There was one thing I absolutely hated the most: Walking home from school. Sure, it wasn't a long walk, but it was long enough that my feet killed afterwards.

Not only that, but it was nine o clock at night. I felt uneasy having to take the trail through the woods (my usual shortcut) in the dark. But unless I wanted to get home at nine thirty I had to take this route.

Dried up leaves crunched under my Jazz Shoes. I had just come back from my Dance Team practice at the high school. I know I shouldn't be ruining them like this, but I was in no mood to change shoes and waste time.

And none of this would have happened if I wasn't running late this morning. It was faster for me to run through the woods. That way I made it to school when the bell rang. If I had taken the roads in my car I sure as hell would've been late.

And now, all I wanted was to get home, take a hot shower and flop onto my bed. That was all I wanted. I wanted peace; solitude. But then again I always wanted my alone time. It was important part pf being able to keep my sanity.

My parents were away on a trip to Canada for business and were coming back tomorrow. So, I had the whole house basically to myself. That was due to the fact that my older brothers; Andre and Christian were away at college most of the time. I hoped they were home tonight though.

I had a strange feeling, just by the way the wind was blowing and tousling my raven curls about wildly. It whistled between trees branches, sounding like whispering voices, making me feel like I wasn't alone. I didn't like this feeling. At all.

And, I know it sounds a bit cliché, but I felt as though I was being watched. But it wasn't that weird sensation you get when a neighborhood dog is lurking about either.

I quickly picked up the pace, swinging my black and evergreen colored rolling bag onto my shoulders. I started to run for the end of the trail that let out to my neighborhood's coldesack.

Emerging from the woods, I felt at home seeing the white stone mansions that lined the gigantic circle. They were lit up with solar powered lights on the outside and glass chandeliers on the inside. Everything seemed so peaceful. And yet, I couldn't shake that strange feeling off.

My house was the one on the left side of where the trail let out. It was around the middle, next to the mansion in the center facing the street leading out of the circle. For me, this was the only home I had ever known. However, my parents have quite a different story.

My parents, Mikhail and Sophia came straight over from Romania about a year after they were married. They escaped during some kind of conflict. Then, my father hit it big with a Vodka business in selling his own, 'Romanoff Vodka.' That's why I live in the amazing home I have today.

As I made my way up the back steps silently onto my patio I noticed something strange; the living room light was on. We never use the living room. And by saying that I mean we literally never use it. To us it's simply a decorative room, my mother would say, one for show. She's an interior designer and a total fashion fanatic.

I opened the sliding glass door, locking it behind me and slipping off my Jazz Shoes. I set my bag next to the shoes and padded across the Berber carpet, making my way into the kitchen. I figured my brothers would be concocting up some new recipe, like always. They were complete pigs and ate 24/7. The problem was their metabolisms, which were so fast that they stayed thin even after ten hamburgers.

He saw her, walking out of a dirt trail carrying a backpack like a poor mule. She wore short shorts and a t-shirt that said, Green Barrow High School Dance Team Seniors: Captain. Apparently she was a dancer. Her body sure said so. He gazed at her moving hips in a trance. What a typical Romanian girl: curvy, thin, and simply beautiful. Her long, curly jet black hair blew around wildly. Even from here he judged she was quite petite, probably only five feet even.

There was muffling heard behind him. Her brothers were tied to chairs, his guards holding them down.

"Uncover his mouth." Lucian ordered, nodding towards the eldest brother, Andre. Once his mouth was free he began yelling.

"You stay away from Catalina! She was sent here with us to get away from you and your kind!" Lucian sauntered over, standing before Andre intimidatingly.

He bent over, looked deep into his eyes menacingly and said, "Just keep your mouth shut, and when she calls out for one of you, answer."

Drawing back from her brother, Lucian walked slowly over to the entrance leading into the kitchen and waited for her to arrive.

Oh how wonderful she will smell Lucian… royal blood runs through her veins… it will be hard for you to resist. That was what his father had told him before he left on the flight to America.

My face contorted when I traveled into the kitchen and found everything dark. Now this was puzzling… why was the living room chandelier on?

"Andre? Christian?" I called out.

Andre answered me. "In here." His voice sounded weird… kind of strained. I hesitated before walking slowly over to the door way that separated the two rooms.

Just as I was peeking around the corner I saw him, tied to a chair. My eyes went wide and I gasped, trying to run back out the doorway. They were tied up in chairs; two men dressed all in black were holding them down. Were we getting robbed?

As I was going for the doorway I was stopped… by something black and hard… a guy's chest. I stopped short before slamming into it.

I heard him chuckle as I inched back, my breathing shuddering. My mouth was ajar, my pearly gray eyes wide with fear. I struggled to find words to say. Who were these people?

He was dressed in a velvet overcoat with the frilled tops and black pants that only royalty wear. His hair was a good kind of messy and the deepest shade of ebony black I had ever seen—well, compared to mine. And his eyes... they were dark brown, almost black and seemed to stare straight through me.

As soon as he was close enough to really smell the details of her scent he fell in love. Her big gray eyes stared up at him in fear and panic. His father was right. He was entranced.

"My, my," he chuckled darkly. "You are as beautiful as my father said you would be." She was shocked that he had such an Eastern European accent. He lifted his hand up, brushing a raven curl from the ivory skin of her face. He tested her assertiveness and courage. Obviously she had none. She stood stone still, letting him touch her. He was expecting a slap in the face or a knee to the groin. She was a submissive one.

There was something different about him, Cat thought. Otherwise, she would have been kneeing him in the groin. It was like he was suddenly the most intimidating person on earth.

A vampire's power can cause things like that to happen; make you feel like you must obey them. They have the power of persuasion; seduction.

"What?" She choked out, "Who are you? Andre what's going on?" She turned to face her brothers. He took the opportunity to feel those lovely curves he had seen sashaying down the dirt trail. He wrapped one arm around her tiny waist, drawing her back against his chest.

"Andre!" She gasped out, grabbing Lucian's arms, trying to break free. Lucian leaned down to her neck, breathing her in. She flinched back the other way and shivered when he breathed against her creamy ivory skin. Goose bumps surfaced.

One of the guards, Daren had to hold Andre down against the chair. Damien held her brother, Christian down. They were both trying to free themselves of their restraints in an attempt to help their sister.

Andre spoke up, "Lucian, you get away from her!"

Catalina's eyes widened even more. "You know him?" She asked in a strained voice, gasping when Lucian pressed her further against his chest.

"Obviously your guardians did not inform you of your real past… or else you would have been prepared for this."

"My what?"

"Guardians," Lucian whispered straight into her ear. She squirmed under his touch, trying to wriggle free. He held firm and steady.

She started to breathe heavily. "What do you mean guardians? They're my parents."

He chuckled menacingly again, making a chill run up her spine. "I suppose you have not been told anything at all… they are not your birth parents, Mikhail and Sophia… your real birth parents are Julius and Evangeline. They were Romanian royalty… a king and queen… and you are a princess."

She went into a total state of panic, looking towards her brothers. "What? I'm no princess!" she shouted. "What are you talking about?"

She whimpered as Lucian growled in her ear. "You are a princess. I am a vampire prince…" his lips were touching her ear when he said, "you are mine. Your parents made an agreement when you were born. They broke the agreement by sending you away. You were to be my queen from birth… and now I've finally found you again."

At that point she tried even harder to break free. This time he let her. "Are you kidding me? Vampires? Arranged marriages? Get away from me!" But he wouldn't stop. He walked forward, caressing her face, boring his dark brown eyes into hers.

"I see we have a lot of explaining to do."

"You're—you're crazy." She stumbled over the words.

"Please, my princess, have a seat." He motioned towards the pristine white couch. My princess? She thought. This guy is crazy, insane, and unbelievable.

Cat hesitantly took a seat on the white couch, hoping she wouldn't stain it with sweat or dirt. Her—uh—"mother"—would kill her.

To her dismay, Lucian took a seat next to her, getting a little too close. She scooted away a little more. He noticed and grinned knowingly. But when he did that, he flashed the set of sharp incisors that vampires were known for. She saw them and drew in a shuddering breath. Her eyes flared to show her terror. Her mouth hung open. He felt the urge to kiss those full, soft lips that hung open.

"Oh my god." She uttered.

He hummed a laugh. "Now do you believe me?" before Cat could do much of anything he moved over. With one fluid motion his arm was around her waist again.

He pulled her so close that their noses were nearly touching. She tried to push him away. All he did was smile and begin to tell the beginning of a very long story.

"First of all, as I have already informed you, Sophia and Mikhail are not your biological parents. Your real parents died in an attempt to save you. They sent you off to live in America, thinking you would never be disturbed with the long forgotten promise they failed to keep… but they were wrong." Her brothers muffled yells could be heard. She turned to look at them for help. Hands were over their mouths again.

"You see, when you were just a child, there was a war over power between humans and vampires in Transylvania, Romania. My kind were planning on combining our races under one rule… and you and I were the keys… but unfortunately the humans did not want anything to do with us. They sent you off just as my father attacked their castle to try and get to you. In the end we still did not gain power. Another human is seated on the throne in your kingdom, King Leo, and we plan to end his rein and begin yours and mine." He gazed up at the ceiling, dreaming of a day when Catalina was his. "Once we get rid of the resistance… and you are reining by my side… you, the last of the Havarti's, people will have no reason to revolt. They loved your parents; they will love you… even as a vampire."

She stared at him for a long time, taking it all in. She didn't say a word. He smiled at her terror. He relished in her shock.

"No—no there is no way I'm a princess, and there is no way you are biting me!" She jumped up off the couch.

"Oh but on the contrary, I am afraid you will be forced to. We are not easy to hide from… especially since I have your scent in my mind now, so I would advise you not to run."

"My scent?" she asked, her voice shaking.

"Of course. The smell of your blood is simply intoxicating. No vampire could miss it, right boys?" The guards nodded in agreement.

He stood up, not letting her stay away from him for long. "Now, if you'll invite me to stay in your home, my love, I would like to speak to your parents when they get home tonight."

She seemed confused. "I am not your love and they—they aren't coming home until tomorrow afternoon." She said, her voice still shaky.

"Ah yes, that was their plan, but someone placed a certain desperate call to them tonight, causing them to panic and rush home." He looked at Christian, who had dialed his parents before being tied up, telling them Lucian was here.

He chuckled, "let them speak." He nodded towards the brothers.

They immediately burst out. "Get away from her you bloodsucker!"

"Stay away from her!"

He laughed down at them, "and what if I don't?" He stepped forward, slipping his arm around her back, pulling her into him. She unintentionally braced her delicate hands on his chest. He smiled, staring at the mirrored wall across the room.

She was fighting to break free when he pointed out the mirror.

"Look in the mirror," she snapped her head to the glass. "Do you not see how perfect we look together? How royal we appear?"

Truth be told, when everyone turned to look at the image in the mirror they all agreed. Whether they admitted it or not, the image of Lucian and Catalina together was almost too perfect. Both had raven hair, his straight, hers curly. His ruffled hair seemed to blend in next to hers. Their ivory skin appeared to match perfectly. His dark eyes and her light gray eyes contrasted in a way that was almost other-worldly.

She widened her eyes. Her hands were at rest on his chest, his hands on the small of her back. It was a typical stance of kings and queens and loving couples. She looked away, staring down at her brothers. They glared up at Lucian in pure hatred.

"Get. Your hands. Off of her." Andre growled. "I'm warning you—"

"Catalina!" Suddenly, her parents came rushing in the room. After all, they lived near the Vermont/Canada border. They had take a charter plane and a speedy taxi, and arrived in less than two hours.

"Get away from her Lucian!" her 'father' shouted, furious.

Lucian smirked. "I've told her everything, Mikhail. You know very well that she is destined to be mine." His grip on her became tenser.

She gasped out loudly.

"Can we please just talk about this?" her 'mother' begged and pleaded with the prince.

He chuckled darkly. "Why of course—with my father—that is… in Romania."

"What? No! No I am not even going there! I am not going to be your princess!"

"It's queen actually," he interrupted with a sort of know it all tone.

"Either way, I am not doing it! I am not going to get bitten by some vampire freak!" If Lucian was the least bit insulted by that comment he didn't show it.

"Cat, we have to listen to them." Her father's tone was grim.

She looked at him in surprise, raising an eyebrow. "Or else what? We'll get bitten?"

Lucian laughed straight into her ear. "Of course… I can always change you now." She was frozen with fear as he bent down, putting his lips to her neck just below the jaw. Just to scare her he put his fangs to her soft skin, scraping her skin just a tad to make her bleed a little bit. As he was doing this she was near tears and trying to push away from him. But he held steady. Her parents were yelling and pleading for him to stop. Her brothers were almost out of their bounds. His guards were standing there, both smirking and looking on in lust that Lucian had her.

When he pulled away she was terribly shaken. He had outdone himself this time. She was trembling uncontrollably and a single tear was trailing down her cheek. He had to fight to not start drinking that blood right then and there. It had tasted so good on his lips, so wonderful…

He lifted his thumb up to wipe the tear away.

"Did you actually think I would be so stupid as to do it now? I have to wait until after her eighteenth birthday." He addressed everyone in the room.

Everyone sighed in relief—except for Cat. Her birthday was only a week away—October 18th—and she didn't plan on celebrating by getting bitten by a vampire. That made her break down in tears and sob quietly.

She was still crying from fright as he allowed her rush into her father's arms. He embraced her, glaring at Lucian. She whimpered into his chest. And oh, how Lucian wished he was the one holding her in his arms, petting her hair and kissing her forehead. He had been waiting even longer than her. He had just turned twenty-one last month. Soon his wait would be over, and she would finally be his, whether she liked it or not.