The Revealing of Andre
Andre stomped down the stairs snarling to himself, sea-blue eyes shooting sparks. As much as he loved his Maker, sometimes she really pissed him off. Ever since she had successfully “inherited” Arkansas from that prick Threadgill she had been on his back to take over and rule that godforsaken dump. The thought of taking over Arkansas, much less moving there, soured his gut even more than his last feed.
As hard as she was pushing him to take the reins, any other vampire would naturally suspect their Maker of trying to be rid of them…but not Sophie-Ann. She truly did want Andre to step-up to the hard-earned role of King. Not regent. Not even consort, even though they no longer had that sort of relationship. No, she wanted to give him the state and install him as sovereign king. Arkansas. Of all places.
It wasn’t that he didn’t especially want to be King. Well, he didn’t, mainly because he didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of it all. But, he knew that now was the best time to take his own position. His Maker was finally as safe as she was ever going to be, thanks in part to her lovely little telepath. Yes, he would admit only to himself, he did find the little telepath decidedly attractive, and didn’t blame the Northman for claiming her as he did.
He could also admit to himself that he regretted his actions in that hotel which led to the Northman bonding with the human, but if the situation were to rise again, he would do exactly the same thing. His Maker had been in a precarious position and having access to a telepath would strengthen her rule in a desperately needed way. What his Maker needed, he would do, no questions asked, no matter how he might grow to lament said actions later. Every vampire worth their rising had a long, detailed list of regretted actions; actions taken solely because they were necessary at the time.
At least the telepath and the Northman had come to an understanding, and a happy one at that from what he’d seen himself rather recently. That was good. Her loyalty to her pledged would keep her loyal to his Maker.
Neither one of them trusted him, and well they shouldn’t. While he would never bother going out of his way to harm anyone not posing a direct threat to either himself or one who owned his precious loyalty, if some were that foolish, he had no problem doing whatever it took to neutralize said threat.
He owed loyalty to only three entities: his Maker, her queendom, and himself. That was it. Well, maybe he looked out for his brothers, too. Fuck everyone else. The strong would live and the weak would perish. Coddling anyone but the newest-born encouraged stupidity, weakness and disrespect.
He would willingly admit to himself that his Maker, Sophie-Ann, spoiled him tremendously, but he paid her back with hard work, smart service, and an unending loyalty. That was why she wanted to give him a kingdom, and why he didn’t want it. As immature and spoiled as she herself sometimes was, she delighted in spoiling her own children. She loved doting on every one of them…even to the point of giving one of them a kingdom he didn’t actually want.
He stalked by the almost seven feet tall hulking bulks of his brothers, Sigebert and Wybert, and ignored their knowing smirks. Of course they would think it hilarious that he was given a kingdom he didn’t want. Intelligence certainly wasn’t their strong point, but thankfully they were extremely loyal.
And huge. When out on royal business, Andre was usually accompanied by at least one, if not both, of the humor-challenged brothers. It was easy to dismiss his own 6″4′ broad-shouldered, muscled frame when in their company, and that suited him just fine. It gave the foolish a chance to underestimate him until it was too late.
Early in his new life, he gave eager rise to rumors regarding his viciousness and cruelty. Most of those rumors were carefully crafted exaggerations, although enough of them were, for better or worse, quite true. While he certainly could be every bit as vicious and cruel as any situation warranted, he was actually too laid-back to bother…until or unless it became necessary. Then he could torture and flay skin with the best of them.
Meh. Maybe he would take over Arkansas. At least he’d get some peace and…
Next thing he knew, he was bouncing off a warm, feminine shape…that landed on the floor at his rather large feet.
“Hey, watch where I’m going up there!” Dark, sparkling brown eyes laughed back up at him.
“Wh..what?” What did she say?
The small female had the audacity to hold her hand up for him to help her rise from the floor as she laughed at him. Much to his amazement, he automatically held out his hand to do just that. When the hell had he become infected with chivalry?
“Thank you,” she said once she was on her feet. She must have been almost a foot shorter than he, with a deliciously curvy body. “You’re taller than I am, and as a vampire you have much quicker reflexes and can move a lot faster than I can, so, yeah, watch where I’m going already!”
Bitch had dimples. Cute little dimples near her cute little smiling mouth. And she made a very odd sort of sense. What. The. Fuck.
Unaccustomed to such niceties, he found himself stumbling over asking her if she was ok. She’d hit the floor pretty hard, after all. Never mind she smelled fucking delicious.
He couldn’t help but appreciate the view when she rubbed her nicely-rounded ass. “It’s a good thing I don’t bruise easily,” she laughed, “or I’d be black and blue later on. You, my handsome, cool-blooded friend, are a walking mountain.”
She pouted. At him. She actually pouted at him. With those lips. Did she not know who he was?
Absurdly, he hoped she didn’t. He was heartily sick and tired of the collection of anal scrapers that surrounded him on a nightly basis. Suddenly his night didn’t seem quite so noxious.
“If you like I could take a look to judge your injuries myself,” he leered as he took a half-step closer.
She let loose a delightful peal of laughter and swatted at his arm with the paper still clutched in her hand. “Back it up there tall, blond and gorgeous.”
“Why – whose are you?” As fucking charming as this female was, she had to belong to someone…someone who needed to keep a much better eye on her at that. Humans were not usually left free to run about the palace at will.
He leaned in a bit closer to better catch her scent, and didn’t detect anyone else on her.
“Huh? What do you…oh, that vampire “own your food and slave” thing? Ugh, I don’t belong to anybody but me, mister.” The glare she gave him was adorable.
“Ahhh, so you’re fair game, then.” He hadn’t meant to sound so pleased.
“Hey! No! I’m not fair and I’m no game, big guy, so don’t be getting any fancy ideas over there.”
He sensed that she finally realized that he wasn’t exactly kidding. The ideas he had running through his mind concerning her were not fancy in the least. “What’s your name, human?”
“Emma. And you are?”
Fuck, this was the new girl his Maker was raving so much about.
Just as he started to identify himself, he heard something in the distance. Going with an instinct he didn’t know he possessed, he quickly picked this Emma up and sped around the corner into an alcove just out of general sight.
He gently set her down, and looking directly into her startled brown eyes, he whispered, “You are mine and will ignore the advances of any other vampire.”
Emma blinked and shook her head. “What are you talking ab…”
Shocked that his glamour didn’t work but not having enough time to fully ask or explain, he placed his finger over her lips for a second and growled quietly into her ear, “Human, if you value your health and freedom, you will not fight me on this. Beauchamp is a cruel, twisted bastard. I am by far the lesser of the two evils.”
At that moment even Emma’s human hearing picked up the approach of two people. Going with her gut, Emma gazed back into the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen and nodded.
Inexplicably gratified by her acceptance and implied trust, Andre flicked his gaze toward the approaching footsteps, then quickly lowered his head to capture her lips in a strong, bruising kiss.
Barely a moment later, a high-pitched voice sneered, “Well, well, well, what do we have here? Is his soon-to-be-majesty enjoying a bit of a dalliance with the local peasants before taking off to his own little kingdom?”
Disliking the owner of that voice on instinct, Emma huddled a bit closer to the dubious comfort of Andre’s big body.
Andre straightened and turned toward Beauchamp while at the same time managing to push Emma behind him.
“Beauchamp…to what do I owe the pleasure?” Somehow the word “pleasure” sounded much more like “disgust”.
“I’m on my way to confer with your lovely Maker,” the ugly vampire replied haughtily. His companion, not wanting to draw attention to himself, attempted invisibility. Unfortunately it didn’t exactly work, but then, no one was interested in drawing him into the situation.
Andre snorted. “Good luck with that. She’s already “retired” for the night. Guess you’ll have to come back tomorrow.” From the corner of his eye he noted the timely arrival of the brothers. Both Sigebert and Wybert wore a smile few would enjoy seeing. Neither appreciated the finer points of Beauchamp; sometimes the brothers displayed a remarkable level of genius.
Actually much more astute than they wanted people to know, they both immediately noted the protective stance Andre had taken with the human against the old vampire they all despised. In unspoken unison, they approved.
As they closed in, Emma relaxed. Although she was certain Andre (fuck, the Andre himself!) would have been more than capable of handling the situation…she was fully aware of his less-than-savory reputation…still, the more backup, the better. She nodded her head respectfully to the brothers…who could not have missed her swollen, still-tingling lips.
At the brother’s approach, Andre nodded at Sigebert. “Escort my pet to my quarters.” Everyone hid their astonishment well. Andre didn’t keep pets. Ever. He neither liked nor trusted humans enough to raise one to that status.
Without saying a word to anyone, Emma gladly allowed the silent brother to escort her from the tension-filled area. The farther away they walked, the easier she breathed. She could tell the moment they were out of ear-shot when she felt Sigebert relax.
“Whew…that was weird,” she attempted to initiate conversation with the huge vampire.
“Did not know you knew Andre,” was his reply.
“I didn’t either till that ugly one called his name,” she clarified. “I’d literally bumped into him about 10 minutes before then.”
“Bumped?” Emma had to admit: she loved the brothers’ accent.
“Yup. I turned the same corner he did, just from the opposite direction, except I was the one who ended up on the floor. He gave me a hand up, and we’d just started really talking when he sensed Beauchamp approaching. That’s when he told me I was his.”
Sigebert hrumphed in his classic style. Said noise could mean he was in deep thought, that his deep thought had passed, that he’d forgotten he was talking to you in the first place, or that he was going to reply…eventually. Emma waited.
Sure enough, “He claimed you? Andre does not keep pets. Interesting.”
“I know…I kind of wonder what’s going on, but like he said, he’s definitely the lesser of the two evils between himself and that nasty one. He scares me.”
“But Andre does not,” he retorted with his version of a grin.
By this time they’d reached Andre’s private residence in the palace. Without another word, Sigebert let her into the quarters, gave her an odd look, and left.
In her brief acquaintance with the brothers, she’d discovered that they were actually a lot more intelligent and humorous than they apparently wanted the public at large to know. There was much more going on behind their ancient gray eyes than they let on.
Although she had absolutely no desire to “belong” to any vampire, she had to agree with Andre…even with his reputation he was definitely preferable to that disgusting Beauchamp. She had been working for Sophie-Ann for three nights when she had her first, and until tonight only, encounter with the evil vamp. Protecting her from his unwanted advances must be a “family” thing because Sophie-Ann had kept him preoccupied so she could make her escape that time.
One solid week. That’s how long she’d been working in the palace. New Orleans was hot, humid, and full of every kind of body and entertainment you could imagine. The food was hot, and the vampires were cool. The nights were warm and sultry, and the vampires were thirsty.
Emma didn’t actually care for most of the vamps she’d encountered, but she felt like she’d lucked out in that not only did she really like Sophie-Ann and The Brothers, but they seemed to like her as well. It would appear that the same could almost be said regarding Andre.
Not that she wouldn’t expect every one of them to skrew her over if it proved beneficial to the queendom, though. She had no illusions. She knew herself to be just the newest curiosity to the queen and her children.
And she figured that the only reason she had captured Andre’s attention was her blood. Evidentially she smelled…sweet. Ewe.
He, however, was a surprise. Naturally she’d heard of his horrible reputation: cruel, Machiavellian, vicious, fierce, violently protective of his Maker. Funny, though, the donors seemed to really like him, and with his reputation, you’d think he’d have been more than a little sadistic in his feed-and-fuck habits, but the donors reported that he was more perfunctory than anything. He wasn’t concerned with their pleasure, but, unlike some of the vamps they serviced, he didn’t go out of his way to hurt them, either…unless they asked him to. She’d stopped listening at that point.
She’d love to think that he had a ton of kindness hidden beneath his horrible reputation, but, she kind of doubted it. During her conversations with Sophie-Ann she’d learned so much about vampires: how they thought, how they lost their humanity simply to survive in the vampire world, how their loyalties changed, and so much more.
That woman was a genius. And funny. She suspected one of the main reasons Sophie-Ann had hired her in the first place was because they were able to share humor. That and the fact that when the queen lost an excruciatingly valuable necklace, Emma was the one who made sure she got it back.
Emma decided further exploration of the den/living room area could wait until after she found the bathroom. After wandering through the den, a large room that looked like an office, the huge but surprisingly-spartan bedroom, a huge closet, she finally located the bathroom.
After gratefully taking care of her human needs, she satisfied her curiosity about the bathroom. While his bedroom was basic and utilitarian, the bathroom was a very nice surprise. A huge jetted tub was the centerpiece of the room, with a separate shower, double vanity sink (but she thought he didn’t keep pets?), and a separated toilet area complete with its own sink. The accumulated (and expensive) bathing and grooming supplies scattered around the tub and sink area said he actively used this room.
She retraced her steps back to the den, at least that’s what she decided to call it. Several comfortable chairs mixed well with the two leather sofas and scattered end tables. A large entertainment system, complete with overly-complicated everything, took up one wall. Judging by the number of movie options near the huge-screen tv, the vamp liked his cinema.
She stepped over to the small kitchen area near the entertainment center. “Kitchen area” was too generous a description as there was a sink, a table, a small refrigerator, and a microwave…and that’s it. Naturally there was only fake blood in the mini-fridge. Hrumph. Nary a coffee machine nor milk nor mug in sight. Inconsiderate vampire.
Emma wandered back over to a large, comfortable-looking sofa, took off her flats, and sat down. As fascinating as his personal space was, she felt odd exploring it. Privacy was a big thing to her, and she didn’t want to invade his, even if she’d been basically sent here. If it hadn’t so obviously been for her own protection, the whole thing would have rankled quite badly, but…meh.
As much as she didn’t really want to, she kind of did trust the tall, blond vamp with the gorgeous blue eyes, sexy voice and fuck-hot kissing ability. His horrible reputation was the only, well, main, hold-up. Oh, well, it wasn’t like she was going to get involved with him. Maybe.
Course, the way it was looking, she already was involved with him. According to Sigebert he never had “pets”. Ugh…what an awful way to say…what, boy/girlfriend? From what she understood, it went way past that. The vamp fed from the human, and they had sex together. The vamp generally only treated the human as good as they had to in order to keep the human willing to feed and fuck them. Geez. What a relationship. At least glamour wasn’t really a part of that…agreement? Arrangement? How…romantic.
She was awfully glad she couldn’t be glamoured. Sophie-Ann was, too. It meant that no other vampire could make her tell what she knew without her knowing about it. It was a great safety aspect in one way, but a threat in another. Sophie-Ann also knew that no one could glamour her to “forget” anything she heard or saw there, either.
Quickly bored with waiting, it wasn’t long until she curled up…on Andre’s sofa…in Andre’s quarters… Emma soon nodded off.
Andre was livid. Fucking Beauchamp needed a very painful ending, and soon. The only hold-up was the old vampire’s business dealings with Sophie-Ann. As soon as those were completed, Andre would be most pleased to handle his ending himself. Slowly. As in months slowly.
After informing Sophie-Ann of the encounter (secret telepathic communications between the Maker and her children were amazingly convenient), he was finally able to go check on Emma.
His quarters were his last bastion of privacy, and he really didn’t like having Sigebert stash her there, but it was the safest place for her at the time. Maybe permanently. He didn’t trust Beauchamp for shit and he sure as hell didn’t like the disgusting way he was looking at her. Even after she left with his brother, even after he’d actually stated that she was his, the old fool still wasted time scenting her. Fucking bastard. As if he didn’t already have enough reasons to hate his eternal guts.
When Andre entered his chambers, the first thing he noticed was the delicious new aroma lightly permeating the den. Emma’s delicate, sweet scent was mouthwatering. Then he spotted her curled up on the sofa, fast asleep. He silently sped over to her.
He stood gazing down at her for countless minutes. Her dark hair had come loose from the band and wisps softly fanned her face. Her cheeks were flushed with sleep, her pink lips softly parted, her hand curled up under her chin.
What the fuck was he supposed to do with her now?
He knew fuck-all about caring for a human. Food. He knew she’d need to be fed, and would need something to drink. He glanced over toward the sofa again. Humans got cold easily, didn’t they? Maybe he should cover her up with something?
After impatiently searching the cupboards in the bedroom, he finally found a spare blanket. A moment later he gently spread it across her sleeping form. He instinctively stilled when she shifted under the warming weight. When long moments passed without her stirring again, he finally moved…to heat himself a couple of fake bloods. Her scent was too delicious to ignore for long.
As he leaned against the wall near the microwave across the room from the sofa, he kept watching over her. She might move or something.
She’d been in his quarters quite a while now; was she hungry yet? Did he need to feed her? How often did humans need to be fed? He couldn’t remember. Maybe he should call down to the kitchen and have something sent up. But he didn’t want to risk waking her, either.
What the hell was he supposed to do with her if she woke up?
**Ok…what did you think?? Review, please!**