Author: foxy11814 PM
While Nick is attending a Christmas party with Natalie, he attempts to save a young woman from a vampire attack. After the unfortunate event, the woman is in desperate need of guidance. Will Nick supply it? And, if he does, will Natalie like it? CH.4 UP!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 4 - Words: 11,048 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 03-19-11 - Published: 12-22-10 - id: 6579926
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Newcomer Chapter 4
Nick stood in the center of his room in Lacroix's apartment and stared at a portion of the bare wall before him. Much had happened in less than a twelve-hour period, and he hadn't been able to really slow down to think about it since Ashley had awoken after being bitten. And time to think was precisely what he needed the most right now.
Of two things he was certain: One, even though he hadn't tasted a bit of Ashley's blood and didn't know much about her, yet, he liked her. And, two, she was going to change his life immensely. For the better or worse remained to be seen. There was so much potential for things to go badly that he was almost frightened. It was, after all, the story of his life. Nothing had ever come easily, and it always seemed like the worst things happened to him, especially when it came to the fairer sex.
Nicolas crept back through the kitchen and let out a sigh of relief to see that the servants—most importantly, Cedany—were no longer present. He stepped into the corridor that led back to his rooms when he heard a voice behind him. "And, where have you been, Nicolas?"
"Mama!" he exclaimed and whirling around to see his mother with a goblet in hand. "I didn't know you were still up."
"I was restless after all the festivities," she replied.
He walked over to her and said, "I was, too. I decided to take a walk in the fresh air." He extended his arm and she took it as they walked back toward their bedchambers.
"Did you have a good time today?" she asked. "I know Fleur did. She absolutely adored the necklace you gave her. She's been showing it to everyone who walks within ten feet of her. She loves you so."
Nicolas smiled and said, "And, I love her. Yes, I had a good time, today. I only wish Papa was still here to have enjoyed it with us."
"As do I."
At that moment, a noise of something being dropped was heard behind them. Both turned around to see Alianor picking up the gift Nicolas had given her in the barn.
"She just came out of the kitchen. Were you outside with her?"
Nicolas turned weary eyes to his mother and sighed when he saw her stern look.
A soft knock on the door shook him from his reverie. He opened the door to glare at Lacroix who said, "She'll be sleeping for hours. I think we should talk before we settle down for the day."
Nick continued to glare and replied, "And, what if I don't want to talk?"
"Then, listen. My, my, Nicholas, how ungrateful you are to your host who has given you and your child shelter from the daylight. I think a small chat is the least you could do to repay an act of kindness."
Nick huffed and replied, "And, you forget, Lacroix, that I know you. Your acts of kindness always benefit you in some form or fashion."
"Nevertheless, it's the least you can do. Come before we disturb your progeny." Lacroix left the door and didn't turn around to see if he was coming.
Nick sighed, walked out to follow him, and closed the door.
=) =) =)
Nick walked into the living room and smirked at the two glasses of blood already poured sitting on the table in front of the couch. "You obviously knew I would come," he stated.
Lacroix nodded as he sat on the couch and patted the seat beside him. "I can always count on you to do the right thing, my son," replied Lacroix, sarcastically.
Nick sneered but came to the couch, took the glass, and sat an arm's length away from Lacroix on the couch. "What do you want?" he asked.
"I think the topic is obvious," said Lacroix, lightly waving his arm toward the bedroom where Ashley was sleeping.
Nick looked up at the ceiling as he shook his head.
"You do not have to talk, Nicholas," stated Lacroix, picking up on his child's reluctance to discuss anything dealing with Ashley. "I simply wish to give you some advice based on your prior failures."
Finally, Nick turned his head to look at Lacroix. He gave him his undivided attention.
Lacroix looked straight ahead and said, "All your…children are either dead, or they scorn you."
Nick flinched at the observation but said nothing, because he knew the words were true.
Lacroix continued, "Part of the problem, mon fils, is that you are reluctant to claim your role as master. You prefer to be a friend who merely gives advice. This won't do with fledglings, Nicholas. Fledglings are so overwhelmed with the changes they are experiencing that their reason is temporarily on hiatus; sometimes it's gone forever. You had a relatively easy time adjusting because I kept a tight rein on you. Masters must claim their role over their fledglings and bend the fledglings' will to their own. I know you now hate seeking dominance over others, but it is essential to keep your fledgling safe and to make sure she does as you desire. I know you would like to think fledglings have the ability to choose to do right or wrong like you do, but they can't. Their inhibitions are no longer present and the temptation to simply do what comes to mind is too strong. The master becomes their voice of reason until their own returns, if it ever does."
Nick continued to simply stare at him, but Lacroix noticed Nicholas was rubbing his right thumb over his left palm continuously. It was a nervous habit he had when he was contemplating something that he wasn't quite comfortable with. Looking away with a small smile to himself, he said, "Just think about it, Nicholas."
Nick gave a curt nod before standing and stating, "I will."
=) =) =)
Nick returned to his bedroom and watched Ashley as she continued to sleep. He knew hard times were possibly ahead. Once she awoke, her change would become more apparent through her actions and words. When someone is brought across, his or her system is in too much shock to really comprehend what is happening to them at first, but after they get enough rest, the vampire makes his or her appearance.
He wondered what changes he would see in Ashley. He also contemplated if he should take Lacroix's advice to heart and take his role as her master. He hated the thought of being anything like Lacroix, but some of what Lacroix had said made sense. Being Ashley's voice of reason during a difficult time couldn't hurt. It's the possibility of having to force her to do as he wished that he didn't like. As her master, he could will her to do as he desired. He had experienced it a few times with Lacroix, and it wasn't something he wished to do to others. But if it meant she had a chance to live a productive life, he could do it. Who's to say he would ever have to do it, anyway?
Nick lay down on the bed beside Ashley but did not get under the covers. He would continue to give her privacy and treat her with respect despite his being her master. He also decided to give Lacroix's way a try with a few modifications.
=) =) =)
Everything was utterly perfect: she was warm, relaxed, and content. Nothing would please her more than to stay in bed all day, which is why she refused to open her eyes. The past twenty-four hours had been trying, but she was okay, now, and she refused to open her eyes to see if it had all been a dream. The only problem was the slight contraction of her stomach, letting her know she was hungry. She rubbed it as the feeling became more intense until finally she knew she couldn't hold out any longer. She flipped the covers from her body and raced out the door. Barely recognizing her surroundings as they turned red and feeling her fangs slip down, she knew with sudden clarity that the recent events were not a dream, but she could hardly care at that moment. She ran down the hall until the kitchen, and more importantly, the refrigerator came into view.
She ran to the appliance and nearly ripped the door off its hinges trying to get inside. She picked up the first green bottle she saw and popped the cork when she heard a voice state strongly, "No."
She whirled around with a hiss to see who had spoken, but no one was there. Believing the voice to have been her imagination, she raised the bottle to her lips.
"I said, 'No!'"
Ashley widened her eyes as she pulled the bottle away from her mouth. She glanced around the apartment but didn't see anyone. She swallowed the lump in her throat nervously before replying hastily, "But I'm hungry."
Suddenly, she heard a whooshing sound and Nick was beside her. She nearly dropped the bottle she was holding but Nick grabbed it and her hand to hold it steady. "This is cut with wine," he stated. "You must consume nothing but pure blood until you are a little older."
Nick pulled the bottle from her grasp, returned it to its place within the refrigerator, and grabbed another from the bottom shelf. As Nick handed her the bottle, he smiled when Ashley met his gaze. "Notice the label. These are for you."
Ashley almost tore her eyes from Nick to look at the label and drain the bottle quickly when she suddenly realized something. His lips…they weren't moving! "Are you some kind of ventriloquist?" she asked, loudly. Her expression was one of shock and, perhaps, annoyance.
Nick smiled and answered again without moving his lips. "No."
"Then…" Ashley trailed off, flapping her arms wildly at her sides. She knew he had to be messing with her, and after everything she had been through, she didn't like it one bit.
"Let me ask you a question," continued Nick. "Do you really hear me right now? Are you hearing me with your ears?"
"Of course, I am," stated Ashley, now clearly annoyed. "How else could I possibly hear you?"
"You tell me," he replied, silently.
Ashley paused as she stared into Nick's eyes once more. "Say something again," she whispered as she forgot about her hunger and her eyes turned brown.
"Pay attention to what is hearing me," he responded.
Ashley's jaw dropped. "You're in my head!" she exclaimed. "I don't hear you with my ears at all. It's like you're—I don't know—speaking to me telepathically or something." Ashley suddenly smiled, and Nick couldn't help but grin back.
"An adequate description," he stated finally using his mouth.
"How did you do that?" she asked.
Nick placed a finger on Ashley's lips and said, "First, we eat breakfast, then, we'll talk."
"Sounds fair enough." She grabbed a pair of glasses from the cupboard and asked, "Will you be drinking from my bottle?"
"Sure," he replied, smiling as she practically raced to the table and poured them each a glass. "You seem to be in a hurry." He watched her down a glass quickly and refill hers.
She sat down facing Nick as he sat and answered, "Uh, I'm hungry." At Nick's teasing smile, she continued, "And, I actually feel happy. I feel better than I have in years, and I must admit you have intrigued me this morning. You're lucky I'm not bouncing off the walls."
Nick nodded and stated, "Well, I'm glad you feel that way, because that will make this conversation a lot easier."
Ashley stayed silent as she waited for Nick to continue.
"The easiest answer I can give you as to how I am able to speak to you telepathically—as you put it—is that I'm your master." He watched as Ashley's brows climbed toward her hairline. "I am not the vampire that bit you, but I am the vampire whose blood you ingested when you were brought across. That blood has forged a bond between us, and that bond can do many things."
"So, I can talk to you telepathically, too?" she questioned.
"With some practice, yes."
"What else can it do?"
Nick sighed, and that worried her. "It can serve as a beacon. I can always find you, especially when you're in trouble. You can use it to find me, if I allow it. I can use it to help you control yourself…let's just say, if the vampire ever gets out of control..." Nick paused and waited for what he was saying to sink through.
She stared at Nick and whispered, "Sounds pretty incredible."
Startled that nothing else was asked or stated, he replied, cautiously, "It is."
Ashley suddenly laughed and shook her head, clearly surprised at the news. "So," she asked with a smile, "are you going to teach me how to speak to you telepathically?"
Nick didn't smile back as he replied, "As your master, I will be teaching you to do a great deal of things, and speaking to me telepathically is one of the smaller lessons."
=) =) =)
As soon as Nick got Ashley home from the Raven, he called into work to tell Tracy and Captain Reese he wouldn't be in because he was feeling ill. He was tempted to call Natalie but knew she would know the real reason for his absence and he didn't know how she would take it.
He wasn't naïve. He saw the way she looked at him when he had to pull Ashley into his arms to prevent the fledgling from biting her. She was scared Ashley was going to come between them and their relationship. He sat down at his piano and started hitting random keys as he continued to contemplate Natalie's feelings. Surely, she didn't view Ashley as some kind of threat. Ashley may be his daughter, now, and she would take up a lot of his time, but Natalie knew he'd still make time for her as he always had, right?
He looked back at the phone and knew he had to address the issue. He picked up the phone and dialed the morgue.
=) =) =)
"Natalie's Bed and Breakfast," answered Nat as she put the phone to her ear.
"Hey, you," Nick said, smiling at the use of one of her frequent greetings on the job.
"Hey, yourself," she greeted happily, even though she wondered why he was calling instead of visiting. He usually did the latter if he had to speak with her on a work night. "What's up?"
"I, uh, I just wanted to call to let you know I wouldn't be into work tonight. You know, I…didn't want you to worry," he explained.
Natalie's eyes furrowed. "Is there a reason to worry? Why are you not coming in?"
"Nothing's wrong," he rushed to assure her. "I just didn't feel comfortable leaving Ashley alone right now. I'll probably call out the next couple of nights, as well. I want to teach her a few things before I leave her here alone."
"So, Ashley is still at your place?" She knew the answer long before she even asked it, but she felt as though she should express her discontent somehow, even if it was subtle.
Nick picked up on her meaning and seeing his opening, he whispered, "She's my fledgling, Nat. She's my responsibility. I can't risk her killing someone else or even herself. I couldn't bear making the same mistake again."
Natalie blinked back tears as Nick referred to her brother. "I understand," she whispered back. "I just wish things could stay the same."
Nick glanced at Ashley who was now coming downstairs from his bedroom after taking a shower. "So do I, and I will do my best to make sure the change isn't too drastic."
"It already is."
Nick paused and asked, "Why don't you come over after the shift? We could watch a movie. I'll send Ashley upstairs, and it'll be just me and you, like old times."
Natalie smiled. "We can't banish her to the bedroom, Nick. That would be rude and very inconsiderate of us."
"She'll probably be sleeping by that time, anyway," he reasoned.
Natalie's smile widened. "Okay, I'll come over, but we're not sending her to bed. If she's tired and goes to bed, great, but I don't want to be the reason you run her off."
Nick smiled as he replied, "Sometimes I don't know why you put up with us ol' vampires."
Natalie laughed and replied, "Well, I only put up with one, but I suppose you can persuade me to put up with two. In any case, I have to go. The customers are starting to pile up and are getting quite angry."
Nick laughed, as well, and said, "Well, don't let me get you into trouble. Just get here as soon as you can."
"I will. Bye, Nick."
As Nick hung up the phone, Ashley teased, "So, I'm to be asleep by the time Nat comes over."
Nick nodded and reasoned, "Well, tonight will be your first night of lessons, and I guarantee by the time Natalie comes by, you won't be able to stay awake even if you tried."