Forbidden Alliance A Werewolf's Tale
Author:Danae Ayusso

Why was it that when you wanted the day to drag ass, it raced by faster than you could remember?

It honestly was as if I blinked on the way to school, and then I was suddenly driving away from it, heading to work with Tanis tapping his fingers on the steering wheel; it was annoying the hell out of me. He was distracted all day. When we arrived to creative writing, he pulled my seat out for me, the one next to the window, and joined me once I sat, and he absently caressed the side of my thigh with the backs of his fingers. I was rather confident he knew he was turning me on...hell, the werewolves in the front row even knew, but he appeared completely oblivious to it. During gym, he wouldn’t leave my side and his eyes were constantly roaming, as if he was looking for danger.

I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked his sudden possessiveness, but at the same time, I found myself doing that with him; I growled more than once at the bitches that got too close to him. I mean, it could have been my imagination, but I was pretty damn sure that it wasn’t; something was on his mind, I just didn’t know what.

“Did you want to go on a murderous rampage with me tonight and suck an orphanage dry while I dance naked in the moonlight bathed in the blood of the innocent?” I asked conversationally while watching the speeding scenery pass by.

Tanis absently nodded. “Whatever tickles your fancy, Duckie.”

“I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,” I sang—everyone loved Johnny Cash.

“That is brilliant, Duckie.”

I punched him in the arm.

“Ow, what in bloody hell was that for?” he complained, rubbing his arm.

“Dude, seriously? You’ve been spacing off since you picked me up this morning. I’m used to being ignored, but I was hoping that you were different,” I pouted.

He shook his head. “Draining an orphanage, not something I am in support of, however I am in full support, in every meaning of the term, of watching you dance naked in the moon light...being bathed in blood is not necessary. Johnny Cash is one of me favorites, he was a good lad that I had the great pleasure of getting pissed with him more than once in the nineteen-fifties and sixties.” He looked over at me and I fought the urge to smack him simply because of the smug look on his face. “I assure you, Duckie, you are not being ignored. I hear everything you say and all of the silent words that are so very clearly heard when I gaze into your beautiful eyes.”

That was hot as hell.

”Okay then, what’s up?” I asked; my face felt as if it was on fire from embarrassment.

He looked at me curiously, then laughed at the expression on my face. “My apologies for appearing distracted, I assure you it was not my intention. I heard everything you have said since picking you up this morning. I am mentally preoccupied with…family matters,” he struggled to explain.

Oh, Georgiana wasn’t at school today. I hope she didn’t fall off the wagon and drain a bunch of people. That would suck, but mainly for selfish reasons: I’m not about to give her brother up yet.

“Me brother is in Washington,” he said under his breath. “Georgiana saw him last night while I was with you, and her love of theatrics has inevitably created a barney for me.”

“Huh, and that’s a bad thing why?” I didn’t understand. Family wasn’t like that, from what I was used to, so the Ashtons extreme dysfunctionality was beyond my limited experience in the world.

Tanis looked at me and sighed, shaking his head. “Duckie, you have to understand that not all vampires are as brilliant as I.”

I laughed, silently hoping he was kidding, but the realist in me knew that Mr. Tanis Ashton was serious; he thought very highly of himself.

“A large majority of vampires are much like those you have seen in movies, on the tele, and read of in books…well, minus that whole sparkling in the sun shite; that was just bloody retarded and an insult to vampires and beaver leavers everywhere.”

I roared with laughter; his sick, cynical, and extremely dry sense of humor amused me, especially since it usually wasn’t intentional.

“Anyway,” he said, shaking his head, “me brother is the worst of the worst. Where your brother loves you to no end and would do anything to see you happy, me brother thinks of only himself, and will kill you and not think twice about it simply because I fancy you. I do not know what he is doing here in Washington, and, I will admit, I am simply terrified to ask…” his words trailed off.

My eyes widened.

Holy shit. That’s a total mood killer.

“Oh,” was all I managed to say and it came out as a choked whisper.

I was anything but the picture of cool, calm, werewolf composure.

“Duckie, until I know what he wants and why he is here, I will appear to be a little distracted, all while being ridiculously overprotective. Me brother longs to destroy everything I hold dear.”

Hold dear? He holds me dear?! Cool!

I was internally squealing like a little girl at Christmas getting her first air ratchet.

“Take this,” Tanis said and handed me a business card with his phone number on it.

I quickly memorized it and handed it back, to his surprise; now I could bug him at all hours of the night!

“Call me if you need anything...anything at all. I shall be here as soon as school releases and will wait until you close up shop, then I shall escort you home.”

And the stalker like behavior begins. Awesome…sarcasm totally noted.

“Okay, try to have fun at school,” I said and forced a smile before getting out of the SUV.

This is ridiculous: vampires, now crazy vampires, and a white werewolf falling for one of the not crazy vampires but the extremely prissy one out of the bunch. Isn’t that the trifecta, or at the very least, one of the signs of the apocalypse?

Sadly, never did I imagine that my internal bitching would be so ‘spot on’ as Tanis would say.

“Mr. Ashton-”

“Tanis,” he instantly corrected. “There is no need for formalities between us, Duckie.”

I kept forgetting that he seemingly viewed me as more than just an acquaintance now that he had an open invitation to my home and stayed the night.

“Sorry. Would you like to come over for dinner…tonight?” I asked. “With me and my family?”

“Are you nutter?” he asked, not at all amused.

I nodded my understanding and closed the door.

Tanis rolled down the window and forced a smile. “Duckie, if you want me to come for dinner that is acceptable. However, I ask that you make sure your parents are in agreement with opening their home to a vampire who is... Duckie, today is not the best of day for me to find meself in the middle of a dog fight,” he said, sounding aspirated.

“Excuse me?”

He cringed, obviously his mouth was running away with him again. “My most heartfelt apologies, Duckie. Believe me when I say that I did not mean for it to come out in such an offensive and derogatory way.”

“Uh huh,” I said in a clipped tone.

“I shall see you soon. Be safe,” he said, his tone flooded with remorse and embarrassment and it instantly made me forgive him.

The stubborn, overly proper vampire had a way of seemingly making him forgive him without much effort.

“Sure,” I mumbled, irritated that I forgave him already.

Tanis waited for me to enter the office before he headed back to school.

Obviously he really cares for me, at least in a sense that supersedes just being friends. Was he apprehensive about meeting my parents….oh my god! I just asked him to meet the parents. Shit! It is way too soon for that type of crap…er, I think. No, I’m pretty damn sure. Damn it! This is going to suck and not in the way that Tanis is used to sucking…oh my god, that sounded so bad.

How in the hell did I end up like this? I’m crushing on a goddamn three hundred year old vampire that I just guilt tripped into having dinner with my parents. Lovely. Could this get any worse? Oh wait, yes, yes it could. His asshole brother might show up and try to kill me. That’s just lovely. Good thing Jarvis made me wear his belt today. I hate that sixth sense of his but I’m grateful for it today if something happens…not that I’ll ever admit it to him.

“Like sands through the hourglass, these as the days of Jay Dee’s life,” I mumbled under my breath before entering the shop from the front office.

“Hey, Jay! How was school?” Joe asked.

I headed towards the back to change into a work shirt.

“Same old, same old,” I said with a shrug—that was a lie and a half. “What’s on the books for today?” I asked while I changed out of my shirt and buttoned up a black Dickies work shirt. I carefully tucked Tanis’ bracelet in my pocket so it didn’t get dirty or damaged. That morning, when I woke to find him gone, I started to tear up. But when I hastily wiped away the moisture building up in the corners of my eyes, the feel of cold metal sliding down my arm startled me before it flooded me with even more emotions. In my head it translated to Tanis telling me that he’d be back in a few hours and would drive us to school, together.

Most likely I was giving myself way more credit than I was due, but it meant more to me than he could have ever possibly known.

Joe forced a smile. “Sorry, Jay. Just a couple of oil changes and a carburetor that needs rebuilt. I need to run to Bellingham, can you handle it?”

“Yup,” I said, grateful to have the shop to myself, even if it wasn’t the safest time for me to be by myself, especially with an asshole Ashton running around unchecked. “Can you bring me back a box of Twinkies and some buffalo jerky?” I asked. “I know Aunty Songbird has some she just finished drying.”

“You think so do you?”

“The whole damn Res smells like jerky, Joe,” I amusingly informed him.

He laughed. “Of course. Close up shop and I’ll stop by tonight with your Twinkies and jerky. Thanks, Jay.” He kissed the side of my head before heading out for the day.

For twenty minutes I argued with Dad on the phone about dinner. “Just think about it, Daddy,” I pleaded, the phone resting between my shoulder and cheek why I drained the oil from Mr. Hairychin’s Bronco.

“It is bad enough that you allowed that goddamn vampire into this house. Now we can’t get rid of him even we if wanted too!” he snapped.

I groaned. “Dad, can I talk to Mom? She might understand better than you…she’s a chick after all.”

Thankfully Mom took the phone. “I don’t like this, Jay Dee.”

“Please, Mommy?” I pleaded. “It’s just dinner…I’ll even attempt to cook and will totally clean up afterward. Please? I want you to meet him and see what a great person he is. That’s it. I don’t think I’m asking for much.”

“You have no idea,” she mumbled.

“Mom, when was the last time I asked for something?” I countered.

There was a moment of silence on the line before she snarled.

“What was that? I didn’t hear you,” I said with a triumphant smile.

“Goddamn it,” she said, louder that time. “I swear, you will be the death of me.”

“Mom, don’t say that,” I groaned.

Guilt trip much?

“Thanks for listening and understanding and for letting me bring a boy over.”

Mom laughed. “I’m sure he’s better than any of those old bitches your brother brought to the house.”

“No shit!” I agreed. “We’ll stop by the store on the way home. I don’t think Tanis would be caught dead eating meatloaf.”

“Ooh, Mr. High and Mighty,” she scoffed before giggling. “Have fun, Sweetheart. I’ll see you soon,” she whispered so Dad didn’t hear.

There was a part of me that didn’t know why I was bothering at all. Tanis was way out of my league, older, much more mature, and so refined that I sometimes felt like dirty, welfare, Reservation trash in his presence. It was never intentional, on his part, it was just the obviousness of the centuries apart we were born…speaking of, how anyone could believe that he was a twenty-first century nineteen-year-old was beyond me! Half the time I felt like I was watching a goddamn PBS period piece, but at the same time, it was hot as hell. Maybe he had a soft spot for strange werewolf girls who lacked in self-worth and money. But as much as I hoped that was the case, I prayed that it wasn’t. I didn’t want Tanis thinking of me like that. It was bad enough that the Lhaq'temish and pack thought of me like that, not to mention myself, but the thought of Tanis thinking of me like that turned my stomach.

“What in the hell am I doing?” I groaned.

The whole crawling through my bedroom window just to kiss me goodnight thing was very Shakespearian. I’m no Juliet but Di Caprio ain’t got nothing on Tanis Ashton. He is so mouthwatering, weak in the knees, forget how to breathe, I want to dress up as a princess and have him be my prince charming, hot.

I looked at the clock on the wall.

How many more hours until he picks me up in his pearly white European carriage?

Not nearly soon enough.

The oil changes took me all of an hour to do, and even then, I took my time with them so I had something to preoccupy myself with. But there was only so much time one, such as myself, could spend on simple oil changes. Before sixth period even started, I found myself sitting sat at the front counter, hands covered in grease, taking apart a carburetor. The boredom was so bad that I actually contemplated getting my nails done…obviously Tanis was driving me bat shit crazy without even knowing it.

The door to the office opened, the bell above it jingled, and my eyes instantly snapped up. An unfamiliar man walked in with a smug, up to no good, smile on his face. I suppose a white girl or slutbag would have found him attractive, and it was more than obvious that he wasn’t from Lummi: he was much too white. The way he carried himself was familiar, with a sense of pride and confidence, his strong jaw line and the shape of the chin was familiar as well, but the familiarities ended there. He was taller than me, but not by much, with broad shoulders and a slender waist. Light brown hair in waves of soft curls covered the top of his head, giving him that ‘natural’ disheveled look that was anything but natural, his light blue eyes had flecks of muted gray in them but they still sparkled like topazes in the sun, and proudly displayed with his vibrant white smile was the unmistakable to a werewolf: fangs.

I smiled politely, trying to hide my fear but I’m sure he smelled it. “Hello, can I help you with something?” I asked.

The man sighed dramatically and leaned on the counter. “Maybe,” he said in an amused tone that instantly replaced my fear with irritation. “There’s a strange sound coming from my car. Is the mechanic around?”

My eyes flickered outside before returning to his; there was no car out there.

“You found her,” I said and continued to smile.

He laughed and tapped his finger against his pouting bottom lip, and that was the confirmation I needed.

“Can you excuse me for just a moment? I need to return a phone call real quick,” I said.

Dismissively, he waved for me to go ahead, and he started wandering around the small office, looking around at everything, most likely making sure we were alone.

Smug prick.

I grabbed the office phone and dialed Tanis.

Tanis picked up on the first ring, but never got a chance to say anything.

“Hey Jarvis,” I greeted. “I just wanted to let you know that I found that ring you thought you lost in the backseat when you knocked boots with that nasty, rude, self-righteous bitch.” I chuckled, but it was forced. “I found it on the floor. It was covered in some type if icky, black gunk that smells funky, so you’ll have to wash it off.”

“I am on my way-” he started to say but the line disconnected when a long, slender pale finger pressed down on the handset cradle.

Reluctantly I pulled my eyes from the base of the phone to the smug vampire in front of me.

“How is my lovely little brother?” he asked with a smirk.

This isn’t going to end well for anyone, I just know it. Would Tanis get pissed if I ripped his brother’s throat out? I don’t think they like each other, but I know that I’d kill a bitch if she hurt Jarvis, us liking each other or not.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, trying to play the dumb blonde routine, but I wasn’t a very good actress.

The smug jerk took the receiver from me and hung it up. While his eyes moved over me many times, they lingered on my breasts with each assessment, I snaked one hand behind me to the back of my belt and wrapped my fingers around back of the belt.

“Can I help you with something, mister?” I asked.

He leaned over the counter more so I leaned back. “So you are the poor, reservation trash that my lovely little brother has been fraternizing with,” he said.

Georgian is a bitch.

“Depends, who’s your brother?” I countered.

A smile filled his face and I didn’t miss the intent behind it: he was an evil sonuvabitch, there was no mistaking that. “An annoyingly cynical, overly prim and proper, seventeenth century vampire who most likely has been having a tantrum due to the hasty relocation to this shithole, not to mention the fact that he is surrounded by disgusting, vile fleabags. It must turn his stomach to be surrounded by immortal lapdogs of servitude and yet can’t voice his opinion on it because of his father’s opinion of the mutts.”

Screw it, I’m going to show him firsthand what this little immortal lapdog can do!

“Cat got your tongue?” he mused.

I shook my head, biting my tongue to keep all of the colorfully vulgar profanities from spilling from my lips.

He looked intently into my eyes and his pupils dilated, consuming the light blue in black. “What are your intentions for my brother?” he asked, his voice coming out soft and very persuasive.

That wasn’t the question I thought he was going to ask.

“I don’t have any,” I admitted, slightly dumbfounded by the look of apparent concern washing across his face as the question left his lips.

“Don’t lie to me, little girl,” he hissed, bringing his face uncomfortably close to mine.

“I’m not,” I whispered, struggling to swallow the lump in my throat.

He shook his head. “Such an interesting looking girl,” he said softly, his eyes working over my face. “Eyes that black have to be hiding a heart equally as dark. My little brother is not worthy of such a creature.”

Wait, what?

“Kiss me,” he whispered.

Oh hell no! I’m about to go all wolf girl up in here…inner Springer guest aside, I will cut him first. Actually, that might work.

“Okay,” I said breathlessly, like the waitress at the restaurant, and tightly wrapped my grease-covered hand around his and he cringed, but didn’t pull away from me.

“Just like I said,” he sneered.

That isn’t right, is it? Shouldn’t he be gloating?

“I have to warn you,” I whispered, closing the remaining distance us, leaning over the counter more. I leaned into his ear. “I don’t play fair,” I whispered and slid my grease covered hand away from his, pulling his family ring off as I went, and at the same time, pulled one of the silver throwing knives from the hidden sheath in the back of my belt and slammed it into his free hand in a blur of movement, hilt deep into his flesh, pinning it to the counter, then ran for the sunlight.

“You bitch!” he snarled, grabbing for me with his free hand, but when the sun touched him, and he quickly pulled back as little wisps of smoke rose from his blistering skin.

“That’s Miss Bitch to you, über douche!” I smugly informed him.

“Give me my ring back or I swear to God I will kill you,” he snarled.

I flipped him off and backed out of the office, through the garage, minding to stay in the sun, and hurried out the open garage bay doors.

“What’s wrong, d’Artagnan, scared of a little bit of sun?” I taunted.

d’Artagnan, snarled, glaring at me from the garage as smoke rolled from his skin where he received some exposure when he tried to follow. “Give me back my ring!” he yelled.

“Blow me,” I said and grabbed my crotch with one hand and held my other up and flipped him off, his finger spinning around my middle finger.

The corner of his mouth twitched.

Was that a smile threatening to break?

“Why are you back?” I asked, attempting to be slightly civil even though I wanted nothing more than to watch the smug bastard, who had taken so much from Tanis, roast in the sun.

d’Artagnan flipped me off.

“Real mature, old man,” I said, making a face and rolled my eyes. “What kind of sick asshole are you? Did you seriously just try to thrall me into kissing your punk ass?”

He chuckled, nodding his agreement. “Obviously my brother has a big mouth. You shouldn’t know of thrall...or my ring.”

“I tend to bring that out in him,” I admitted. “Again, why are you here?”

“That’s none of your business,” he smugly informed me. “Give me back my ring.”

I looked up at the sun and smiled contently; for once it was a cloudless, sunny day.

“No,” I said with a satisfying sigh when he growled under his breath. “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, I’ll throw your ring into the Pacific and you’ll be a nightwalker forever...that is of course, if you don’t have an alchemist you can pull out of your ass.”

d’Artagnan snarled and threw a jug of oil at me, and I ducked in time to avoid taking the gallon of oil to the face.

“Temper, temper, Nosferatu,” I scolded. “Come on, humor me. You know you look all sparkly and shit in the sun. Hell, you look like a depressed closested sausage jockey with bad taste in women. I bet you look Ziggy Stardust’esque when sparkling in the sunlight.”

“You are testing my patience, woman,” he warned, but once again, the corners of his mouth twitched.

“Oh, über douche,” I dramatically said and batted my lashes at him, “there are still six hours until sunset, and I have nowhere else I rather be than right here making your life a living hell, just as you made your brother’s a waking nightmare for more than three hundred years. Maybe you’ll get talkative, maybe you won’t, either way, you pissed off the wrong bitch.”

d’Artagnan huffed and sat on the roof of Mr. Hairychin’s Bronco and glared at me, a soft growl rolling from his throat.

“Ooh, scary,” I said, and shook in faux terror.

He gave me a look before shaking his head. “You’re different,” he mumbled, sounding aspirated yet gratefully surprised.

“Yes, I suppose I am,” I agreed in an attempt to be, once again, slightly civilized since he was being, well, semi-civil. The old adage about attracting more flies with shit than honey...or vampires with blood than bitches in this case, might have been the better route to take in order to get the information Tanis needed. “Your little brother says I’m immune to thrall, and that’s it’s rare but not entirely unheard of.”

d’Artagnan chuckled. “My little brother lies exceptionally well; immunity to vampiric persuasion is only found...never mind,” he quickly caught himself and I huffed; I wanted to hear what Tanis obviously lied to me about. And of course, d’Artagnan noticed my disappointment and it amused him. “You are a cheeky bird,” he said, slipping into a British accent which he caught before he started rambling like Tanis. “I see that your ability to get Ashtons rambling and opening up, spilling their dark secrets, is obviously a demonic talent which I need to make a more conscious effort into resisting.”

I nodded; that plan backfired but I wasn’t going to let it get to me at the moment, especially since he was still semi-civil.

“You put a whole new meaning to the words smug and pompous,” I informed him and he smiled wide. “Can I ask...never mind,” I said and shook my head.

“Yes?” he sang.

“It’s...never mind,” I said with a heavy sigh and pulled my hair tie out before combing my fingers through my hair, looking at the ground.

d’Artagnan huffed and I fought to keep from smiling. “Obviously you want to ask something so just ask it already.”

I looked up at him and batted my lashes and his head tilted to the side. “Why did you do that to your brother?” I whispered; that wasn’t what I was going to ask at all, but I had to know.

“Do what exactly?” he asked, his pupils dilating as if he was trying to thrall me again.

“Take away his future,” I clarified; that wasn’t the most important thing to know, not in the least, but I needed to have some reason to not kill him. No one would simply do that to their own blood, their little brother, without having a reason.

d’Artagnan opened his mouth to answer just as Tanis pulled up, the SUV’s tires screeching as he slammed on the brakes.

Damn it!

Instantly d’Artagnan’s mouth snapped shut and he shook his head.

Tanis was out of the SUV in a fraction of a second. “Duckie, are you well?” he asked, hurrying to me and cupped my face between his hands.

“Yeah, couldn’t be better,” I assured him and smiled wide.

“Where is d’Artagnan?” he whispered, not believing me in the least.

I laughed. “Oh Nosferatu,” I sang, “come out, come out, wherever you are.”

“Give me back my ring!” d’Artagnan snarled from the garage.

Tanis’ head snapped towards him, and he instantly positioned himself in front of me.

I purred in perverse pleasure. “No.”

“What in bloody hell is going on?” Tanis asked, confused.

It was hard not to laugh in that situation, not that the lovely situation had ever happened before to anyone in recorded history, but was still funny.

“Your jackass brother tried to thrall me into kissing him, so with my obviously brilliant acting skills, I slipped his ring off.” I held my hand up and wiggled my grease-covered fingers in the air at the snarling vampire. “And stabbed him in the hand with a knife…that was the second highlight of my day.”

Again, the irate vampire growled in frustration and threw stuff out of the garage, but it was more than obvious that he wasn’t actually trying to hit me that time.

Tanis chuckled. “I have to say, Duckie, that….wow. All I can say is…you are simply brilliant.” He softly brushed his lips against mine, getting a loud groan from his brother. “How did you know who he was?” he whispered.

“Your rings are the same,” I said with a shrug. “Only your stone is red and his is black. LIKE HIS HEART!” I said loudly to iterate my point. “Anyway, he smells funny. So, can I throw it in the ocean since he won’t talk?” I asked and batted my lashes.

“I swear to god, I will kill you!” d’Artagnan snarled.

“Blah blah blah,” I mocked, rolling my eyes.

Tanis laughed again and kissed my forehead. “No, that would not be advisable or very nice.”

Huh?

He slipped the ring off of my finger and put it on his. “Tell me, Brother, why are you here?”

d’Artagnan groaned in frustration. “You sound like that broke bitch next to you. Why are you here? Why did you do it? Why did you take away your brother’s future?”

His impression of me was pretty damn bad.

Tanis cocked an eyebrow. “All very agreeable questions.”

d’Artagnan gave him a look. “If I didn’t answer that overly persuasive bitch’s demand for answers, I sure in the hell am not about to answer yours. Give. Me. My. Ring.”

Tanis shook his head. “Once again, I am ashamed to call you brother.”

“Thank God for that,” d’Artagnan dramatically said with a huff. “Since this garage smells like sweat, grease, and, what I can only describe as, dog’s ass, I will tell you why I am here so I can get the hell out of this should-be-condemned piece of shit garage: I got tired of being on my own. You and Georgiana are my family, after all, even though you did try to kill me the last time I saw you. Isn’t the Ashton family motto ‘Let bygones be bygones and move on with your life’? Thus, I thought it’d be nice to spend some time with my family.”

There’s no way in hell he missed his family. That’s total crap! Even I can smell the bullshit from here.

“What are you omitting?” Tanis asked, studying his brother intently.

d’Artagnan laughed, it was slightly evil and completely up to no good. “This and that. You know I won’t show my hand until I’m ready. So, back to the problem at hand, little brother. I’m not going to ask again: give me back my goddamn ring.”

Please, oh please, let me call the boys and sic them on him!

“Swear an oath that you shall not hurt Jay Dee, or any of her friends or family, her pack or tribe, out of retribution, either emotionally, physically or spiritually.”

He can’t be serious.

“Fine,” d’Artagnan groaned, rolling his eyes, “I swear it, a binding oath, that will prohibit me from hurting those whom she holds dear and consorts with, minus my blood of course, and that hold her dear, minus my blood. As I speak it, I believe it, so help me God.”

What in the hell? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Vampires can be oathed into not doing something?! That is just stupid.

“Very well,” Tanis said and started towards him, but I pulled him to a stop.

“No. You can’t be serious! He can simply promise not to do something?! What will keep him from going after me?” I demanded.

Tanis forced a smile which quickly fell.

d’Artagnan laughed. “Obviously you are ignorant to the mystical world you stem from,” he called out. “The curse of vampires restricts us to our word and open invitations. Hence why we need an invitation to enter your home, and not a thralled invitation either…it is a way for the vampiric gods and politicians to keep us on a short leash. Something you should know much about, Res Bitch.”

I am so going to kill him when the opportunity presents.

Tanis nodded his agreement. “In not so many words, Duckie, me brother is correct. If he breaks the oath, without you absolving it, he will take the repercussions upon himself in a form of waking nightmarish lunacy until he is no more. The French call it Danse Macabre, the Spanish Danza de la Muerte, the Catalonians Dansa de la Mort…in essence, those whom are hurt, whom were taken in essence when the oath was broken, would haunt him until he joins them.”

Holy shit. Either Tanis is completely bat shit crazy or someone has been severely limiting my knowledge of the mythical world.

“Are you messing me with?” I whispered.

d’Artagnan roared with laughter. “Ooh, you really are ignorant to the world around you, little girl.”

I flipped him off.

“May we discuss this later?” Tanis asked.

I nodded and took d’Artagnan’s ring from Tanis. “I think he needs to chill out for a bit. Some time for internal reflection,” I suggested with a smirk. “When the sun sets, lock up and get your own damn ring,” I said to the no-long-amused vampire in the garage.

“Don’t you dare,” d’Artagnan hissed.

I smiled wide before running across the street and scrambled up a tall maple tree. “See, Sparkles?” I called out, holding his ring up so he could see it before I slipped it on the highest branch I could reach. “After you’ve calmed down, picked this shit up and closed up shop, you can have it back. Until then, think about some shit!”

I skipped back to Tanis and he laughed as his annoying brother yelled.

“That was very naughty,” Tanis purred. He leaned and whispered in my ear, “And I must admit, I like it.”

I smiled wide and climbed in the driver’s seat—I was driving.