Vampire Kisses - Royal Blood Part 11

And clear, I wanted to say.Very clear.

Jameson brought us trays of fancy finger foods. Tiny pastries and miniature sandwiches filled the pewter serving plates. I was afraid to ask what was inside, but that didn't stop my mother.

"Liver.Kidney.And-" Mrs. Sterling began before my mom cut her off.

"I'm still full from dinner," she remarked, and quickly switched to the pastries.

The pastries melted in our mouths and I craved more. I was scooping up a diamond-shaped one when my mom picked up the conversation.

"I couldn't help but notice," she said. "You don't have any mirrors. Not in the bathroom or the hallway."

"We have some in the bas.e.m.e.nt," Mrs. Sterling answered truthfully. I remembered seeing them when Fd snuck in one time. "We just haven't hung them up," she continued.

"But how do you put on makeup?"

"Practice.Plus,Constantine will not hesitate to tell me if it is askew."

They all laughed.

We continued to eat and drink and converse aboutRomania and Dullsville.

"We really appreciate your inviting us to your home/' Mrs. Sterling said. "We have kept to ourselves since we returned here. This town doesn't seem to be very inviting to outsiders.""Well, I'm hoping to fix that before it's too late," my mom said. "We wouldn't want you to feel unwelcome."

Mr. Sterling and Mrs. Sterling glanced at each other knowingly.

"I think we'll always be outsiders," Mrs. Sterling said, "no matter where we go."

As we all said our good-byes, I glanced over at my parents hugging and shaking hands with the Sterlings . I felt higher than a soaring bat, watching a scene I'd never have imagined even in my wildest dreams.

19.

"What an evening!" I said to Alexander later that night at the rail yard. He was waiting for me in the Mansion replica boxcar.

"Did they have a good time?" my handsome boyfriend asked, fis.h.i.+ng for rea.s.surance.

"The best time ever. On the way home, they couldn't stop talking about 'Constantine and Ca.s.sandra.' How interesting and worldly they are. They were so happy to have finally seen the inside of the Mansion.

Thank you so much for inviting my parents over-and me."

"I wasn't sure... with the whole bat thing happening."

"Are you kidding? They couldn't stop talking about it." "My family adores yours," he said with a twinkle in his eye. Then he placed his hand on mine. "But you must understand, I don't want you to get too excited-"

"We all were excited. My dad was so impressed with the Mansion. It was a tour of a lifetime."

"I'm glad they liked it, but-," he started.

"These last few days were more amazing than I could have imagined," I said, cutting him off. "I love your parents. Can we trade?''

"Our parents?Sure. I think yours are cool."

"What?No way!"

"My mom carries an umbrella in the moonlight," he said with a chuckle. "And my dad insists on wearing a cape."

I had no idea Alexander viewed his parents like I viewed mine-slightly embarra.s.sing. "I love your parents' style. My mom and dad think plaids orpinstripes is all the rage."

"Yours are way cooler!" he said, tickling my side.

"That's just because they aren't your parents. If you lived with them, you'd change your mind."

"And you might, too," he said. "Especially when you know that-"

"What was I thinking when I was spying on those two lovely people outside the Mansion. They don't have skeletons! Not in theircloset, or otherwise."

"There's something I need to tell you." Alexander turned serious.

"I was just being immature. Please don't tell them."

"I won't."

"Promise."

I began to kiss my boyfriend,then snuggled against his chest. "This is so much better than I imagined. I love having your parents in town. So we give up some independence. Who cares? We're gaining so much more."

"I have to tell you-"

"No- there's something I really want to tell you." I stared into his deep, dark eyes. "I finally think my life is perfect."

Alexander looked shocked, then pleased.

"So what do you want to tell me?" I asked.

"It can wait," he said resignedly.

Alexander kissed me good night with such emotion it was as if he were kissing me for the first time-or the l.u.s.t.

'I'henext morning, I arose from a dead sleep and walked gla.s.s-eyed downstairs in my slippers and pajamas. I headed straight for the coffeemaker.

My parents seemed strange-odder than usual. Solemn, like someone had died. My mom was hovering over the Sunday paper on the kitchen table.

"Maybe she already knows," she said.

I poured some coffee. "Knows what?"

"It's funny. TheSterlings didn't mention anything last night. You'd think they would have."

"Maybe they are buying a new house?Something more modern?Something without bats."

"What are you talking about?" I dragged my feet and leaned on the table.

My dad pointed to the paper.

Under the real estate column was a picture of the Mansion: For sale-Three acres.

Sterling Estate, Benson Hill.Berkley Realtors My heart sank to my empty stomach.

TheSterlings were selling the Mansion!

This was what Alexander had been trying to say. Why his mother and father kept saying they'd be in

town for only a few months. Why Alexander had been preoccupied and in an unusually dark mood. If there wasn't a Mansion-there 'd be no Alexander,Alexander, the love of my life, was moving back toRomania .

20.

Ipedaled my bike the entire way to Dullsville's cemetery, tears streaming down my cheeks like dripping blood. Out of breath, I flung my Trek against the brick wall and scaled the fence. Votives on tombstones lit my way through the dusky graveyard.

As I ran through the graveyard, rain began to drizzle down and extinguish the votives as I pa.s.sed them. Fog slowly enveloped the landscape as if it were trying to keep me away.

In the distance, Alexander was standing next to his grandmother's monument. I stormed over to him.

"I don't want you to leave!" I cried.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"I saw the ad in the paper! Your parents are selling the Mansion. Why didn't you tell me?"

"I wanted to, but I just needed to get some answers first."

"Answers? You are moving back toRomania ! I don't want you to leave." I clutched my boyfriend for dear life.

"I know," he said, holding me tight. "I don't either- that's why I'm trying to figure out something."

"Why do you have to move back now?" I asked, staring up into his soft brown eyes. "After all we've been through? When we have finally gotten theMaxwells off yours, mine, and Dullsville's back? This is the thanks you get?"

"That's exactly why it's time for me to return home- according to my parents. By reuniting Valentine with his brotherJagger , I ended our family feud. Now my parents want me to return toRomania so we can be a family again."

"Your life is here now!"

"I know. I've tried to explain. And just as bad, they see no reason to keep the Mansion. So now I really have nowhere to go!"

"You'll stay here and live with me. My parents won't mind."

"I can't do that-then they'll know..."

Alexander had a point. If Alexander slept under the same roof as my parents, there would be no way to hide that he'd be sleeping during the day in a coffin.

"What are we going to do? You can't leave, Alexander. Let me talk to them. Once they see my side-"

"I'm not sure they can be convinced. I've tried everything. Yelling, sulking. I am their son. They want me with them. I can respect that. But they are ruining my life."

"And mine! They can't do this, Alexander! I love you!"

I held on to Alexander hard and sobbed uncontrollably. "I understand why they miss you-they love you as much as I do. But why can't they just live here?"

"Because their business is inEurope .And they want us to be around our kind. The reason they sent me here was because it was isolated, and it's now the reason they want me home."

"You aren't isolated anymore. You've gone to dances and dinners and dates. Can't they see how much you've thrived in such a short time?"

"I've tried to explain it to them. I'm not sure they see it, though. They're old school."

"I never realized that my biggest conflict in our relations.h.i.+p wouldn't be me being a mortal and you a vampire, or revenge from some bloodsucking white-haired immortal, but your sweet parents."

Alexander wa.s.silent .

"It's me- "I collapsed in front of a tombstone. "If I were like Luna, from a vampire family, then they'd approve of me."

"They adore you."

"But I'm not a vampire.Romania is half a world away. I can't live a second without you-much less an eternity!"

"Iknow, me neither."

"Then tell them you won't go!" '

"I have."

"And what did they say?"

"That my home is inRomania ."

"I'm going to talk to them," I said vehemently, rising from the ground. "Let's go now. When they see

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