Well, my mother had been right in every way that mattered. Se had told me not to use my college money to try to become an Ana'ladi, told me I had little chance with the thousands of women who went to try and be chosen, but as a girl, like every girl I guess, watched the movies of Ana'ladi who's Ana'krei fell in love with them, and gave them the final binding, so that they could live together for ever after, neither aging or dieing, outside of one of them being killed of coarse. Ana'krei, or vampires, never aged,never died. They didn't have to worry about getting sick, or even of starving to death. They could die of coarse, but only by burning to ash, severing of the head from the body, or immersion in sun light. They could also be driven mad without ingesting human blood at least once every seven days, and that of coarse was where Ana'ladi and Ana'nuy came in. Once they were also protectors, the warrior guardians who guarded their Master or Mistress again any threat, but in modern times, after vampirism became legal across the globe, they instead became companions and food, as they were the only legal source of blood for Ana'krei in every country that was past of the UN.
Anyone could become Ana'ladi or Ana'nuy, but they had to be selected by an Ana'krei. That could happen at anytime, but the majority of them came during the gathering, a huge ceremony held in Pensacola Florida every year on August first. People came from all over the US in the hopes of being selected to be an Ana' by a vampire, and in response the areas hotels charged huge sums for rooms, and the Council of Night itself charged $30,000 for the robes that signified that one wanted to be chosen, and even with all that, you were one of thousands that wore the robes,and only a few hundred were ever chosen. I had used my entire college account,saved by my parents since my birth, to pay for the trip to go this year. My chances had to be good, I was cute, athletic, intelligent, and it was the largest gathering in 60 years, almost 1000 new vampires were to be awakened and admitted to eternal life, and every one of them would be choosing a partner, as well as all the older vampires whose partners had to be replaced for whatever reason. I had every reason to expect to be chosen, and instead I had returned home a failure, accept my mothers told you so's, my fathers sad silent understanding as I moved back into my room, and started this...my search for a job.
I walked into the kitchen to fix a bowl of cereal,and sat beside my father, who was silently watching the news when my mother walked in, already dressed for the day, and from the look in her eyes, ready for battle. “You will go find a job today,and only that. We will pay for your gas and insurance,for only 10 days, unless you have a job, and then only until your second paycheck! I worked 19 years to save for your college, to have you waste it in a crowd of people standing around like cows, who are willing to pay for the chance to be someones food! Well no more, you will pay to support yourself from now on Juliam!” I flinched at her words, inhaled deeply and nodded. “Yes Ma'am, I already talked to Cassie, and she says The Elegant Current is hiring Waitresses, and that she can get me hired on if I go in today...”
My ready answer and instant submission to her desires made my mother pause,and look at me wordlessly while I finished my breakfast, and put the bowl in the dishwasher. She surprised me by walking up behind me and hugging me tight, her chin on my head as she whispered softly so only I could hear. “I would have given anything for your dreams to have come true, just as I wished your fathers to when he left me to try the same thing. I love you,and only want you to be happy Juli, never forget that. I nodded my head,tears running down my face as a ran outside and hopped into my boxy little Nissan Cube.
My mind jumped around as I drove towards my new life as a waitress at the biggest beach restaurant in San Destin, home to the overly rich,the workplace of the working class, and tourist hangout for eight months a year...this was not how my life was supposed to go...
One year later:
I had the worst section of the restaurant, while my best friend Cassie, who was 5'10, to my 5 even, 135 lbs, to my 98, the body of a sex goddess, and the personality that made everybody love her, got the very best. I was predictable, and even understandable, but it didn’t piss me off any less to see 2-3 tables in every section, while I had one, and he was a regular who ate pie,drank coffee, and watched the ocean. He tipped the same, to everyone, but if I was here, he invariably asked for my section, said I reminded him of a woman he knew once. I was listening to him tell a story I had heard many times before, when a commotion at the entrance of the building caused me to turn and look.
I gasped as I saw the woman come in,she was beautiful, elegant, and even smaller then me, if only by an inch or so, but where I was often described as cute or adorable, this woman was super model beautiful, her red hair, as in liquid ruby red, not orange, hung in waves down her back to below her ass, her skin was a flawless white that gave admittance to the fact that she never entered the sunlight, and her eyes were a green as bright and jewel like as any emerald I had ever seen. She was a vampire, I knew it at once, because only hundred of years without sunlight will allow hair and skin to be those shades, so I quickly looked back to Thomas and listened to him finish his story. I wanted to look back, to hope that she would have a male vampire with her...one who needed an Ana', but I didn’t let the hope linger, she would be rich, and even though the food she ordered would be thrown away unless her Ana'nuy was with her to eat it so she could taste it through him, she would be in the very best section, so she could see the moonlit waves, and that meant Cassie, who had no desire to bond with a vampire would be serving at least one, but probably several of them.
I moved away from my table after the vampires had been seated, and was busy marrying ketchup bottles when Cassie came up to me,eyes wide and innocent. “You have a table Juli!” I blinked and looked at my three table section, but the only one occupied was Thomas,still smiling as he watched the waves. “I don’t have anyone in my section Cas, that’s a pretty poor excuse for a joke...getting my hopes up that I might actually make some money tonight...” She laughed, eyes dancing and I just shook my head and turned away, then paused as she grabbed my arm. “The guests at table 1 asked for you specifically..well to be exact, they asked for the beautiful little pixy like waitress who was talking to the older man by the window when they walked in...I wasn’t sure who they were asking for, until they pointed at you when you took Thomas his refill on coffee...” I froze, mouth open in shock, table 1 was the fifth table in section one, the only section with five tables, and that was because 1 was permanently reserved for VIPs, and in the year I had worked here, it had been used once, by the owner when he came to town. I had never been given section one, it was reserved for our best servers, which I was not. I knew when I saw the vampire where she would be seated, but never had I even dared to dream that I would be allowed to serve them.
“You better not be playing with me right now...I will kill you...kill you so dead you wont even remember being alive!” She just laughed and walked away, with me trailing in her wake, heading to a table full of vampires...I was so nervous, I just knew I was sweating like a pig,and shaking like a leaf,but I walked as slow and steady as I could. I entered the private room and froze in my tracks, eyes wide and staring, unable to move as the two women,and three men sitting at the table fixated on me,each one smiling as they looked me over. The beautiful woman, and the older man were both obviously vampires, one of the women was his Ana'ladi, as she sat very close to him, the other two were the surprise, because I knew them, not knew knew, but knew them, they were the owners of a local realty company that specialized in homes for vampires. I stood there,frozen in my tracks for to long, because Sara, the realtor woman laughed at me, and that broke the spell, and I rushed over to the table.
“Can I start you off with drinks?” I stuttered a bit, but only blushed a bit,especially as Sara laughed again. “Actually the other woman has taken our order, we were wondering if you would let Aoife here form a light bond with you,so she can taste the wonderful food and drink in this place,through you, as she is currently on a mission to find an Ana'ladi, and watching us taste such incredible food, would be a crime.” The male vampire had spoken, and nodded his head at the red headed one, when he spoke the name Aoife. I flinched back,stunned, because male vampires had Ana'ladi, females had Ana'nuy. It was a very close bond and often became sexual...unless....I blushed scarlet, I could feel the heat racing down my face and neck, and began to babble.”Im...im not...um I don’t like girls...um....”
Everyone at the table laughed now, and now the red headed vampire, Aoife, spoke. “Im not asking you to warm my bed little pixy girl, or even become my Ana'ladi, im asking for you to allow me to taste this amazing food through you,and am even offering to pay you for your time. Join us, eat this wonderful food, get paid well, then you can go home, we have cleared it with your boss, you will be excused from all other duties for the night...” Her voice was musical, an Irish brogue, but not the ones ive heard on tv, it was the accent as it had been spoken before outside influences had changed and altered it, a musical accent that was almost hypnotizing.
My eyes jumped, and I blushed again, but then I realized what she said...hang out with vampires, and no side work, and I would be paid! It was like being paid for a vacation! “Im so sorry I assumed...umm of coarse I will join you for dinner! Where should I sit?” I looked around, then nodded as Aoife motioned to the chair beside hers. I sat beside her, and froze as she turned to me,placing a hand on either side of my face. “I will lightly bond you to me now, little pixy, it will require a single chaste kiss, and I promise I will restrain myself from ravishing your so luscious flesh....” I nodded weakly between her hands,blushing at her words, but my pulse was pounding in my veins, this was my dream, sure she was a woman, not a sexy man, but this was what I had always wanted...and now I would have it...if only for a moment.
Her red lips met mine for an instant, a soft kiss, as chaste as the good bye kisses me and Cas had shared as children, but in the instant the kiss lasted a lifetime, and in it I felt her savoring my emotions,my pulse beat under her skin, I felt her chest rise with my breath,and as she pulled away I could her sitting beside me,without us touching. I stared at her stunned,eyes wide,lips parted as if we still kissed, and she smiled a sad,sweet smile. “You will be free of the bond to me when the sun rises, as it is an ephemeral thing, a pale shadow of what could be if we both wanted it, but for tonight, all you taste, all you drink will flavor my tongue, I will taste food other then blood for the first time in three hundred years...little pixy your gift to me this night is wondrous indeed... “
I nodded numbly,eyes still wide, and I listened to them speak of the house Aoife was buying, but I heard none of it, then blinked again as the food came,because every single server and manager in the building was bringing the food, and they seemed to have some of everything from the menu. They also seemed to be bringing a glass of every single drink from the bar. I blinked again as the hostesses began moving a second table against theirs,on the side closest to her and Aoife. I suddenly froze, and looked at Aoife in alarm. “Surely you don’t expect me to eat and drink all of that? Im not even legal allowed to drink....”
Everyone at the table laughed again, and Aoife spoke to me softly so only those of us sitting here could hear. “Only taste each dish,little pixy, so I can decide what I like, and drink but a sip of each drink. It is legal for you to drink as long as we are bound, and I have tasted no food in so long....the craving is incredible...” I could feel the longing in the bond,a human need for food that her body had outgrew but her mind still craved. I nodded again and spoke softly. “My name is Juliam, or Juli..not little pixy!”
She smiled a smile that I could only classify as a hunters who had cornered her prey, the kind of smile a lion probably used on a trapped antelope trapped between the lion and rocks, with nowhere to go. “I know your name little pixy” I shook my head and prepared myself for the largest meal of my life, I wasn’t going to win the argument, so why bother trying?
Cas winked at me as she began putting the drinks in front of me, no one spoke a word as the food was placed and everyone of them but those of us sitting at the table left. They began to talk again about the furnishing that Aoife wanted, and I began to sample the plates,each items on each of them, even those that I hated. Each time a new food or drink passed over my tongue Aoife purred like a cat, her eyes watched me with pure sensual desire, and everyone else stopped talking as they realized she was no longer listening to them, her entire attention was focused on me for the first time, and it opened the link between us like a flood gate, she felt the texture and taste of everything I did, felt everything I did,from the seat under my ass, to the way my new shoes pinched my feet. In return I felt the pleasure that emanated from her like waves from the sun, as she tasted food and drink for the first time in longer than electricity had existed, and I also felt her lust,although I felt that she was trying to hide it, she wanted me, not just for my ability to eat food, but she wanted to wrap herself around me, feeding on my warmth and blood,run her hands down my body in a slow caress, I blushed and jerked back as I realized I wasn’t eating any longer,I was on my knees in my chair,lips inches from Aoife's, our eyes locked together, her green eyes burned into mine and I knew what she wanted, knew it the same way ducks know which direction to fly for winter, and bass knew to swim upstream.
“I will never be your lover...Im not a lesbian....i like men...” her laugh sent chills down my skin, it felt like velvet running over my flesh,then she spoke,her lips still inches from mine,her breath traced over me like a lovers teasing. “Into the night we shall travel, you shall be the sword and shield and I shall be the hands that wield you, We shall stand firm against all threats that dare challenge us, one mind with two bodies united throughout time....” We spoke the words together, Im unsure how I knew them, as they were unique to each vampire, and normally were taught to the Ana'ladi before the binding, but I was as sure of them as she was, and the male vampire, who I knew, was her creator and was now known as Malcolm, though he had used many names in the years that Aoife had known him tried to grab me and pull me away,his shouted words of denial unheard by either of us,and she rode my body down to the floor where he had thrown me, I felt the pain distantly, but it was all faint compared to the power of her kiss.
The kiss, or maybe KISS, you know all in caps, was incredible, and made me doubt my sexuality for the first time,because it was beyond the stuff of my dreams,everything the movies and books had promised, and more. Our minds melted together even as her tongue slide into my parted lips, and played along mine. I knew what she meant to do an instant before it happened,tried to push away from her, but it was to late, to late for anything else as her blood touched my lips from the cut she had bitten onto her tongue,and my world exploded into white light.
It was a liquid heat so hot surly the whole restaurant must have caught fire, my whole body exploded with the intensity, and then on that cusp of time, between one second and the next, her lips pulled from mine,and as my back arched with the intensity of what was happening inside me, her teeth found my throat and I felt her teeth penetrate me for the first time,felt her drinking deeply of my blood,felt myself holding her to my throat by her hair,as if from a distance I heard our cries, and the feelings raging through my body were to intense, to all powerful for me to care that everyone in the building must hear our cries, must think we were having sex.
Aoife pulled away from me after what seemed hours,though was probably only a few minutes, both of us panting. “Aoife, what you have done is akin to rape,you didn’t just make her your Ana'ladi, you bound her to you for life, this is not what she agreed to!” Aoife pulled me closer,so we were spooned on the floor,her eyes,once an unblemished emerald green now had a ring of cobalt blue on the outside, and I knew,if I looked into a mirror, my own blue eyes would now be ringed by emerald green. “Enough Malcolm, she wanted this as much as I, she was at the gathering this year, paid the fee, and was not chosen...she wanted to be bound to someone....” His eyes narrowed in anger, and his voice came out whisper quiet, but we heard him clearly. “How would you know that, unless you saw her there? If you did see her why did you not claim her then...” he stopped as his eyes widened in sudden understanding. “You claimed her then, that’s why none chose her...why did you not bond her at that time?” “Her words were soft, sad. “She is not a lover of women Malcolm, she would not have agreed to bond with me, and once she said no, anyone could have asked her...and I wanted her. It is illegal for us to fight for Ana'ladi who weren’t fully bonded anymore, I have waited 376 years Malcolm, 376 long years of being alone, after Elanor was killed....so many years of waiting and looking for the one who would make me want to feel alive again!” Malcolm flinched at her words but his angry voice answered her with derision. “So you hunt this girl?keep her from being bonded by someone who could be her missing half, buy a house so close to her home...plan this evening here....I thought maybe you were ready to be alive again...but that wasn’t it at all...you were hunting her,forcing her into a corner so her only choice for her hearts desire would be you...forced it on her for eternity...can you live with her hate for so long Aoife? Do you want to?”
Aoife closed her eyes,and I felt her thoughts,my thoughts,our thoughts, as she sought answers to his words, answers in her soul,our soul. “She knew my hearts prayer Malcolm, surely you saw that...you say I cost her, her chance at hers soul mate, but I am her soul mate...her soul spoke the same words as mine, voice to voice,breath to breath, my heart beat in time with hers as the bond settled in place...you felt it, this was no simple blood bond, this was the reforging of a shattered soul...was what I did a crime, or would have been denying our soul the chance of coming together again have been the true crime?” Her words for soft, but filled with passion, and I looked up at Malcolm, and for the first time he saw my eyes, and in that moment I knew something was different then the normal colored ring around my iris, he flinched back before moving to a wall and ripping a mirror off of its hanging,then shoving it in front of my face,and I gasped, because the girl looking back at me,couldn’t be me, I wish it was, but....damn she was hot. I had always had slightly slanted eyes, but now the slant was more severe, more exotic, and my eyes weren’t blue anymore, or green, they were a weird shimmery color that was both depending on which angle I tilted my head,like the paint job on some cars. My skin...oh Jesus my skin, I had always had freckles, and a small scar on my left cheek, now my skin was blemish free,and the smooth coppery color only possible via really expensive tanning salons, or that some Indian/Spanish mixes got, that everyone envied. I was 20, and people always guessed at me being younger, but looking at myself, I couldn’t tell how old I was, I could be an older looking 20,or a young looking 40,or anything in between. I had went from being “cute as a button” as my grand mother had said, to being the kind of movie star beautiful that almost always comes from expensive plastic surgery. I couldn’t look at myself and say what changed,but I could tell that everything had, all the imperfections had been smoothed away,making me seem surreal,inhuman.
“WoW, im sexy...” then I passed out.
I sat in my office,feet up on my desk,head bouncing to the beat of the music playing softly from the radio beside my desk. Two years...such a short time...today was the anniversary of the great meet, where I spent every dollar my parents had saved to try to become an Ana'ladi, tried and failed...two years since I returned home to become a waitress, a year since Aoife walked into that same restaurant and claimed my as her soul mate, her Ana'ladi, not for a few years as was most common, but for eternity, binding me to her forever, without even knowing me first. She loved me, as I loved her, no doubt of that could be entertained, because we shared minds so deeply, that at times, if I wasn’t careful, it was like we were two bodies with one mind controlling both. My parents took months to come to terms, at first they thought I had become a lesbian, and truthfully at the time, I wasn’t sure I hadn’t, Aoife certainly wanted me to be, but they did come around, and I settled into my relationship with Aoife, a strictly platonic relationship. Most of my friends had either become insanely jealous or acted like I was some kind of celebrity. I couldn’t stand either of that,so I had only one real friend other then Aoife left....
“Juli answer the damn phone, you have a client waiting!!!Do I look like your secretary or something?” I snorted and turned off my radio. “You look exactly like my secretary, you lazy creature!”
I didn’t wait for her answer, just picked up the phone. “Sword of the Night body guards, Juliam speaking, how may I help you?” the voice that answered was smooth and mellow, like really well aged Bourbon, smoky and deep. “Hello Ms. Juliam, my name is Trevor Douglas, and im hoping you and your Mistress can help me find someone.” I blinked, and shook my head,we got this a lot,people wanting services we didn’t offer. “ Mr. Douglas, im very sorry but we are not a detective agency, we are body guards. I can give you the number of someone who can....” I almost jerked back as his voice spoke on,as if he didn’t hear my words at all.
“Juliam let me be more clear on this matter. My name is Trevor Douglas, I am the head of security for the Council of Night, and have held that position for 317 years. I asked you as a courtesy, but you and your Mistress will do as I ask, or you will both be destroyed, do you understand what I am saying? Your assistant has my contact information, you will call me back as soon as your Mistress is with you, so I can speak to you both at once.”
The click of him hanging up on me shook me free of the shock I was feeling,as I scrambled through our memories, to see if he had the authority to do as he was threatening, and knew at once, from the feelings of dread coursing through Aoife that he did indeed have the power to have us both killed if he so desired. I had spent the last year training. Aoife had been what had been known as a warrior poet, one of the greatest swordsmen Ireland had ever produced, and she was considered one of the 6 or 7 greatest warriors alive by the Council of Night. She had been teaching me to use blades, and the fact that her mind was so closely linked to mine made it easier,because my muscles had memories of things they had never done. I was as good with a sword,as almost any human on earth, I was as strong and quick as a vampire, and Malcolm and Aoife had also been teaching me hand to hand. They had created their own form, borrowing moves and stances from hundreds of forms they had encountered over the centuries of their lives. They were turning me into one of the deadliest people on earth, but this man scared Aoife. I held onto the arms of the chair so tightly the hard plastic cracked under my fingers, the feeling of Aoife running through the streets