I was walking around alone since a few months, sleeping under the ground for most of the time, or in abandonned houses. Since months, knowing that Louis wasn't wanting me at all, not even loving me as a friend, I had runned off, probably unnoticed. I wasn't caring. All was about learning how it was working, why I was like this and how to learn to deal with it. I had discovered that drinking from bad people was really helping to feel less guilt about killing, and also learned to drink just a little of blood from people asleep, not killing them, for the nights when I couldn't bare the thought of leaving someone dead behind me, and people grieving about this death. Learning also where to sleep, and that I should find a place where there was no sun at all. The first days had been hard, as the sun found me a few times, burning my arms and legs. I rubbed softly my arms, pain running in my body. The last day had been rather hard too, I had been unlucky enough for a wall of the house falling down, the sun finding me once more. Would these wounds ever heal, I thought?
I suddenly stopped walking and stared at Louis, sitting down at a café. I moved my red hair in my face, hidding the expression of shame and fear, fear of being hurt once more. I would force myself to smile, but only if he was noticing me. If not.. I would simply walk away.
I kept on walking, looking at the ground.
Another vampire was close by, I doubt Lestat would be happy if found there was new Blood Drinkers walking about in his city. I scanned the crowd to see where this Blood Drinker was... Sophie. Sophie had left before I could teach her anything.
I had been a worse maker than Lestat had been to Claudia and considering that Lestat did teach her to play the piano and took her to the theater even if it was 'Macbeth' for the tenth time, so it wasn't like he neglected her. I felt like such a hypocrite. I wouldn't be surprised if she wanted to kill me, or torture me first, then kill me. My guilt seems to creep up on me again.
I have the nerve to call out to her. "Sophie." I shouted before she had her back totally to me.
I grew tired of waiting around for Amadeo and I paid my bill and left a tip on the table. I decided I'd go see Louis. Maybe he could shed some light on where Amadeo was. I knew where to find that beautiful immortal of Lestat's. When I got there to the cafe he loved, I saw him walking towards another female. His fledgling. Louis don't be alarmed. It's just Bianca.
I turned around stunned, I hadn't even felt her presents. Bianca, the lady who had been looking after Claudia.
Where are you I asked I could not spot her amongst the crowd of mortals, out for midnight clubbing.
I couldn't even answer to Louis when that female vampire, Bianca, had come closer.
Was I wanting to go back to his appartment? I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure if I was trusting myself enough to stay always happy in front of him, no never let him feel my despair, my pain. I knew he was hating my pain for everything. I knew it was the reason why he had stopped loving me as soon as I was a vampire.
I smiled widely to Bianca. My smile was fake, but it wasn't showing, until you could read my mind. Don't tell him I am not feeling well. I told her silently. He should have let me die. He knows it. He feels enough guilt like this, I can see it into his eyes.
Then finally I whispered in a soft voice. "No need to worry for me, I am fine. I just made a few mistakes..." I took up my sleeves to show them my arms. "But I am well. I am learning it all by myself. And Louis." I turned to face him. "I can come back to the appartment if you really want me to. Just.. don't say that out of pity. I don't need anyone's pity. I wasn't needing it as a mortal, I don't know why I would need it more now." I gave him a soft smile.
I looked at Sophies arms as she rolled up her sleeves. I wanted so much to allow her to drink my blood to heal her marks quicker than Louis' blood could. After all Marius had asked the queen to allow me to drink from her. I heard her thoughts in my head and nodded.
"You will soon love eachother. How do you think Lestat loves Louis. Louis pushed Lestat away every chance he got, but somehow Lestat still loves him regardless. I'm sure Louis was in your position at once. Am I right Louis? But enough of my talk here. I sound like the hipocrit." I said to them.
I looked at Sophie and wondered if she'd like to drink from me to heal her wounds to make her feel better.Sophie, of the three of us I have the strongest blood. So if you would like to heal your wounds and end the pain that you must be in...I will allow you to drink from my wrist. I said in hopes that I was making a friend and not an enemy
A block away from the cafe, I stopped in my tracks. It wasn't just Louis...there were three of them. Louis, Bianca, and someone I clearly hadn't met before. Someone young in blood. Well, no problems there.
I didn't broadcast my presence - far from it. In an almost silent undertone I told their unsuspecting minds to look at the bar. Of course, they all looked, and when they turned back I'd sat down right next to them. I felt out of place, ruffled hair and denim beside their semi-smart garb, both the oldest and the youngest. But then, that wasn't unusual for me. I smirked.
"No-one was expecting that, right?"
I turned and saw my beautiful Amadeo sitting next to me. "Amadeo? My Amadeo? Is that really you?" I questioned him in disbelief. It had been ages since I had last seen him and tears of joy sprang to my face.
I wanted to touch him and kiss him and catch up on everything. "How have you been?" I asked
I froze, seeing another vampire coming to us, looking so young but feeling so strong and old. He was looking rather gorgeous. I couldn't help but think that I was knowing him, in a way or another. Probably from the books, I thought. Thinking about it, Bianca was also feeling quite strong and old. I couldn't say another word and I walked backward a few steps, ending behind Louis as if I was wanting him to protect me.
I wrapped my arms around him and said, "Armand. I like that one. It has a slight ring to it. And I have been well. I was in London a few years back in hopes to see you but I never did."
I smiled at him and then saw Sophie backing away. "DOn't be shy love. I won't hurt you and neither will my darling Armand. He's just a big kid at heart." I said smiling
"Oh," I replied after a second's thought, "I was in Paris." Paris. The place I loved, the place I despised, the place in which I'd decayed over the decades, corrupted Louis' soul until it was as black as my own, killed Claudia. But I'd always thought I'd seen Bianca there.
"Or maybe it was Miami."
I watched Sophie over Bianca's arm, dark eyes filled with an almost tactless curiosity. There was something about her that drew me to her. Some kind of darkness she'd pushed down deep inside herself which reminded me of why I was called Armand. I wanted to know her. But I'm not a big kid at heart, I thought quietly to myself. I'm older than all of you.
I beckoned to Sophie. She couldn't be more than a few months in the blood, I estimated. And she looked so innocent.
I shook my head again but somehow, I moved away from Louis, and closer to them. It was like something inside of me was telling me that there was no danger, that he wouldn't hurt me. I knew Bianca wouldn't either. My fear was a little stupid, but it was still there.
I stared at Armand as he ordered a hot chocolate, rather curious. I shook my head when the waitress looked at me, asking me if I was wanting anything, then made my way to a chair beside Armand, and taking my courage, I sat down and took a deep breath, then smiled to him.
"I am sorry." I finally managed to whisper, looking at him, then suddenly looking away.
"No worries sophie. We'll take care of you. I am a great friend of Armand here. Long story we won't even go there. And Louis...well...I we're friends as well." I said to her.
I looked to the waitress and said, "I want a coffee with two scoops of creamer, two tablespoons of sugar, and a packet of hotchocolate all mixed together in one cup"
I smiled and looked back to Sophie. "We're really all one happy family."
I gave him a wide smile, this time more sincere. "Five hundred years old." I said softly. "And still amazed with the phone."
I winked at him and laughed. I was already feeling more comfortable. "And of course you don't dislike me... yet. You barely know me."
I paused, then added. "But I know you. I know a lot about you, thanks to your book."
He was looking too adorable, in a way. For a few seconds, as he was playing with the marshmallows, I saw the little boy in him, the mortal boy who had been taken away by his maker, saved of being a slave all his life.
I watched the interaction going on around me in silence. Taking Sophie's hand under the table.
Armand totally miscalculated what I was feeling, the thought that he thought he was winding me up amused me greatly inside and I'm sure Sophie knew that he was playing with her but still I held her hand beneath the table.
"Long time no see, Armand. You think you can annoy me that easily, you are gravely mistaken." I said, taking a book out of my bag that only had one strap that went over my head. I opened it and turned to the right page.
I sat there silently playing with my coffee/hotchocolate. I let their words fly in and out of one ear. Obviously Armand didn't care to much to see me. I wished I had brought a book or something. "Excuse me if you will." I said standing up and leaving a tip.
I didn't give them time to persuade me to stop and sit back down. I only left to go find something to do. Armand was wrapped up in the new immortal and I, someone who took care of him, was no longer the center of his life. No, this wasn't a time for me to get upset and cry. I was stronger than that. I would simply move on with my life. I walked down to a book store to find myself some new books. I was still able to hear their thoughts yes...maybe Armand would find that I was hurt. What difference does it make Bianca? He's out of your life now. He's different. Get over him. And don't count on getting your hopes up for him to stay with you. I thought to myself.
I walked into the bookstore, quietly ignoring the "May I help you?" and moving into the section where I could find the romance novels. I chose "Fast Courting," and checked out. I sat outside the book store and began to read the book. Rather upset with myself for leaving the way I did.
I looked at Louis for a few seconds when he took my hand. I knew what he meant by this move. Armand wasn't serious at all in what he was saying. He was just trying to make him mad or something, even if he was saying it wasn't the fact. Was it saddening me? Not exactly. It was just feeling good that for once, someone seemed interested in me. The first since... since.. Well, I didn't even want to think about since when. I didn't want to remember the moment Louis changed me. I knew Armand could see it in my mind if I was trying to remember right now.. And to show him how weak I was? No, no thank you.
I smiled widely to Armand, to show him I didn't mean to insult him at all. I had loved his book, in fact. Learning to know other immortals with the books was good. And helping me out to understand exactly what I was. It wasn't that Louis was a bad maker, no. It was just that I wasn't willing to stay around him when I knew that he was barely able to stand me.
Our relation just made me think of Nicolas and Lestat, of how Nicolas forced Lestat to give him the dark blood. I was really seeing myself into him.
"You'd like to know me?" I said to Armand with a grin in my face. No, not really taking it seriously. "Then ask whatever you want." I said softly. "Why would you want to know me?"
I looked at both of them, Louis and Armand, and I knew they were talking without me being able to hear.
When Bianca left, I followed her with my eyes. Sad to see her leaving. Would I see her another time? Hopefully, I would. She was so old, too, I knew I would have a lot to learn from her.
"I don't happen to disapprove and no I guess it wouldn't matter to you would it Armand." I said keeping my head in my book and letting him figure out what I meant by my words.
To think we spent nearly a century together, nobody would have guess it if they'd seen us talking.
I couldn't help but laugh. Took me all my strenght not to reply that he would love it if Louis was disaprooving, that it would just make him even more amused. Wasn't it what he wanted to do? It was looking like it, at least.
But then, ignoring his questions, I finally said something. Something that was still saying what was in my mind. Looking at Armand right into his eyes...
"Aren't you just trying to make him jealous?" I said innocently. "Because you both were, once, lovers, and it's all gone?"
I suddenly felt bad of saying that and I stopped staring at him, looking down at the table. I was just hoping I wasn't sounding mean or anything of that kind.
I stared at her, once again hating those books. Not so amused all of a sudden. I wasn't that sure how to reply.
"I am not trying to make him jealous." My voice was suddenly sulky. "Why do you even ask questions when you've read all the wonderful books? And no, it wouldn't matter much to me if he disapproved."
I glared at Louis. It might matter to me, just a tiny bit, but whose business was that but my own? I didn't need people poking around for my reasons. Sometimes I didn't even have reasons.
I stayed silent, not answering to his question, totally aware that they were exchanging thoughts, keeping me out of those on purpose. I just looked at them, then wondered if I should just leave. Louis wouldn't understand why I wasn't wanting his blood. I wasn't wanting to depend on him, or on anyone else. But then I saw this tear of blood on his cheek, his hand wiping it off quickly, and I couldn't help but just reach out for his hand and hold it tight.
"Whatever you are telling him..." I said to Armand. "Stop. Stop. You can't try to make him feel guilty or bad about something like this." Then I slowly got up to leave his side, to go behind Louis and hug him softly. "I'll always be thankful for all you did for me." I said softly. "At the moment that my only thought was to go to my mother, you kept me alive. Even if you weren't loving me this way. Thank you. The only reason why I don't want your blood.. or anyone else's blood... is that I don't want to depend on anyone. I'd love to be able to survive on my own. But I can see that it's not the fact."
I smiled softly and put my head on his shoulder, more hoping that it would make him feel better.
I held her in my arms, scrunching my eyes closed and putting my forehead on her. The pain was immense and I hated it. I knew bringing up Daniel was a harsh thing to do but Armand had hurt me so I lashed out.
"You ever need to be healed, you can come to me, ma belle." I said, still holding her tight but not so tight it hurt her.
I was a little startled by how surprised he was, how the only word that came out of him was this "what?", and for a few seconds, wondering if I did well to follow him. But of course, I did.
"I .. wanted to appologize for everything mean I said earlier." I said softly. I touched his back again, fighting my need to hug him, but letting him see in my mind that I wanted to hug him. "I don't want you to leave. I want to know you better."
"I thought you knew me already?" I challenged, but I didn't mean it. After a moment's hesitation I moved and hugged this shy little fledgling of Louis'. Partly because she wanted me to and partly because it made me feel better. I was shivering slightly, but I knew that would disappear soon. "Stop apologising for things. You'll let people walk all over you."
I sat down on the kerb watching them, I took my bag off and then my suit jacket, showing a white thin shirt that was done up from my chest with brown leather lases. I pulled my black hair behind my shoulders and looked up at Armand who was shivering against a wall. It looked like he had more auburn curls that normal but I knew it wasn't true.
"What are we going to do now?" I asked, fiddling with my glass nails.
I hugged Sophie back. I didn't want to tell her that the book was the real me, that it had come from my very heart and soul and there was nothing more to tell. I wished it wasn't so. Wished that I was a nice happy person with a nice happy past and the capability to be nice to everyone all the time. But I wasn't, so there. I looked at Louis and asked incredulously,
"What do you mean, 'what are we going to do now?'? Does it matter? We're going to be around for an awful long time anyway." Smirking, I added, "Nice shirt."
I sat down on the ground without saying a word, looking at them for a while and listening to their talk, when I finally whispered. "I don't dislike your shirt, Louis." in a soft and low voice. If they had been mortals, they wouldn't even hear it. "And I know I am too shy. I guess I took that from my maker."
I sticked out my tongue at Louis and laughed softly.
I shrugged and replied, "Well. I guess I could stay a while." I couldn't help wondering about Louis' sudden change of heart, unless it truely was for Sophie's benefit. All at once I wanted her to meet Marius. My maker. Who certainly was not shy, as neither was I. I wriggled out of my jacket and tied it around my waist, automatically pulling out my mobile phone to check it. No messages. Of course, the only people who knew my number were Sybelle, Benji and Daniel, and Daniel was the only one who really needed it. I pushed the 'off' button then looked at Sophie.
"You're staying at his apartment now, then?"
I finished the book and decided to rejoin the group when I saw that they were all angry or had an arguement. "Is everything okay?" I asked looking from Armand, to Sophie, to Louis and back.
Armand was in tears and I couldn't bare to see him this way. I linked my arm through his Sophie, we can catch up some other time. I have a feeling that you and I will get along.
I moved hoping that Armand would follow. Louis, I'm sorry if Armand has troubled you or Sophie...we all seem uptight tonight and I think it best if I just take him with me.
I looked at Armand and said, "Come. We have much to talk about and catch up on."
I'd known the inner quiet wouldn't last. Now I felt just as strange and confused as ever. Suddenly Bianca reappeared and the whole lot of them were hugging me and touching my face and I hated it, because everyone wanted me, because I wasn't worth wanting. They wanted my skin and my lips and my hair and my blood, just the way David had a few nights ago. It made my thoughts coil. So I stood there like the doll I was supposed to be and didn't respond, save for taking a small step back toward the wall.
"No." My voice was that of the stroppy teenager I'd become during my last year as a mortal and it made me cringe inside. "I'm not a child. I won't be dragged around and told what to do like a child, not when I'm older than all of you. And don't tell me I'm deranged because deranged or not, I have a mind of my own!" I silenced myself at that point; my accent was becoming more of the mish-mash it really was with every word. But I couldn't even bring myself to look them in the eye after my accusations so I glared determinedly at the neon light of the shop across the street.