This is the back side of chapter one. We finally meet the oft-spoken of Donovan, Dori’s surly sire.
Donovan released me then drew to his full height. He cocked his head and allowed a sweep of hair to curtain over the left side of his face. He needed a cut badly. When I first met him, he had short hair. That was during a phase when he’d trimmed it every other day. With vampires, the body can be altered temporarily but it always wants to return to its original dead state within a few days.
He turned to his desk and pulled out a document, then spun back to face me. “Do you know what this is?” he asked as he waived the paper in front of my nose.
“If you’d hold it still, maybe something would come to me.”
“It’s a letter from the Vampire Council inquiring about your progress. Four more months, Dori, that’s all you’ve got. If you can’t hunt and survive on your own by then, they’ll stake you. Do you understand what that means?”
I took the letter from his hands, my own trembling. The words printed there gave the date of my death, both historically as a mortal and prospectively as an undead vampire–October 31, Halloween. It employed business and legal terms such as “inadequate self-sufficiency”, “violation of the human / vampire treaty of 1697”, “the Sire Accountability Act of 1972” and the necessity of “self-policing and purification for the greater good of the order”. But the bottom line was I’d cease to exist on that date if I couldn’t demonstrate my ability to hunt within the treaty guidelines and sustain myself. My heart sped and I lifted my eyes to meet his. “I do understand what it means,” I murmured. He’d told me about the one year deadline countless times, but I hadn’t seen a letter until now.
He cupped my chin and lifted it so that I’d look him in the eye again. “Dori, I care about you, about your welfare. I’m here to help you adjust and fit in, to be self-sufficient, but most importantly, to co-exist with mortals undetected. I can’t help you if you won’t listen and take my words to heart. I’ve been a vampire for over three centuries. I do know what I’m talking about.”
I frowned. “I’ll try harder, I will, but–‘
“Good. That’s the spirit. Tonight we’ll go over the lure procedures again. You’re a smart girl. You should be a whiz at this. You could be a star if you’d do what I tell you.”
Curses, he was winding up again. His lecture would cover my attire, my makeup, my come hither look, or lack thereof, and wrap up by indicting me for my overall lack of sex appeal. I’d heard it so many times before. I couldn’t help the sigh that escaped but nodded in resignation.
“Where are the clothes I got you? You’ve got a killer body but no man is going to look twice at you wearing this…” he swirled his hand in a dismissive gesture from my headband to my beloved Nike Shox, “…preppy investment banker on the hoof look you’ve got going here.”
“I’m uncomfortable wearing those hoochie mama clothes you got me. I like these. If I can perfect the hypnosis, I shouldn’t need to dress up like a hooker, should I?” I perched my hands on my hips. “Why won’t you teach me how to do that?”
Through gritted teeth and fangs he cursed then said, “No man will get close enough if you look like this, so what’s the point?” He threw up his hands and grunted. “Come on!”
I followed him into the dreaded dressing room. The man had his own clothing boutique on site for his female progeny. Talk about your metrosexual man-whore.
“You may be my sire but you’re not my pimp, Donovan. I’m not going to wear the hand me downs of a succubus.” The words popped out before I could stop them, a frequent gaffe on my part.
He came to an abrupt halt, turned in slow motion to stare me down then snarled, “I don’t make succubi.”
“I-I know you don’t. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” He’d advanced on me as I spoke, forcing me to back up until I dead ended at a wall. He leaned in and planted a hand beside each of my shoulders, trapping me in a cage of irate undead power.
Lowering his face to almost touch mine he hissed, “Succubi are not whores. You should be so accomplished to call yourself a succubus. You’ll be lucky to see your next birthday at the rate you’re going, little girl.” His eyes flickered down to my mouth.
I swallowed then nodded. “I know,” squeaked out because I knew what came next. It always did.