She was on fire. Literally. Ruby furiously patted out the flames that spread all over her body. I grabbed a blanket from the couch and wrapped it around her. “What were you thinking? It’s broad daylight outside!” The smell of scorched flesh filled my nostrils. “You’re crazy. You know that right?” She let out a whimper as I held her close. “I would risk even my life just to see you one last time.” The blanket dropped to the floor and I noticed that her skin had already returned to normal. “I have made so many mistakes, my love. I have been selfish and inconsiderate. And it pains me to know that I hurt you.” She hung her head in shame. “But will you not let me at least try to redeem myself?” I crossed my arms and glared at her. “And why would I do that?” I asked through gritted teeth. “Because I hope you feel for me the way I feel for you.” She said quietly. “And what exactly do you feel for me, Ruby? If you really loved me, you wouldn’t have killed someone I cared about!” I yelled. She stomped her boot in frustration. “You are so quick to pass judgement! What would you have done in my place, Luke? Tell me!” Her question floored me. “I-I uh…crap. I don’t know.” I paced back and forth, thinking. “I would’ve tried to save everyone.” I insisted. “But what if you could not?” She snapped. “It is an impossible situation, is it not?” She was right…sort of. I threw my hands up in the air. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay? Just give me a few minutes and I’m gone.”
In a blur as fast as lightning, I was shoved onto the loveseat. Ruby straddled me and put her arms around my neck. I sat there with a bewildered expression on my face. Then she kissed me gently on the forehead and brushed her lips across my cheek. “Ruby…this is probably a bad idea.” I warned as I tried to get up. It was like going up against a freight train. But once her mouth pressed into mine, I didn’t even try to fight her. I ran my fingers through her hair as she slid her tongue into my mouth and entangled it with mine. Her nails dug into my back and I crushed her closer against my body. The kiss grew deeper and more feverish by the minute. Eventually I had to pull away and take a deep breath of air. Ruby laid her head against mine and sighed contentedly. “From the moment I laid eyes on you, I knew that all I wanted was for you to love me.” She whispered into my ear. “That was an easy task. You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met.” I winked. Her eyes burned into mine. “If you keep looking at me like that, I’ll have to kiss you again, Luke.” She informed me. “No.” I shook my head. “It’s my turn this time.” I tackled her and pinned her the cushion below us. “I wish this moment didn’t have to end.” She spoke in between kisses. I nuzzled her neck and mumbled my agreement. But I knew better…all good things end sooner or later.
After their feast, Rose and Vlad began dancing around the room…to music only they could hear. Ruby finished last, then stood and wiped her mouth. “Luke.” She called to me, reaching out a timid hand. I ignored her and sank down to the floor next to Kate. “Just don’t, okay? I need a minute.” I mumbled as I hid my tear-stained face. Kate was dead. I stared at her lifeless body and my heart ached. I’d failed to save her. If only she’d never came looking for me….she’d still be alive. “I need to bury her.” I said finally. “No. I can do it. You need not to worry about that.” Ruby told me with a small smile. “You know she was a cop right?” I asked, looking up to meet Ruby’s eyes. “People will come searching for her. But I guess you’ll find a way to get rid of them too, huh?” Ruby flinched at my words. “I understand that you are upset with me, my love. But please…try to understand. I did what I had to do. For you.”
I rose to my feet in a huff. “I didn’t ask you to intervene! I’d made up my mind! It was my choice…not yours!” I yelled angrily. “I could not just stand by and let you die right before my eyes!” Ruby cried. “What do you care? You’ve been alive for three centuries…I’m just a blip in time. Years from now, I’ll be dead and rotting. But not you. You’ll still be running around, drinking blood, and killing whoever you want.” I lashed out. She recoiled from me as if I hit her. “This is not how it was meant to be.” She whispered sorrowfully. “You got what you wanted. This stupid house! And Kate had to die for it. I hope you’re happy here for many more centuries to come. Forever alone.” I turned on my heel and left.
I half expected her to come flying down the road after me like some kind of banshee in the dark. But my trek was uninterrupted surprisingly. And by the time I reached the old farmhouse that I’d once of thought of as home, the sun was peeking through the trees.
Rose abruptly lunged across the table to me, her hands clawing for my face. “Come on now! A little warning would be nice!” I yelled as I jumped out of the way. “Rose…they have not come to a decision yet.” Vlad wagged his finger at her. “Be patient.” Rose groaned and rubbed her stomach. “Enough of these games, beloved. You know we cannot let them leave.” She whined. “Luke will remain untouched. I do not care about the girl.” Ruby warned them both as she came to stand next to us. I glared in her direction and she merely shrugged. “You bring a human here and think there will not be consequences? Are you mad, Ruby? They will either be turned or be drained. That is the way it has always been. But your pet obviously despises you, so that leaves only one choice.” Rose paused for dramatic effect. “Death.” Her voice echoed throughout the room. “I cannot allow that. You will have to kill me first.” Ruby spat, her yellow eyes flashing in anger. “Oh, that can definitely be arranged, sister.” Rose retorted bitterly. “Silence!” Vlad ordered as he stepped in between the sisters who were snapping at each other’s necks. “One must choose or Rose will get her wish-“
“Me.” I interrupted before he could go on any further. “I choose me.” Ruby gasped in dismay. “Just let Kate go.” Vlad looked especially pleased with my answer. “Luke, no!” Kate whimpered. “You can’t do this.” I gulped loudly as the vampires crowded in closer to us. “You’re my friend, Kate. And you’ve tried your best to look out for me ever since we met…did you really think I’d sacrifice your life to save mine?” I asked as I reached out for her hand. “There’s got to be another way.” She whispered to me. I shook my head. “I’ve been nothing but trouble all my life. So just for today…let me be the hero.” The vampires watched our exchange in silence. Kate grasped my fingers tightly in hers and nodded at last. “Okay.” She sobbed. Vlad cleared his throat to get her attention. “You may leave now.” He pointed towards the door. She slowly slid her hand out of mine without meeting my eyes. “Thank you, Luke. I’ll never forget you.” She promised.
As Kate began to walk to the door that held her freedom, a deafening wail enveloped the room. It was Ruby. She had a wild look to her eyes that I’d never seen before. She flung herself in front of Kate to block her path. “I. CHOOSE. YOU.” Ruby growled through her fangs. And in one effortless motion, she wrapped her hands around Kate’s neck and twisted it until there was a sickeningly loud crack. Realizing what she’d done, Ruby immediately released Kate from her grasp. I stared in horror as all of the hungry vampires latched themselves to Kate’s body.