One day the sky’s gonna break ~ Civil Twilight

I am addicted to this song “Letter’s from the sky” by Civil Twilight

My facebook sidebar knows me too well sometimes – it’s a little frightening.  “If you like Muse, try this”, “If you like Twilight, try this” , If you like “Dan Brown, try this” and gah, I just like them all so much! and then I like the “try this”‘s.. so it’s a big cycle of me falling in love with new things *sigh* but I do love my muses.. hah Muse (no pun intended.. ’cause they’re my favorite band haha) moving on.  “Letters form the Sky” is now officially part of my “Aaron Hawthorne” playlist.

But without much more ado, I give you chapter 3 of Damned “Bad Life Choices”

Chapter 3: Bad Life Choices

I settled down on the couch, taking a break.  It was insane, the amount I could learn in such a short day.  I was fairly effective at mind blocking already, according to my mother.  We had tried a few simple binding spells, which I did not excel at (but my sister did I could attest).

“So why did Mindy get to know about all of this before I did?” I asked.

“Well, she is older.  She began her training at eighteen, just like you would have, had we not had to start early.” She explained.

I stood up.  “I want to practice binding again.” I said, preparing my stance.

“Not now.  You’re father is coming up the driveway.  He knows nothing of this; I suggest we keep it that way.  It’s safer for him.”

The door opened and Cindy ran inside to her water bowl.  “Daddy, you’re home!” I smiled and hugged him.

“How was school?  Mindy, nice to see you.” he hung up the dog’s lead and adjusted the coats on the rack ever so slightly.

“School was fine.  Lots of homework though.” I was never very good at keeping my cool.  I tended to babble when I had a secret.

“I can see that from your bag still on the floor.  Shouldn’t you be getting to it then?” he asked.

“Probably.” I muttered.

“Are you staying for dinner Melinda?” Dad asked as he walked in to the kitchen.

“Oh, sure.” She smiled casually. I feel as though she was better at secret keeping than me.

“I’m going to go do my homework then.” I announced, grabbing my bag off the floor and heading upstairs.  “Mindy, I could really use some help.”

“You don’t need help.” She stated, looking at me confused.

“Nope, I really do.” I gave her a pointed look and she understood.

“Er, right.  I should help.” She followed me up to my room.

I threw my bag on my bed, having no real desire to do work at all.  My sister closed the door behind her.  “Wow,” she said looking around at my room.  Aside from a couple of books that lay out I saw no problem with it.

“What?” I asked, looking for some flaw in my upkeep.

“You’re turning into dad is all.  Soon you’ll be arranging your brushes to face dew-east.”

I started laughing.  “Yea, dad stopped cleaning my room for me a year or so ago.  It was horrible.”  I could remember when I had been a hideous, unkempt mess of a housekeeper.  It was hard to function in mess, I had learned that.

“So,” I sat down, getting to business.  “Why can’t daddy know?”

Mindy sat down next to me, sighing.  “It’s complicated.”

“I’m not going to buy into that excuse.  Daddy’s been living in a family of witches for twenty plus years and he can’t even know about it?” I tried to keep my voice down to a low whisper but the aggravation of it all made my voice rise.

Mindy shushed me and looked around, as though expecting dad to burst through the door and demand why we were speaking of witchcraft.

“It’s just better if he doesn’t know.  He needs to be safe. The less he knows the better.”

“But, the betrayal.  If he ever found out… he’d be so hurt.” The fact that I was just now learning had a small wound in me.

“It’s for his safety.  You understand that right?” she touched my shoulder in what I was sure was meant to be comforting but I took it as her thinking I was childish.

“Yea.  Whatever.” I stood up. “I want to practice more.” I said.

“We can’t.  Not when Dad’s home.  It would be suspicious.”

I sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll do my homework.”

~~
After dinner I heard my sister talking to mom in the kitchen.  “She’s just really upset that he doesn’t know.”

“But he can’t know Melinda.”

“I know that.  We all know that.  But, isn’t there anything we can do? Some way to make her feel better?”

There was a pause and the sounded of dishes clattering.  “I’ll think of something.”

It was almost a week later when I learnt what that something was.  I came home from school, after having been stalked all day by Connor.  It was truly aggravating to have to hold up a mind block all day.  Half the time I over did it and couldn’t even hear what the teacher was actually saying.  I threw my bag on the floor and slumped down in a chair.

“How was school?” mom asked.

“Exhausting.” I complained.  “Connor wouldn’t leave me alone.  I had to mind block him all day.  And he’s probably outside, peering in the window as I speak.”

“I should teach you how to sense auras; although, you seem to be quite good at it already.”

“Just his.” I admitted.  I had to really focus on other peoples, but to notice Connor was natural.

“Your father has a surprise for you.”

“What is it? He’s not home yet.”

“You’ll see.  You better go do your homework.  You won’t have time once he gets home.”

I heard a car door some time later.  I looked at the clock, it was almost five and my dad’s ancient ford truck was out in the driveway.  I practically ran downstairs.

“Where’s my surprise!?” I asked before he had even gotten his work boots off.

“Nice to see you to.  Oh work was fine, thank you for asking.” He said, his voice laden with sarcasm.

“Hi daddy, nice to see you, how was work?” I asked sweetly.

“Fine daughter.  Did you finish your homework?” he asked.

“Yup.” I smiled brightly.

“We’re going to order Chinese for dinner.  What would you like?” he walked to the landline and dialed the number to China Jade.

“Chicken fingers, fried rice, maybe some chicken lo mien?” I said, sitting on the couch, petting my dog.

“Sounds good to me.  Hello, I’d like to place a take-out order.”

“Where’s my surprise?” I asked mom while dad was busy.

“Patients youngion.  Patients.” She smiled.  She was enjoying my torture.

“Okay.  While your mother goes to pick up dinner, come outside with me.” My dad had put on his shoes and started toward the back door.

I hurried to put my shoes on and followed him.  In the backyard there was mannequin set up – the kind that boxers train with.  I stared at it not understanding.

“I am going to teach you self defense.” He smiled.  “I was talking to your mother and she thinks it would be a good idea, what with you going off to college next year and all, to know how to defend yourself if you ever need to; and I happen to agree with her.”

I looked at him incredulously.  “So you want me to beat up a dummy?”

“I am of course going to teach you some basics.”

“Okay.” I smiled, it might not have been the surprise I was imagining (a trip to England or something exciting) but it was good to know just the same.  Plus, I realized it was mom’s way of having dad involved in my training without him knowing he was involved in my training.  I smiled at her; she was still standing in the doorway of the house.

“I’m going to go pick up the food.” she said and disappeared into the house.

“Focus.”

~~

Who would have thought that my dad would be so ridiculously disciplined?  My whole body ached from the strenuous exercise and repetitive moves.  I flopped down on my bed, completely exhausted.  I didn’t get up again until morning.

~

Time blended for the next few weeks.  My mother was preparing me for Samhain, we were hosting a ritual for the occasion.  Well, we weren’t hosting it at our house, but our clan was hosting it downtown, in a secluded wood.  Talk about creepy.  Anyway, she wanted me to start learning various herbs and plants, crystals and candles, things like that.  She gave me a book “The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neo-Paganism” with the specific instructions, that even though it was a novelty book it was strikingly accurate.  I had read through most of it – but realized I already knew a lot more about herbs and spells than she seemed to think – thank you Harry Potter!

For my training, I was even allowed to sit in on a clan meeting!  It was far more exciting than I thought it would be.  The clan was small, there were only about forty of us.  Most of them were our relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins but a few were people I had never met.  Mom said they were “distant clan” members, but related nonetheless.

During the meeting we tried to decide if we should involve neighboring clans.  Obviously there were some in Salem, Massachusetts (how typical).  There is also apparently a clan in Putnam, Connecticut that could be very useful.  When I pointed out that it was hilarious that witches lived in Putnam no one else seemed to think I was funny.  I guess all fiction is based on some truth.  I kept my mouth shut after that.

The meeting mostly focused on whether or not Menoch would attack during Samhain or if he would respect the sanctity of the festival.  We decided he would be stupid enough to attack.  The clan agreed that we would still hold our festival, as scheduled and in the scheduled location, but that we would have a plan in case of an invasion.  I felt simultaneously terrified, and really cool; like I was part of some elite agency of crime fighters, and our job was to protect the people of the world, one villain at a time.

As they were assigning tasks for the festival back up plan the clan leader, who I knew mostly as Mimi (yup, my own grandmother) looked to me and smiled sweetly.  “Cassandra dear, you can do the biggest job of all.” I looked pleased, trying to remain calm as I was bestowed with my important task, “if the invasion occurs, your job is to protect the clan.” I nodded, not really understanding, “You run.  Fast and far dear.” She smiled.  “Meeting adjourned.”

Run fast and far? What kind of bullshit was that!? I could fight! I could heal! I could do a lot, I was learning so fast! Why couldn’t she see that!?  I had complained to my sister for a long time about the unjustified ridiculousness of it all.  She had tried to explain that the clan just wanted its youngest members to be safe.

“Great,” I had muttered, “I’m only good for breeding.” My sister tried to argue, making it sound like I was more important than that, but if protecting the clan meant running away then obviously I was to run and save myself so I could produce new little clan members.

“That’s fine.” I said, “I’ll just maintain my usefulness as a baby maker.”
~~

Mom wanted to give me practice with apothecary shops, so she sent me in to a seedy section of town I didn’t even know existed (and believe me I had been all through this town).  When I asked why I had never seen it before she explained that it was the phenomenon of people only seeing what they want to see.  I thought this was confusing, because (being the supernatural lover that I am) I wondered why I wouldn’t have wanted to see this before.

With a list of supplies I needed I wandered to the apothecary.  I met Connor there.  Not on purpose.  He was stalking me, as usual.  I brushed him off but he said something to me that I couldn’t stop thinking about even days after.  His words echoed in my mind, “You could just kill me now.”  At the time I had played it off, pretended I was tougher, more powerful.  Inside my heart was panicking and my brain was running a mile a minute.

Here I was days later and his words still hadn’t left me.  As cool as it was to be able to cast spells, learn about potions and our clan history, the fact remained it was my duty to kill.  To hunt.  I was a vampire hunter.  I was lying in bed, trying to reread one of my favorite novels.  Naturally it was about a sexy vampire and his family, and the average girl who falls into their midst – oh and throw in a shape-shifting werewolf clan just for fun.  The book was fantastic, and it must have been the twelfth time I read it, the binding was breaking I’d worn it out so much.  And even though I secretly had a crush on the werewolf, the vampires were really nice, er, people.  I looked at the fictional story in my hand.  If I got so attached to fake vampires, to the point where I could feel sympathy for them, how could I ever put feeling aside and kill one, real, sort of alive, person?  How could I do that; ram a stake through a vampire’s heart?  The thought terrified me. I didn’t want to kill – I had a hard time killing a spider.  Wasn’t there a way to coexist?

I didn’t want to express these concerns to my family.  I had to be tough, to be heartless.  To kill the enemy. I was part of this family of vampire huntress’s, whether I liked it or not.  I had to be firm. They were evil.  Undead.  Unnatural.  If they were zombies I would have no problem taking them out – just because they could still carry on a conversation didn’t make them any different (I reasoned with myself), it just made them more dangerous.  I steeled my resolve, and that was that.  Vampires must die.  I took the book I was reading and put it back on the shelf… I just hoped there weren’t werewolves in the world too; I might have a nervous breakdown if I had to kill two things I love.

~~

“Cassandra.” There was a loud rapping on my door and I chose to ignore it, rolling onto my other side.  “Cassandra Marie get your butt up right now.” My mother came in to my room.

I groaned, looking at the clock.  “You do realize it’s only nine in the morning.  On a Saturday.” I complained.  “And I was training all night.  I’m tired.”

“Well your sister will be here in thirty minutes.  We’re going shopping for Samhain dresses.”

“Where’s daddy?” I asked, hoping he hadn’t heard her speak of Samhain.

“He went out fishing with Uncle Butch.  Get dressed.” And she left.

I did as she said; dressing in a skirt and loose top – if we were trying on dresses I didn’t want to be in anything that would be annoying to take off repeatedly. I slipped in to flip-flops and headed downstairs.

Dress shopping was probably the most fun part of training.  While training was useful and knowledgeable it was still training and therefore tiring.  Shopping was just shopping. It was fun. We went to all kinds of stores, name brands like Macy’s, Sears, Dressbarn, but we also went to shady stores that only witches frequented.  I tried on about a billion dresses before finally finding one I liked.  The one I chose was all red; made of a sheer fabric and a corset top, and giant sleeves that billowed in the wind.  It was very witchy and very cool.  It cost more than my life, but my mom didn’t seem to care.  We even bought new shoes and pendants.

My pendant was, of course, a pentacle with a crystal in the center – crystal being the original birthstone of Gemini’s; my sister’s pentacle held a moonstone in the center (which complimented her striking blue Samhain dress by the way) and mom had a fiery garnet stone in the center of pentacle (her dress a dazzling silver that seemed to shimmer).

When we got home dad was back, he didn’t seem to notice that we had been out all day and bought very expensive and fancy looking dresses.  I immediately went to hang mine up so it wouldn’t get covered in Cindy hair, which was almost worse than most other kinds of dog hair, as it never seemed to relinquish its hold on anything it touched.  Ever.

I looked at my dress, my pendant already on my neck, and probably would never come off.  As I stared at the elegant material and the silver high heeled shoes I had got to match, only one thought crossed my mind; if Menoch did decide to fight us on Samhain, how the heck was I supposed to run?

~~

The day of the festival.  Nightfall.  I was anxious and excited.  I really wanted to go to the festival and experience real Wiccan rituals, but what if Menoch attacked? Despite the fact that I had a stake strapped to my thigh (don’t ask), I didn’t think I could handle it if the need arouse.  My mother had spent time going over basic stabbing maneuvers with me.  The poor mannequin in the backyard was not a happy camper.  I had finally pinpointed the exact location of the heart however.  I had asked my mother about that, the fact that we have to stab them in the heart.  I said “If they are dead, then their heart doesn’t beat.  Why would stabbing it kill them?”

“Their heart does beat.” She explained, “It pumps the blood they take in from others through their system, mixed with their own venomous blood – the kind that can change a person into one of them.”

“So, it’s the idea that there has to be a blood exchange for the transformation to work? You can’t just be bitten?”

“Right.  You can be bitten and live, but if there is an exchange, the human will turn.  The only way to kill a vampire is to stab them in their heart, so that the blood stops circulating.”

I finally had to ask the one question that had been plaguing me since I learned about this whole mess.  “Why can’t we let them live?”

My mother looked at me as though I just admitted that I was actually a changeling from Saturn.  “They are evil.” She stated plainly.

“But… Dracula… Lestat… Barnabas!  You love vampires as much as I do, if not more.” I needed a better answer.

“Cassandra,” she seemed to be searching for the right words.  “I love fiction.  The adorable vampires you love aren’t real.  Vampires don’t rescue humans, or sparkle in the sun, they don’t burst into flame, or live in dreary castles.  They are a much more dangerous breed of hunters, and we need to annihilate them before they return the favor.  Do you understand why we have to kill them?  We are protecting the people who don’t know that vampires exist.  We are protecting innocents, like dad, and Sam, and Danny.  We are keeping them safe by getting rid of the threat.”

I nodded, showing I understood that what we were doing was the right thing.  Vampires were not alive anymore.  We were helping them by sending them on.  “We should get going to the festival.”
~~
I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend half of the night practically peeing myself, expecting dozens of vampires to barge through the trees and kill us all.  But there was also a part of me that was having a lot fun.  I was dancing and celebrating the transfer of power from the Goddess to the God.  There were clans around from a few different locations; I guess the leaders had decided it would be a good idea to have more of us there.  The Putnam clan was there (which I still thought was hilarious!) and a few members from the Salem clan (but they were holding their own celebrations in Mass).

I had wandered away from my mother, who was keeping a hawk eye on me, and my sister (who seemed to be like a bulldog guarding Fort Knox).  They might have been to these festivals for a couple of years now (well my mother for many more than a couple), but I had never been to one, and I didn’t want to be treated like a toddler who might run into the oncoming traffic.  At the edge of the clearing we were in I saw something move.   I figured it was a witch, celebrating with the rest of us, but then it flashed again.  Witches don’t move that fast.  I felt a tug in my stomach and knew it was Connor.  It had to be.  I debated telling my mother, but I didn’t sense any real danger.  He was just keeping tabs on me as usual.

I wandered over to the clearing.  The flashing stopped, he had decided to stand still.  I smiled slightly, he was annoying sure, and an enemy definitely, but he astounded me.  I sauntered up as though I owned the place.

“Hey Connor.” I said in my nicest girly voice.

“Cassandra.” He came out from behind a tree.

“Did you really think you could hide from me?” I asked, a hand on my hip, trying to act cool.

“Not really.  Fun party.” He cocked his head toward the festivities.

“Yea.  It’s Samhain.” I informed him, “But I bet you knew that.”

He shrugged.

“Not talkative today?” I asked.

“Just observing.”

“As usual.”

He shrugged again.  This was getting frustrating.

“So, enjoying spying on us?” I would have done something more intimidating, like lean casually against a tree or something, but I didn’t want to dirty my dress.

“I must admit you are not the most interesting group – but it beats listening to Medea.” I looked at him quizzically.

“Medea?” I asked.

“So, have you sacrificed the goat yet?”

I stared back at him, knowing he was just trying to tease me, “We don’t sacrifice goats.” I said.  Do we? I hadn’t actually thought about it.  In pagan rituals that was completely justified.  Would we be doing that here? Had mom not told me ’cause she didn’t want me to think about it? I might have just become a vegetarian.

“You don’t need to worry.” He said softly, “I was teasing.”

“Ha ha, and here I thought you were completely cold with no sense of humor.”

“You’re not far off.” He said, coming closer to me.  “Mind if I join the party?”

“Yes.”

He ignored me and continued toward the others.

“Stop!” I hissed.  He turned around, a look of mock surprise characterizing his features.

“Oh, did someone not tell mumsy that she was off to see the big bad vampire?” he smirked.  I fell for it.  How could I fall for vampire charm!? I was a vampire huntress! Focus!

“I would just hate to ruin our festival with your blood shed.”

“You would think that would give your clan more reason to celebrate.” He was serious.

“Well, uh… yea… but” I had nothing intelligent to say, “That would require work.” I covered.  Barely.

He turned back toward the woods, “You’re right witch; that would be just rude of me.”  As he disappeared in shadow I heard him say “watch your back witch. I’ll tell Menoch you said hello.”

I huffed angrily and went back to the festival.  I struck up a conversation with Cousin Lucy (apparently related to my uncle twice removed or something).   The rest of the festival was (fortunately) uneventful.

I lay in bed that night, thinking of Connor, as usual.  Why couldn’t he just go away?  His stupid sarcasm and know-it-all face, and stupid smirk, and his hair shimmering in the moonlight, his wit, and deep brown eyes…. God damn it, I was not in love with the enemy!
~~

At school I avoided Connor even more than usual.  It was hard when we had homeroom and history together, but that was only two classes, I could easily take other routes and spend no time in the lunchroom or anywhere he might be.  On an average day I probably only saw Connor about ten times; today, my goal was twice (and only because I had to see him in classes).  I had succeeded through homeroom, keeping a mental block, just in case.  And then history was two blocks away, which I succeeded in avoiding him until then.

Sam leaned toward me, “Hello!” she snapped her fingers in front of my face.  I snapped back, looking at her.  Sometimes when I concentrate on a mind block, I end up blocking out all sounds.  “Sorry, I was miles away.” I said, “What’s up?”

“Connor keeps staring at you.” She smiled, “You should ask him out.”

“Why would that ever be a good idea?!” my tone indicated that I was both unnerved by the prospect, and hoping that no one else heard.

“Calm down, he’s hot.” She sat back in her chair, staring at the subject in question.

“He’s evil.” I insisted, glancing sideways at him.  He didn’t seem to be paying attention.

“That’s a little harsh.  He was cold to you, no biggie.  Make him warm up.” She winked at me, turning to face the front as Ms. Leblanc called us to order.

Are you going to warm me up huntress? I hadn’t been blocking.  God, why hadn’t I been blocking?

If by warm you up mean throw you in a fire pit. Then yes. I smiled at my own little joke.  I could be so cool under pressure.

Harsh words slayer.  You might want to look both ways before you cross the street. I looked over at him, perplexed.

What does that even mean?

He looked back at me steadily, and then I thought he smirked, but the movement was so sudden I might have imagined it.

It means you should grow up before you play with fire.

Oh, so we’re back to the ‘you burning scenario’.  I like it.

I heard him chuckle, but it was out loud, not in our heads.

“Something funny Mr. Stevens?” It was my turn to chuckle as I looked over to see him partially stunned at being called out in class.

“No Ma’am.” He responded, his voice calm and even.

Oh someone’s in trouble. I sniggered the thought at him.

Good thing we weren’t passing notes.

No.  Just brain waves.  So much easier really.

Except when one gets caught – then one looks like the lunatic child laughing at themselves.

This is true. I turned to look at him; he looked back quickly before staring at the front again.  But we all know you’re crazy.

He didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me now.  Oh, is someone in a sour mood?

I caught myself speaking back to him, after he had stopped thinking to me.  Why would I do that? My goal had been to avoid him, yet here I was, keeping up the conversation while he pouted in the corner.  Well, he wasn’t pouting but regardless, I was the one still holding up the conversation.

I focused on my notes and put on a mind block for the rest of class, keeping it down just enough to actually hear the outside world, and my own thoughts; but high enough so Connor couldn’t speak to me anymore.

After class he caught my arm, “You stopped talking to me.” He whispered.

“You stopped first.” I insisted, trying to wiggle from his grasp.

“You blocked me.”

“You bored me.  Let go.” he did.

“Come for a walk with me.”

“On what planet is that a good life choice?”

“This one.”

Oh yes Cassandra, just waltz away with the enemy.  I don’t think so Connor.

I won’t hurt you. I looked into his eyes, trying to see something deeper than his words; all I saw was a melting pool of chocolate.  I just want to talk to you.

You do realize we still have fourth period to go to.

Who needs math anyway?
~~

Why am I stupid enough to make these horrible life choices?  First I go off into a secluded area of the forest with him, then I skip fourth period to ‘take a walk’ with him.  What was I doing to myself?  I should just pull the stake out of my bag and get it over with.  Then I remembered I didn’t actually bring a stake.  I suck.

“I like to walk around town this time of day, not many people are out.  It’s nice.”

I looked up at him (I had to look up at him, he was a good foot taller than me), despite the fact that I was out here with him, and he could kill me at any moment, I wasn’t afraid of him.

“So, you knew I was a huntress, even before I did?”

“Yes, from the first time you saw me, and before.  I have always known that your clan exists around here.”

“The first time I saw you.  It was over summer break, I had to work and I saw you walk in to the mall.” So much had happened in the past couple of months that that memory seemed so very distant.

“I am aware.” He hopped over a puddle, “I saw you for the first time that day also.”

It was probably really stupid to admit things to my ‘arch enemy’ but I had already decided I was bad at keeping secrets.  “Connor, do you feel anything when you’re around… witches.” What I had really meant to ask was specific to me, but I couldn’t let him know that.

“Hatred and resentment?” he quipped.

“Well aside from the natural feelings.” I rolled my eyes.  “Like, an… energy?”

“You mean this internal tug, a gravitational feeling?” he asked.

“Yes.” I was so relieved he felt it too.

“Only around you.” I stopped; I hadn’t expected that honesty… not from him.

“Really?  Not around all witches?”

“Nope.  Just you.  I’ve wondered why that is.  I reasoned it was because you were a witch, but at Samhain it was not as strong when I was not near you. That is why you caught me dashing around the trees, I was testing the feeling.”

“Huh.”

“Do you feel it around all vampires, or just me?”

“Well I’ve never been around another vampire.” I admitted.

“That is true.”  There was a long, awkward pause.  “But you do feel it.  Around me?”

“Yes.” I admitted.

We walked on in silence for a while, enjoying the Indian summer.  I thought of something that had also been bothering me since Samhain.  “Connor, why didn’t Menoch attack at Samhain?”

“You were expecting it.” He answered simply.

That did seem logical – I guess if I were attacking an enemy clan I wouldn’t do it when I knew they were expecting it.  We crossed into the park and circled around, heading back to school.  Time passed easily with Connor.  Through the biting sarcasm and the threats of violence I didn’t even notice that school would be letting out soon.

He looked at me as though struggling for words.  I tried to probe his mind, but I was not as good at infiltrating as I was at blocking.  I finally caught snip-its of what he was thinking.

Tell her.  Ask her.  Get on with it.  Don’t waste.  Opportunity.

I smiled, “You might as well get on with it.  Come on, spit it out.”

He looked at me confused, “Did you just probe my mind?”

I shrugged.

“That’s an invasion of privacy.” His tone was serious but his features were playful.

“Says the stalker.”

“Do you want to go out with me?” I hadn’t expected that.

I stuttered.  I stalled.  I failed.  “Connor, we’re enemies.”

“Yes.  It is quite a dilemma.”

“Menoch hates my family.” I continued.

“I am not Menoch.”

“My family hates vampires.”

“A technicality.”

I looked around; it was my way of stalling for help.  My instincts as a person were screaming “For the love of Goddess say yes!” but my instincts as a huntress were saying “Bad life choice!” I listened to them both.  I decided.

“Connor… that’s really not in our best interest.  You want to destroy me and it is my duty to kill you.”

“Cut the hunter spiel for five minutes.  It’s just a football game,” he held up tickets and I noticed it was my favorite team in the whole NFL.

I thought about it again.  Ignoring the bribe (it was easy enough for him to know my favorite team and use it as my weakness) I thought long and hard about dating a vampire.  I sighed; bad life choice number three.  “Fine.”

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