Chapter 3 – My Way.

Merrill looked stunned, stood in the archway as she gazed upon the two. Slowly, she felt her hands clench into fists as Drew tried to regain his composure. Alyssa gently tidied her lipstick where it had smudged and smiled at Merrill.

"Drew was just showing me how you do things around here."

"Look, Merrill, I can explain…" Drew felt the words tumble clumsily from his mouth and pointed at the floor. "She was… and then she… and I said… and then suddenly…"

"Don't bother, Drew. I know what you were doing." Merrill's eyes filled with tears and she rushed out of the hall and back up to the study to rejoin the others.

"What was all that about?" Alyssa seemed genuinely bemused, and looked at Drew puzzled.

"She loves me," Drew said apologetically. "I'm sorry; it wasn't my place to do that."

"Oh no honey, it's okay! It was really nice to be welcomed like that," she said with a smile. "But you shouldn't let me get so into the moonlight like that, I do things I'm probably going to regret. It takes me a while to adjust to new places you see." Smoothing down her hair and clothes, she made to go back upstairs, but Drew held her back.

"Before you go back up there, you should know something. Don't mess with the relationships we have here okay? They took a long time to form." Alyssa nodded slightly, and ran up the stairs to the study. Drew touched his lips gently as he watched her go – the feeling after that kiss was just like after he'd drunk blood; refreshing and natural. Addictive.

Later on, tucking her hair behind her ears, Alyssa let Dr Murdoch's words wash over her. It was her first night here, and he was most disappointed that she had already begun seducing students. If she wanted to stay here at Mansbridge, then she needed to buck her ideas up for sure. He paused to let her speak.

"I understand, Dr Murdoch. I'm sorry about that, but I really have no idea how it happened. One minute we were talking, and then I went and looked at the moonlight and then…" Her voice trailed off, and she looked at Murdoch. He nodded, and opened an old book on his desk.

"What you experience most evenings is a phenomenon most commonly known as Lunar Lust. You absorb the moonlight, and something primal inside you gives you the urge to mate with another vampire. It's nothing to worry about; just try to avoid direct moonlight for a while. It awakens that most primal of instincts – the instinct to survive." He smiled kindly, and motioned for her to leave. She lingered a moment, and said quietly,

"I'm sorry to have troubled you like this already, Doctor. I know Lestat will have told you I'm no good, but… I do try."

"I'm sure you do, my dear. If you have any worries, don't hesitate to come and talk to me." Walking over to the coat of arms hanging on the wall, he moved it to the side and the secret door opened to reveal the steps leading to the vampires' home.

"Good night!" She said cheerfully as she made her way down the steps.

"And to you, Mademoiselle." He watched her make her way down, and shut the door when she reached the bottom. He would have to keep a close eye on her.

Karl was the only one still awake by the time she came downstairs, and he pushed a packet of blood over the table towards her.

"You in much trouble with Murdoch?" Alyssa sat down on a chair and shook her head.

"Apparently I've just got a bad case of Lunar Lust. I'm to avoid direct moonlight over long periods of time, else I get… well, let's say I get a few primal urges." She blushed and tore the packet open with her teeth, sipping the blood delicately.

"Lunar Lust, eh? Don't let Marty hear about that, he'll place you under that portal every night until you jump into his coffin with him." She laughed, and he smiled as the tinkling laughter filled the hall.

"Oh please don't! That is just unappealing to me on so many levels." She sipped a little more from the packet, and put it down on the table. "I'm sorry; I'm really bad with names. Who are you again?"

"I'm Karl Todd. I'm the youngest here," he said, slightly dolefully. "I was only made last Hallowe'en you see."

"You look much older though," Alyssa said, putting her hand on his. "I didn't think you were young blood, if you'll excuse the pun."

"Excused, and thank you. Marty knew from the second he saw me."

"This Marty doesn't seem very nice to me, from what I've heard. I'll form my own opinion, but I haven't known him long enough yet." Karl looked at her hand, and gently stroked it with his thumb.

"I just don't feel good enough, you know?" Alyssa nodded sympathetically and a strand of her hair fell over her eye unnoticed.

"All new vampires feel like that; have you heard of my maker's reputation? That's a lot to live up to, believe me." Karl reached across and moved the hair from her eye, smiling.

"Well, when you look like that I'm sure you have them all kissing your feet," he said, slightly enviously. "And plus, all the guys here think you're hot!"

"You think I'm hot? Wow, I think I'm flattered… I think." She blushed slightly, and Karl grinned.

"It's a compliment, especially from Drew."

"Yeah, what's his deal? He seems really distant and cold… wait, am I being too intrusive for my first night?"

"The hell you are! Drew's a little testy right now because he just lost the love of his life. A mortal called Sherry… she came to this school." Alyssa nodded sombrely, and then smiled, revealing her fangs.

"Was it bloody? Could you smell it from all the way down here?" Karl shook his head, taken slightly aback at how primal she really was.

"It was disease, he didn't take her."

"Crying shame that," she said, pulling a mirror out of an invisible pocket and examining her fangs carefully. "I need to file these guys so bad…"

Karl had never realised that looking at your teeth could be so seductive. He saw them as a necessary instrument, not a way of showing sexual prowess or whether you were datable or not. But after that evening, he changed his mind.

"So, what's your special ability?"

"Sorry honey?"

"You know: Drew can sense heat, Merrill can read minds, Essie's a hypnotist, Marty's telekinetic… what can you do?" Without looking up, Alyssa pointed at a waste paper basket.

"Watch the trash can," she said and while she was still looking in the mirror, the small wicker basket burst into flames. Karl moved further away from the basket, and Alyssa wiggled her nose gently. As suddenly as it had begun, the fire was out.

"Okay, were you trying to kill me?! Fire kills vampires, or didn't your almighty maker tell you that??"

"Karl," Alyssa's voice was sweet; too sweet. It hid the slight annoyance that was growing in her chest. "I have power over elements. That's fire, water, air and earth. I was not trying to kill you, so stop crying wolf." With that, she pushed her chair back and made her way back over to her coffin to sleep, leaving Karl with the smouldering basket.