It's a strange moment when you realize that the man you spent the first part of your life loving is actually a twin. He's standing there with someone else and I'm not sure who is who. I'm not sure what it all means but the two twins are glaring at me...one with nothing more than recognition and the other one with a passion that I remember from a long time ago.
The one with the passion stares at me, “My name is Aiden.”
My heart is racing. I shouldn't be surprised Milan was always full of secrets but I realize the one that I thought was Milan this whole time was really this guy named Aiden. I sit there and look at him and I don't know what to think. Is he a stranger? He is the man that I fell in love with?
“I'm Milan,” the other one says before shaking his head, “You probably know Aiden a lot more though. He's spent the most time with you.”
“You were the one I was in a relationship with,” I say. It's not a question. I can tell by the way this boy is looking at me. I can see the passion that I remember when we were younger.
“We switched in and out when it was necessary but yes...I am the one that fell for you. That was bad enough and made our mission hard enough. But when my brother Milan started having feelings for your best friend Raul we knew we had to disappear.”
It all makes sense now. Hearing this boy...Aiden or whatever tell me that it was hard for him to fall for me kind of hurts. Looking at him and not realizing I was never really in love with Milan but his twin brother blows my fucking mind. Yet it all makes sense. The bi-polar reactions to everything. Sometimes Milan seemed into me and other times he was into Raul. Sometimes he seemed good in certain classes and other times he wasn't. Sometimes he seemed to hate Nero and other times he was Nero's best friend. These were two different people and this entire time they'd been pretending to be the same person.
The one that has to be Milan looks at me, “I was with Raul only a few times but we were scared you'd find out and think we...or Aiden, to be more specific, was cheating on you. Then shit. We'd have to explain to you everything and your father wouldn't have been with it at the time.
Aiden nods “When I turned you I figured you'd be out for a few hours. My brother wanted to switch with me. He wanted to spend some time with Raul so...we did. I figured it didn't hurt. You'd never know. What we didn't expect was for you to wake up early and find my brother in bed with Raul.”
“I nearly killed you,” I tell Milan at that moment.
I don't know whether to feel bad or not. I was confused. It wasn't my fault. It was their fault. They tricked me. These stupid boys were playing games with Raul and I this entire time. But it wasn't a game. No. It was a mission.
Milan nods, “My brother felt belt about that. We had always planned for you and my brother to be together in Eden. Even your father was partially on board. But after you damn near killed me I got Aiden to agree to let me be with Raul instead.”
The shock of it all just throws me.
And then I think I'm not the only one these twins have been lying to. I'm not the only one they have been switching in and out. Aiden wanted to be with me. But Milan wanted to be with Raul.
“We have to tell Raul,” I say.
“We can't do that,” Aiden tells me, “You know we can't.”
“I don't know shit. Raul was my best friend. We have been torn apart because we felt we were in love with the same man. If you aren't the same man then maybe there's a chance that he won't hate me.”
“We told you because you are the only one your father trusts in Class O.”
“Raul isn't a threat,” I respond.
“I know that,” Milan agrees, “But we have to stick with the plan. Raul can't know that we are twins...no matter what. This is a matter of vampiric security. It isn't just about our personal relationships anymore.”
I shake my head at that moment, “This is fucked up.”
I can't believe all of this. My heart is racing. I feel betrayed but a part of me actually feels relieved. I don't know why at first but in the darkness I lean up against the wall and I start thinking about it. Why the fuck do I feel like there is this huge weight off my chest.
“I'll give the two of you time,” Milan states.
With that he walks away. That is when the other one walks up to me. Aiden. When he moves closer to me I recognize that the look in his eyes has never changed. It had never wavered. It was the same look that he had when he was younger. Even now in the darkness as he approaches me I can feel his eyes peering through my soul...searching for something.
“I've been staying at your father's house in the city,” Aiden tells me, “We'd switch from time to time so that I can check up on you, but for the most part it was Milan at school with you. You don't understand how hard it's been to be so close to you and yet be so far.”
“Aiden,” he corrects me.
Fuck. This sucks, “Whoever you are. I don't know you. Not anymore.”
Aiden puts both hands across me at that moment. He mounts over me. He isn't touching me but his arms are caging me in so that I have no where to go. His breath smells fresh as he talks. He leans down like he used to so that our eyes connect. He is a classic sexy vampire, oozing sex appeal because of how mysterious he is. Now I know that he's always been mysterious. He's always had a reason. This boy was dangerous and I knew this from the beginning. Today was him just proving it...once again.
“Remember when we used to say that we'd be together always and forever,” he states, “We promised it. I would walk with you. And I promised I would never leave you.”
Always and forever.
That was our promise.
For a moment I realize I'm being sucked into his dark eyes. He'd always had so much swag. I realize now that both of them must have had the swag. It must have been something they shared because that was the one thing that remained consistent with their different personalities. I can't allow myself to fall for that shit.
“I remember. That was right before you left me,” I acknowledge.
“I never left. You didn't see me for those two years but I was always close. I was always watching in the shadows. I was always guarding you making sure you were safe. I never left. And even now I've never left. I've always loved you man. Always and forever.”
He lifts my chin.
He leans in. Always and forever, he whispers. Over and over again. I close my lips as he leans me up to him. I feel my world shatter at Aiden kisses my lips. Yes. I knew those lips. Those were the lips of someone that I knew forever. Those were the lips of someone who never left my side. And for that moment I forget all about Nero.
At that moment I forget all about the lies. I forget all about the mystery. I remember my Milan and I come to the realization that this entire time my Milan has been, my Aiden.
“I'm so confused,” I try to snap out of it and attempt to push him off.
“What's there to be confused about. I didn't cheat on you. I never left you. We can be together now. Everything is exactly how it should be.”
“No. No it's not,” I respond.
I remember Nero. I remember the guy who is honest with me. I remember the guy who doesn't have a million secrets and who doesn't lurk in shadows. I remember the vampire who is less like Dracula and more like a knight in shining armor. Nero. That's who I'm with now.
And it doesn't take Aiden much to read into my response, “He can't love you like I can.”
I roll my eyes, “Good night Mil---I mean Aiden.”
The next day I'm beyond confused. I have the perfect man and Nero is sweeter than I can imagine. He wakes me up to warm blood served by his body guard Sinclair. He walks me to class. He isn't afraid to hold to my hand and for the first time I feel like this is something that I can get used to. Nero and I are in relationship and it feels good. It feels like this is where I need to be. But when we get to homeroom Milan walks in. Except I'm not sure if it's Milan or Aiden.
God. What if it's Aiden.
He sits on the opposite side of the room. I'm not sure if he's doing that because he doesn't want to be around Raul or if he doing that because Raul is still pissed off.
“As most of you know there are those out there who don't want Eden to exist,” Armando explains, “They would like nothing more for vampires to be out hunting humans, taking revenge on the sons of Adam and draining their blood. As many of you also know yesterday those rogue vampires attacked Eden. But we have have survived. We always survive...”
Armando is at the front of the class addressing what happened yesterday with the attack on Eden. Everyone looks a little shaken up. Everyone looks a little rattled. I mean this vampire utopia that we was created for us was threatened. They had reason to be afraid. I should probably be afraid too. Instead I'm turning and making eye contact with Milan at the back of the class. I just want to see if it's the twin who is in love with me or if it's the one in love with Raul.
When Milan looks away without much interest at all I know immediately that it isn't Aiden. It's Milan.
“You ok?” Nero whispers over to me.
“Really because you keep looking back at Milan,” Nero notices.
He seems more curious than upset. I guess he has every right to be. I was staring at Milan. It's hard not to stare after what I just found out yesterday.
“Pay attention Nero,” Armando states at the front of the class, “Being a prince does not put you above the rules here.”
Nero looks a little phased by me. He leans back in his chair, “I'm sorry sir.”
Armando nods before continuing, “Good. With midterms coming up I think this is a very important time to get some extra credit in. Some of you need it.”
“Only one person that I know of,” I hear Coco say.
Armando doesn't shut her up which kind of annoys me. It's almost like he wants me to hear Coco trolling me. She does it so fucking well. My father shoots me a glance at that moment as if it wasn't clear enough that Coco is referring to me. I find myself embarrassed...yet again as the rest of the class stares at me. I can never catch a fucking break.
“After your classes today you all have the option to go out into Eden and volunteer your time in helping to rebuild what was lost in the attack yesterday. Offer your aid to your fellow vampires. Make sure you get them to sign off on what you did to help them. The more people you get to sign off on you the better.”
With that the bell rings for us to get to our first class. As we start leaving the class room Armando grabs my arm and whispers quickly in my ear. He tells me to meet him in the classroom tonight. I jerk away from him just in time for Nero to walk over to me and put his hand over my shoulder.
I look over at Nero, hoping to God he didn't notice Armando whispering in my ear.
I try to change the subject quick as hell, “This is good news. I can get some extra credit.”
Luckily Nero doesn't seem upset about anything. He's actually in a really good mood despite Armando whispering in my ear or me staring Milan down in class. He is flashing his pearly white teeth and I swear an A Type Blood student falls over in a daze from staring at Nero too hard. Nero is so clueless to how fucking sexy he is that he doesn't even notice that he's causing people to have accidents while walking.
“I'll go with you,” he responds staring straight ahead, “I'm top of the class in Combat, Vampire History and Art of the Kill but honestly I still think the Dean has it out for me too for not getting with his spoiled ass bitch of a daughter.”
“I heard that,” Coco says.
She is behind us. I don't even see her walking behind us. She isn't alone. She's with Geneva and Raul. I'm not surprised. The three of them are still clicking up in their desperate attempt to destroy me. The funny thing is the plan they had to break Nero and I up didn't work. Now they are just back at square one. They are just a part of desperation.
“Can we help you?” I ask.
“Nero... aren't you tired of dating someone like this. You're the prince of Eden for godsakes,” Coco responds.
She's the type that needs people following her. Now that Camilla and Lucca left her it's onto Geneva and Raul. As I stare at Geneva I wonder if she really even wants to be there. She doesn't seem as pissed off as Raul but there is still some sort of resentment. All I have to do is take away Coco's followers and she was a nobody all over again, soaking in her misery.
“What type of guy are you talking about?” Nero asks, “Sexy...handsome...funny...smart?”
Raul raises an eyebrow, “Yeah homie. Your boyfriend is all those things for you. Funny thing is though...Santos is that for everybody.”
“FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY!” Nero says.
I watch at that moment as Nero lunges for Raul. It's some fast shit. I see nothing but fangs and luckily I'm able to jump through the air and tackle Nero before he takes a chunk out of Raul's neck. I watch as Geneva pulls Raul away at that moment. Raul looks like he wants to fight and honestly I'm interested to see who would be on top of that fight. The two of them were the top of combat class.
Little did Raul know though that if he hit Nero he'd be given the Final Death. He is sitting there wanting to fight until Geneva probably reminds him of that little fact. I watch Raul walk away almost immediately with Geneva.
While my so called best friend is calling me a slut, I'm saving him from getting killed for attacking a prince.
A crowd is forming. This isn't good. This shit was going to be in the media if we weren't careful.
“What is it going to take for you to realize that he's not right for you?” Coco asks Nero.
Nero is breathing heavy. I swear I think he's going to attack Coco next. Luckily I'm in the way of it. I stand there and I hold him off.
“Nero, forget her. She's not worth it,” I plead.
Nero isn't listening to me though. He gets in Coco's face and puts a finger right between her eyes, “Listen bitch. I don't want you and your dried pruned up pussy. I wouldn't take that shit if it was laced in the best tasting blood out here. You ain't shit to me. You never will be shit to me. God forbid me and my man broke up tomorrow I'll spend an eternity trying to get back with him before I give you the time of day. I know we're vampires. We're undead—-but I'm going to need you to you a fucking life.”
My mouth is open.
I think everyone's mouth is open...including Coco. I mean Nero was royalty from Eden. You would have thought he was a hood dude from Harlem how he just cussed Coco out. Everyone is completely quiet.
My mouth gets dry and all I can manager to whisper is, “Goddam.”
“Let's go baby,” Nero states.
Nero grabs my hand and he's walking away with me. And I swear I need a second to change my underwear because Nero just made me moist as fuck.
After class Nero and I head out into the city to do some volunteer work for the extra credit. Nero isn't allowed to leave the school without less than twenty fucking security guards but luckily they agree to stay at a distance so not to make a big fuss.
That shit doesn't work at all.
The swarms of people that meet us on the streets make me really feel what it is like to date a fucking celebrity. Vampires are swarming around. Camera are flashing. People are screaming out our names hoping to get a picture of the prince and his boo. Nero is holding tight onto my hand. I think he's doing it more for me than for him though. He's good at this. He's a natural. He waves from time to time but has on his expensive looking shades so the flashes of the camera don't really affect him. He keeps it moving as though expecting this kind of thing.
I'm happy once we get to a local store that has been broken into. The vampire who owns the store actually looks in his 40s but got knows his real age. He was looted by the rogues during the attack yesterday and Nero figured this would be a good place to start.
After the store we head to a family next door who had been broken into as well. There are more cameras waiting and I watch as these vampire girls seem to be going nuts over Nero outside.
They are screaming for an autograph.
Nero looks over at me, “You mind...”
I can only smile, “Have at it. Don't let me wait too long.”
I'm kind of scared the girls are going to rip Nero apart in the streets by how desperate they are to get close to him. Luckily Sinclair is there blocking off any sorts of attempts of them getting too close to him. I head into the house at that moment and see the mother of the family of the house who burnt down.
“Oh my god...aren't you that AB?” she asks.
“I am,” I respond, “I was just sent here from the school. They said you had been broken into in the rogue attack. A...friend and I came over to see if we can be of any help.”
She smiles at me.
“Actually I was just cleaning up if you'd like to take a broom. Give me one second. My daughters are going to have a fit when they realize Nero's AB is here.”
I laugh at the term Nero's AB. The mother isn't joking when she says her daughters are going to have a fit too. By the time they come downstairs they seem a little starstruck by me being there. One of them actually asks me for an autograph. The only thing that makes me able to pry the girls off me is by telling them that Prince Nero was outside taking pictures. I swear I think one of the girls pisses herself a little bit right in the living room before running back to her room and coming out a few minutes later to join the others outside with Nero.
“Must be nice to get all that attention huh?”
The person who is talking to me was in the next room watching the entire scene. It's Geneva. She is standing there with a broom in her hand and staring at me. The look in her eyes just seems to say it all.
“What are you doing here?”
“Same as you. Volunteer work. Didn't realize we'd be hitting the same houses. Guess they didn't care to tell you someone was already helping on them. You being the AB and all. Who would turn that down.”
Geneva goes back into the living room. I can see she is in the living room herself helping to pick up the mess that has been left behind in this random family's house after the rogue attack. She's in here by herself luckily and her two butt buddies aren't with her today.
“You are the smartest girl in class,” I admit not even pretending to save my pride, “Why the hell do you need extra credit.”
“I'm not doing it for extra credit,” Geneva explains to me, “Eden is my home. It's the only safe haven for vampires. We were attacked. Extra credit is the last thing that's on my mind. I want to help. There are people who actually care about the feelings of other people.”
She definitely had a way of making me feel like shit. Honestly I'd just been thinking about my extra credit. I have to admit Geneva kicking her knowledge to me was something that I definitely did miss. Maybe that's why I lean over on a stool and cross my arms before taking a deep breath and trying to fix things.
“Listen Geneva. I want to talk to you.”
“I know you confided with me about your feelings for Armando,” I explain to her, “I want to let you know. Real shit. There is nothing going on between me and him. At all. Honestly yo. We just friends.”
“Just a minute ago you called me the smartest girl in class right?” Geneva asks me.
“So you know. I'm smarter than you. Don't patronize me. Armando treats you like he has something to prove. You two are more than friends.”
A part of me wants to tell Geneva everything. Armando does have something to prove. He's trying to be a better father I guess. He's not trying to get with me. I want to tell Geneva that this man is my fucking father.
“I don't want Armando. Listen. How can I prove it to you?”
“You can't. You can stop bullshitting me. You want all these dudes. Raul was right. You are everybody's boyfriend.”
“You really trying to call me some type of hoe Geneva?”
Geneva looks me up and down.
“If the glove fits...”
I take a deep breath. It would be so easy to snap on her right now but I have to realize she's been spending a lot of time with Coco. God knows what Coco has drilled into her head this entire time. I just know I have to find a way to repair things with Geneva and I have to fix things soon.
“So Raul is still pissed?” I ask.
“I don't want his boyfriend,” I let her know, “And I don't want Armando either. What if I set you and Armando up together?”
She rolls her eyes, “Bullshit.”
“I'm dead serious. He would do it. If I asked him...he would go out with you.”
Like she said. Armando had something to prove.
“Why would you ask him though? Isn't he one of yours. One of the many boys in love with Santos...” Geneva rolls her eyes at me, “Along with the perfect prince who seems like he walked straight out of a fairytale or mysterious Milan with his sex appeal. Aren't they all yours?”
“No. Nero is who I want to be with...only Nero. He's the one for me.”
“Is that right?”
We are interrupted by Nero. His silver eyes are on me like a sexy ass tiger from across the room. He walks into the room. He heard what I said and he has a big smile on his face. I can't help but smile too. Finally someone walks into the room and overhears something with the vampiric hearing that is positive and not something I didn't want them to hear.
“You weren't supposed to hear that, nosy ass,” I reply.
Nero is smiling perfect straight white teeth that are the whitest shade of white, “I came in to tell you a guard came from the palace. The King saw us on TV. He wants to invite me and you to the palace to check up on you.”
Nero shrugs, “Ay. What can I say. If I'm the one for you, then you are the one for me. And the King probably sees it too.”
Nero doesn't seem to hide how positive he's feeling too as he walks up to me and puts his arms around me. He gives me the tightest hug at that moment pulling me close and kissing me. At first it is an innocent kiss but then it gets deeper and deeper. His tongue enters my mouth. He is forceful letting his fangs scrape across my tongue. He is driving me back so far that I damn near slam on the wall and cause even more damage to these people's homes.
“You two are convincing,” Geneva has been watching us the whole time, “You want to make things right between us then fine. Talk to Armando and who knows...I might even help tutor you and make sure your ass doesn't end up flunking out of class.”
“Are you serious?” I ask.
I can't take this right now. This day is definitely turning out to be great. I'm getting closer to Nero. I'm fixing things with Geneva, the King is inviting me to dinner and now Geneva is actually planning on tutoring me for the upcoming midterms.
“Only if you are,” Geneva asks.
I nod, hoping to god that this works.
The only problem was my sexy stud of a father.
Armando isn't even hearing it when I come to his office later that day. The look on his eyes shows it all. Armando isn't having it one bit.
“Armando can you just hear me out?” I ask, “Geneva is going to help tutor me if you just go on one date with her.”
“She's my student and if she ever joins the guard I'm going to be her future boss,” Armando is explaining, “That is unprofessional. Plus she's the fucking same age as my goddam son. Hell no. Santos. HELL no.”
“Age? Really? You going to play the age card when you look like you barely are able to buy alcohol?” I ask, “Vampires stop aging when they are bitten. Period. We both know age doesn't mean shit with vampires.”
“It's the principal,” Armando states.
He is walking away into the hallway at that moment. Armando has on his soldier uniform. He has on his soldier stare. It's hard getting through to him. He's a damn near universal soldier. It's all he knows. Sometimes I swear he's not human. I can tell why girls have crushes on him. I mean he has that tough ass exterior that girls like. He has that hard-to-get, ignore you until you are hopelessly infatuated with me thing going on. He's not charming like Nero. He's not mysterious like Milan/Aiden. What you get with Armando is what you get.
“What about me failing? You don't care about that?” I stand in front of him blocking his path in the hallway.
“Of course I care. You're...” he stops, looks around to makes sure no one is listening and whispers, “My son. But that's why I wanted to meet you tonight. I'll help you. We can study together. I can help spar with you.”
“Thanks but no thanks. My man already thinks something is going on between us. Plus I have plans tonight to go to the palace tonight.”
Armando gets cold all of a sudden.
“To do what?”
“The King wants to have dinner with me.”
“Absolutely not,” he responds, “You can't go.”
I look over at Armando, “Are you joking?”
Armando grabs onto my wrist so hard that I swear he's going to twist it the fuck off.
He pulls me into the bathroom so that no one is watching.
“I don't trust anyone with you. You hear me?” Armando states, “You are the only thing that matters to me anymore. King Arie and Prince Nero have a big ass target on their foreheads. A big ass X from the rogues. Assassination attempts have been happening on the King. Just like the one with Nero. The rogues are getting desperate and they are getting closer. I don't want you anywhere near the fucking royals. Don't you get that.”
“I like Nero.”
“Fuck Nero. I love you. You're my heart. I'm not going to let Nero or some mediocre king who can barely protect his own kingdom anywhere near the only person that means anything to me.”
“Armando---maybe I should tell him...about us. I hate keeping secrets.”
“We have to keep these secrets,” Armando explains, “Don't you trust me?”
“Of course I do.”
“Then do what I say. Ok. You fail out. It won't be that bad. You can come live with me. I make enough to support the both of us. I'll protect you. I love you Santos. You have to believe me when I said that. I know our history but you have to know that my love for you is real.”
I look at my father. I nod at that moment. I just want to make him happy. I just want to shut him up, “Ok.”
I head to the royal palace anyway regardless of what Armando has to say. Truth is he can love me all he wants but I'm not a little kid anymore. Geneva was smart. She was able to see that Armando was trying to make up for something. He was trying to make up for the fact that he wasn't around. He was trying to make up the fact that I didn't know my mother and that he gave me up when I was young. So no. He didn't get to come into my life and tell me how to live it.
“You ok? You look nervous.”
We are sitting at a table in a common room of the palace. Huge golden lions are sitting in front of us. Nero tells me that it's the crest of his blood lineage. The golden lions look so real I think they are going to animate and rip me to pieces. I feel like I want to throw up but I'm attempting to keep my cool. I look down at the food that is in front of us. It's steak served so raw that the blood is spilling out from the sides. When I was human this would have disgusted me but right now this was the only thing keeping me from fainting.
“I'm good. This steak is amazing.”
Nero is staring at me as I eat, “Bae. You are suppose to wait for your host before you start eating...”
“Oh shit seriously?”
“Seriously...” Nero responds looking half embarrassed and half amused.
Just at that moment the King walks in. I have no doubt with the vampire hearing he probably heard what I did. I'm even more sure when the King looks at my plate. The king isn't alone. He's accompanied by some nobles. I believe they are high up but I'm not sure. I also don't realize that Nero is standing until he clears his throat. I'm way too late but immediately stand up.
“The boy has an appetite,” a voice says.
I recognize her almost immediately as the young girl who is really an old woman. Countess Roxanne. She holds close to the king and I assume they must have a good relationship. They are followed by the nobles and a host of guards. One of those guards happen to be my father. A thought runs through my head that Armando is a goddam twin too. How the fuck can he be in so many places at once? Then I realize I'm talking about Armando, the hardest working soldier in Eden. The only reason he was probably here was because he knew I would show up anyway. Armando glares at me as he walks in the room.
“I'm sorry your highness,” I respond my face flushing red, “They don't teach these kinds of things where I'm from.”
Surprisingly the King doesn't seem to be anywhere near as judgmental as I think, “Sit. Eat. You are our honored guest.”
That's all I need to hear. I don't skip a beat before devouring the food in front of me. It's more nervousness than anything. I'm damn near finished with my food before I realize the nobles are just staring at me. The king might not be judging me but his table guests definitely are.
“Just where are you from?” Countess Roxanne asks, “The Serengeti?”
“Roxy...” the King shuts her up immediately.
The Countess just smiles with her innocent girlish smile, “Oh come now Arie. We all want to know more about him.
The King nods, “True. I hope we don't intimidate you Santos but you have been getting quite close to my heir. You've been a subject of discussion for quite some time among the elders. Besides your blood type we don't know much about you. So where exactly are you from Santos?”
The young girl takes a sip of her blood and stares at me. The other vampires are cold. They are deathly cold. Their stares might as well be taking putting stakes through my heart and giving me the Final death. I've never been so intimidated. At this moment I realize that Armando was probably right. I should have just turned down this little dinner. They seem to be all so interested in me but almost like they are judging a murder trial or something. They look at me with this curious demeanor that I don't really understand. These are real vampires. I'm talking old school, victorian dresses and white wig type vampires. I feel like I'm going to end up being the dessert by how they stare at me.
“He's from East Harlem,” Nero responds.
I'm glad he's there at that moment and Nero doesn't hesitate to creep his fingers over to my hand to hold them. I don't feel like much of a man when he does it though. I feel like a little boy. I'm tired of having to be saved by Nero or Armando or anyone else. I have to speak up.
“Who are your parents?” The King asks.
Nero doesn't know the answer to that. It's clear he doesn't. He just stares out at the table. We'd never discussed that. Armando's eyes are set on me from across the room. Little do they know that my real father was right in the room.
“I was adopted...” I explain.
Whispers. Are they judging?
“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...” the King says almost sympathetically before adding, “I understand the struggles of not having family around.”
Armando and I are exchanging looks. I wonder if this effects him.
“It builds character,” I reply.
The king laughs a little bit, “I'd hope so. Dean Caesarian has reported to me that you aren't doing very well in your studies.”
Nero and I exchange looks. This fucking Dean was really starting to get on my nerves.
Nero doesn't hesitate to come to my defense, “The dean is just mad because---”
The King damn near growls at Nero, “I was talking to Santos, Nero. Learn your place!”
It's the first time I hear King Arie raise his voice. The handsome soft spoken king has a beast hidden inside of him somewhere and I think Nero notices it at that moment too. He shuts up almost immediately and puts his head head down at the table.
“I do what I can,” I explain to King Arie, “I'm not perfect. I'm not one of these O-type blood. I don't know what I am. In all honesty. I'm not the type to sit here and feed you lies or fairytales. Truth is ---I'm flawed. I let my abandonment issues get to me more than I should. Sometimes my past cripples me so much I can hardly breathe. I can hardly move. I just want to lay down and give up. But I don't. I don't give up. I keep going. I keep realizing that sometimes rock bottom is the best place to start building out a stronger foundation.”
I don't know where it comes from and I don't know why I'm being so fucking honest with these people. Maybe it's the fact that I don't think feeding them bullshit like someone like Coco would can help me at this moment. I have nothing else but the truth.
And that's when I see Countess Roxanne smile.
“I like him,” she tells King Arie.
King Arie smiles as well, “I think I like him too...”
I don't know what happens at that moment but the ice melts. The cold stares of the nobles fades away. The interrogation stops. Then they start smiling. They start talking among themselves. I forget I'm at a table with the oldest, most dangerous vampires in Eden and I feel more like I'm at a Thanksgiving dinner.
The night moves fast culminating with Countess Roxanne getting drunk off red wine and beginning to sing at the table all the while Nero secretly flirting with me under the table. He's playing with my inner thigh getting dangerously high into my crotch area. The others don't notice though. The nobles are all sharing interesting stories with King Arie and King Arie seems to be entertaining them.
“You won him over, you know that right?” Nero states looking at me.
He leans over and sneaks a kiss at the table. The kiss is soft and quick but I can tell there is going to be more to come where that came from by how his stare lingers afterwards and he begins to furiously suck on his lips as though attempting to taste me. My dick is getting hard under the table just imagining what happens.
After the dinner we all follow the king into the royal chambers where we start drinking more with him and the king is trying to get to know me a little bit more. He doesn't shy away from revealing every single time that a guard came to report to him how infatuated Nero was with the new AB. I can see Nero blush as the King is telling these stories and honestly I think it's the highlight of the night.
Some of the nobles are gathered around the television. And I guess I don't expect it to happen. I don't expect it to happen until it does.
Armando's arm is on my hand, “We need to leave.”
“What?” I ask.
“Is everything ok?” Nero notices Armando trying to pull me away.
Just at that moment we are distracted by Roxanne who walks over to us. The countess has a look in her eyes but she glimpses past me relatively quickly and walks over to where the King is sitting.
“Arie. You need to see this.”
The countess seems the only one that doesn't call the king by his full title. He also seems to respect her when he hops up from where he is sitting. The huge television in the royal gathering area is on and my heart drops when Roxanne turns it on and a familiar face pops up.
“What the fuck is Raul doing on television?” Nero asks me.
I shrug but I can only assume the worse.
Raul is having an interview. He's having an interview. On the bottom of the screen are words outlined in bold.
SANTOS: VAMPIRE OF THE NIGHT?
Raul looks comfortable in his chair. There is all sorts of evidence of anger on his face. He looks...pissed to be honest. The entire room seems to be quiet listening to Raul's interview. It is broadcast all over Eden.
“Are you trying to tell me that there is a chance that Santos is cheating on Prince Nero?”
Raul nods at that moment, “Actually I'm sure he is. Growing up with Santos he was always a man stealer. That's what he does. He can never have enough. That's just Santos.”
My mouth drops open.
This isn't happening. This isn't happening. NOT right now.
“How can you be so sure?” The interviewer asks him.
“He's been after my lover for quite some time while he was with Nero. Just last night I woke up to him sneaking out of bed with Nero and into the hallway with my boyfriend. They were out there for quite a while.”
This isn't happening. This isn't happening.
I'm sweating. I could kill myself right now. I could just fucking die the Final Death especially when I see the King look over at me with the most shocked face.
The interviewer shakes his head, “This could all be heresay though. Where is the proof that Santos is the kind of person that you are saying he is.”
Raul smiles, “I was following him. And I was hiding out in a bathroom. Well...I heard Santos doing what Santos does best. Seducing. And I brought the video to prove it.”
Just at that moment I look at my father. Armando was the only one I was in the bathroom with.
I watch in shock as Raul is seen in the bathroom stall with it barely open and a camera phone recording what was going on. I assume it must be a phone he took from Milan because I knew damn well Raul didn't have a camera phone here. The fact that he got it from Milan just pisses me off even more. I warned Milan and Aiden. I WARNED them to tell Raul what was happening. I warned them to tell him that they were twins. Now Raul was so gone that he was spying on me.
I watch the video that plays in front of the whole kingdom. Armando is there. He's standing in the bathroom holding me close. I have to admit it looks intimate as fuck from the angle that Raul is shooting it from.
Armando's Voice “I don't trust anyone with you. You hear me? You are the only thing that matters to me anymore. King Arie and Prince Nero have a big ass target on their foreheads. A big ass X from the rogues. Assassination attempts have been happening on the King. Just like the one with Nero. The rogues are getting desperate and they are getting closer. I don't want you anywhere near the fucking royals. Don't you get that.”
My voice, “I like Nero.”
“Fuck Nero. I love you. You're my heart. I'm not going to let Nero or some mediocre king who can barely protect his own kingdom anywhere near the only person that means anything to me.”
“Armando---maybe I should tell him...about us. I hate keeping secrets.”
“We have to keep these secrets. Don't you trust me?”
“Of course I do.”
My old best friend just showed a video of my father calling the king mediocre, insulting the prince and seemingly tryign to get with me. It looked bad. It looked real...real bad.
I turn to Armando. He looks at me. I look at Nero. The king looks at both of us.
That is when all hell breaks loose.
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