on the radio today. Are you excited?” Melanie asked

“Phil is tracking her. Last I spoke to him he was heading towards the Catskills. I don’t know what she’d be doing out there. I just hope she and Cassidy are alright.

They walked into the dinner. White tile ran throughout, the walls were painted a dark green, which complimented the wooden furniture. A young woman, about Rae’s age sat them in a booth.

A server walked up to them, he took Rae’s order and went into the kitchen.

“I heard your joint exhibit with the Campbell siblings on the radio today. Are you excited?” Melanie asked

“I am. It’s also going to be a full moon that night; Sebastian is coming to help keep me under control.” She replied

“Raven and I will also be there. So you have some back up.”

“Wow; I’m slowly building an entourage.”

Melanie giggled as the server brought Rae her meal; a Belgian waffle with whipped cream and strawberries. She began eating, Melanie‘s phone rang, she smiled hearing Raven’s ringtone of ‘Let Go’ by ‘Frou Frou’.

“Hello; I’m at the dinner near Times Square with Rae. If you want to stop by.” She began

She hung up and her eyes lit up to see Raven walking in. He slid in next to her and kissed her.

“Hey Raven.” Rae said

“Hey Rae; I can’t stay long, have to open the club.”

“People come on a Sunday?” Rae asked

“We only stay open until eleven.” Raven replied

“I’m surprised people come out.” She continued

Raven and Melanie laughed as she continued to eat.

“Anyway I’d better get going. I’ll see you later.”

She hugged him tightly, he and Rae exchanged waves as he left. The server brought over the check and Rae went to pay. She came back and left a tip, Melanie followed her out. They started walking towards the car and got in.

“Any suggestions on how to handle the council?” She asked

Melanie thought for a minute. She thought back to when she, Tonya, and Sebastian had to report Catherine, Armand, and Charlotte’s death. It was so difficult and she was worried about Tonya.

“Remain calm; don’t speak too quickly. They aren’t as terrifying as they sound.” Melanie replied

“I’ll try. Sebastian told me most of them are fans of my work. I hate to use my celebrity status to my advantage.”

“You could, but I say stick to your beliefs and what you feel is right.”

Rae nodded and stared out the car window.

“It’s not like we’re throwing you to the bloody wolves. Sebastian I will be there.”

“I know; felt this way even before an exhibit.”

“Must be horrid.”

“I usually calm down after the doors open.”

She pulled up in front of her apartment. The doors unlocked and Rae looked over at her.

“Thanks for the ride home.” She said

“No problem. I’ll see you around.” Melanie replied

They hugged and she got out and took her dresses from the trunk. Once she saw her get onto the elevator, she pulled away joining traffic.

Monday morning she arrived at the studio to pick up Gina. The ‘Escalade’ pulled up and the driver opened the door for her.

“Good morning.” She said

“Good morning thank you for coming with me.” Rae replied

“You’re welcome. I can wait to see them.”

“Mr. Ming always does excellent work. It’s also nice that he lets me inspect everything before transporting them to the hall.”

“Since you mentioned the hall. Mrs. Vega called and wanted to know if you were still coming Thursday to set up your section of the exhibit.”

“I will be there. Hopefully it won’t take me all day, like the first time I showed.”

Gina laughed, “You, me, and Sam ran around with hammers, nails; like chickens without heads. At least have a basic idea and maybe you can work off that.”

“I’m way ahead of you on that.”

“Great. So you and Sebastian…”

Heat rose in her cheeks and she smiled.

“It’s different in a good way. There’s something about him, I feel so comfortable.”

“I’m glad. He is a huge upgrade from those losers that came before him.”

They both laughed, the car came to a stop. She opened the door and walked into Mr. Ming’s custom framing. A young Asian American woman sat behind the receptionist desk. Her long black hair was tied back into a ponytail; she wore a plain light blue dress. Her brown eyes met Rae’s as she and Gina walked up to her.

“Good morning Ms. Turner and Ms. Gina. Mr. Ming is waiting for you in the warehouse. Please follow me.” She began

“Good morning Karen. And thank you.” Rae replied

Karen got up leading Gina and Rae towards the back. She opened a door that lead into a large warehouse, filled with framed work being packed into crates. Mr. Ming was standing by Rae’s collection. He was an older man in his late sixties; short, black hair and brown eyes. He wore a pair of black sneakers, jeans and white polo shirt.

“Good morning Ms. Turner. Your collection is finished, please inspect and see if any changes need to be made.” He said

Gina took out her pen and steno pad from her bag. She followed Rae and she began to look over the frames. The frames were polished dark wood and complimented the photos she had taken in the fall.

“Name plates match the photo.” Rae commented

Gina nodded taking note. She made other commented and Gina made sure to write it down. An hour went by and she turned to Mr. Ming.

“Everything looks wonderful. Can you deliver everything to Vega Hall by Thursday?” Rae asked

“Of course.” Mr. Ming replied

“Great. Then we’re all done here. Thank you Mr. Ming.”

“And thank you Ms. Turner. Karen will get squared away with payment.”

They walked back up to the front desk. Karen was filling out a form and handed to Rae. She took out her wallet and handed Karen the studio’s business credit card.

“Thank you Ms. Turner. I need you to sign by the x and you’re all set.” Karen said

Rae signed and handed Karen the slip. She and Gina waved leaving and were met by the vultures.

“Rae any comment on your new collection?” Someone asked

She didn’t answer Gina came up beside her. They called her name asking questions.

“Are you and Sebastian Masters dating?” That one made her stop before getting into the car.

Before answering she got into the car, Gina shut the door behind her. Heat rose in her cheeks, the voices became muffled letting her focus. The car pulled into traffic, Gina had started to check e-mails and voicemails.

“Mrs. Vega called to confirm for Thursday night.” She commented

Rae was staring out the window smiling. Gina snapped her fingers and she looked over.

“Huh? I’m sorry. Tell Mrs. Vega I’ll be there to set up.” Rae replied

“That last question… struck a nerve didn’t it…?”

“It did. At some point it’ll get out.”

“We could say it was a professional relationship turned into something more.”

“Maybe; the club gets just as much attention as me. I’ve been lucky to keep my love life out of the news.”

Gina nodded, “Don’t worry boss; no amount of money, fancy dinner, or even cute reporter will get me to talk.”

“Thanks Gina.”

She smiled, her phone rang and she answered. Rae felt her bag vibrating, taking out her phone an unknown number flashed on the screen. Tapping the ‘Answer’ button she picked up.

“Hello…” She paused

“Hello Rae its Andy; I’m calling from my studio.” Andy replied

“Hey what’s up?”

“I wanted to know when your collection was going to be delivered. RJ and I didn’t want to disturb you while you set up.”

“It’ll be delivered Thursday. I’m going to be there Thursday night to set up. You and RJ could use the entire day.”

“That sounds like a plan. We’ll see you Saturday.”

“See you Saturday.”

She hung up, Gina was still on the phone balancing her steno pad on her lap; writing down names and numbers. The car stopped in front of her studio, Rae opened the door to be greeted by more flashes and reporters shouting.

They’ve surrounded studio.” Rae sighed to herself and shaking her head

Gina leaned in, “It’s getting close to the exhibit. They’re going to be more aggressive.”

Rae nodded and walked inside, Sam was sitting behind the desk.

“Welcome back. How did everything turn out?” She asked

Everything came out beautiful. How long have they been standing out there?” Rae replied

Sam thought for a minute, Rae went into her office to put her bag down.

“I got here around nine and that’s when I saw the first van pull up. And the crowd grew as the morning went on.” Sam continued

“Jeeze. Could you grab Norma’s Diner menu out of the drawer?” Rae asked

Gina sat down next to Sam and began checking if there were any new e-mails. Sam opened the bottom drawer of the desk and opened the file filled with take-out menus.

“What do want Rae?”

“A short stack of pancakes, well done bacon, and coffee.” Rae called back

She sat down at her desk and turned her computer on. Gina walked in and gave her a stack of mail.

“All these invitations? And bills mixed in, very creative.” Rae commented

“Thank you. You gotta keep it interesting around here.” Gina laughed

“Food has been ordered!” Sam shouted

“Thank you!” They called back

Gina walked out, as Rae began to open her mail. At the mansion Melanie lied awake in bed, staring up at the ceiling. Raven was fast asleep, his arm draped over her stomach. Her phone rang and she reached over to her night table to answer it. The number didn’t look familiar, but she answered.

“Hello…” She said

There was silence, but she heard a rooster crowing in the background.

“Mel…”

“Tonya! Where the hell are you? Are you alright? Where’s Cassidy?” She replied

She slowed down, though she wanted to bombard her sister with a million questions.

“Cassidy and I are safe.” Tonya continued

“Where are you?”

“Didn’t Phil tell you? He tracked us.”

“Why send him away?”

“Because it’s not safe to come back yet. Damien can’t know where we are.”

“Not safe? Tonya you’re mad if you think I’m not going to bring both of you home.”

“Melanie please trust me, I had a vision. If we came back now, it would result in the death of me and Cassidy.”

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