We didn’t take a cab but he took me down to the garage where we sat into a black Lincoln. The video of “Dream On” came into my mind right away, cuz this car looked exactly the same like the one in the clip. He was driving at least for one hour, heading out of town. Then he turned onto a road with high trees on both sides. At the end of the road I saw a not too high, but imposing house. The yellow and white building had three stocks and it was lit by some reflectors. I didn’t say a word just followed Dave, who led me up on the stairs hand in hand. As I squinted to the side I saw a few armed guards – probably vampires too – but my companion didn’t pay attention on them and they looked through us.
We got into a breathtaking hall, but Dave didn’t let me look around too much. But I could see that the dominant style was baroque, which was typical to every corridor we walked down.
“It’s an amazing place.”
“You can get used to it.”
“Do you visit this place a lot?”
It was clear for me that he was preparing himself for the meeting. If I had known him a bit better, I would have known that he hid his excitement behind his stiffness. Bringing me here was such a big thing? When we reached a high two-winged door, he called me for silence and warned me on those few advices he gave me back in the car how to behave in the presence of his Master. I nodded a bit skeptical then let him stop me in front of the door as he let my hand go. Not a single piece of me wanted to enter the room, but we can say I stayed calm. Dave – instead of knocking – announced our arrival probably in thought, cuz within a few moments the wings of the door had opened easily.
I saw a large room lit by torches and candles, making a dramatic effect. By the opposite wall a few stairs led up to a throne-like armchair with high back-rest. A breathtakingly beautiful black-haired woman was sitting in it. Her skin was way whiter than milk and it made a perfect contrast with the red velvet behind her back. Her black lace-dress showed a daring cleavage and the bottom of the dress fell onto the upper stairs in an effective way. She wasn’t alone. On her right a perfectly built man was standing with his chin-length black hair. He was in black velour from head to toe. To her the left, lower on the stairs, two women – a blonde and a red-haired – were lying comfortably on soft pillows and animal skins and they whispered into each others’ ears when they spotted us. And finally to the right I saw a short-haired blonde guy sitting in a negligent pose.
Dave headed towards them so I followed him.
“Lady Van Tesse, let me introduce you Elizabeth Townsend” Dave bowed elegantly with his upper body when we were finally standing in front of the stairs. I’ve never seen him this tense and respectful “Elizabeth, she’s my Master” he straightened his back. I saw how tense his face was.
“Oh come on, my dear Dave, we know exactly who she is, don’t we?” she smiled at me with fake allurement. Her mouth was toned with blood-red lipstick and it moved with perfect stringency.
“True. But I don’t know your companions here” I said on a neutral tone, but returned her smile. I saw from the corner of my eyes that Dave’s jaw tensed. I didn’t bow before I addressed his “superior”.
“Oh, yes. How rude I am. Let me introduce you my children. If you like, David’s siblings…” she smiled on my stiff expression and went on “He is” she pointed at the black-haired man “my eldest child, Zenon” the black-eyed vampire eyed me, while he put one snow-white hand onto his chest and the other behind his back to bow similarly like Dave did “Rowan and Amelia” she waved first towards the red-haired then towards the blonde woman, who rested her head on Rowan’s shoulder and both of them were watching me “And my youngest, who had got the Kiss after Dave, Mael. He asked us to use this name because he is a die-hard Anne Rice fan and in his favourite book a character was named like that. Isn’t he sweet?” Ditta and Mael smiled at each other. The guy looked back at me with a satisfied smile.
“A charming family” I noted.
‘Elizabeth!’ I heard Dave’s warning voice in my head, but I ignored it. I won’t crawl before anyone.
“Tut, dearest Dave, just leave her. She had been always like this…”
I lifted one eyebrow from this sentence. So she’d known my supposed self back in those dark times.
‘It’s not just supposed’ this time I heard her voice in my head.
‘I like the verbal way better’ I looked back into her eyes.
‘Then try to close me out of your head.’
This woman’s style was getting on my nerves. I imagined that I close her out of me. I saw her eyebrow quiver for a second, but then she smiled.
‘Not bad. Try harder!’
I saw on her that she was enjoying this game, which just irritated me. This time I imagined an impenetrable wall between my mind and her which sets back the intruders with an electric-like current in a not so kind way. I saw that she was trying to break through. I suspected that the others knew that she was testing me, but I didn’t understand why I had to pass her test. Maybe it was just for her fun or to size up what I can do.
“Nice. You shut me out of your mind” she nodded slightly in appreciation.
I saw on the others that this surprised them. Even Dave turned his head towards me. I looked at him questioningly.
‘Is this a big deal?’ I asked him. The vampire woman was still closed out of my mind.
Dave glimpsed at his Master a bit unsure then looked back at me right away.
‘Yes. None of us can completely shut her out.’
“That’s true. They can try, but my children are like open books for me. I’ve gained enough power during the centuries to be able to see into them easily” she noted in a haughty way, which nauseated me.
“Is it true that you’ve stepped out onto the stage as a stripper a few years ago?”
The shock was clear in Dave’s eyes.
“As a strip-artist” she corrected me with a little arrogant grimace.
“It’s pretty much the same to me” I murmured under my nose.
‘Liz!’ I’ve heard Dave’s worried baritone in my head again.
“David, didn’t you teach the lady how to behave?”
“I did, I tried…” he wanted to start, but I interrupted him a bit edgily.
“It’s not his job to raise me. I’m a grownup, not a child. I like to decide on my own whom I’ll respect.”
She laughed on a tinkling voice.
“Hmmm… she wears her heart on her sleeve, not knowing which kind of trouble she can get into with this.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No. I just put you on guard.”
I was about to answer, but Dave touched my arm gently but warningly. It was clear that Ditta was having a great time.
“Dave, honey, you haven’t even greet me properly! Don’t say that you’ll leave your chivalry behind too! Come, my panther, greet your Master!” she reached for him with a pale hand – just the blood-red nail polish gave some colour to it.
Dave let me go and hardening his expression he made a move towards his Master. I watched him climbing the stairs. He didn’t care about the women’s longing hands, which stroked along his thigh and leg, or to Mael’s searching glimpse.
He left Liz behind reluctantly, but he couldn’t disobey his Mistress, because he felt the imperious call. The blood linked them too strong. He hated to crawl before her, but she had to do it. Ditta ruled them with a firm hand and it didn’t matter that he was her favourite – but luckily lately he shared this position with Mael. Dave would have been even happier, if the blonde youngster had more attention from Ditta. He had to confess that his Mistress was a very seductive woman and on his own way he even enjoyed being with her, but behind all of her passion he felt her cold and dead. She was completely different from Liz. And not just because she was human. But he banished these thoughts quickly from his head before Ditta could see them. Yet previously Ditta wasn’t completely right – Dave’d managed to close her out of his thoughts not just once, but he wisely kept this to himself.
He dutifully knelt down in his black suit in front of her and gently kissed the outstretched hand, which grabbed him and pulled him up to her mouth. Then Ditta bit. Harsher than usual. The well-known feeling came over Dave, which he always felt when his Mistress was drinking his blood. His mouth opened slightly and his breathing sped up. The desire after his Mistress’ lips filled his body again, although he knew that this was part of her magic. He felt that narcotic scent, which could radiate just from his Mistress’ perfect body and from which he couldn’t get enough.
I watched the scene in horror. It seemed that Dave was left no legs to stand on. I suspected that this was some kind of display with the purpose to let me see clearly whom the singer really belongs to. I couldn’t do anything against it: distaste arose in me – to tell the truth I didn’t really want to hide it from that witch. I looked into her eyes, which turned into red. She watched me while she drank Dave’s blood from his wrist. His knees gave in and he moaned. When I thought he’d collapse, she let him go and licked his wrist then she laughed out loud on an earsplitting tone. She pulled Dave’s head onto her chest and caressed his face.
“David, honey, did you know that your little girlfriend is jealous?”
Dave – like someone in trance – nodded with his glowing green eyes then stuck greedily to the small wound Ditta opened over her right breast. I’ve never seen him this submissive. It was as if Ditta had grabbed his “animal” side. She led him by his instincts, suppressing his humanity. Gahan was licking the strong vampire blood obediently until his Mistress gently stroked along his face and in the next moment Dave’s tongue licked just the perfect and healed skin. I’ve heard the wobbly breath escape from between his lips and long canines. I grimaced again, cuz the woman laughed again and dug his fingers into Dave’s hair. He was nestling to her like a sated cat. Ditta took his face between her hands and gently pressed her perfect red lips to Dave’s bloody mouth and she looked into the unnatural green eyes – I was sure that she gave her orders non-verbal. Dave stood up and stepped onto her right side, next to the throne, where his place had been left empty yet.
Zenon left his place and walked to Dave and embraced his shoulder confidentially. While Dave was looking at me with an expressionless face, Zenon put a peck onto his face and buried his head into my singer’s neck, his long hair hiding what he was doing. First I thought he wanted to taste his blood too, but then I realised: he was bolting down Dave’s scent.
“Miss Van Tesse, tell me what good was in this little show? I know on which side Dave stands. You don’t have to remind me. Tell me why did you want to see me?”
“What’s this haste?” she asked smiling and waved with her hand. A man in plain black clothes appeared from thin air and offered a tray for her. She took off a nicely-cut crystal-glass, which wasn’t filled with wine. “It’s from 1987. Bittersweet. Do you want some?” she joked.
“No, thank you, I’d rather pass. I’m not the blood-sucking type.”
“Too bad! I thought that with such forefathers it won’t be new for you…”
“What’re you talking about?” I frowned. To tell the truth I felt a bit lonely standing there alone without Dave, but probably this was one of her aims too.
“Well, well, well! You don’t know it?”
“Don’t forestall things! We’ll have time for this tomorrow night too.”
“Are you doing this deliberately? I hoped that I’d get more information about the situation I’m stuck now. But instead of that…”
“I’m not playing” she interrupted me on a harder tone “You’ll get all your answers tomorrow night. Our guests will arrive by that time too. I think you could use some rest now” she said. It seemed that she’d got bored from playing the nice host, or she’d got bored just from me. She smacked with her long fingers.
“Armando, take our guest into her room!” Ditta caught my glimpse at Dave and laughed. She went on mockingly “Don’t worry, I won’t deprive your ‘protector’ from you for too long.”
I turned around without saying anything, dislike boiling in me, and I followed the unremarkable vampire, who had served the blood earlier, on the hallways. He didn’t say a word and I was really grateful for this. After a few corners he stopped and bowed a bit in front of me before he opened a door.
“If there’s anything you need, just ring the bell” he said on his dry and neutral tone.
I nodded, but didn’t say out loud what I was thinking: “I thought I should scream. That would’ve been more stylish. Anyway it’s not likely that I’d ask for anything here.” He haven’t heard it, I paid attention. After a minute I was standing in the compelling room alone. The inside was at least 4 meters high and three long French windows led to a terrace. To my left there was a large bed with canopy and a vanity. On my right a Venetian mirror was hanging on the wall and a door led into the bathroom.
I switched on the light and walked into the bathroom, which was full of white marble. I washed my face – I was awfully pale. I was sure that it was the effect of the things back in the great hall. I could nearly see Dave’s bestial gaze. I rather closed my eyes and sighed. I didn’t want to think of what they were doing in that moment. I walked to my bag and fell down onto the bed with the diary. My dad’s letter was already between my fingers and this time I’ve opened it.