“Thought you could get away from me? How adorable…”
Cressida stopped pacing to stare at Michael through the cage bars. Her long legs were wrapped in black leather today. Her top was sleek: pure white, tightly wrapped around the chest, with flowing bell sleeves that puffed slightly at the shoulders. Her feet bore new Steve Madden black heels with miniature black spikes, glinting in the light from the doorway. A sparkling diamond chain accentuated her slender waist.
“I chose to stay.”
“And why would you bother to do that?”
To save her. “To be by your side.”
“Oh come now…”
“No it’s true!” It’s a lie.
“Why would you want to be by my side, child? I plan on killing you. You have no reason to want to remain here with me.”
“I do. You’re my mother. I see the error of my ways, my mistake in killing Amelia. I realize now that you know what is best, and I beg of you to spare me and let me serve you.” Lies, all of it.
“Aww, isn’t that just sweet as pie…” Cressida stopped in front of his cage and hunched down. She tapped the top of his cage with a well-manicured hand. “You think you can appeal to my sense of ‘motherhood’, do you?” She smiled wickedly. “Charming. Absolutely charming…”
“Please. Let me prove to you that I can be loyal.”
Cressida slammed her hand down on the cage. “Liar! I don’t believe you!” She snarled and stood up, walking away and out the door.
Michael sat in his cramped enclosure, focusing on letting the tension ease out of himself. Lying to Cressida was a risk he had to take. He had to convince her that he was on her side, that she could trust him. Perhaps then he could get close enough to change things. Maybe then he could find a way to flip this situation on its head.
No matter what the personal cost to himself, he would keep Celie safe.
* * *
Cressida couldn’t believe that Michael would try to play that card.
Son. Child. Mother. She wanted to rip his head right off his shoulders.
It had been decades, centuries since she thought of him that way. In the beginning, after she had been made, she had forgotten all about her children. Amelia had dominated her thoughts, waking and dreaming. Once Amelia died, the memories of her permeated every facet of Cressida’s brain. There was simply no room for any memories of her former life.
Learning that Michael was responsible for Amelia’s death made room for new memories, though. These new memories were focused on revenge and death – his death. She spent years focused on nothing but his demise. Now here he was, trying to rebrand himself upon her.
What insanity… It was a mockery to everything she held dear.
Cressida needed a change of pace. While slightly intrigued by it, she was frustrated at Michael’s inability to break. She decided it would be a good time to get the creative juices flowing.
She was hungry and needed a night out.
Having reached the top of the stairs leading away from the basement, Cressida strode with a purpose towards her main hall. At a forked end in the corridor, she turned right and then left, easily traversing the maze of hallways. All at once, it opened wide into the vestibule, her heels clicking on the marble flooring as she left the hall carpet.
Within seconds, Holden was peering around a corner on her right. “Yes, madam?”
“I wish to go out tonight. You’ll see to it, won’t you?”
“Of course, madam.”
Cressida nodded and waved her hand. Holden disappeared back to wherever it was that he had come from. She didn’t care; she only cared whether he was going to do as she asked, and he always did.
All of her progeny did what was asked of them.
* * *
Francois returned from his outing across town. He had been to visit an old friend and spent the evening reminiscing. He didn’t bother pulling into the garage; he simply left his car right out front.
One of her other lackeys can put it away.
Truth be told, it was nice to have gotten away from Cressida for a change. He’d had his fill of her incessant bitching and whining about this Michael Hawkins. Enough was enough. She had him in her basement; she should have just killed him and been done with it. Indeed, her need for a long, drawn-out torturous revenge was unbecoming of a madame.
Francois could easily admit that Cressida was no longer the woman he knew, the one that had persuaded him to become a vampire. Oh, he remembered her initial offer: everlasting life, love eternal. She had promised him the opportunity to experience the world and everything it had to offer without fear of death or disease. War wouldn’t have a place in his life anymore.
Yet it was more than these promises that had made him swoon. It was Cressida herself that ensnared his heart and drew him in. The Cressida he had known was vibrant and seductive, confident and unafraid. She lured him in like a spider with a fly, weaving a web of lies and trapping him with her beguiling and intoxicating ways. He had fallen in love with her, with her deceit, and it was only after she sired him that he noticed how wrong he was.
That’s when the flirtations began.
He developed love affairs with men and women alike, eager to explore his new vampire self and seek out pleasure in all its forms. He formed relationships and feasted on casual flings. Nothing was off-limits, and he relished the freedom he had found. He would be beholden to no one, save his sire when she called.
And call she did. She regularly intervened in his love affairs, and there were times she even killed his lovers. No one was permitted to get close to him. He belonged to her. She owned him. If she couldn’t get him to love her and only her, he would have no one.
Francois witnessed several lovers experience death at the hands of Cressida. She was an expert in delivering pain, both physical and mental. Those few who escaped death were left scarred both inside and out for the rest of their days.
Still a little tipsy from the high blood alcohol content in his last victim, Francois crept into the house and over to the staircase. As he headed up, each step he took was one closer to what he desired. He reached the top of the steps and went right. As he moved down the hall, he checked behind himself several times, carefully keeping an eye out for her.
No surprises this time.
He reached the final door, dark walnut-colored wood, and he knocked. After a moment, it opened, and his lover was standing there to greet him. There was no waiting; Francois pushed his way into the room, reaching for them and kissing them. The door shut behind him, and he smiled into his lover’s kiss.
“You can’t be here.”
“Yes I can, and I am, mon coeur.”
More kisses. Francois began stripping his lover of their shirt, ripping the buttons and sending them flying across the room. Their tinkling sounds echoed back to him as he pressed kisses down his lover’s neck and across their collarbone. Their natural scent of pine, sea salt, and spices permeated his senses and caused him to nip at their skin. His lover’s laughter surrounded him with warmth. He felt their hands on his body, sliding up and underneath his shirt, and he relished the feel of their fingertips and palms pressing into his flesh. Francois pulled back to look into their icy blue eyes.
“Let me take you to bed.”
“Nyet. We can’t. Not here.”
“Please, mon amour. I must have you.”
Dmitri sighed. “And I would love to be had, but we cannot.”
“Why not? Why are we enslaved to her whims? We are vampires; we are free!”
“We are hers, lyubov (love). She made us. We are bound to her.”
“Goddamnit, Dmitri! Je t’aime!” (I love you!)
“Ya tebya lyublyu (I love you), Francois.” He kissed him deeply, so much so that Francois felt Dmitri’s pain stabbing at his own heart. “But we cannot be. Not yet.”
“When, mon coeur? When?” Francois felt tears in his eyes. “J’ai besoin de vous…” (I need you…) He hated this. He needed to hear him say it. He needed his love to tell him when – when could they be together?
“One day. Soon. I promise.”
Pas assez bon. (Not good enough.) The intensity of his sudden anger startled even him. Francois pulled back and slapped Dmitri, hard. “Don’t make a promettre (promise) you can’t keep.”
With that, Francois stormed out of the room, letting the heavy wooden door slam shut behind him.
* * *
Cressida approached the nightclub like a model walking the runway. The neon sign outside cast the intimidating Latin bouncer in pinks and purples. The line to get in wrapped around the block, but she didn’t need to wait. As soon as the bouncer caught her in his sights, he unclipped the rope and let her pass, admiring the view as she walked by. She disappeared inside.
Inside the doorway, music thundered in her ears like waves crashing against a cliff wall: rhythmic, melodical, and ferocious. The darkness of the club was intoxicating, sultry and tantalizing, with little corners to hide in and commit dirty little deeds. Stage lights of varying colors criss-crossed the dance floor in the center, while bodies writhed and gyrated in-time with the music. The bar on the right was packed with patrons ready for drink, eager to sate their thirst.
Cressida steadily walked past the numerous bodies that stood along the entryway, each one pausing in conversion to gaze at her with lust; she was a feast for the eyes. She had changed into a glittery silver mini-dress, one that barely grazed her thighs at the bottom and draped low at the top, exposing most of her decolletage. Her arms were bare, save for a solid silver cuff on her left wrist. Her hair was twisted up and tousled out at the top, and a pair of large sterling silver hoops dangled from her ears. On her feet were bright silver heels with a strap around each ankle.
She could feel their heartbeats increase in tempo as she passed them, especially the men. Their pheromones were filling her nostrils, and she inhaled deeply, pleased by the scent. The women were equally aroused, and Cressida smiled, excited by her prospects.
Once she reached the open interior of the club, she didn’t stop. Cressida became a tigress, stalking her prey and moving with purpose. She reached the dance floor and moved into the crowd of bodies, letting the colors and lights dance over her body and shimmer. She began to move to the beat, swaying her hips and raising her arms higher and higher until they were overhead. Like clockwork, her first potential meal came to the ready.
A gorgeous tan woman, with long, dark hair and wearing a tiny black dress with red heels, came up behind her and began swaying with her. Their bodies slid against one another, and Cressida could feel her prey’s heat from behind. She eagerly pressed herself into the woman, and the woman responded by sliding her hands about Cressida’s hips, pulling her backwards to hold her closer.
It wasn’t long before they had caught a man’s attention. Trim, well-dressed, and handsome, the Asian man presented himself by making eye contact from across the floor. Eager to retrieve what he believed was automatically his, the attractive man approached Cressida from the front and began to grind against her. He reached up and splayed his hand around her throat, sliding his fingers around her neck and into her hair to pull her face closer. His other hand found her waist and slid down and around her backside, gripping her cheek tightly. Cressida smiled suggestively for him – she liked it when her prey thought they were in control.
They continued like this for a while, locked in this dance of seduction until Cressida’s hunger got the better of her. She leaned forward and whispered in the man’s ear. He immediately took her hand and began to lead her off the dance floor. She turned and looked into the woman’s eyes, then took her hand and pulled her along, the woman following willingly. The three of them found a dark corner of the nightclub, with a circular booth and slid into it, with Cressida taking the middle.
The man began first, leaning back and undoing his pants. Cressida put her hand on his length and began to stroke and pump him, leading him to lean his head back and close his eyes. He took his free hand and immediately pushed his way across her thighs and into Cressida’s nether region, roughly penetrating her with his fingers to thrust in and out. Cressida spread her legs wider to gain deeper fulfillment.
Then Cressida turned toward her female companion and touched her thigh. The woman allowed her legs to part and Cressida took the invitation. She slid her hand up the woman’s thigh and into her folds, slipping two fingers inside her warmth. The woman closed her eyes and bit her lower lip, also leaning her head back to focus on the sensations. Her right hand reached up, then down into Cressida’s dress, kneading and pinching the nipple of Cressida’s left breast, while taking her left hand and rubbing against herself, heightening the pleasure Cressida provided.
The three of them pleasured each other this way until the man and woman were near to completion. That was the moment when Cressida struck. First, she brought the woman to orgasm, letting her come and knowing the moment would last long enough to take care of the man. Cressida released her and turned her focus on the man, who was panting and coming to the brink. She continued to pump him, up and down, up and down, as she climbed on top of him, then sank herself down onto his shaft. Startled, the man opened his eyes to find Cressida face to face with him, staring into his eyes as she began to ride him. He smiled at her as she leaned over his neck, kissing and sucking on his skin. Without warning, she bit down, riding him to fruition as his blood flowed into her mouth. She felt his momentary panic and smiled into his open wound as she drained him dry.
After he was finished, Cressida relinquished him and turned her attention back to the woman, who was just beginning to come down from her orgasmic high. Cressida climbed off the man and across the seat to lavish kisses on the woman. Cressida began to touch the woman again, intimately caressing her and encouraging the woman to return the gesture. As the woman touched her and encircled her, pushing multiple fingers inside of her, she felt her own orgasm about to erupt. In a moment, she was biting the woman, coming against her fingertips and blood flowing down her throat. The woman flinched and tried to pull away, but Cressida had her tightly in her grip.
Within moments, the woman was dead, and Cressida was leaving the darkness of the booth with two bodies draped in it.
* * *
Dmitri watched as Cressida came home in her silver Mercedes. The sleek little sedan pulled up and stopped in front of the entrance, and she came climbing out. As she walked up to the front door, Jonas nodded and opened it for her.
Even from his room on the second floor, Dmitri could sense the smug satisfaction of a recently fed mistress. There was something in her walk that always gave her away. Even still, her face had a rare genuine smile on it, and he knew she had just come home from a tryst. He turned from the window and went back to his bed.
He missed Francois.
Lying down, he rested his head on his pillow, putting one hand back behind his head and underneath it. Dmitri tried to rest, to relax, but after the visit from Francois, he simply couldn’t. One day he would make things right, and Francois and he would be together, but right now that felt like a lifetime away.
He wished that he could get the right words to explain this to Francois. He knew that Francois understood that Cressida would kill them if she found out, but lately, it seemed like he didn’t care. Dmitri still did, though. He didn’t want to become a martyr for any of her progeny. He wanted a full long life with Francois by his side.
Dmitri rolled onto his side and imagined Francois there. He reached out, pretending as if he was touching his arm. He imagined his beautiful eyes and just staring into them, simply losing himself in the amazing eyes of his lover.
But those eyes haunted him.
The slap had been intense. He hadn’t imagined such a response from Francois, but he’d gotten the impression that a little alkogol (alcohol) was involved. Not that he minded; it was just an unexpected reaction. Albeit, Francois’ emotions were on full display, and when a Frenchman was emotional, it was best to expect anything.
Dmitri sighed. One day, he would see Francois’ eyes shining only with love, not tormenting him as they did now. He just hoped that it was sooner rather than later. He hoped that they would be able to get out from underneath Cressida’s thumb and be truly free.
Dmitri closed his eyes and attempted to sleep, hoping to be plagued by dreams of freedom.