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Chapter 17

The Hostess


(Ethan)

I felt my stomach turn as I slowly drifted back to consciousness. The room I was in was dimly lit, and I couldn’t see much of anything as my head began to throb. I vaguely saw a figure sitting on the end of the bed I was lying on, but I had to shut my eyes to keep myself from vomiting. I tried to move, but I found out that my wrists were tied down to the edge of the bed.

“I’m glad to see that my bodyguard didn’t do any permanent damage, Ethan.” A feminine voice that seemed to ring like a bell said from near my feet. I tensed as I felt her gently squeeze my leg. “I fear that he hit you harder than he planned.”

I tried to sit up again, but it was pointless to fight against the straps holding me back.

“Relax, Ethan.” The woman said calmly. “You’re only tied down to keep you from hurting yourself. Once my doctor has had a decent chance to look at you, I’ll get you a proper room where you can relax while we wait for your brother to join us.”

“Evan’s dead,” I said absently.

I heard the woman laugh quietly for a moment before she said anything else.

“Are you absolutely positive, Ethan?”

I honestly didn’t know what to think anymore. I was at Evan’s funeral. I saw the urn that carried his ashes. Jenna was there, too. . .

‘Jenna’, I suddenly thought bitterly as I remembered the streak of blood on the wall behind my best friend as she slid to the floor. I felt a tear slide down my cheek as I thought about the fact that I would never be able to look into Jenna’s almond brown eyes ever again. Nobody could have survived an impact like that. ‘There was so much blood.’

Suddenly, the woman slid closer to me, and I gasped out in surprise as her blood red eyes came into view. My brain instantly flashed back to the image of my brother in my dream and how his eyes were just as red as the blonde-haired woman sitting on the edge of the bed. I tried to slide away from her, but the bindings around my wrists and ankles kept me held firm.

“Like I said, Ethan,” the woman said with a smug grin and I caught sight of two pointy fangs sitting amongst the upper row of her teeth. “Are you absolutely positive that Evan is dead?”

“You’re lying,” I said in obvious denial of what I was seeing.

The woman growled, and the next thing I knew she was straddling my waist. She had one of her hands wrapped around my throat as she leaned down closely next to my face. The woman traced one of her other fingernails down my cheek, and I cringed slightly as I felt the sharp pain of her nail scratching into my skin.

“I’m not a liar, Ethan.” The woman said darkly. I tried to squirm away from her, but with my arms and legs being restrained, there was nothing I could do. “I would never lie about someone’s continued existence in this forsaken world. Granted, I brought you here to satisfy my own dark intentions, but I will never lie to you.”

“What are you?” I managed to ask as I felt her cool breath against my cheek.

“What do you think I am?” The woman asked with a hiss in her voice.

“I. . . I. . . I don’t know,” I stammered out. I did have an idea, though. It went back to Mr. Hunter’s class. Red eyes. She was incredibly strong and fast. Then, I felt her tongue run against the side of my neck where she had scratched me.

“You taste delicious, Ethan.” She said with a sneer. “I hope I get to taste you before your brother finds us.”

“You’re a vampire,” I said as the details finally started to click into place.

“Good,” the woman said with a proud smile as she finally moved back to where she was sitting beside me. “Now, let’s do a few introductions so you know who to expect to see when you’re here with us.”

“How long am I going to be here?”

“Until Evan comes to meet with me,” the woman said firmly, signifying that she wasn’t going to answer any more of my questions at the moment. “Now, Ethan. I am Sonya, one of the Elders of Orthis. I brought you here so your brother and I can discuss my possible future in his new world.”

I looked at the blonde-haired woman in confusion as her hair cascaded over her shoulders.

“What do you mean?” I asked quietly.

The woman smirked for a moment before she stood.

“There will be time for that later, Ethan.” Sonya stated before her expression softened, and she motioned towards a dark corner of the room.

I felt my heart hammering in my chest as another woman stepped out from the shadows. She had long brown hair, but her eyes were just as red as Sonya’s as she approached the side of the bed I was tied down to.

“Are you going to kill me?”

“None of us are going to hurt you, Ethan.” Sonya said with a light laugh. “This is my friend Isabella. Well, she’s actually more of an associate.”

“Hello, Ethan.”

I nodded my head politely at the slender woman, but I could still feel my heart racing as she stepped closer. Sonya just smiled at our interaction before she stepped around to the other side of the bed.

“Calm yourself, Ethan.” The blonde woman stated. “Your heart sounds like it is going to jump out of your very chest if you don’t.”

“It doesn’t help being tied down,” I said as I pulled against one of the straps tying my arms down.

Sonya seemed to consider my statement for a moment before she grinned maliciously.

“I’ll make you a deal, Ethan.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll untie you, if you do something for me.”

“What’s that?” I asked in a quiet voice.

Sonya smiled.

“I will untie you, Ethan, if you let Isabella study you while you are here.” Sonya smiled as she finished her statement. “We’ve never really had the opportunity to study human behavior so closely before, and Isabella has shown a keen interest in you since your arrival here. How does that work for you?”

I nodded meekly.

“Now, I do have a few rules that there will be absolutely no divergence from.” Sonya looked at Isabella before she reached over and untied one of the leather straps. “First, if you try to run, I will send Adam after you again. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I could hear the tremble in my own voice.

“Second, you are never to disturb any of the vampires when they are sleeping during the day.” Her tone was full of warning as Sonya continued to explain this rule. “This is for your own safety, Ethan. A vampire will naturally protect themselves while they are asleep. I would hate for anything to happen to you just because of a misunderstanding.”

I quickly nodded my agreement to that rule. There was no way in hell I would ever approach one of them while they were sleeping. I didn’t want to imagine what would happen to me. It was bad enough that I was in the room with two vampires and I was strapped to a bed. Sonya smiled again before I felt her icy fingertips brush against my skin as she removed one of the restraints. The woman gestured towards Isabella, and the dark-haired vampire nodded once before she finally untied the other restraint. I quickly pulled my arms to my chest and started rubbing each of my wrists while the two women untied the straps holding my legs down.

“Now,” Sonya said in a more relaxed tone. “Isabella, are you ready to take over your responsibilities?”

“Yes, Mistress.” Isabella replied with a brief bow of her head.

“Good,” the blonde stated with a grin before she stood from the bed. “Remember what I told you, Ethan. Don’t try to run, or Adam will see to it that you’re not able to run.”

“Yes, ma’am.” I said as the threat made my heart begin to race. “May I ask a question?”

“You can ask whatever you want, Ethan.” Sonya stated with a dark laugh. “It doesn’t mean I am going to answer it, though.”

I nodded briefly.

“Where are we?” I asked once I was able to get over the fear of asking a vampire anything.

“Philadelphia,” Sonya replied. “You’re in my penthouse. You’re more than welcome to walk around the entire penthouse during the day, as long as you remain within the penthouse, and don’t wake myself or Isabella.”

“Yes, ma’am.” I stated, grateful that I wasn’t going to be kept in this one room. It was rather large, but it still would drive me nuts if I had to stay here. “May I use the bathroom.”

“I forgot humans even did that,” Isabella stated with a chuckle.

“You’ve got your work cut out for you, Isabella.” Sonya told the woman. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe I need to have a chat with our resident doctor to see when he wants to do Ethan’s exam. Keep a close eye on him, Isabella.”

“Of course, Mistress.” Isabella acknowledged as she watched the other woman leave the room. All I saw was a blur of white as the vampire flitted away. Isabella turned to gaze down at me before she smiled. “Follow me, Ethan. I’ll show you where the bathroom is located.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” I said quietly as I pulled my body to the edge of the bed. My legs shook as I tried to stand, and a wave of nausea had me falling forward before I could even figure out what was going on. I flinched as Isabella’s icy hands wrapped around my bicep to keep me from falling forward. Isabella stood still and just held onto my arm as she waited for me to regain my composure. “Sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Ethan.” Isabella said with a hint of fury in her tone. “I will be having a discussion with Adam about his treatment of you. It isn’t what he agreed to.”

I stared at the woman in confusion, but she just smiled tenderly at me before she gently pulled me towards the door.

“Come on, Ethan.” She said calmly. “I promised your father that I would keep you safe.”

“What does my dad have to do with anything?”

“He has everything to do with it, Ethan.” Isabella said before she pushed me towards an open door. “The bathroom is right there. Hurry up, and I’ll make sure you get something to eat before I retire for the day.”

“Where do you sleep?” I asked timidly once I had finished in the bathroom. I wasn’t sure on the rules for asking vampires questions, but I figured that Isabella would just not answer if she didn’t want me to know.

“My coffin is actually in the basement of the hotel we are on top of,” Isabella said with a grin. “But you will never have to worry about finding it, Ethan. I’ll always be upstairs the moment the sun sets behind the horizon.”

I looked at her apprehensively.

“It’s true, Ethan.” Isabella told me as she led me back to my room. “Now, what would you like to eat?”

“Can I have some eggs and toast?”

“Of course,” the woman said with a happy smile. “I’ll call down to the kitchen and let them know to have it brought up immediately.”

“Can I ask you one more thing, ma’am?”

“Isabella,” she corrected me.

“Isabella,” I stated nervously making the vampire smile. The sight of her fangs made my blood run cold for a moment, but I was quick to recover before she noticed. “Is. . . Is Jenna dead?”

Isabella froze for a moment before she finally answered me.

“Jenna will be fine if your brother does what he needs to do, Ethan.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m certain you’ll figure everything out before too long,” Isabella said. “I’ll be right back, Ethan. I’m going to order your food and have a little chat with Adam. The television gets every channel you could ever think of, Ethan. I’ll go out tonight and get you a game system, so you have something to do. Remember, the penthouse is yours during the day, just don’t leave. Adam will have some of his goons watching the doors just to be sure you don’t try anything. Don’t give the werewolf an excuse, Ethan.”

“Yes, Isabella.” I said softly as the reality of my prison sentence was beginning to set in.

Would I ever be free again? Would Evan ever come and find me? Would he save Jenna like Isabella said he needed to do? Was Evan really still alive?

The thought of my brother leaving me behind was enough to make me lose control over my emotions – emotions that I had been struggling to keep contained throughout the entire ordeal.

‘Evan,’ I thought my brother’s name sadly before I climbed back onto the bed and curled into a ball. I heard Isabella sigh softly before she left the room, closing the door behind her. ‘I need you, Evan. More than ever.’

Chapter 18