Until the Sun Falls from the Sky(5)

By: Kristen Ashley

I didn’t think so.

“I doubt it,” I shared icily.

She smiled, all anger out of her expression, she was back to beautiful again. She was also, I noted, not affected in the slightest by my icy demeanor.

Her hand darted out and her fingers closed around my upper arm with a strength that shouldn’t have been surprising but it was.

She led me further into the room. I saw and felt eyes on us as we moved. She stopped us close to an outer wall in a pocket where no one was near. She dropped my arm and took a sip of her champagne which I found shocking. Firstly, I hadn’t even noticed she was carrying a glass. Secondly, I didn’t think vampires drank anything but blood.

I took my first sip as well before asking, “Is no one going to explain about this Lucien guy?”

“I think we should let Lucien do the explaining,” she told me, her blue eyes on my face.

“What does he have to do with me?” I persevered.

I was, it’s important to note, as well as impatient and short-tempered, also stubborn. I had a lot of bad traits. I knew this and I worked on it with people I cared about. Like my mother, my sister, my aunties even though all of them drove me to distraction a great deal of the time, and especially my friends.

I also had a lot of good traits which meant my mother, sister and aunties put up with me. It also meant I had a lot of friends.

However I wasn’t going to show my good traits. Not tonight.

“Everything,” Stephanie responded to my question and then her head moved around sharply right before her eyes narrowed and the scary, hard look came back to her face. “Fuck,” she hissed.

I looked in the direction she was glaring. A man was approaching us. Tall, beautiful, dark hair, swarthy skin and, strangely with his coloring, intense light gray eyes.

He was smiling. At me. Wolfishly.

I felt another trill race up my spine. This one was total fear. Complete and total fear. I’d never felt anything like it and it scared the hell out of me.

Yes, this was true. The level of my fear scared the hell out of me. Therefore I was doubly terrified.

Stephanie moved slightly, putting herself closer to me and partially in front of me like a shield.

All of a sudden I decided I liked Stephanie.

The new vampire arrived at our group never taking his gaze from my face until he stopped, then it moved to my throat and I watched in horror as it turned hungry.

Oh my God.

The trill up my spine chased back down. This time it was a chill.

“Nestor,” Stephanie growled, her alto voice held a distinct unfriendly rumble.

Nestor looked to Stephanie. “A guard? At A Selection? Lucien’s being a very bad boy.”

“Leah and I are talking,” Stephanie replied.

His lip curled as he spoke. “You’re implying you’re considering declaring your intentions, right?”

“That’s right. Back off,” Stephanie warned.

“I’m supposed to believe that?” Nestor clipped.

“You’re supposed to adhere to tradition,” Stephanie returned.

“I am? Did you release Reed and I hadn’t heard?” Nestor asked.

“Back… off,” Stephanie snapped, then she tensed and I heard a feral snarl come from her throat and I looked beyond Nestor.

Two more male vampires were heading our way, both big, both dark, both with dangerous intentions written clearly on their faces.

Something was not right. I had no idea what was going on, I just knew, whatever it was, it didn’t bode well for me.

Or Stephanie.

She came closer, crowding me, stepping back, forcing me nearly to the wall.

Terror raced through me and my eyes flew around the room searching for my mother. I wasn’t a wimp but these were vampires. They had superhuman strength. They had teeth that could tear your flesh. They drank blood for God’s sake. Human blood! That was what this whole circus was all about!

This Selection, I knew instinctively, had turned from what it was supposed to be – a cultured, controlled ceremony where the Uninitiated were to display themselves in hopes of getting selected to service their Master or Mistress, as the case may be.

Upon entry it felt safe, regardless of what the process would eventually mean to the selectee.

Now it was anything but safe.

My eyes found my mother and she was staring at me, an hors d’ouevre in her hand frozen halfway to her mouth.

I knew from her pallor that my instincts were right.

Confirming this, I noticed Cosmo had left her. He was moving through the crowd swiftly but surely, his face set and angry, his direction taking him toward Stephanie and me. While he moved, the two new vampires closed in.

Not knowing why, my body prepared to run.

“Lucien!” Avery bellowed from the door and everyone, not just Stephanie, Cosmo, Nestor and the two vampires that had approached but everyone in the room stopped, went silent and turned to the door.

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