Though it had been less than five years since Volodya and the rest of the clan had left Amalia behind, it seemed far longer. In truth, such a span was barely an eye blink for a vampire. It had been five very momentous years in which her kind as well as many other paranormal species had finally emerged from the shadows of legend and into the chaos of the world at large.
This, of course, meant certain compromises. Vampires were required to register their existence with all governmental and law enforcement agencies. Additionally, there were issues with the vampiric dietary preferences. From science came relief in the form of synthetic blood products proven to allow subjects to survive and thrive without need for human victimization.
As the leader of her clan, Volodya made the decision they would renounce their anonymity and join the greater society they were being offered acceptance by. Met by vehement protests from Amalia and a handful of others, the elder vampire was adamant his decision was in the best interests of all. Having been undead for nearly four hundred years, he spoke of times when their only choice had been to cower and hide or be driven to extinction. It was far past time, he maintained, to end their exile and live within the acceptable bounds of the modern world.
This was a decision Amalia could not, would not abide by. In all fairness, the fact she was a vampire at all owed to her rebellious nature. Having snuck out to an after-hours club in the city, she had been bitten and turned by Volodya on her way back home. Freed from her repressive upbringing, Amalia reveled in the freedom her vampiric lifestyle provided. She gloried in the strength, the invulnerability, the heightened awareness provided by her altered state. Ironically, she now felt more alive…more vital than she ever had while she was still among the living.
It was those enhanced senses that drew her from her reverie in a flood of overwhelming input. Concentrating…reaching outward with her mind…she could scarcely believe her perceptions. Despite her warnings, they had returned? She could smell the unmistakable scent of her father’s cologne. She could hear the hushed voices of her mother as well as her brother, David.
That they were here, in her inner sanctum could only mean it was because Billy had allowed them in and that gave her pause. That she must punish him for this transgression was not in question. That she had any desire to do so was. Her relationship with him was…complicated. He was her confidante, her sometimes lover, her servant and, yes, the protector of her immortal body while she slept. What he, most certainly was not was “some verkakte Renfield” as her father had so unwisely described him during his prior visit. She had narrowly avoided tearing him limb from limb that night.
To her Billy had grown to be so much more. He was possibly the only being, human or undead, who understood her fierce need chart her course in an uncertain world with no hand on the tiller but her own. He was the only one who accepted her for who and what she was with an unwavering sense of certainty that she, reluctantly, admitted she simply could not do without. He was, in every sense of the term, “her man” and this infraction of her cardinal rules disturbed her greatly.
But there would be time to deal with his transgressions later. For now, she must focus on her misguided family and this, their latest albeit if she had her way their final, intervention. She would not surrender herself to one of the Paranormal Adjustment Centers. She would not kowtow to the self-appointed guardians of “proper” societal behavior. She could and would face the future in her own way and on her own terms. Of that she must, somehow, once and for all convince them.
Resisting the urge to burst in upon them with talons and fangs extended and crimson eyes blazing, she glided silently up the stairs. It was going to be a very unpleasant day for one who was only at her best at night, she mused.