I'm taken to a room at the end of a dark hallway. Armando is leading me. I realize that there is other guard following him as well. They are scared and nervous. I know now that we are in the huge Cathedral but it isn't a cathedral. This place is an actual school. I can tell because we walk past fucking classrooms.
“Vampire High is going to be your new home for the next year,” Armando lets me know, “Most all the vampires went through it so don't feel stressed.”
“That's easier said than done when half the school freaks out over a blood type. I'm not even AB. I don't even know what that means.”
“When you were human, you weren't AB. When you change into a Vampire your blood type changes. Class A blood types are vampires who are good at physical labor. They tend to be stronger vampires, faster. They do a lot of fieldwork, manual labor and some even act as police officers or security around the city. Class B’s are more mental vampires. They are the politicians, the executives and are master manipulators in the city. Some even have the power to hypnotize. Class O...they are good at both of those things.”
“Is that why they are so special?”
Armando nods, “Yes. Class O blood types are well-rounded vampires. They are trained to become King's Guard.”
“So when you were in school you were Class O.”
Armando nods, “Top of my class.”
I nod interested, “Wow. So what about me, what are AB blood types good at?”
Armando shrugs, “No one knows.”
“Never been an AB blood type before...”
Never was a long time. I get even more nervous as Armando takes me down the hallway. The idea that I'm the only one who is an AB blows my fucking mind. Armando hushes me before I can say anything. He's taken me into an area that I don't know.
“Where are we?”
“These are the dormitories. Class O sleeps together, they train together, they study together. They do everything together.”
“Sleep together?” I ask.
“Take your mind out of the gutter, Santos, I mean literally sleep,” Armando corrects me, “Class O have a special bond. You are going to know these people for an eternity. You'll fight Rogues together. You'll be the face of Eden's defense against Rogues.”
“I'm confused. What do the rogues want?”
“What does anyone want? To get into paradise,” Armando answers me before leading me into the room.
“They are asleep.”
“They have the right idea. Classes begin tomorrow.”
“Wait ok. Wait. I'm not ready for this...”
“I'll have clothing and toiletries delivered to you. Since you are now an honorary of Class O you are only allowed to wear gold.”
“Wait...you can't just leave me here...wait!”
I don't have time to stop Armando. He slams the door behind me. I realize now that I'm in a dark room. I look in the room. I do not what I was expecting. A part of me is expecting a room full of coffins. That's not the case. There are beds in the room. They are bunk beds. I look through the long hallway and see that everyone is asleep.
“You mind keeping it down?” a voice says, “I'm trying to sleep.”
That's when I see the person turn over. He's on his lower cot. It's the boy with the silver eyes. He doesn't have a shirt on. He doesn't seem to have noticed it was me and when he turns and open his eyes immediately, he gets up
“My bad,” I respond in a whisper.
He's standing up. I look at his body. The others 5 are sleeping in their cots but he's staring at me. His body is everything. That's the only way I can describe it. He has a small waist and muscular biceps. His silver eyes look European, the shape of his eyes look Asian, his lips have that black weight to them his skin seems to have that mid brown Hispanic hue to it. He looks like he is the world's child. In the darkness, he stares at me.
“It's you...the AB...”
“Is that what I'm called?” I ask him.
“Everyone's talking about you. Can I taste you? I never tasted an AB...”
He's brave. He doesn't wait for me to answer. In the darkness, he is on my neck. I have to admit having him so close turns me the fuck on. I almost feel his lips press up against my neck when I jerk back. When I pull back, he seems confused.
“Um no, you can't taste me.”
He raises an eyebrow, “Never really had someone say no to me before when I asked to taste their blood. Is that things that AB blood type do?”
“Get used to it. It's a hard life out there.”
He laughs, “Is it an AB thing to be rude too?”
I'm looking at this guy with a strange look, “Wait. You just tried to suck on my neck and you're calling me the rude one.”
He snickers a little bit, “Look we started off on the wrong foot. I am not going to lie...I just am intrigued by you. Honestly, I think everyone is. So how about we start over? My name is Nero.”
Nero flashes me a white smile. His teeth are the whitest teeth I've ever seen in my life. How the fuck did he get his teeth so white? How the fuck was that even possible? How the fuck were his lips folding over his mouth in the way they were. Why the fuck was this man so handsome? It wasn't even fucking fair.
I walk past him and go to the only empty bed, “I'm not here to make friends man.”
Someone else had smiled at me before. Someone else had been nice to me before. I wasn't going to let another Milan happen. This Nero guy was handsome. I'd give him that. Handsome was getting so played out though.
“He can't help it. He recently turned.”
I don't dream that night. I wonder if it's just a thing that vampires don't dream. I mean I literally don't dream. I wake up and it's as though no time has passed but I'm very sure a lot of time has passed even though the only window in the dorm still reflects the everlasting red sky.
They are over me. There are six of them, three boys and three girls. They are watching me with interest. When I open my eyes one of the girls literally takes off jumping so high she reaches the ceiling and then falls flat back on her ass.
The other two girls don't seem nearly as surprised or moved by me.
“He doesn't even look like an O,” the one girl says.
I assume she means I'm not as gorgeous as the rest of them. She would be right. The girl who is talking is a bombshell. She looks like some teen beauty queen. She has huge lips, almond shaped eyes and jet black hair. Her eyes are hazel and her skin is tan. She raises a dark eyebrow at me and crosses her arms. She's dressed in a golden color robe.
“He isn't an O, Coco,” the other girl states, “He's a stray.”
This second girl is a white girl. She had short red hair that is cut into a bob. She has freckles and looks like someone's supermodel from the 1980s when supermodels actually existed. She looks at Coco as though wanting some sort of assurance from the darker girl. The darker girl doesn't give her one. She's too busy looking at me being disgusted.
“I'm also awake,” I state.
I get up at that moment.
“He's short,” the boy next to Nero, states, “He has actual stomach fat. I'm not joking. Coco, look at this shit. He's built like a Type B.”
This motherfucker has the nerve to poke my stomach like I'm the Pillsbury doughboy and when I slap his hand away I see nothing but fangs. He is a white boy, about 6'2”. When he points out my belly fat, I realize it's because he doesn't have any. None of them do. They look like all they do is go to the gym all day. They are shaped like Armando. It's clear now that the O blood type was the genetically superior one. I mean these people weren't human. I look over at Nero and this other boy and I swear I count 16 abs between them. I didn't know eight abs on a human were even possible until today. This third guy in the room is the biggest. He's damn near 6'6”. He's a giant and he's standing silently but his body is no different from the other two boys as far as tone is concerned. The rude one I have to admit is handsome. He has blond hair and looks like an all-American boy. He hisses and turns to me. There is a look of anger in his eyes as though I'm the one who offended him.
“He's with our class now Lucca,” Nero tells the blonde boy.
The blonde boy, Lucca, doesn't retract his fangs. He's looking like he's ready to rip into my flesh any minute now. A part of me thinks that if Nero wasn’t standing between us right at that moment that he would.
It's the girl Coco that they all seem to be focused on. For some reason Lucca and the other girl seems to be following her lead. The way they look at her is like they are waiting on her every word or something.
She walks over to me, “What is your name new boy?”
“Silly name,” says the girl whose name is fucking Coco, “The Captain of the Guard Armando asked me to bring you these clothes.”
She has a stack full of golden uniforms in her hands. She is about to hand them to me. I lean forward in order to grab them but before I can get anywhere close, she runs. She is quick as a cheetah as she gets to the window. She opens up the window at that moment and tosses the clothes out of the window.
We have to be on the fifth floor. I watch as the clothes scatter across the courtyard outside.
I am speechless.
I take a step forward and I swear I don't know what I'm going to do to her but before I can even get close, the 6'6” guy is there. He's blocking the way and he's daring me to get close to her. He's a fucking a monster.
“Really Coco?” Nero asks her.
“Yeah. He can find his tooth brush and the rest of his toiletries in the toilet...where they belong,” Coco states, “You can fish them out for him since you want to play Hero Nero.”
“Hero Nero,” the big man laughs at Coco, mocking her.
“Let's leave. We are late for class. We'll let the AB decide what the fuck he's going to wear on his first day,” Coco responds.
She walks out of the door at that moment. The others get dressed in their gold and follow close behind her. The only ones that stay behind is the girl who jumped on the roof and Nero.
The girl who stays behind is pretty in a different way then Coco and the other girl. Where they seem to have a sex appeal to them, this girl seems to just look cute. She has hair that reaches all the way to her ankles. I'm blown away by just how much hair she has. It's neat though...perfectly groomed. She gives me a smile at that moment.
“Sorry about that. See you in class?” She offers.
I ignore her and she smiles and leaves.
Nero stays behind. He's looking at me at that moment. I wonder if he thinks I'm going to cry. All the shit that I had been through as a human this was nothing.
Nero continues to stare at me though. He just stares at me wondering how I am going to react I guess. I'm not sure why the fuck he is just staring at me.
“What?” I ask, “Can I get my face back?”
“I'm sorry for Coco and the others. Geneva isn't so bad.”
I assumed Geneva was the girl with the long hair. I had to agree she wasn't so bad. I had to agree that Nero wasn't so bad either. The thing is I didn't want any of them to be nice to me.
“I would rather have enemies that are rude to my face than the ones who pretend to be your friends,” I explain to him.
“What are you talking about?”
I shake my head, “Nothing. I need to get down there.”
“Don't be ridiculous. I have some extra gold clothes that you can wear. We'll go report to Dean Caesarian what Coco did.”
“I'm not snitching.”
Nero gives me a raised eyebrow, “No snitch policy? Really?”
“Snitches get stitches.”
“That's the dumbest shit I ever heard,” he responds, “As opposed to what, people who shut the fuck up and get stitches anyway?”
“I'm not telling man.”
He nods, “Fine. Just borrow some of my clothes.”
I look at Nero for a second. The eyes were full of concern. They were the type of concern that you can see yourself falling for. I couldn't fall for them. I couldn't even allow myself to get caught looking at Nero for too long. His eyes were so fucking deep. They were like goddamn oceans or something. When I hesitate to take the clothes, he goes into his drawers and gets them. Then he hands them to me and just waits.
I cross my arms, “I'm not changing in front of you.”
He rolls his eyes, “We're two boys. We are part of the same class. Your class is like your family---none of this means anything to you huh?”
“Nope. Turn around.”
I didn't have rock hard abs. I wasn't fat but Nero and the guy Lucca made me feel like it. Their bodies were something from Men's Fitness Magazine or something. Looking at Nero walk around shirtless made me just want to stop eating and do crunches for the rest of my life.
“You don't have to wait for me,” I tell him, as I get dressed.
His clothes are little bit big for me but I'm not swimming in them. The gold pants are a little much if you ask me but I guess the vampires are big on color-coding. I like the gold sneakers and it's the one thing that Coco didn't throw out of the window.
“Ready?” Nero asks me.
“Good. We're a little late,” Nero, responds.
“So what's her story?”
“What do you mean?” Nero asks me turning towards me. His breath smells like fucking honey. I hate the fact that he's walking with me. I hate the fact that I notice that his breath smells like honey. I hate the fact that I'm turned on just from walking with someone.
“The bitch fit. What was that about? I don't even know her?”
“Look around. You notice anything?”
As I walk around, I notice a lot of people wearing red. The styles of the clothes are different. Some people just have regular basic red t-shirts. Some people have red hoodies. There is a lot of black. We are the only gold around. I wonder if Nero is talking about the colors but then as we get through the hallways I begin to realize that he's not talking about the colors at all. Nero is talking about the fact that people are staring at me.
“I'm assuming they aren't over the AB blood type thing yet?” I ask.
Nero laughs, “It's a prophecy.”
“What's the prophecy of?”
He shakes his head, “Oh we aren't allowed to say. It's forbidden to speak the prophecy of the AB.”
“You're joking...” I say looking at him.
“No dead serious. Even in private. No one talks about it. It's just how we were raised.”
“You're a vampire. You were bitten...not raised.”
He laughs, “You are new vampire. The majority of us were raised vampires even before we turned.”
“What do you mean?”
“Vampire parents raised us. Vampires are allowed to leave Eden to reproduce and raise their children once in a lifetime. When their children turn, 17 they get to change their children and bring them back to Eden. It's a big deal. Usually by then we all know about vampire culture. Coco is like that. We all are. Eden is a small city and we're excited to finally be allowed in now that we are vampires. I think the fact that you are different scares people...”
“I'm used to that.”
“Being different. Been beat up for being gay all my life. You'd think I'd be used to being stared at for something I can't change. Now it's happening all over again.”
“Well gays and vampires aren't that odd to be honest with you,” he laughs before shaking, “It's actually kind of common that vampires are at least bisexual. The AB thing, now that's the thing that really bothers people.”
His has the cutest little laugh. He's one of those people who naturally smiles. It fits him. It's like second nature or something like that. I wish I could laugh about this situation but I can't bring myself to laugh at it, not yet at least. All my life I worried about being different. Now that I have made a major change in my life, I realize that I’m once again the abnormal one.
“Sounds like I'm in for a lot.”
“You look so serious. You don't take anything as a joke do you?” he asks.
“I been around you guys for how long? A couple minutes and already, my stuff is being thrown out of a window. No, I'm sorry I'm not laughing.”
“She's a bitch for that. She really is,” he responds, “But stressing gives you wrinkles and vampires don't get wrinkles. Therefore, the way I look at it... there is no reason to stress. C`mon down this way.”
We are walking down a stretch of hallway until we finally get to our class. When we get to our class, I'm surprised to see that Armando is standing at the front of the class. His classroom looks like a University classroom. It looks like it could fit at least 50 students but instead there are only seven of us. I watch from the corner of my eye as Coco is staring at me. They are all staring at me. I watch Lucca and the other girl whose name I never got start laughing among themselves about something. Coco isn't laughing though. She isn't finding this amusing. She gives them a stare and immediately they shut up as though being able to read her mind. I wonder if vampires had that ability...
“You two are late,” Armando, states at the front of the class.
“Captain of the Guard” Nero acknowledges, “I wasn't expecting you here. I thought this was going to be our homeroom class.”
“I am your home room teacher,” Armando states.
“You?” Lucca asks.
The others seem just as confused as Nero is. I don't know why this is a big deal but they are definitely acting like it is.
Coco is actually the one who frames it, “Shouldn't you be out of Eden, fighting the Rogues and making sure that none of them find a way into Eden.”
Armando is standing at the front of the class and seemed prepared to answer that question, “The King and I decided that this is the smallest O Class ever. Because the class is so small it is very important that we make sure that you guys are guided in the right direction moving forward. I can run the King's guards from the city and make sure that the future King's Guards are well prepared.”
Nero leans in close to me, “Seems more like he's here to keep an eye on our first AB...”
I realize that Nero has a point as soon as he makes it. The others find this strange. If they knew all about vampire culture then they would have known if the Captain of the Guard usually came in to help mentor a class. This definitely didn't seem normal to them.
Armando however touches his earlobes, “Super hearing, Mr. Nero. That's lesson one. Vampires have super hearing. How about the two of you separate to avoid any whispers back and forth. Mr. Santos...why don't you switch seats with Camilla.”
It's not hard to figure out the Camilla is the girl whose name I never caught with the red hair. I get up at that moment and realize that me switching seats with Camilla means that I am sitting next to Coco and Lucca. My stomach churns at I make the move.
Then I realize though that I wouldn't have to be next to Nero and I guess it doesn't feel so bad. Nero makes me way more nervous than all of these crazy vampire people put together.
I make my way to the front of the class and feel the eyes on me. It's just a couple of people but it is still nerve wrecking.
Lucca looks uncomfortable when I take a seat next to him. He leans far away from me as though I'm Patient Zero in a Sars outbreak. Coco has a different reaction. She stares at me. Her cold dark stare is so full of malice and I don't get it. Nero said that she didn't have a story. He said that everyone was like that. I didn't believe it. Everyone else was avoiding me like Lucca was or a little disgusted by me. She was acting like she straight up hated me and for some reason I just didn't get it.
The more Coco acted like this the more I wanted to know what this fucking prophecy is that was so fucking bad that people were treating me like this. I didn't care if they couldn't talk about it. I was going to find out what the fuck this prophecy was.
“As your homeroom teacher I am the first teacher of the day and the last teacher of the day. I'm also going to act as your guidance counselor. Class O's training is far more intense than other classes. If you ever need someone to talk to about anything at all...I'm here.”
Coco raises her hand.
“If this is class O then why is someone with the blood type AB in here.”
“Because there isn't a class AB, Coco.”
“Then why can't you make a Class AB for people who don't have superior genetics?” she asks aggressively.
The class breaks out into laughter. I don't see what's so funny about what she said. She's just acting straight up rude and honestly at this point, I just want to leave the classroom all together.
“Would you like a hall pass to take that up with the King?” Armando asks and when Coco gets quiet, he looks around the class, “Does anyone else have any questions before I hand out your schedules. It will be the same for each student in the class. You all will take every class together. You will learn everything together. That's how it works from here on out.”
He grabs some sheets of paper and begins to hand it out. I look at the paper when Armando hands it out to me.
Vampire History 101 – 8am-11am
Art of the Kill -11am-12pm
Vampiric Philosophy 1pm – 2pm
Physical Activity – 2pm—4pm
Combat Training 4pm—6pm
I hear groans almost immediately as people read the schedule. I look at it shocked. The schedule was from 8am to 8pm. We'd literally be busy all fucking day. My heart raced looking at just how intense this shit is. I didn't even understand what the fuck the Art of the Kill was.
I watch as Geneva raises her hand, “Sir. There is no mention of the Jihad on here.”
I don't know what she means by the Jihad. I'm sure all of them know more about everything going on than I do. I am more focused on the fact that Geneva is calling Armando “sir” when Armando looks probably no older than she does.
“The Jihad will be covered in Vampire History, Ms. Geneva,” Armando responds.
“But it's still going on right now. How is our struggle against Lilith and her Rogue nation already considered history?” Geneva asks.
“Yeah. What if we get attacked?” Camilla adds in.
What...the fuck...were they talking about? I thought Eden was safe.
“That's where your combat training will come in handy. I hope you all realize the importance of these lessons. As future King's Guards you'll be expected to pass all of the lessons with flying colors.”
Geneva shoots her hand up. It's clear the type of girl she is.
“What if we get attacked before we finish. Like Milan.”
She knew Milan?
My heart starts racing at that moment.
“Milan was attacked because he left Eden without permission.”
“And I wasn't attacked by a Rogue.”
Just at that moment, a voice comes into the room. I turn to see who it is. I watch as Milan walks into the room. Only thing is that Milan isn't alone. He is with someone else. They are holding hands. Milan is WITH RAUL!
Armando doesn't seem surprised that they show up, “Everyone I'd like you all to welcome back Milan to the class and also a new member of the class with O type Blood. Raul.”
This wasn't happening. I look at my old lover and I look at my old best friend who I thought was dead. He wasn't dead. He looked better than ever. Raul was now a vampire just like me...
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com