Hey! I am so sorry it has taken this long for me to update but real life has been really tough. I can't even begin to tell you all the things that have happened but lets just say that my world has been turned upside down in the last few months. I didn't have much time to update. I had to spend several months catching up on school work and when I did have time, I was just too tired. These last few months have taught me a lot though. I've learned about just how much I can endure and how dark days can make you stronger. Thank you to everyone that was encouraging in your reviews and messages. You encouragers helped me more than you will ever know! Please tell me what you think of this chapter but please be nice! Thank you!

All standard disclaimers apply. The dialogue in this chapter was written by Beth Fantaskey, the author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and no copyright infringement intended. The dialogue can be found on pages 18-21 of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

The afternoon leading up to my impending arrival at Antanasia's home was spent idly and the hours passed with little to no consequence. My patience was waning like the disapearing afternoon sun. I decided that I would head to Antanasia's current residence early, to see how my unprecendented arrival had settled with the princess. What Lucius was not allowing himself to think much on was the startling fact that he was anxious to see her again. These feelings where disconserting and therefore bypassed and in its place Lucius firmly placed his regular stoic emotional mask.

He need not stop and ask for assistance to the princess' whereabouts, for he knew exactly where she lived. When Lucius hastily walked up the creaking and groaning front steps to knock on the door of the worn and weary two-story farmhouse, he heard a strange sound that was easily detected with his vampiric senses. The rustling noise came from within the foul smelling, faded red barn near the house and Lucius' curiosity got the best of him. He went in search of the mystery. Lucius approached the barn, with a stealthy and predatory silence, his eyes scanning in search of any possible threat to the princess. He knew just how threatening the vampire world was. His mission for Antanasia was kept tightly under wraps and his vacancy from Romania was explained with random excuses that would please his people for a time. If for some unknown reason a power-starved vampire had found out the most precious secret of where the lost princess resided, Antanasia would be in grave danger and Lucius refused to allow that possibility to come anywhere close to fruition.

Lucius crept silently towards the open door of the barn, where the noise became higher in volume and faint light spilled forth. When Lucius reached the opening to the barn, moving as a silent shadow, the sight before him was no threat as he had expected but it terrified and horrified him none the less. Before Lucius was Antanasia, princess to the Dragomir clan, mucking stalls with a filthy pitchfork. This should not have taken place! For the first time in a very long while, Lucius was struck completely speechless with a swirling mixture of shock, horror and anger.

Antanasia looked up from her duties as a deer looks into the headlights of an approaching car, wide-eyed and anxious. "Who's there?"
So her senses are sharping. Lucius moved forward with grace. He may very well be a vampire prince in a dust and dirt-filled barn, but he was still a prince and he would act accordingly. Jessica's hand tightened noticeably over the pitchfork in her hand and Lucius tried to reign in the smirk that was threatening to overpower his facial expression at the sight of the girl's fear and anger. Jessica spoke with determination as she questioned him. "What are you doing here?"

Lucius decided to tease her, to test how far she could go before she broke. "Manners, manners. A lady doesn't bellow across barns and what sort of salutation was that?" Jessica's eyes flared with anger and irritation and her emotions rang true in her tone when she said, "I asked you why you're here." Lucius appraised the princess as he answered her. "To become acquinted, of course," he began to circle her with a predatorial gleam in his dark eyes, taking in her figure and her beauty. The princess spun around in order to meet eye-to-eye, of course he was much, much taller than she so they would never literally see eye-to-eye. Lucius lowered his voice and allowed an arrogant smirk to slowly slip its way upon his lips. "Surely you're eager to get to know me, too." Antanasia's eyes flickered, "Why are you staring at me like that?"

Lucius stopped circling Jessica when the reality of her situation came crashing back down around him. This issue had to be addressed. "Are you cleaning stalls? Is that feces on your shoes?" Of course, he knew she was cleaning but he could not understand WHY. The fact that there was feces on the princesses shoes was appalling. He internally vowed to rectify this situation as soon as possible.

Jessica looked confused and that seemed to spark a deeper sense of anger within Lucius. "Yeah, I muck the stalls every night." Lucius' horror rose and he could not keep the confusion out of his voice. "You?" Antanasia simply shrugged and continued to look at him in confusion. "Somebody has to do it." He tried in vain to internally shake himself from the stupor of confusion. "Yes, well, we have people for that, where I come from, hired help. You-a lady of your stature-should never do such a menial chore. It's offensive." Lucius was being truthful. He shuddered to think of the vampires in Romania waiting for their princess and here she was, cleaning stalls with horse feces on her dirty boots. It was shameful.

Jessica's controlled anger snapped and spewed forth from her mouth in words. "Look, I've about had it with you creeping up on me, and your attitude. Who do you think you are, anyhow? And why are you following me?" Anger rose once again in Lucius, like a rolling tidal wave with no forgiveness and no mercy. Dr. Packwood broke her word. "Your mother still hasn't informed you, has she?" Lucius shook his head in frustration. "Dr. Packwood vowed that she would tell you everything. Your parents are not so good at keeping promises." The princess seemed to pause in fear and uncertainty and her anger deflated like a balloon. "We...we're supposed to talk later, Dad's teaching yoga..."

Lucius did not even try to stop the harsh, bitter laugh from escaping him. Who did these people think they are? "Yoga? Contorting his frame into a series of ridiculous configurations is more important than informing his daughter about the pact? And what manner of a man practices such a pacifist pastime? Men should train for war, not waste their time chanting 'om' and blathering about inner peace." Men in the vampire world were fierce. They were warriors and protectors of the things they held dear and Lucius knew that all to easily that protective instinct could turn ruthless. Men were not destined to such lame and laid back existences. Lucius' attention was brought back from his angry musings by Jessica's confused voice. "Pact? What pact?"

He decided not to answer her due to the obvious fact that it would all lead to more questions and she most likely would not believe it from him. As Lucius folded his hands behind his back, he raised his eyes to the high wooden beams in the upper realms of the barn. He muttered quietly to himself, venting his frustration. "This is not going well. Not going well at all. I advised the Elders that you should have been summoned back to Romania years ago, that you would never be a suitable bride..." The princess seemed to choke and her voice held a noticeable hint of hysteria when she spoke, "bride?"

Lucius paused in his mutterings and musings. He faced Antanasia quickly. "I grow weary of your ignorance." Lucius leaned down closer to the princess, beseeching her to understand, imploring her to listen. "Because your parents refuse to inform you, I will deliever the news myself, and I shall make this simple for you," he spoke his next words slowly as if to indicate their sincerity and seriousnesss, "I am a vampire." Lucius pointed towards Antanasia."You are a vampire. And we are to be married, the moment you come of age. This has been decreed since our births."

If Lucius had been expecting merriment and understanding from Jessica, he did not receive it. The very instant that the practiced words fell from his mouth, Jessica moved with a swiftness that caught Lucius off guard as she jabbed into his foot with her pitchfork. Lucius roared with anger.