I walked into the open courtyard, the scent of lavender in the air. The sun shown brightly in the early afternoon sky and the weather was comfortable. A table was set up in the middle of the courtyard, fresh tea and croissants laid out for a small brunch. I placed a lock of dark hair behind my ear as I sat down at the table. I took a sip of my freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, savoring the flavor. Ah, the taste of freedom.

 

I began nibbling on a croissant when there was a soft breeze that blew through the courtyard. It took me a moment to realize it was not a breeze, but Luca moving past me at vampiric speed. He appeared in the chair across the table from me, the sun hitting his skin. It was like a thousand small diamonds shining all at once, sparkling as the sun hit them. He was devastatingly beautiful in the daylight and I wondered why he wasn’t outdoors more often. His crimson eyes were full of life and his expression seemed chipper. Normally he was so stoic, but there was something about his demeanor that seemed almost happy. I took a sip of my tea, watching him carefully.

 

“How are you feeling this afternoon Makenna?” He folded his hands together on the table, getting comfortable in his seat. I took another sip of my tea.

 

“I am feeling swell today Luca.” I smiled softly, actually believing in it. It had been a couple of weeks since Luca took me away from Anton and Malta. He brought me to a small town in the Appalachian Mountains, secluded from the World War that was occurring within Europe. Luca was able to move around freely in the daylight, no fear of neighbors being able to see. The past couple of weeks, Luca had left me alone to allow myself to go through a period of emotional healing. He had his maid bring me food and hired a private nurse to make sure that I was healthy. It took some time but the bruises that were left by Anton’s hands finally disappeared and the physical pain was gone. The nurse informed me that physically, I would heal. After the mental and physical trauma I had been through, it would take a while to heal mentally and spiritually. I felt much better today than I had a few weeks prior, but I was still healing. It was going to be a long process, but I had hope.

 

“Your color is much better than it was before. Your soul is healing.” I nodded, taking another bite of my freshly baked croissant. “Your flame is beginning to grow brighter Makenna.”

 

I swallowed my bite, watching him intently. “So, will you finally let me ask you questions about your life?” Luca leaned back in his seat, adjusting his tie.

 

“I do believe it is time for you to learn about my life as a vampire. However, only questions now. Don’t get ahead of yourself on living forever. There are still some things you need to experience as a human before you can be changed into a vampire.” I nodded, understanding his words. I appreciated his kindness to me and his patience. I owed Luca for saving my life. I could wait to be turned into an immortal. There was plenty of time for that now that I was free.

 

“Do you ever feel lonely Luca?” He lifted an eyebrow at my question and it was clear that I caught the vampire off guard.

 

“I was not expecting that to be your first question Makenna.” He paused for a moment, contemplating his response. “Sometimes, yes. But you see, I have stayed with the Geraldi family for hundreds of years now. I have always been surrounded by my loved ones. They are the entire reason I have stayed to protect the Geraldi line. However, it is difficult outliving loved ones. Although the generations always continue, all of my siblings and my parents are dead. It was difficult watching their lives end, but the Geraldi family line continued. I guarded the family for centuries and have never been alone. Also, every so often I shall choose a specific member of the family to turn into a vampire. They are free to do as they choose, but if the family ever needs protection, they always return in order to help. So to answer your question, no, I personally have not been lonely. I do know of some vampires that travel alone, but they always end up finding mates and traveling together around the world.”

 

I finish my tea, pouring myself some more. “What about your vampiric powers? When you were turned into a vampire, what did it do to you physically and emotionally?” I take a sip of my tea, enjoying my conversation with Luca. It is always interesting learning more about him. He is a quite intriguing fellow.

 

“It was three days of hell at first. I do not remember much, just that there was much pain. When I finally came to, everything was heightened. My eyesight was sharper than I could ever imagine. I can see every detail of your face now, every pore, every individual eyelash. And I must admit, you are very beautiful Makenna.” He pauses and I can feel myself flush. “See, there it is. That perfect natural blush you have. Suits you very well my dear.”

 

“You are very flattering Luca.” I smile, feeling confident in my appearance. “Now quit stalling and continue.” He nods.

 

“All of your senses become heightened. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, all of it. Vampires have a bit of a sixth sense when they know danger is near. Something about the predator instincts that makes them more open to these things. A specific few even possess special powers when they become a vampire. A particular trait that was incredibly profound in their human lives, continues on into their vampire lives. There are some who can see the future and hear thoughts. One of your ancestors that I turned, my niece Renata, has the power to defend against physical attacks. It is simply amazing…,” he trails off, lost within thought. Luca snaps out of it, then continues. “Vampires require no sleep and live forever. The only way to kill a vampire is to rip it into pieces and burn them. Otherwise, a vampire shall live for eternity. Vampires are essentially the perfect predator. Everything about me draws in a human. My voice, my appearance, my scent… all because nature wanted us to be the superior beings.” He watches for my reaction as I take in his words.

 

“So vampires are essentially… invincible.” He nods, watching me carefully. I contemplate the vampiric lifestyle. “Now, I know those are the pros of becoming a vampire, but what about the cons? Perfect things do not exist Luca. There is always a downside.” I sip my tea, leaning back in my chair. I enjoy the feel of the sun against my skin, keeping me warm.

 

“There are some downsides, yes. The first downfall is the three day period in which your body changes from human to vampire. It is three days of fire and pain you have never known. But once it is over, you never have to feel physical pain again.” Luca’s eyes wander to my body, noticing how clear my skin has become since he took me away from Anton. “Vampires require blood in order to survive. We feed off of humans, so you shall be taking a human life in order to feed. I have heard of some drinking out of blood bags stolen from hospitals and there are very few who actually feed from animals. However, feeding from humans is the most common way and honestly, is the most nutritious for us. You’re drinking directly from the source. There is something about the draining of a life force that puts you over the edge…” He trailed off, and licked his lips, almost as if it was out of his control. My heart sped up a bit as I realized that I’d have to kill a human in order to survive. I never gave much thought to harming another human being, unless you included Anton. I wonder, if I were a vampire, if that would be different. I most likely would since vampires seem to be run by their animal instincts.

 

“So I would have to kill people. Is that why some vampires feed off of animals? Because they would feel guilty?”

 

“Yes, you are correct. It is not because it tastes better, because nothing tastes better than blood directly from the source. Animal blood is tainted and doesn’t taste the same. Vampires have strong predator instincts. Just like the senses, vampires are also capable of strong emotions. That may be a downfall because you feel emotional pain stronger than you would as a human, but you can also feel emotions such as happiness and love, stronger than you would have ever imagined. So that is a pro and con within itself.” Luca adjusts in his chair, but it seems forced, as if he didn’t have to but he did out of habit.

 

“What else would I have to worry about?” I finish my tea and Luca snaps his fingers. A maid quickly appears and cleans up after my meal. Once she is gone, Luca answers my question.

 

“You cannot go out into public during the daylight hours, for humans will see your skin sparkling. You also can’t live in one place for too long because the humans will start to notice if you haven’t aged in twenty years time. Life can become a bit repetitive if you try to live like a human. Another disadvantage is cleaning up after your meals and not getting caught. You don’t want to kill too many people, or else you will cause the humans to believe there is a serial killer on the loose. I have had my own issues with that.” I nod, trying to take in the information Luca has shared with me.

 

“So although there are many downsides to becoming a vampire, they are many positives. I believe you personally will flourish as a vampire Makenna. You were born for this. I have watched you as you have grown and you are indeed well suited for this life. Your soul burns brightly, just like a flame. I haven’t seen someone that contains as much passion about life as you do. Your pathetic human husband tarnished your soul Makenna. As a vampire, I believe you can take back what he took from you. You will grow mentally, physically, emotionally. It shall be everything you ever dreamed of and more.” I contemplate his words, my mind full of so many thoughts and feelings.

 

“I do want to take your offer Luca, but there are some things that I need to think through before I decide on anything. You really did give me a lot of information to process through. And there are some things I still want to do as a human.”

 

Luca rises from his chair, running his hands along his suit jacket to flatten it out. He walks over, stopping just a few feet shy of me. “Take as much time as you need, we have all the time in the world.” I smile up at him, his skin sparkling in the sun. He flashes a smile at me and for a moment I realize what he is finally talking about. He is the perfect predator, and I want to be too. No one can hurt me again and I can be the strong, independent woman I know that I really am.

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