Happy Hump Day!
I’m back with regular posts (This is me, probably jinxing myself.)! From now on, I’ll be attempting to post something everyday, or at least average a post a day every week. Ha – we’ll see how that goes. There are definitely enough prompts floating around the internet to keep me going, so here’s hoping I can keep it up!
Today’s comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class prompt series. Videl seems to be on the back burner, at least so far this week. Yesterday, I posted a snippet of The Deal, and today I’ll be posting the next piece in A Vampire’s Bride. Maybe tomorrow we’ll see Videl again with #ThursThreads – we’ll see. Anyway, I’m really liking the shy sweetness between Ariella and Niklaus, but I’m itching for some action (of the violent variety) so I’m really looking forward to a hunting scene. In the meantime, here’s the prelude to the aforementioned hunt. I picked the “Amorous Sightings” prompt, which serves as the general inspiration for the piece.
It’s a bit on the long side, but happy reading!
Of all the weird things I’ve had to get used to living with vampires, sleeping during the day and being awake at night is actually on the harder side. Even though the curtains in the room block out all sunlight, not to mention the extra curtains that hang from the large, four poster bed, it’s like my body knows the sun is out and I should be awake. Normally, I lay awake for a while, with only Niklaus’ soft breathing for company. This time, though, he doesn’t fall asleep right away.
“You really want to go hunting with me?” He turns to me, propping himself up on one arm. Although I’ve gotten more comfortable with him, we hardly ever speak in bed. I find myself enjoying this new casual intimacy, though.
“Yes.” I turn to face him, too, looking up at him from my pillow. My eyes have adjusted to the dark, but he’s still more of a vague figure than a distinct image. “I’ve already told you, I’m not afraid of vampires, remember?”
He chuckles. “I remember. But it’s one thing to be inside the castle, where no one is in danger of being overcome by bloodlust, and another to be near a vampire when they’re hunting…”
“I’ll be careful.” I shift slightly, and the movement causes some of my hair to fall in my face. Before I can move to push it out of the way, I feel his fingertips brush it back. Niklaus can see in the dark, but even if he couldn’t I’m positive he could feel the change in my temperature as the blood rose to my face. He doesn’t point it out, and for that I’m grateful.
His hand falls to rest on the bed between us, and I can’t help but reach out and take it in both of mine. I close my eyes, hoping that at least hides some of my nerves from him.
Despite his tentative reply, or maybe because of it, I’m surprised when he wakes me up earlier than usual the next evening. Usually, he slips out of the room while I’m still asleep, but this time he places a hand on my shoulder and gently shakes me awake.
“Still up for that hunt?” His shape is framed in candlelight, but the curtains are still closed, so the sun is probably only just setting.
“Tonight?” My voice is still groggy – it’s been a while since I’ve slept that well – and a part of me is regretting asking him to take me.
“Yes.” He smiles. “Might as well take you when I’m not that hungry – it’s safer that way.” He gets up from the bed and moves towards his dresser, rummaging for clothes. It’s only then I realize he’s already dressed – in a light, black shirt and matching loose pants tucked into his knee-high boots. He pulls out similar garments from his dresser and hands them to me. “Here. They might fit a bit loose, but it’ll be easier for you to move around in them than in any of your dresses.”
“Thanks.” I slide out of the bed, eying the clothes. When I look up, Niklaus has made himself scarce so I can change. I move quickly, feeling a bit awkward in the too-large clothes. A few moments later, he knocks on the door. “You can come in!”
“Do they fit alright?”
“It could be worse.” I look in the mirror. Even though I’ve tucked my shirt in, I still feel like I’m drowning in the material. It feels too loose, and would likely snag on shrubbery if I wasn’t careful, but a sudden idea strikes me at the sight of my corset. “Pass me my corset, will you?”
For some reason, most of the clothes the vampires gave me had decorative corsets to be worn over the dresses. The plain, black one from the previous night would do well enough. Once it’s on, I feel much better. The sleeves are still loose but there’s little I can do about that. Excitement starts bubbling inside me at the prospect of leaving the castle grounds – even if it is in the opposite direction from my village. I follow Niklaus out of the room, practically bouncing down the hallway beside him.
“I’m glad you’re excited.” He gives me a look I have trouble deciphering, but I think it’s amusement. I smile back, shrugging.
“I’ve been dying to do something other than just wander around here. Besides, if I start going with you on your hunting trips, then I don’t have sit around and wait for you while everyone stares at me uncomfortably.” I shudder at the thought. Even though they were all very well-fed, it didn’t stop the rest of the vampires from looking at me like a potential meal. Again, my words trigger his guilt and he looks away, ashamed. Before he can say anything, though, I keep going, “So do I get a crossbow?”
Something in my tone makes him crack a smile, and he seems much more relaxed. “Yes. Here’s the armory.”
“You have an entire armory?”
He unlocks the door with a key from the ring on his hip. When the door opens, we’re greeted by large storage room. The walls are lined with weapons of all kinds – everything from maces and swords to crossbows and longbows.
“What do vampires need weapons for?” I ask the question, but I don’t really care, too preoccupied by the sight of a crossbow across the room. It looks identical to the one my mother used when I was little – the same one that would be sitting under my bed in my bedroom back home. “This looks just like…”
“It is.” When I turn to look at him, Niklaus looks away. His face is slightly red, and I realize he’s blushing. “I, um, sent word to your village – the council doesn’t know so don’t tell them – and asked your father to send you something from home. It was a bit surprising when the token turned out to be a weapon, but…I’ve been waiting for the right time to give it to you. Of course, it has to stay in the armory, but you can use it whenever you want for target practice, or if you go hunting with me, or…”
He’s rambling, and I find myself closing the distance between us and throwing my arms around his neck. The gesture cuts off his speech, and he freezes. I’m afraid I’ve overstepped some kind of boundary, but before I can pull away, his arms are around me in a gentle embrace. I let myself relax against him.
“You have no idea what this means to me. Thank you…” I pull back slightly to look up at him. “This might be asking a lot, but…is there a way for me to send word back to my dad? To thank him for sending it?”
Something flashes in his eyes – doubt, maybe – before he smiles at me and says, “Maybe. I’ll see if I can send a letter.”
I didn’t think he would actually say he would try. I’m left speechless, not really sure how to respond. He’s risking a lot by trying to communicate with my family. If the council finds out, I’m not really sure what would happen to him.
He simply smiles again, brushing some of my hair that’s fallen out of my braid from my face before gesturing back at the crossbow. “We better hurry, while the night is young.”
Suddenly self-conscious, I pull out of the embrace and rush back to grab the crossbow, slinging it over my shoulder before following Niklaus out of the armory.
There’s a bit of underlying plot going on here, something that’s been swimming in the back of my head for a while now. *rubs hands together* Here’s to future prompts that’ll take this story forward.
Friendly reminder: #TuesFlashFicTrain awaits! Check out the prompt and give it a go 🙂
As always, think happy thoughts!