“Makenna, come in here. There is someone we would like you to meet.” I made my way down the hallway of the house, humming softly to myself. As I entered the dimly lit living room, I was taken aback by a young man sitting amongst my family. I ran a hand through my hair, trying to smooth down the soft waves that cascaded down my back. As I entered, the young man and my father rose from their seats, greeting me. There was a moment of silence, then my father spoke.

“Makenna, we would like you to meet Anton Bartoli. His father owns the harbor and is very wealthy. Anton is going to join the army and once he is out, he shall continue his father’s work.” I remain silent as my father does his introduction of the boy, Anton. This is not the first time my father has had me meet with young men. Although arranged marriages were not common, it was common for families to marry in order to promote their social status, hence why women were married with a dowry. My father tried on multiple occasions to have me marry a young man from a wealthy family in order to help our family’s social status and wealth. Recently he was getting impatient with me for not choosing a suitor. I was already within my early twenties and he was afraid that if I waited any longer, I would not get married at all. I assured him multiple times that it was not true, but he denied all my claims. No one opposed my father, no matter how much they wanted to. My mother was no help against him, for she was his wife and had to obey all of his orders.

“Anton, this is my daughter Makenna.” I held out my hand, Anton gently taking it and pressing his lips to my sensitive skin. My heart rate sped up and I could feel myself flush ever so slightly. Although I preferred picking my own future husband, I do admit that he was quite a handsome fellow.

“Pleasure to meet you Miss Geraldi.” I smile softly as he places his hands into his pockets.

“Call me Makenna. Please to make your acquaintance Anton.”

My father stepped forward, lifting his chin to appear more superior to us. “Now that you both have officially met, it is time you both go out on a proper outing. Tomorrow night, Anton you will pick up my daughter and take her out to have a proper meal. You will have her back by nine o’clock, not one minute later. If you are late and do not bring her back safely, you will regret it.” My father eyed him carefully, and my mind drifted off momentarily to Luca. Although he would not admit it, I have heard rumors that Luca has killed for my family before based on a simple request. I would take his threat seriously if I were Anton.

Anton nodded in agreement and my father walked him out of the house. I sighed softly, not sure how I felt about being given away to a man I just met. It was becoming taboo to be in an arranged marriage, but the only thing my father cared about was our social status. In order to keep the Geraldi family name pure and of high status, we had to marry into wealthy families, no matter the cost. A small part of me knew my mother did not agree with these terms since she had also been arranged to marry my father. However, she was a weak soul and would not stand a chance against him.

“Father, must I go on a date with this fellow? I wish to choose my own husband in the future, when I am ready to be married.” My father stepped forward angrily, his face inches from mine. He grabbed onto my upper arm, squeezing it tightly. His voice lowered and his pupils dilated.

“You do as I tell you Makenna. This is the last time I am setting you up with a suitor. If you do not marry him, there shall be consequences.” He let go of my arm, a small throbbing sensation lingering from his touch. I kept my eyes down, not wanting to anger him any further.

“Yes father. I will do as you say.” He glared at me and I was vaguely aware of my mother on the sofa, a small look of worry in her eyes. I bit my tongue, not wanting to defy my father anymore. I retreated to my bedroom, resisting the urge to slam the door. Although I obeyed my father, I did not want to do as he asked. I did not want to marry someone he chose for me. I did not want to be a stay at home wife either. I wanted to go out and explore the world. The life I was currently living was not what I wanted.

I walked over to my bedroom window and opened it. My room was so close to the ocean that you could hear the soothing sound of the tide coming in. As I gazed out the window, I noticed a statue-like structure leaning against a tree. Leaning forward slightly to see the structure better, I realized it was Luca. He watched me carefully and I stepped back from the window, my heart beating quickly. Something about the way he watched me made me feel eerie, almost as if he was waiting for something. If only he could get me out of this arrangement.

As I got ready for bed, I thought about Luca and his life as a vampire. If only there was something he could do to save me from all of this...

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