“This place is just so…magnificent, Vincent! But it’s way too extravagant for my tastes.”
“Yes, but the amenities! This place offers everything, we’d never have to leave home,” he smiled gripping my waist.
“Oh so that’s your scheme?” I ran my fingers through his hair and stared into his eyes. “Well, I suppose I could give it a try.”
His lips locked on mine. He held me close pressing his body into me. “Mmm, you know Zo, I may not have got you the way I wanted, but I’m happy with this.”
“Ok. Are you going to keep talking in riddles or show me around this place?”
He took my hand and led me through a long corridor. The rooms seemed endless “What is this? Are we still in Bridgeport?” I asked as we entered another “wing”. “I’d get lost in here in 5 minutes.”
He gripped my hand tighter, “Well I better make sure that doesn’t happen.”
I smiled as we came to what I’d hoped was the last room. Inside was a heart shaped bed, lamps, a gorgeous floral pattern, hot tub and sky light. He started kissing my neck while his hands explored my body.
He pulled out a remote which turned on the hot tub, dimmed the lights and turned on some music. As he was about to press the button, he looked at me. “You deserve better than that,” he tossed the remote to the side and carried me to the bed.
He laid me tenderly on the covers and slowly began to disrobe me, kissing me softly with each piece he removed.
I lay naked in front of him and he stood over me gazing. “You are so beautiful Zo.”
He took off his shirt and pants but didn’t get completely nude. He lay next to me and began massaging my neck, shoulders, chest and arms.
“I like that Vincent,” I said watching him oil my body. He kissed me gently before running his fingers down my stomach. He circled my thigh with his hand and spread my legs before slowly inserting his finger into me.
My head dipped and he watched my face as he playfully toyed with me. His lips met mine as he brought me to an orgasm.
He pulled me on top of him and held me as I kissed him. He rolled me off and cradled me in his arms. I snuggled into his chest. “I love you,” he whispered in my ear. “I love you too, Vincent,” I smiled. I felt myself beginning to doze off.
Vincent jumped and my eyes popped opened. I followed his gaze and laughed at him. “Zavier does that,” I said standing and getting dressed. His sudden appearance shocked Vincent.
He walked over to him. “You did this to her before this too?” he asked.
“I told you I keep an eye on my investments at all time, Vincent. It looks like you’ve been enjoying yourself?”
“I have,” he said taking his baby girl. “Was she good?”
“Besides trying to feed off me, yes; she has a blood rage similar to yours. I knew she’d turn out like you, it’s in her eyes. I’m looking forward to taking her on a hunt someday,” Zavier smirked. “She seems merciless.”
“Is Uncle Zavier right? Are you going to be a killer like Daddy?”
She laughed and grabbed at his large European nose.
I threw on a robe lying on the foot of the bed and approached the group.
“Zoe!” Zavier said hugging me as I neared him. “Are you taking care of my Brother, Beautiful?”
I smiled, “Of course I am.”
Vincent watched the interaction in a state of shock.
“I actually came to grab you. I need you to get over to the chamber, there’s a witch I need you to extract for me. Meet me there, I have a little something to discuss with Vincent.”
I nodded, “Of course.” I got dressed and headed out, quickly kissing Vincent’s cheek.
“What was that? Are you controlling her mind Zavier? Because the deal…”
“I am well aware of the deal, Vincent. And no, to answer your question; Zoe does what she is told, but her thoughts and her actions are her own. I just told her we had a close friendship. Now if I wanted to be in her head, I would.”
“Keep her safe Zavier. The first sign of trouble or anything that causes her distress, I’m pulling her out.”
“Relax Vincent! I’d never hurt someone so precious, especially knowing what she means to you and the power she gives me!” he smiled. “Now if you don’t mind, I have a witch to kill.”
“Oh and before I forget, I’ve started the reversal on her memories as you’ve asked. It’s going to cause her a great amount of pain, there was no way around that. But just remember, it’s what you wanted. Though I have no intentions of ever restoring the memories of what I or Lily did, she’ll know about Drake, her relationships with both of you and the fact that he’s dead. You better do as promised and make sure she doesn’t get too curious about anything else!”
Vincent nodded. “If you’ve given me back my previous relationship with her, I can do that and more. She trusts me and knows I can help her through things like this, I’ve done it before.”
Vanessa started crying. Her lower lip was quivering fiercely as she wailed.
“She did that quite a bit also,” Zavier said covering his ears. “I assumed it was her way of asking for blood. She seemed to get better once she was fed again.”
“Thanks again, Zavier.” Vincent bit at his wrist and placed it at Nessa’s lips. She smelled the blood flow and stopped crying. She grabbed at his arm and jerked her head away.
She pushed at him, tears welling up in her eyes as her crying started again.
“No? You don’t want Daddy’s blood? Let’s see if you have anything left.”
Vincent searched through her baby bag and found 8 empty bottles.
Great. He sat Vanessa on the floor for a moment and got dressed. He called Sarah to try and get more bottles made up for her.
Again, she did not answer the call. “When I find that bitch, I’m going to kick her ass,” he mumbled to himself.
He drove back to his old place to pick up her scent. His phone rang as he walked in the door. He took Vanessa and sat her in the crib before answering.
“Where the fuck are you? Why haven’t you been answering my calls?”
…“I’ve been busy. What do you want…?”
“Busy? Are you fucking crazy? What can you be so busy with that you can’t call or come by and see your little girl? She is refusing to feed and I need you to get your ass over here with more bottles.”
…“I’ll be there when I can…”
“No. Not good enough. Get over here now or when I find you, you won’t have to worry about anything again. Listen carefully, Sarah, I’m not fucking playing with you. My baby is hungry, hurry your ass up!”
I walked around the torture chamber eyeing the numerous devices Vincent and Zavier crafted to inflict pain on their victims.
Zavier appeared behind me with the witch. He threw her sharply into the corner and smiled wickedly at her before turning his attention to me. “Getting acquainted with the room I see. That’s good; we’ll be spending lots of time down here together.”
“I’ve seen it before. I can’t quite remember where, but Vincent has told me about it.”
He smirked as he recalled the torture he’d performed on me.
“So what can she do?” I said noticing she had begun meditating behind him.
“She’s elemental; similar to the one…let’s just say we’re making up for past transgressions. Are you ready to begin?”
“Of course, Zavier. I’ve already setup the summoning circle and prepared the herbs, I’m just waiting on the word.”
“Good girl. I’ll release the protection in this room alone, but when I do, I need you to ensure the area surrounding us is cloaked.”
I nodded my understanding.
He turned to the witch who was trancing in the corner he’d thrown her to. “What you’re doing is absolutely futile! No one will be able to find you, I’ve ensured that. This room is quite intimidating, I know. But it houses wondrous treasures! There’s no need to fear…ok who am I fooling? You won’t find peace here!”
He snatched her up and dragged her to the machine in the very center of the room. Her eyes widened in fear as she gazed upon his contraptions.
“You know my personal favorite is the Strappado here. This simple little machine has several different techniques for imposing damage. The first, I tie the victims’ arms behind their back and attach a rope to the wrists. Using this pulley, I can suspend them in the air and dislocate their arms; popping them from the shoulder sockets. The more I twist the more it hurts.”
“The second, I can hang them as far up as possible; dangle them above the floor and quickly unwind the pulley causing their body to jerk back up with their arms behind their backs. The sharp yanking wrenches the body on the already weakened arms causing suffering you have to see to believe! This also can have a few results in itself: dislocate the spine, tear off the limbs or break the shoulders completely.”
I watched him as he taunted the witch, detailing to her the last method of torture the Strappado was capable of. He spoke with such sophistication, yet his words were utterly frightening. I caught myself smiling; as though this game, these mind games were amusing. The thought of watching someone getting tortured or screaming in agony was pleasurable.
“Finally, I can place their hands in the front and hang them, tie their ankles together and add weights. This causes stress to the hips, legs, arms and back. The strain can be intensified again with a simple turn on the pulley or by adding heavier weights each time.”
“Well witch, today, I am feeling generous. I’m going to let you choose which method of torture you’d like to enjoy. Now don’t feel obligated to use the Strappado simply because I said it was my favorite, any one of these devices are just as painful to endure. But once you choose, you cannot undo that choice. It’s yours until I see fit to release you, understand?”
Again I smiled watching him interact with his victim. He looked over at me and grinned as well.
“You’re a monster! My coven will find me! They’ll kill you and everyone else you love!” the witch shrieked. “I’m going to enjoy it! Maybe not in life but I’ll watch in death as you scream in pain!”
“Ouch! Your threats are unkind. Now is that anyway to talk to your new friends? I think I know which device you want to try! Zoe, I don’t think I want to listen to her speak again. Remove her voice.”
“No, I don’t think so, Zavier,” I said.
He turned and walked over to me, anger apparent on his face. “I don’t think I heard you right.”
“You did. I said no. I won’t remove her voice. Your intentions are to torture her. Would you not enjoy her screams as she begged for mercy?”
He grinned. “Smart thinking; perhaps I could just cut out her tongue, the screams will be conveyed the same. I’m really going to enjoy this relationship, Zoe; you have a head for these things.”
He grabbed the witch and began tying her up.
Sarah arrived at the home she once shared with Vincent. She had dark circles under her eyes. Her lips were chapped and bruised and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in weeks.
She handed him a bag of bottles and walked over to the crib.
“What have you been doing?” Vincent asked glaring at her shoddy appearance. “Nevermind, I really don’t care. But you don’t look near decent enough to feed Vanessa.”
He tossed the bottles in the trash.
“What are you doing? She needs to feed!” Sarah yelled.
“Yeah, but not from you she won’t.”
He grabbed Vanessa away from Sarah and she started crying and grabbing for her. Her sharp wails pierced the air violently as she lashed out at Vincent.
“Give her back!” Sarah yelled taking her again in her arms. “She’s hungry and needs my blood.”
“I’m not letting you feed her, Sarah. Try it and I swear I’ll rip your head off!”
“So what you do you want me to do? Let her starve?”
“I want you to get the hell out of here. I’ll feed her myself.”
“I don’t want your tainted blood…”
“Tainted? Sarah you look like a streetwalker and have scars all over your body. I don’t know what you and Brad are into, but whatever it is, it’s not going into my little girl. Take a fucking hike. I’ll take care of Ness.”
“I’m not going anywhere without my child.”
He wanted to charge at her, grip her throat and throttle her senseless but he held strong. “Sarah, I don’t care where the fuck you go, but you’re getting your ass out of her WITHOUT my daughter.”
Sarah turned sharply on her heels and stormed out the door.
She hurried home and met Brad in the lobby. “Where’s Vanessa?” he asked watching her enter alone.
“Vincent is keeping her from me.”
“Did you give her the bottles you prepared at least?”
She shook her head no. “He tossed them in the trash.”
“Hmm, no worries. We’ll figure something out and get you reunited with your baby girl soon.” Brad kissed her forehead and led her upstairs.
I drove over to the new home four hours after completing the drain magic. I found Vincent standing at his bar preparing himself a drink.
“Hey Vinny!” I said watching him blend the mixture.
I walked over and picked up Vanessa, her face was looking a bit pale but she smiled just the same.
“Has Vanessa been fed? She looks a bit sick.”
“I had to force her. She kept refusing my blood. I guess she was just so used to Sarah’s that she has no taste for much else.”
“Well should you be doing that if you are feeding Ness now?”
He looked at the alcohol in his hands and dumped it into the sink. “You’re right. What did Zavier want?”
“A magic extraction; he asked me to remove the energy from a witch he’d captured and put it in my source. Why do you ask? You’ve never before.”
“Curiosity; how do you feel when you do those things for him?”
“I don’t know. Fine I guess.”
“Fine even though what you just did was black magic?”
I nodded. “I’m taking care of my family Vincent. You, me, Vanessa, Zavier my coven; I’m the leader and I have to make the tough decisions. Everyone understands that.”
“Vincent, what’s wrong? You’ve never had a problem before. What’s with the questions?”
“Nothing, nothing at all, I’m just concerned… this isn’t you. It shouldn’t be you. I see now why Drake kept you so secure.
“Drake? Who’s that?”
“He’s…how did you hear that? How can you keep hearing me?”
“Vincent there’s nothing you can hide from me. We share everything! Don’t you remember that? I think I’m going to get Zavier here. You are starting to worry me again. I need to know how long you’re going to be out of it.”
“No Zo, don’t do that. I’m fine. I’ve just…I need to feed I think.”
“Whoa!” I started feeling dizzy and quickly placed Vanessa down on the floor. I stumbled over to the couch to take a seat.
“Zo? Are you ok baby?”
“No. I…” I lunged forward gripping at my head. There were sharp spasms radiating from the center of my skull and amassing in my temples. I rubbed fiercely trying to make the pain go away or at least lessen in degree. Vincent came and held me.
Remembering Zavier’s words, he tried to help me through my anguish. “Do you see anything? What’s happening Zo?”
“I see blood, but I’m pretty sure that’s just…you? And Zavier. Vincent what’s happening?”
The pain began to intensify as more images ran through my head. I screamed as these pictures flashed behind my eyelids detailing a meeting between Vincent and Zavier behind closed doors.
The ache started to dull and I dropped onto the couch.
“What did you see, Zo?”
“I saw you and Zavier talking in his home. Vincent you knew what was happening to me?”
“Yes. You were getting visions. Zavier and I have talked about this. You’ve lost a large chunk of your memories, Zo. He’s having his magical captives restore them for you. I was going to tell you, but I wanted to see how it worked first.”
“Tell me? Tell me what? How did I lose my memories?”
“Someone cast a spell on you. We’re working on getting you back to your old self, baby. Don’t worry ok? I’m here for you and we’ll get you through it! Just let me know when you get one and we can try and figure out where you are with the recovery.”
I nodded and laid my head in his lap. “Are they always going to hurt like that?”
“Honestly Zo, I don’t know for sure.”