Death wasn’t as cold as I had pictured it. It felt warm and soft.
I blinked, my eyes slowly focusing on my surroundings. The fire had been stoked. The flames danced higher than before, giving off a stronger heat.
I blinked several times, confusion fogging up my brain. I moved a hand to my face, rubbing at my eyes, before I pushed myself up. The room spun around me a few times before settling the way it was supposed to.
I wasn’t dead.
I was still in the study, lying on the blue rug, stretched out in front of the fire like a damned pet.
I maneuvered so that I was sitting up, very sure that I wouldn’t be able to stand yet.
The vampire was seated at the desk, leaning back in a leather chair, his eyes scanning a book in his hands.
I brought my own hands into my lap, looking down with a frown. There wasn’t a mark, not even a scar, and I questioned whether I’d dreamed it or not.
“I had your dinner brought in.”
I looked up, and followed his gaze to a low table in front of a sofa not far from where I sat on the floor. After squinting at it, I saw what looked to be another bowl of soup, and a cup of something warm. Dinner. As if to respond, my stomach growled loudly.
I furrowed my brows, looking at the Original. I hadn’t expected to make eye contact, but I didn’t flinch away this time. He just stared, his eyes empty and cold.
“Is there something wrong with the food?”
I glanced at the bowl again, shaking my head slowly. With the motion, the room titled a little off center.
“Then what?” His voice was neutral.
When I looked back to the desk, he’d moved, and was now standing only a few feet away. I stared at his knees-I didn’t have the strength to back away.
“Eat. You’ll regain your strength faster if you do.”
What he didn’t say was that my blood would replenish quicker as well, and then he’d be able to feed sooner.
The sudden screech of wood against stone made me jump. He drug the coffee table closer to where I sat, on the rug.
“Eat,” he commanded as he straightened back up.
At his tone I looked up, unable to stop myself. His silver eyes bore down on me, his gaze heavy. I should be dead. I felt my lower lip quiver, and I was… angry. I should be dead. I felt tears swimming on the edges of my vision, but still, I didn’t look away. I should be dead.
I froze at the sound of my name, the voice in the back of my mind that had been screaming fell silent. I hadn’t been called by my name in years.
He let out a frustrated noise before he sat down on his heels in front of me. I braced myself for violence, but was shocked when he instead picked up the bowl, and held a spoonful of soup just before my lips.
After a long staring contest (that I lost) I parted my lips, letting him tilt the liquid into my mouth. I sat there on the floor, awkwardly, as this original vampire fed me several more spoonfuls of the soup.
As he raised the spoon to my lips for the fifth time, I held my hand up in the air. “I can do it,” I muttered.
He handed the bowl and the spoon over, and returned to his post at the desk. I finished the soup quickly without tasting it, and placed it back onto the table. My attention turned to the mug which sat near where the bowl had been. Steam still drifted up lazily into the air from its contents. I got up on my knees and looked into it, before picking it up.
The mug was warm in my hands. I took a sip, and immediately had to close my eyes, clamping down on my lips to prevent the sigh that was trying to escape. It tasted almost like tea, but creamy, very sweet and filled with some strange spice I’d yet to have tasted before. I loved it. I settled back down, crossing my legs, and finished the tea a little too quickly for my liking.
When I was done, I set the cup next to the empty bowl, and waited. I actually didn’t know what I was supposed to do, other than scoot closer to the warmth of the fire, and look toward the Original. Gabriel, I think his name was,
But he paid me no mind, going about the business on his desk.
Sleep was creeping up on me once more, despite the fact that I had just woken up. My eyelids were heavy, and after a few slow blinks, I didn’t open them again. Majority of my body weight rested on my elbows, which were propped up on my knees.
I fell into a light sleep sitting up, something I’d gotten plenty of practice doing in my life before the auction. When my head dropped down suddenly, my eyes snapped open and I inhaled loudly. I shook the cramp out of my neck, rubbing my eyes, and looked up, only to find there was a pair of knees directly in front of my face.
I yelped, scrambling backward and craned my neck upward to see a slightly amused glint in Markus’ eyes. Without a word, he bent down and took hold of my arms, pulling me to my feet. He waited until I was steady before letting go.
“It’s time for dinner. Come with me.”
Rubbing the last of the sleep from my eyes, I followed Markus out into the hallway. To my surprise, he didn’t stop at my room. He led me to the grand dining room I’d seen on my first day, and that I hadn’t seen since then.
I froze at the entrance, wondering if I’d made a mistake, and wasn’t supposed to have come this far. Markus crossed the room, pulling one of the chairs out directly next to the head of the table, and looked at me expectantly.
“We don’t have all night, come and sit.” I followed his direction and walked over shakily, sitting down confused.
Including the plate in front of me, there were four places set. Lukas appeared rather suddenly in the chair across from me, and Markus took the chair next to him. That left the head of the table, the chair immediately to my right, the only vacant spot. And I had one guess as to who it was four.
Lukas and Markus didn’t wait for the final dinner guest. They began eating right away, as though they’d been starving. I stared down at my plate in a confused daze, only mildly surprised that vampires had an appetite for a food other than blood.
The sound of the chair scraping against stone once again had me looking up, wide eyes. The Original settled into his seat comfortably before beginning his meal.
“How gracious of you to join us on time, for once,” Lukas commented in between bites, staring at the vampire with a playful gleam in his eyes.
Staring down at my plate, I resisted every fiber in my being which was screaming at me to put more distance between myself and the Original. Our seats were far too close for my comfort.
After the day's events, I was beginning to get an idea of my role here. It was beginning to feel more like I’d been purchased from a pet shop, rather than picked up at the slaughterhouse. And the idea of being considered someone's pet bothered me far more than the idea of just being their dinner.
More days passed, and my routine was set in stone. I’d wake up in my room, which was never locked anymore. Most days, I was groomed by either Markus or Lukas - instructed to bathe and redress, before being deposited into the study to wait for the Original to return home from wherever he spent his nights. After being fed from to the point of nearly losing consciousness, I was allowed to recover in the warmth of the fire- usually via a nap and a meal. At the end of each night, we had what I was beginning to privately call family dinners. Some nights, the Original was present. Other times, he wasn’t.
After these dinners, before morning - and on nights when it seemed the Original would not make an appearance at all - I was left to my own devices. To my surprise, my door was left open, and the twins couldn’t be bothered with me. To be fair, there wasn’t much I could really get into. Most doors down the hallway, I came to find out, were locked, when I was brave enough to try and open them.
Only the study, the kitchen, the bathroom, my own room, and the front rooms were open to me. So, despite it being the last place I wanted to be, I spent most nights alone in the study; away from the twin vampires. At first, I just pulled an arm chair close to the fire, and napped. After getting away with that for a while, one night, I began pulling books from the shelves. To my disappointment, the majority of them were in a language I couldn’t understand. The ones that I found that I could understand appeared to be logs and law books. Boring and not worth offering enough of a distraction. When I had pulled a few books from the shelf, finding nothing, I retreated to the armchair, and napped until I was retrieved for dinner.
My life became a blur of waking, bathing, being drained of blood, being fed, and sleeping. My life was a cursed cycle stuck on repeat. The isolation slowly became suffocating.
I forgot to try and keep track of the nights. Though I knew it couldn’t possibly have been more than a few weeks at most, I felt like I’d been trapped in the apartment for months. Stuck in that endless cycle. Wondering if, each time the Original took my blood, it would finally be the last.
I had never wanted to die, but I had been expecting it nearly my whole life. Certain death, from the moment I was deemed ready for auction. And it never came. My mind was in a constant daze, surely due to the constant blood loss. I slept far more frequently than I knew was normal for any human. Sleep was the only escape I had. Until the nightmares started.
When the nightmares started, I began to crave death. It had been made clear that I wouldn’t be allowed to starve myself. When I refused to eat on my own, I was either threatened into submission by the twins or force fed by the Original himself. I knew no other way to escape- none that I was brave enough to attempt, anyway. Despite being on the receiving end of multiple instances of violence, I couldn’t muster the strength to bring any kind of violence upon myself.
Miraculously, my silent prayers were answered one night when Lukas ordered me into the bath.