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   Chapter 16 15.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 21626

Updated: 2018-02-10 17:47

My head whipped toward the source of the voice and landed on a man casually leaning his left shoulder against the archway, his hands clasped behind his back. He was tall: a little shorter than Giovanni so I was willing to estimate his height to be around 6'2 with his skin a creamy ivory. The man's toned figure was covered in a dark blue suit and tie.

"I'm not entirely sure that I should be glad to meet you, Armand." I said, watching him step out of the shadows of the archway.

In the dim light, I could see him better. I could see the shoulder length, chocolate brown hair that was neatly tied back away from his face and fanning out behind his shoulders. I could see the angular arches of his nose, chin and jaw, and all though he beautiful; sculpted in the way that Giovanni was, he didn't look nearly angelic as the blonde vampire did.

There was something dark about him. It was in the harsh lines of the planes of his cheeks and the way his lips were pressed in a thin line as he stared at me.

But mostly it was in his eyes. Two crimson orbs sat in his face below raised, dark brow--possibly in wordless surprise that I had called him by his name.

Not only was the color startling but the weight they held was the thing that made me truly uncomfortable and certainly not in the way that Marcus' stare made me uncomfortable.

Marcus' grass green orbs could hold carnal mischief; he always looked like a man who was interested in the dark side of sex and pleasure.

But this man's eyes promised straight malevolence; violence and pain without any hint of another emotion to temper it. Staring into those eyes, I thought I understood, if only fractionally, why Marcus seemed afraid of him. Armand looked like a man who had spent his lifetimes truly hurting people and had never felt a hint of remorse or guilt for doing so. I was willing to bet that he didn't even understand the meaning of those two words.

I clutched one of Melanie's hands, keeping one hand around her shoulders to pull her into my side and ignoring the pain that shot across the skin of my back because of the movement.

Armand continued to walk-- no, glide was better word for the fluidity of his movements and stopped when he was nearly two feet in front of my small bed. "Who told you my name?" he asked in a monotone, the Spanish lilt in his voice more pronounced.

"No one." I didn't like how close the vampire stood to the two of us and I hoped the irrational I felt, showed on my face. After what I'd endured, I wasn't too keen on having any vampires within a ten feet radius of my body.

'Well of course, Giovanni was the exception to that rule, ' I added subconsciously. What I wouldn't do to be wrapped up in his warm embrace at this moment....

"Then how?" Armand pried, although the look in his eyes showed indifference.

"I came out of my coma about two days ago, or so I was told. I may not have been awake but I was still conscious on some levels. I could still hear things; I recognized your voice."

There was the barest of nods from him."You know my voice. You know my name. But do you know who I am?"

"You're a vampire. But more importantly, you're the vampire that has even the cruel Marcus scared shitless, so that must mean you sprung up from a different circle of hell than he did. I can't say that it is a pleasure to finally meet you but I will admit that I was more than a little curious.

Yet, for all my curious, I find myself being just a tad disappointed with all this." I toward the full length of his body.

He did not respond but raised one sable eyebrow.

"Listening to Marcus' voice shake, hearing him refer to you as 'my lord' as though he were your slave. I thought for certain that you would be a truly vile looking creature. I half expected to see that you had a forked tongue or sporting a pair of horns with sulfur pouring from every orifice but that's not what you are. You're not the devil. Just a man in a nice suit.

But of course, that's the part that's most sinister, isn't it? You're unassuming; a raging beast behind the thicket, snowiest sheep's clothing. "

"And you think this observation gives you power over me now? Do you think this perception is any match to my strength; my speed; my sense of will?"

"No. Of course not." I responded, my arm tightening around Melanie. "The bird is no less prey because it knows whose jaw its in. All I want is to be a little more prepared; a little more aware. I don't intend to be your prey from much longer. "

The vampire had the grace to crack a wide grin, exposing four, glistening fangs. "You are every bit as acerbic and infuriating as Marcus claimed you were. "

"Glad that I'm amusing to you." I muttered.

"Indeed you are. I did not think that I would feel this way about your attitude. It is quite entertaining; a well needed change from the usual groaning and grovelling that your kind seems to be so prone to.

We have much to speak about, my dear."

Turning his crimson eyes on Melanie, he hissed in low voice, "Leave us."

Melanie's immediate response was to comply and as much as I didn't want to be left alone with him, I could see in his voice and demeanor that there was cause for concern regarding what he wanted. He was not a man who's word could be gambled with. I nudged the tiny girl's shoulders. "Go on. I don't think this will be long."

"This should not be but that all depends on your willingness to comply, my dear. " Armand warned.

Compliance... I couldn't promise such a thing. Especially not to a vampire. But for both Melanie's sake and mine, I suppose I could try to at least hear him out. "Go on, Melanie. Don't worry. I'll be fine."

In spite of the hesitance in her grey eyes, she gave a curt nod and she rose up from the bed and darted down the hall, passing Armand without so much as a curious glance at him. The vampire in turn, crossed the distance between us in half a second. I blinked and then he was suddenly there, his slender body clad in its expensive suit bent over me so that our faces were only two or three inches apart. A startled gasp escaped my lips at how suddenly close he was. I don't think I would ever get used to their unnatural speed.

"I had to see for myself, " he mumbled, his nostrils flaring as they sniffed at the air near my face. "I had to see if they were right about you." Pale eyelids came down over his eerie red eyes and he looked every bit like a starving man as he inhaled, h

l cling to your virtue, so he can not be your lover.

"And so it makes me wonder, why would you be so loyal to a man with whom you merely spend your time twiddling your thumbs?"

"Thankfully he is not as small minded as you expect him to be. Mr. Grey is interested in other things. "

"Like council meetings and watching this place burn, " I added in my mind. Although I wasn't entirely sure why he wanted this so badly. This supposed vampire council must be holding something over his head to have him so committed to this cause. Unless, there was an ulterior motive involved.

"Then what interests him? Your companionship?" Armand hissed incredulously as he leaned into my face. Apart of me was in agreement with his skepticism. I had no real, valid explanation for the nature of the relationship Giovanni and I had without exposing the truth and even doing so would reveal that deep down, I wished that what we had, this partnership, could be so much more.

So I kept my mouth shut, fearing that by defending him, I would only further elude to the farce that I was maintaining on the blonde vampire's behalf. I realized not only that I didn't want to betray his trust, but I couldn't. The thought alone seemed impossible to imagine. In fact, it... repulsed me.

"He must have something particularly elaborate planned for you then, " he seethed. "I can not imagine why one of my kind would prolong the inevitable for so long."

When I didn't respond, the stoic man leaned in so close that his cool breath wafted over my face. Close enough so that he could spit his words at me.

"You humans, have and always will be nothing more than instruments of sustenance. Things to devour and to use. To drain. We take. We do not give. There is no symbiosis where the interactions we have with you are concerned. You are not our equals! So if you dare to believe that your vampire views you in some other light, then you are far more foolish than even Marcus' word suggests."

My hands balled into tight fists as I fought to hold my rebuttal in. He was trying to frighten me-- I knew that but I couldn't help the pang of pain I felt nonetheless. I didn't want to question Giovanni nor was I trying to put more emphasis on our relationship than their really was but Armand was voicing all my deep seeded fears. In the back of my mind, I always wondered if Giovanni's own natural instincts would overcome the respect he showed me. It was an underlying fear but it wasn't enough to change my opinion of him.

I cared for Giovanni deeply. There was nothing that would change that and I could tell that Armand could see that revelation on my face.

His rage swept over him in the blink of an eye. Consuming him. Distorting his features and his orbs dilating to the point that the black in his eyes was nearly swallowed up by all the red of his irises. "What is he doing with you?!" he roared and his talon-like fingers gripped my throat painfully tight.

I felt the grin spread across my face. "Its mostly dress up..."I choked out. "But sometimes, we do each other's hair. You're welcome to join us if you like."

Armand shook me violently out of frustration and pulled me closer, if that was even possible, by his grip on my throat.

"Listen to me, girl. In two weeks time, there will be an auction for you and every other pathetic, female human life in possession. I am going to put you on sale, like the worthless animal that you are and watch all of your new found admirers squabble and claw each other's throats out to buy you. My invitation to this event is also extended to your vampire.

"Test your Mr. Leonard. Grey. Test him. If he cares anything for you, he will do everything in his power to reclaim you." His icy fingers fell away from the column of my throat so abruptly that it sent my body flopping down onto the mattress with my back pressed to the thin sheets. I hissed at the pain and looked up to see that Armand was now walking away from me without so much as a glance in my direction.

"And if he does; if Leonard is my highest bidder? You'll just let him have me? " I managed to ask, still fighting to draw in breaths. "I thought you didn't want us to win."

He paused briefly and threw his response back at me over his shoulder. "On the contrary, my dear. I am counting on it."

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