"Rayner! I know you're in there, now open the door before I get bloody sunburn and-"
Rayner sprinted to the door and swung it open to reveal a beautiful black haired woman standing in the centre holding five plastic bags in each hand and two in her mouth. I sniffed the air and the stench of human blood ran through my nostrils.
"Oh, you have company! Perhaps I should leave and let you two finish up?" She placed the bags on the floor and turned to leave.
"No, no," I said quickly. I didn't want her to get the wrong idea. "I- we- we-"
Rayner and the woman began laughing.
"I'm kidding, love. I'm Rayner's wife, Stella."
She picked the bags back up and dumped them in the kitchen, Rayner followed her closely. I looked away, it bugged me seeing him like that over her, he looked scary and overly- protective or posessive. Not my type of man at all. I heard them giggling in the kitchen and covered my ears. Listening into couples doing who knows what was not my thing. I pretended to take in my surroundings and browse across certain ornaments as they came in. I was mesmorised in a crystal swan.
"You like my ornaments?" Stella asked from behind me.
I don't like you though, I thought automatically and then kicked myself. I didn't even know her and I had no right to jump to conclusions, it was just the vibe she gave off, to me, it wasn't a pleasant feeling but that may have been because she was still recovering from her torture period.
"Yes, they are very beautiful. Where did you get the swan?" I smiled warmly at her.
"Another sucker- I mean soul, is captured by the beauty and grace of the swan."
I had no idea what that meant. The only possible translation I could think of was that a lot of people like the swan but what did that have to do with me being a sucker or where she got it from?
I just smiled at her to be polite. Rayner left the room and returned with three tubs of blood and threw one at me. I caught it. They each opened theirs eagerly and gulped down half the blood. I just looked at mine, I refused to drink human blood.
"Relax, love." Stella said, licking her lips. "No humans died, it's all donations from the hospital."
"I am sorry but I cannot drink human blood, at all. Whether they are dead or not."
Stella was obviously insulted but took the blood back and slammed the back door and did not return.
"I- I didn't mean to-"
"No worries young Ava, if you did not tick her off, I would have."
"No, you-"
"I mean it, I would have. She is increasingly irratating."
"Oh." I did not know what else to say.
I looked around the living room again as a distraction from the smell of the blood that Rayner was again drinking. He put the tub in the kitchen and offered to show me around the rest of the house since Stella was no longer around to do it. I accepted purely to get away from the blood; I was getting hungry and as well practised as I was, not even I could resist the temptation of human blood for long.
Rayner held his arm out in gesture for me to go first. Always the gentleman. He showed me the kitchen which was a fair size and of course gleaming, he and his wife's bedroom but he didn't invite me inside and the bathroom which was sparkling and pure white and my room for the night. It was quite cute and cosy; a deep, dark red on the walls and a low wooden bed in a red matching the wall colour with a white rug and thick black curtains to keep the sun out.
"I hope this will do."
"Yes, it is perfect! Thank you,"
"Stella is returning, she'll bring you some clothes for tomorrow and a night gown for tonight."
Rayner left and closed the door before I could say 'thank you' again. I would never understand him, sometimes he could be terrifying and other times he could be almost nice or at least, he behaved enough for me to talk to him and then BAM, he's back to being as hard as a brick. Men.
Stella knocked on my door and entred without waiting for a welcome, I knew it was her house and I was the guest but I found that rather rude.
"Here you go love," She plopped on my bed, a white night gown and a pair of jeans and a white shirt. "The jeans and shirt are for the trip tomorrow, it will help your case if you look smart but I want them back so try not to spill any blood on them because it's murder to get out. You can keep the night gown though, I don't need it and don't worry, I've never worn it."
Her wearing the night gown was the least of my worries. I was more worried about what was going to happen to me tomorrow.
"Miss-" It occured to me I didn't know her last name.
"Call me Stella, please."
I was disappointed, I wanted to discover Rayner's last name but to be polite, like I was raised, I smiled at her again.
"Stella, what will happen to me tomorrow?"
Stella's face changed. Her features became stronger and sharper, she narrowed her eyes and I heard a growl at the back of her throat.
"What would make you assume that I knew what happens there?"
"N- well, you're the wife of one of the most powerful and well respected vampires in the Council. I j- just thought-"
"Well you thought wrong then didn't you, little girl?"
I started to believe some of Rayner's personality had tranfered to her. I suppose that was what happened when you were with someone for over a thoudsand years.
Stella went crazy, she pushed me on to the bed and jumped on top of me.
"If you ever, ever bring that place up to me again, I'll have you killed like Frankenstein! That's right, I can do that."
She bit me! What was with this couple and biting? I wondered but I screamed, her strike hurt a lot.
"What is going on?" Rayner yelled.
I heard him before I saw him. The door slammed open and his growl sounded through the room.
"She cheeked me, honey! This little girl has no idea who she is dealing with and it's time she learned some manners!"
Rayner wrapped his arms around Stella's waist and pulled her off me.
"Ava, downstairs, now!"
I obeyed him immediately. I sat on the floor in the living room and looked back over the past five minutes. I had done nothing to her, why did she attack me? Fair enough, when Rayner attacked me, I thought it was a slight over-reaction but I deserved it, with Stella, I never even said anything offensive, that I was aware of. I put my hands on both sides of my neck. The side Rayner had bitten had already healed but now but on my left side were two new gaping holes with blood splurting out. I put some pressure on the wounds and grabbed a cloth from the kitchen and wiped the blood from my neck. Was this what humans felt when a vampire attacked them?
Upstairs, I heard Rayner wrestling with Stella and the sound of twinkling glass hit the ground and then a loud bump as Stella hit her body of the ground. Rayner plopped down the steps and came to my aid. He pulled the cloth away and tilted my neck up to get a good look at my neck punctures.
"You will be fine. They are not that deep."
He picked up a clean cloth and drenched it in hot water, squeezed out the excess water and dabbed it gently on my skin.
"I apologise for Stella's behavour. I have no idea what has gotten into her, she has never acted like that before."
"It's OK, sir." I mummbled.
Why I called him sir, I was unsure, it just came out. He seemed to appreciate it thought for he gave me the smallest of smiles and then he pulled the cloth away from my neck and threw it in the bin.
"Your neck has healed."
"Thank you."
"Well, I daresay you have had more than your fair share of incidents tonight, you should go and get some sleep. I will come and wake you up at Sundown. Hurry young Ava, the sun will be coming up soon and I need to search for Stella."
I nodded a little put out. He still wanted to go look for Stella even after she tried to rip my throat out and the way he kept calling me, young Ava or little was very patronising, I did not dare contradict him though, I valued my like far too much. I quickly changed into my night gown and crawled into bed, covering myself with the covers and breathing deeply.
I was in a strangers house whose wife was obviously unstable and he was not exactly stable either, I had no way of contacting my friends back home, I had no idea where I was or what was going to happen to me tomorrow and I had been bitten by two vampires tonight and found one of my freinds dead, I was not in any mood to sleep. I wished I could talk to Lily, she would make me feel better by cracking some joke about how being a vampire did pay off or even Matt making unnecessary sarcastic comments about how I could experience new things such as human blood or the afterlife would be comforting to me.
I played with the edge of the sheets to distract myself. I heard Rayner talking to someone on the phone, I presumed his nutcase of a wife. Then he began pacing and talking to himself. It was distracting and in no way, did it help me sleep. The door knocked around half and hour later and I heard an unknown woman's voice.
A small knock came from my door then.
"Miss Midnight," The new woman poked her head in through the door.
I knew it was hopless to pretend to be sleeping, I could sense that she was very old and very powerful. I sat up slowly.
"Yes, Miss...?"
"Famana." She said.
"Miss Famana."
"Miss Midnight, Rayner and I need you downstairs immediately."
I had no idea who she was but I pushed the covers off me and followed her down to the living room where Rayner was sitting.
"What's going on?"
"Miss Midnight, it would be best if you sat down."
I sat down beside Rayner, fear bubbled in my belly.
"Miss Midnight, there is a problem-" Miss Famana began awkwardly.
No kidding, I wanted to say but I bit down on my tongue.
"The Council has talked it over, and have decided you have to go to The Coldbane Court."
"But that is the court for serious crimes! I have done nothing wrong- Rayner!"
"I have already explained to you, Miss Famana," said Rayner. "That I inspected the body and Ava's scent was not on him. There were a mixture of scents, none of which, I am positive, belonged to Miss Midnight here."
"That matters not! What matters is that Miss Midnight was the one to find the body and therefore is the number one suspect."
"The number one suspect! If Miss Midnight is the killer, I shall walk into the sun!"
I was pleased that he showed such a strong belief in me but at the same time, I sensed him glaring at me and anxiety spread all over my body.
"I will remind you of that fact if we execute her." Miss Famana said happily.
"Execute!" I squeaked. "What do you mean execute? I have done nothing wrong!"
"You will come to the Coldbane Court and present your evidence, details are essential. You should not worry, Miss Midnight, there will be no executions tomorrow, the first meeting is to purely find out your story."
Story? I was telling the truth! Why wouldn't she believe me? I pressed my lips tightly together so not to make a spectacle of myself, it would certainly not help my case but make me look desperate for an escape.
"Yes, ma'am." I said.
"Good. At least one of you show manners."
Her glance flicked to Rayner for a few seconds and then back to me. Rayner's teeth ground together.
"See you tomorrow, Miss Midnight."
"You will be there?" My voice sounded shocked but happy.
Miss Famana turned and grinned showing her fangs.
"Why yes," She said. "I have to be, I am the Judge's Second Hand."
The Judge's Second Hand was another vampire, usually a female, which took notes on the entire trial, re-presented evidence to the entire court in case they missed something and backed up the judge's punishment sentence and suggested the punishment that she thought was appropriate for the case if she diagreed with the judge's decision.
"Goodbye," She said and left the house.
Earlier on, I thought I was terrified but I was very much mistaken, now, I was terrified. There was nothing I could do except sit and stare at Rayner, pleading for him to help me get out of this mess.