Authors: Julia Mills
“Go away!” She yelled, rolling over on the couch and covering her
head with her pillow.
Another knock, more persistent than the last, and a woman’s voice
called, “Cynthia? Cynthia St. James?” A pause and then, “It’s Katarina
Katsaros, from KI-Roma Tech? Viktor’s wife…”
“And what the hell do you want?” Cyn groaned under her breath as
she threw off her afghan, stood up, and shuffled towards the noise.
Opening the door, she held onto the knob, leaned against the
frame, and asked, “And what can I do for you, Mrs. Katsaros? I somehow doubt
this is a social call.” Cyn knew her voice was dripping with sarcasm but really
couldn’t work up the energy to care.
Katarina smiled the same brilliant smile Cyn had seen on the
several occasions they’d met and snickered, “Well, I’m here to check on you. I
understand what you’ve been through and thought maybe you’d like to talk.”
Leaning forward and rolling her eyes, Cyn sighed. “While I
appreciate your attempt at female bonding and all that good stuff, how could
you possibly understand what I’ve been through?”
Looking at the door then back to Cyn, Katarina shook her head and
replied, “Well, I was held captive by a three-thousand-year-old madman with
designs on using me to kill my husband. Now, if you’ll stop being a petulant
baby and let me in, I think I can help.” She raised an eyebrow before adding,
“Or I can leave you to wallow in a puddle of your own self-pity. The choice is
yours.” Crossing her arms over her chest, Katarina batted her eyes and Cyn
could tell she wasn’t going anywhere without at least an answer.
It took her a minute to recover from the verbal lashing she’d just
received, but then Cyn pushed the door open and with a wave said, “Well, damn,
you sure know how to make an intro. Come on in.”
Kicking the door shut as soon as Katarina was inside and shuffling
back to her spot on the couch, Cyn pointed to the two other seats in her living
room and said, “Make yourself at home. And the kitchen’s back there,” she
hooked her thumb over her shoulder. “I think there’s iced tea and diet coke in
the fridge and coffee pods next to the Keurig.”
Flopping back on the couch, she waited until Katarina was seated
and asked, “So you were really kidnapped? What is it with these blood suckers?
They piss everybody off everywhere they go?”
Katarina’s loud burst of laughter shocked Cyn, but it was her
response that had her sitting upright on the edge of the couch. “Blood suckers.
That’s a good one. I somehow knew you would think we were vampires; monsters
like you see in the movies. It’s what I thought too, but you couldn’t be more
wrong.” Still chuckling, she took a breath. “And yes, I was held hostage and
actually died at the hands of Viktor’s enemy…. well, for a second or two.”
“You…died? Wait! You said we? Like you and them…” She quickly
shook her head. “You’re a…whatever the hell they are too? You drink blood?”
Cyn jumped up and took a step back as Katarina stood and stepped
toward her. Shaking her head, Katarina said, “So, now you’re scared? After you
invited me in?” Again, she burst out laughing. “Don’t you know you never invite
the big bad monster into your house.” Stepping back, she returned to her seat.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s not fair to tease you. I was just as lost
and just as confused as you.” She pointed to the couch. “Have a seat. I promise
I won’t make any sudden moves.” Katarina winked, scooted back in her seat, and
crossed her legs, obviously very comfortable discussing topics that made Cyn’s
Slowly walking back to the couch, she sat on the farthest corner,
putting her balled up afghan and pillow beside her as a shield. Looking
Katarina in the eye, she asked, “You said ‘we’. Does that mean you are one of
whatever they are too? Are you like a thousand years old or something?”
Smiling and shaking her head, Katarina replied, “Yes, I am now
immortal, just like Viktor and Roman and their comrades. But no, I am only
thirty-five. I became immortal after realizing the truth about both Viktor and
myself. The truth you must realize about not only Roman, but yourself.” She
paused as Cyn pinched her own arm to make sure she was awake.
Yep, that hurt like hell. I’m awake. Well, damn…
Deciding it was easier to remain sarcastic than give into the
screaming raging lunatic she’d been for the last five days, Cyn rolled her eyes
and asked, “And what truth is that?”
“That you and Roman are destined to be together. That he has
waited for you for nearly three-thousand years and most importantly, that he is
in no way
“But I saw a video. He had fangs and they most definitely bit into
Valentina’s neck. It was right in front of me, in living color.” She pulled her
knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs, blowing out a long
breath to keep from hyperventilating, and fought back the tears that had been
threatening to fall since she walked out of that blasted factory.
Nodding, Katarina took a deep breath. “So it’s true, it was
Valentina?” She paused and pushed some of her long curly hair behind her ear
before also asking, “And Laurent?”
Nodding while biting her bottom lip, Cyn relented, “Yeah, he was
there, too. I nicknamed them Morticia and Lurch.” She attempted a grin but knew
it was sad just by the feel of it.
Katarina, however, once again burst out laughing. “That is
perfect. Both of them have always given me the creeps.” She gave an exaggerated
shiver while working to get her laughter under control.
Needing to get some answers, Cyn cut to the chase. Leaning
forward, she demanded more than asked, “Okay, enough with the nicey-nicey, Mrs.
Katsaros. What the hell is really going on? Am I losing my mind? Are vampires
real?” She swallowed, then with less conviction asked, “Am I in love with a
Uncrossing her legs and leaning forward, Katarina responded with
such a caring tone, the tears Cyn had been holding back began to fall. “First
of all, call me Kat. Everybody does. Second of all, vampires as popular fiction
portrays them are most definitely not real, but there are things, that until I
met Viktor, I was sure were only in books and movies.” She smiled. “As far as
are you in love with a vampire…no, Cynthia St. James, you are in love with a
King of the Blood. Now, go take a shower because frankly my friend, you reek.”
She chuckled and pretended to hold her nose. “I’m gonna see what I can scrounge
up to feed you as I can see you’ve not eaten in days and then we will talk. I
will answer all your questions the best that I can and then you will at least
have all the facts to decide what to do next.” Standing, Kat held out her hand
and winked, “Deal?”
Cyn just stared until Kat teased, “You’re supposed to take my hand
and say ‘deal’.”
Slowly raising her hand, Cyn tried to grin as she wiped away the
tears with her free hand and said, “Okay, but if you try to eat me while I’m in
the shower, I’m gonna be pissed.”
As she let go of Cyn’s hand and walked towards the kitchen, Kat
snorted, “I’ll remember that. Now, go get yourself cleaned up and I’ll see what
culinary masterpiece I can whip up.”
While in the shower, Cyn found herself relaxing for the first time
in five days. It was hard to see Kat as a threat when she’d done nothing but be
nice, even when Cyn had been a complete and total pain in the ass. It was true
she wanted answers and as things stood, it would be easier to ask Kat than
Roman. God knew just being near him flustered her so much her brain nearly
turned to mush.
Grabbing the towel bar as a wave of nausea hit her with such force
she saw stars, Cyn took several long deep breaths and sat on the edge of the
tub for almost a full minute before she could once again stand. Rinsing her
hair and shutting off the water, she dried off and dressed as quickly as she
could then went back to her place on the couch, surprised to see fresh blankets
folded on the end and a clean pillowcase on her pillow.
“Wow, you’ve been busy. Thank you,” she called out while curling
up in the corner and covering up with her favorite quilt.
“You’re welcome. I always feel better with clean linens after a
shower.” There was a slight pause and then, “Hope you like tomato soup and
grilled cheese sandwiches. It was the only thing I could find that wasn’t moldy
or unidentifiable, and it’s what my mom used to always make me when I wasn’t
Coming into the room with a tray full of food, Kat stopped and
furrowed her brow. “You look really pale. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just tired and not sleeping so well.” Cyn let her
feet touch the floor as Kat placed the food on the coffee table and pulled the
chair she’d previously been sitting in closer to their lunch.
Nodding, Kat suggested, “Even so, maybe you should see a doctor.
You were in an abandoned building. You never know what kinda germs you picked
“Nah, I’ll be fine. Just need some food and some sleep and I’ll be
right as rain.”
Shrugging, Kat handed her a mug and a napkin before moving her own
onto the table, blowing off a spoonful of the wonderful smelling soup and
having a taste. Following suit, Cyn had a few spoonfuls before putting her mug
on the table and asking, “Will you really answer all my questions?”
“Yes, ma’am, to the best of my abilities. Remember, I’m still
pretty new to all of this, but if you ask something I don’t know the answer to,
I can get it with one call.” Kat smiled and took a bite of her sandwich. “But
one condition…for every question you ask, you have to eat while I’m answering.
“You really are into making deals, aren’t you?” Cyn chuckled.
Winking, Kat teased, “Whatever gets the job done. And…that was a
question, so eat up.” She took another bite of her grilled cheese while
grinning from ear-to-ear.
After having some soup and a small bite of her sandwich, Cyn
asked, “You said they were immortal. So, I guess that explains this.” She
opened the drawer in the table at her side and pulled out the small painting
she’d taken from the album and handed it to Kat.
Looking at the portrait for several long minutes, Kat looked up
and nodded, “Sure does. I remember Viktor telling me about this. It was painted
by a deaf painter he and Roman met outside of Pompeii not long after your man
became a King.”
Taking the picture back as Kat handed it to her, Cyn asked,
“Pompeii, like the legendary Pompeii that was destroyed by a volcano millions
of years ago?”
Kat snickered, “It was actually thousands of years ago and yeah,
that’s the one. I told you they were immortal, at least to a certain extent.”
“Explain the certain extent part, please,” Cyn asked.
“Eat up and I’ll just tell you the story as it was told to me.
Work for you?” Nodding, Cyn took a bite of her sandwich and sat back to listen.
Taking a drink of her iced tea, Kat began, “Now, there is such a
thing as dream or memory sharing between a King and his mate, so some of what
I’m about to tell you, I actually saw in Viktor’s mind, but most of it is what
he told me before we completed the mating ceremony.”
She set her drink on the table, clasped her hands, and said,
“Viktor was a Supreme Commander in the ancient Grecian army and Roman was his
General. They were highly decorated and basically unbeatable which, as you can
imagine, made others jealous. During a really bloody battle, Viktor was
betrayed by a guy named Bjorn. Who, by the way, was the dumbass who kidnapped
me, but I’ll get to that.”
Leaning back in her chair, she crossed her legs and went on,
“Anyway, Viktor ended up being accused of treason and going through a sham of a
trial where his guilt and execution was a foregone conclusion. While waiting
for the guards to come and get him for his punishment, and this is the part
that will blow your mind…or at least it did mine...Zeus spoke to Viktor and
told him he had a plan for him.”
Cyn ran her fingers through her still wet hair and took the
opportunity while Kat was taking another drink of tea to ask, “Are you really
telling me that the mythical King of the Gods spoke to your husband, whom I’ve
met, thousands of years ago.”
Chuckling as she nodded, “Yep. That’s exactly what I’m telling you
and that painting right there in your hand is proof.” She pointed while leaning
forward and narrowing her eyes. “You have a better explanation?”
Biting the inside of her cheek, Cyn looked at the painting then
took the other three photos out of the drawer and looked at them. Shaking her
head, she mumbled, “No, no I don’t, but damn.”
“Yeah, I know, but let me tell you the rest of the story before
you throw me out or call the men in the white coats.” Kat barked out a laugh.
“I thought I was losing my mind also, but I promise it will all make sense.
Now, eat up.” Shifting in her seat, she picked up the tale where she’d left
off. “The plan was that Viktor would have to go through with the execution and
actually die. Suffice it to say, without all the gory details, it was a
horrible execution. He suffered more than I can ever imagine, died, and was
buried. Then just as Zeus had said, Viktor rose on the thirty-first day, alive
and ready to fight whatever evil the big guy told him to. He was able to make
others like him, but they had to be loyal and valiant and really good men who’d
also died before their time in some horrible way.”