Chapter 1: Ivory Tower
Was it really so bad to indulge in the simple pleasure of life? To kiss, to bite, to surrender. I just wanted to give myself over completely to those carnal desires. That thirst for touch. That unquenchable thirst for blood. I would never hurt anyone intentionally, but was it so bad to want more than life in an ivory tower?
Apparently, my mother thought so.
Of course, it didn't help that my tongue was halfway down the throat of some random guy that I lured back to my room when she saw me. My fang marks were pretty apparent against his throat even if I don't remember that part. A girl lounged behind him. Bite marks on her too.
“ORIANA!" my mama shouted. Oh, she was mad. I could tell by the way her voice went up several octaves. I was just lucky that I was too old to find her chancla intimidating.
It's not my fault that I'm a Romano. I didn't ask for this. The guy underneath me scrambled to get his clothes on as he ran past my very intimidating parents. I turned around, still fully dressed, but very annoyed.
“That's my name," I replied nonchalantly as I picked up a bottle of schnapps next to me and took a swig.
“Is that alcohol?" my mama exclaimed in Spanish. She was definitely angry. She babbled in Spanish when she was angry.
I made a noise of “ahh," and put the bottle down, purposefully egging her on. It was amusing to see just how much I could push her. Alcohol didn't have much of an effect on me, but my parents didn't know that. In fact, there was a lot they didn't know.
If she weren't a vampire, her ears would have turned red. I saw my papa put a hand on her shoulder to calm her. “Mi amore, please." I watched as his bright blue eyes met hers and she visibly relaxed, placing her hand over his. That tender affection made me feel absolutely alone.
What I wouldn't do to have someone look at me like that. It was no surprise how I came to exist, but it wasn't my fault that it made me their miracle baby.
“Do you really think that you can keep doing this, Ori? Who even was that guy? That girl?" My mama asked after taking a deep breath.
“I don't know who they were," I retorted. I really didn't. They were only there because I wanted to have some fun. It didn't last though. My overbearing parents have to crash the party every time. “Maybe if you let me leave every once and a while without an escort, I might actually make a few friends."
My mama sighed exasperatedly and looked at my papa, gesturing to me wildly.
“Mia cara, we have to keep up appearances. You are an heiress. We are trying to prepare you for your position as High Chancellor. Your Nona Eva has already overstood her term," my papa said.
“Yeah, a four hundred yearlong commitment that I didn't agree to," I replied, taking another long gulp of the alcohol bottle at my feet much to my mother's distaste. “But I guess that doesn't matter."
My mama's jaw dropped open, and she said, “This isn't about choices, mija! This is about responsibilities."
“Again. I don't care. I didn't ask for that," I replied. I stood up and slipped my leather jacket on my shoulders. “Anyways, whatever, I'm out of here."
My mama stepped right in my way, “Like hell you are. Sit your ass down." I sat back down on my bed so she could continue her tirade, “I'm sick of this, Ori. Throwing parties every night. Bringing random boys into your bed."
“Mama," I interrupted. “I'm almost twenty. I want to have a life outside of these walls. So what if I can have my cravings met by some harmless guys?"
“It's not safe," my papa finally said, using his hands to emphasize his point. God, he was so Italian. “We have said this time and time again, Ori. This world is not ready for you."
“Then when will it be ready for me?!" I shouted, standing back up. “I am an adult. You can't keep me here."
My mama pressed her fingertips against her temples like I was giving her a headache. Good. That's only a shadow of how I felt. This suffocating entrapment. “Mi vida, this family has enemies. People who are looking for every excuse to ruin this family. You have already given them plenty. They will not accept—" my mama started.
“I don't need to prove myself to some stuffy council members. It's their own fault if they can't accept me," I argued, crossing my arms across my chest. I knew how I sounded.
“We are not having this discussion today," my mama stated with finality as if she was sick of this conversation.
“Sorry, it's not convenient for you," I spat. The walls began to rumble around me as I got upset. My parents noticed. I pushed those enraged emotions right back down and the rumbling stopped.
“You possess great power, but you still lack the temperament for it," my mama pointed out. “You ask why you can't leave. Why we have so many rules for you. That is why."
Her words did nothing to make me feel any better. “I didn't ask for this. I didn't ask to be kept in a room my entire life."
My parents shared a glance and were about to say something.
I didn't let them. “Get out of my room," I stated. “Just get out."
“You have lessons in the morning, mija. Get some sleep," my mama said before obeying my wishes and leaving the room. My father gave me a glance as if he wanted to say something. He thought better of it and followed my mama out of the room, closing the door behind him.
How the f**k am I supposed to get any real-world experience from here? I understood being kept under lock and key until I was eighteen. I hated it, but I could understand it. But now, I'm an adult! Still trapped in a room.
No friends. No relationships. The closest I ever got to relationships was bringing nameless city boys back to my villa. It didn't help that my familiar, Donna, was a loudmouth who had no problem spouting my secrets like a broken fountain. I had a feeling that my parents picked her because she would tell them anything I told her in confidence. God, I hated her.
The closest person I had to a friend was my Tio. I should call him. He would make me feel better. He didn't live close anymore. He moved to America shortly after his prison sentence was served. As long as he kept up his therapy, he was fine to go wherever he wanted.
I guess he couldn't take the stress of being a Romano either.
I dialed him. In a few rings, he answered. “Ori! Hey, what's going on?"
“Tio Claude. Hey."
“I know that tone. What happened this time?" Claude asked.
“Oh, nothing," I replied before a thought struck me. “So, I just cleared it with my parents. They said that I could go over to New York and stay with you."
Claude laughed. “Yeah. Right. I highly doubt that."
“It's true! Unless you want to call my dad and ask him."
“You know that I don't talk to Rowan if I can help it," he paused. “But you know what? I'll bite. If you can find a way to come visit, I will only talk to your parents if they call me first."
“Bet. Okay. It's a deal," I answered, a smile pulling at my lips. My parents avoided my Tio as much as he avoided them. I didn't know what happened between them, but I never really asked. At least I always knew that my secrets were safe with him.
“Okay, kid. Good luck."
“Why are you being so cool about this?" I asked. It was refreshing to have no pushback. Tio Claude would usually say something about not defying my parents or that I should stay safe.
“Well, I know that you're probably going to fly here anyways. It's your twentieth birthday. I'd rather you had a safe place to stay. I'll take you someplace to celebrate when you get here."
“Of course, you're my favorite niece," Claude joked. “Anyways, I gotta go. I'll talk to you later."
“Bye!" I clicked the end call button and it disconnected.
In the distance, I could hear my parents arguing. I couldn't make out their words, but I knew it was about me. I was usually the source of their strife, their arguments. Their life would be so much easier if they just loosened the reigns a little bit.
I lifted my mattress with one hand, grabbing my fake ID and an envelope of cash. I had been sneaking it out of our savings accounts for months. My family is so f*****g loaded that they didn't notice. I grabbed my guitar case and stuffed a weekend bag with clothes and toiletries.
I opened my window and jumped out of it. It was the second story but when I landed, the ground didn't even register the impact. I rubbed my eyes, for once, feeling excited about what the future held for me.
My eyelids were heavy, exhausted from the day's activities. Thankfully, I had fed, so I wouldn't need another bite for a few days. My appetite was easier to sate than a pureblood. I could also enjoy sunlight, so I knew my parents wouldn't be able to do s**t about anything until tomorrow night anyways.
This wasn't the first time I'd run away, but it would be the furthest I've ever gone before.
No one could stop me from going to the airport to visit my Tio Claude. At least he didn't have a stick up his ass. He knew how to have fun.