I can't believe that woman was coming over. She was a perpetual thorn in my side and she had the audacity to send me a letter announcing she'd be arriving tomorrow and to have rooms properly prepared for her and her two coven members. She even listed what 'properly' meant in this context.
I handed the parchment to Marcus who quickly read it than handed it to Caius. Marcus chuckled light heartedly and Caius sneered. That woman was one of the few people that could ever elicit any positive emotions from him. I sunk lower in my seat and groaned.
"Shall I tell my Mistress that there will be three rooms in the Northern wing prepared, with a unconscious human in each, Aro?" The small girl that had given us the letter asked. I growled at her informal addressing of my name. To her I was Master Aro, but that woman of course wouldn't teach her coven members the proper respect they should show me. Marcus responded before I could lash out at the insolent child.
"Yes, tell your Mistress that and also tell her that I miss her sorely and look forward to her visit."
The young vampire nodded brightly at him.
"Mistress told me that she has a gift for, Master Marcus." The girl said. Of course she would use the proper way to address Marcus, that woman's favorite, but not me.
"Really? Did she give you permission to give me any clues?" Marcus asked curiously and I growled in frustration. This was so stupid. I can't believe he's playing that woman's game. He knew she never gave any clues away, even if he was her favorite.
"Oh, no, no, no, Master Marcus, she didn't give any clues, but she did tell me I could say that you are sure to very much enjoy and appreciate it." The four foot nothing girl said before bowing and taking her leave.
"How fun." Marcus said while chuckling.
"I hate her, I hate her so much." I said with a rough growl. I let my head rest on my desk. Gods be damned why did she have to show up? It hasn't even been a millennium and she was back.
"Cheer up brother. You know she never stays for long." Caius said in a monotone voice. I knew if I looked up he'd be smiling and his eyes would be full of mirth. He didn't much care for that woman, but he enjoyed seeing me in pain.
"Any visit is too long." I mumbled more to myself than them.
"I'll make the arrangements for her since I know her taste in humans better than you two." Marcus said as he stood. I didn't respond and a few minutes later Caius left too.
That woman was set to arrive any minute and the whole castle was abuzz. I could just hear their whispers.
"Mistress Despina is coming for a visit."
"I wonder what she'll bring us."
"She always has interesting news."
"You weren't alive when she last visited. It was hilarious."
I growled loudly and everyone in the castle silenced. In my peripheral I saw Marcus shake his head in disapproval.
All the guards trained their eyes on the ground, knowing I was likely to snap at any provocation.
Ten minutes later I heard the high pitched clicking of that woman's heels, accompanied by two other people. I tried to relax and put on a warm smile, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead I sat stiffly in my throne, my hands gripping the armrests for dear life.
Marcus stood right before that woman came in. She entered the room in her usual haughty manner, back stiff as a board, dressed immaculately, nose high in the air, and eyes critical of everything.
"Mistress Despina!" Marcus said brightly as he walked forward to engulf her in a hug. "I have missed you."
"Oh Marcus! What have I told you about calling me Mistress? It is wholly unacceptable." He pulled her close and I heard sizzling as their skin touched. She gave him a peck on the cheek, leaving behind a burn mark that quickly healed. I glanced at her two companions. Both female. Good. If I had my way no man would be allowed near her. One of her coven members I had seen many times with her. It was the short girl who had delivered the message. The second was a female I had never seen before. Her black hair was so dark it almost had a blue hue to it.
"Gods above and below! Look at you three!" That woman said while taking a step back from Marcus and looking at us. "Aro, what's wrong with your eyes? Have you all not been feeding properly?"
"We're fine." I said in an exasperated voice.
"It happens to ancients who don't move often. You don't need to worry, Despina, it's completely superficial." Caius explained with a frown.
"Well you all should move around more. I don't like it. You all look defective." That woman scowled. "Aro! Aren't you going to great me properly?" She held her arms open in an offered hug as she grinned evil. I sneered at her. It was a bit of an ongoing joke that only she found funny. Our gifts were similar in the fact that they both worked with direct skin contact. When my skin met the skin of anyone else all their thoughts streamed through my head. When her skin touched another's the other person's skin would literally burn. Depending on her mood the burn could range anywhere from between a searing heat to an all encompassing conflagration.
"Another time." I said with contempt.
"Very well. Felix, Demetri!" That woman said loudly and my two guards stepped forward, poorly concealing their smiles. "I'm so glad you two are alright." She said while smiling warmly. "There are two carriages outside. Bring their contents here." She ordered my guards and they complied without question. Suck ups. They started hauling in crate after crate of who knows what. After seven trips they were finally done. "Aro, I can't believe you haven't offered me a seat yet." That woman made a tsking noise and sat on one of the crates even though we felt the same standing as sitting. That woman was all about decorum.
I let out a huff of annoyance and she didn't respond. Her two coven members started opening the various crates and unpacking them. The contents ranged from bottles of sand and dirt to jewel incrusted mirrors. She proceeded to call up different guard members and give them gifts. She always did this, but this time her gift seemed more heartfelt, more individualized for the recipient. Usually the gifts she gave were a decent match for whoever she was giving them to, but I could tell by the thoughts I had gathered of my many guards that she was giving things they either secretly wanted or would deeply enjoy.
"Caius, I got you some eclectic things from that most recent human war." She grabbed a leather briefcase. "From Germany, one of Hitler's paintings. From Churchill his favorite pipe. I contemplated getting something from the American president than decided against it." That woman handed the briefcase to her smaller coven member who placed the case in Caius' hands. He opened it and grinned, pleased with his gift. He loved having prized possessions of significant figures in history. "You all should also thank my newest coven member Tsubaki, her ability allows for her to know the perfect gift for an individual. There was a murmur of thanks all around the room and I rolled my eyes. "Aro, we should continue our meeting elsewhere later on. It is of importance. You and Marcus shall meet me in your office in two hours." She turned without waiting for my response, probably going to her room to 'freshen up' as she liked to put it. Her two coven members bowed before following her.
Once she left the room I stood growling, before I destroyed my throne to take out some of my anger. All the guards diverted their eyes.
Marcus was trying to distract me, but it wasn't working. That woman would be here soon. She is always annoyingly punctual.
"I don't know why you always react to her like this." Marcus said after I growled at him on accident.
"She's such a nag. That's why I react this way. She always criticizes me and everything I've done. I conquered the whole vampire world and still she criticizes me!" I refrained from punching a hole in my desk. Before he could respond that woman's voice came into my hearing range.
"I can't believe that boy. He's been alive for millenniums and yet somehow he still can't keep his home clean." She made a tsking noise and I groaned in annoyance and embarrassment. A few minutes later she entered the room without knocking. Her newest coven member, Tsubaki, was with her. They both were in new dresses and jewelry. "Marcus, Aro." She smiled at us both in greeting before sitting down. Tsubaki was looking at her feet and almost looked nervous. "I promised you a very special gift, didn't I Marcus?" She said to her favorite.
"Yes you did, Despina." He grinned warmly and I gagged a little on the inside.
"Well an explanation is needed before you can receive it." That woman took a deep breath and she looked momentarily pained. "I know we were all very hurt when Didyme died." I cringed and the mood of the room darkened. "My grief for her will never cease, but I have found a way that it can lessen for you, Marcus. Tsubaki's ability isn't limited to finding inanimate objects. She knows that you deeply desire to love and be loved.
"When she used her ability to find someone to love you and for you to love in return we were both surprised by her findings. Her ability pointed straight to herself." I was surprised by her declaration and I could tell Marcus was even more so. He was staring at Tsubaki who was fidgeting and couldn't meet his eyes. "You two should get to know each other. Give her a tour of the castle and garden, Marcus." He stood and offered an arm to the embarrassed woman. She accepted and they left.
"That was very kind of you, even if you were meddling where you aren't welcomed." I said while glaring at my desk.
"Stop acting like a petulant child." That woman hissed at me and I flinched. "I can't believe you act like this every time I visit. I never spend more than a day here at a time and you treat me like this?" She made that tsking noise that always made me angry. "Now hush your whining so I can give you your gift." I glanced at her surprised. She very rarely ever got me anything beyond a scolding. "I actually stumbled upon this, but instantly recognized it. I know you'll appreciate it more than I ever could." She tossed me a thin case that was slightly longer than my forearm. That woman was looking to the side with a scowl, the same way I always did when I was embarrassed. I opened it up and gasped. The long dagger shined in the dim light and I instantly recognized it as my father's.
"How-" I asked as she stood, straightening out her dress.
"I already told you, I stumbled upon it during my travels." That woman turned towards the door, preparing to leave and hopefully not coming back anytime soon. "Now aren't you forgetting to say something?" I growled at her and she gave me a scolding look.
"Thank you, Mother."
Were you guys expecting that? Who figured it out? Even the biggest and scariest vampire has a mother. Hopefully this gave you at least a grin. Please review and check out my 21 other stories!