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   Chapter 21 20.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 21006

Updated: 2018-02-10 18:25

"What are you doing?!?" I whisper yelled at the blonde man sprawled out atop the black sheets on the bed.

I had rushed here as soon as Armand left, the remnants of my breakdown still staining my cheeks, to find Giovanni here like this. He couldn't see me from the position he was in with his head resting among the sea of pillows. But I knew he could hear me.

He didn't bother sitting up to answer my question. "I am waiting for you, my dear. And now you are here; my wait is over." His posture and his response held the same tenor.

It was one of nonchalance. Total disregard for what we had agreed to accomplish this evening.

"You're not supposed to be here. The auction has already started. What'll happen to Melanie if you're not there?!"

Giovanni and I had planned, the last time we met that if he attended the auction, Melanie would be the one he bought first. Sure, I was an option-- he was at liberty to fight for me but only after he had secured her.

It was a bit like pulling teeth but eventually, I was able to get him to agree that for tonight, Melanie was to be the priority.

That was our plan. But we weren't going according to plan now. The knot in my stomach was tightening at the thought of Melanie being put on display for the hungry eyes of every walking variety of depravity that Armand could possibly think to invite to his auction.

"This issue of the young one, Melanie is being attended to. I can assure you..."He began to say as he sat up, his hands absentmindedly tugging his pressed navy blue colored dress shirt back into position. "..that she is in the most capable... hands." The last of his sentence died on his perfect lips in a whisper when he finally looked at my face, no doubt seeing the remains of my tears.

He flashed to my side, taking my face between his cool palms. "What happened to you??" He breathed, trying to wipe away the tears. "Why have you been crying?!"

"Its not really important, Giovanni. What do you mean she is in capable hands?"

"Why were you crying, Teryn?" He repeated, his jaw clenching and his lips set in a tight line. My evasion of the question at hand irritated him.

"That's not important right now Giovanni, " I could hear the exasperation in my voice. I didn't care about myself right now. I wanted-- no needed, Melanie to be safe.

"Melanie, what's happening with her."

The blonde vampire sighed heavily, but seeing that he wouldn't get me to move past that fact, he responded. "Berthold is taking care of her."

"Berthold?" Taking care of her?

"He is my closest friend." He replied with a small smile. "I trust him implicitly. He has been charged with buying your friend, regardless of the cost."

I folded my arms across my chest. "How he is going to get her out. We didn't discuss that. You were suppose to bring us back here and personally escort her out, Giovanni, regardless of how you planned to do it. You were supposed to protect her. If anything happens to her..."

"Nothing will happen to her, " he breathed, his thumbs stroking my cheeks. "We did decide how to get her out. Well, if we are continuing with technicalities, I decided, but I would not have been able to make the decision without you."

"What are you talking about?" I could only whisper, tears beginning to fall again. Things needed to go right for once. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I couldn't get her out of here.

"The floor plans of the building that your procured for me over a month ago-- they...'came in handy' as you humans says. This place was once a restaurant. I managed to locate a service entrance on the blueprints that was not sealed off during the latest renovation. Berthold, my friend is going to take care her to that service entrance, no matter how many of my kind he has to plow through to get her out of here and to my car that is parked at back. Berthold is very keen on stealth. No one will be alerted of what's happening until it already has. "

My pulse sped as the knowledge slowly sank in. Melanie was safe.. This Berthold person would buy her freedom. He would protect her...

"She's safe?" I was still in disbelief.

"Yes, sweet girl. She is safe." He pulled me into his arms, my head resting against the smooth fabric of his shirt and cool skin underneath. His fingers gently moved through my curls as he held me, softly repeating: "She is fine. You are fine, " in my ear.

A gentle buzzing in one of the pockets of his trousers shattered the perfect tranquility of the moment. Giovanni lifted one arm to reach for the source of the vibrations and I was only able to see the matte black finish of the smart phone (the fact that they even had smartphones in this..'realm' baffled me but that was not important enough for me to dwell on) before he pressed it to his ear. Those crystal clear blue eyes never left mine as he spoke into it.

His perfect lips moved swiftly; he spoke too fast for me to understand, even if he had been speaking in English-- which he wasn't. Rather, it sounded like German. After a few heartbeats, he handed the phone to me. "She wishes to speak with you."

I pressed it to my ear and listened for the smaller girl's gentle voice. "Melanie."

"What the hell, Teryn?!!" she shrieked. "How could you?"

"How could I not? I wouldn't watch you waste away in here; not for one more minute."

"So you'd just leave me? Is that what you plan to do? Have me whisked away without you?" She was tearing up now; I could hear that in the way her voice broke.

"I'm not going to lie to you-- yes, that was my plan originally. But as my luck would have it, my circumstances had changed even more in favor of that. "

"But why?"

I sighed, smiling even in spite of myself. "Because I had to. I had to get you out of there. I made Giovanni promise to do this for me because I knew you wouldn't be safe here. Aren't you glad you're finally free of this place?"

"Of course I am, Teryn. But that doesn't mean I relish the thought of leaving you here. Will I ever see you again?"

My eyes flickered over to Giovanni who was staring at me intensely, his hands on my shoulders. No doubt he could hear the conversation. "You will see her again, " he assured me.

"I will see you again, Melanie." I repeated. "Giovanni's friend Bert

remember him looking at me in the same way when I beckoned for his attention, wanting to show him what I'd built with my Lego's. In the moment it took for him to look back at me, a huge eighteen wheeler came around the curve just in front of us: its horn blaring and the large tires fighting to get a grip on the ice covered road. My father swerved wildly to the left, narrowly missing the huge vehicle but sending our car tumbling a feet down a steep drop off and into the undergrowth just beyond the guard rails.

"My parents were thrown out of the car: my mother sustained severe head trauma and internal bleeding and she died in the hospital a day later but my father had been thrown onto and impaled by a fallen tree and loose metal pieces from the car immediately after collision. He died on the scene.

They weren't wearing their seat belts, but I was. The doctors were convinced that that simple fact was the only thing that saved me. I still sustained some injuries though.." I brushed my hair away from behind my left ear to show him the scar that curled behind there and disappeared past my hairline. "I was nearly scalped on that side of my head. There was some minor internal bleeding too but nothing that wasn't easily treated. They kept telling me I was lucky when they discharged me from the hospital but how lucky could I possibly feel when I had just lost all that I had ever had..."

"I am so sorry, Teryn." Giovanni squeezed me to his chest, kissing the scar behind my ear. "So sorry."

"It happened a long time ago." I nestled my head in the crook of his neck, feeling his sluggish heart beat in his chest against mine and breathed in his familiar musk. This moment, albeit a somber one was nothing short of perfection. I was at peace for once, despite how painful it usually was to talk about my parents' deaths. Every action, every disclosure seemed easier when I was with him.

"But time does nothing to dull that pain. If it is any consolation, I can sympathize with your emptiness. I have experienced a similar grief."

"You lost your parents?" It seemed almost impossible to fathom. This perfect man, impeccably dressed and extremely poised seemed like the last person you would suspect to have lost anything of great value in his life.

"Well I suppose I did lose one of them in a sense. My birth father, he did not die but I never knew him.

He married my mother when they were both young: whenever she talks about him, she never neglects to mention how madly in love they were. When she found out that she was pregnant with me, however, things changed suddenly and not for the better. My father left her before I was born and so as not to be left with the burden of raising a child on her own and to spare me a life without a father figure, she married a man she did not love.

That man, my stepfather, however, had always been infatuated with my mother. But he could not love me, although I was a part of her. He only saw me as the child of the man that had stolen his first chance with my mum. He loathed me and abused; the vast majority of the mischief I got into as a young boy was in an attempt to lash out at him.

My stepfather was a monster, who liked pretending to be a saint, and although I have been free of his grasp for over three hundred years, I have never stopped thinking about what might have been. My mother always described my biological father as being someone of reputable character: firm and authoritative but above all else, gentle and loving when it was most necessary. His abandoning her does distort that image in some way, but I have always been certain that he still would have been a better father to me. I feel the absence of never having known him every day. No amount of time has been able to dull that ache."

"I'm sorry." I told him fervently, stroking his hair again.

Giovanni sighed and drew me in closer to him. "It was a long time ago." I couldn't help but giggle at his re-purposing my own words.

"Quite the melancholy life experience to have in common." I murmured to him, feeling the weight of my exhaustion settle on my mind.

"Indeed, my dear, " his lips pressed to my forehead again. "It is."

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