“A plan to kill Selene, and free us from this curse,” Connor said.
“Then,” he said, putting his arm around Isabelle, who had still not said a word. “We would like to offer our assistance.”
“Yes. Many years ago, too many to remember. But Isabelle and I are tired of living this vampire life. We have been immortal and lived as immortals should. We have lived under Selene’s thumb, controlling us like puppets. We are now ready to return to a human life, to grow old and have children together.”
Connor looked to his wife, who nodded. “Selene uses all of her vampires to her will.”
Connor raised an eyebrow. “No? Selene successfully managed to use Liam to lure in the DeRitter Shield, a threat to her immortality.”
My eyes widened as a thousand thoughts swirled in my head. No, it couldn’t be. We were in charge of that plan, we were the ones who made sure…
But Connor’s steely gaze told me everything I had believed was wrong. While we thought we had the upper hand, Selene had used it to her advantage. It made me hate her even more.
“I can take you to Liam,” I said, pointing in the direction I had just come. “Come on.”
I took a few steps forward, and they followed, in sync. My mind whirled as I led the way to Liam’s office. I wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved that we were getting help or frightened that these random strangers knew about it.
The following morning, there was a knock on my door. Looking at the time, I figured it was Sarah wanting to come in and discuss the excitement of the night before. I had brought Connor and Isabelle to Liam, who took one look at them and shut the door behind us. He had asked for privacy, and although the last thing I wanted to do was leave, I let them be. I figured they had a story to tell and feelings to share. Things that I could not yet hope to understand. While he didn’t seem to have known them from before, there was some sort of understanding between them, some sort of vampire link I wasn’t privy to.
I knew that he would fill me in when he was done, and I went back to my room to wait. I told Sarah the whole story. I never did make it to the library, instead I researched on the Internet until midnight. Exhausted, I fell asleep.
“Hey,” I said, opening the door and about to turn around and shuffle back to bed. But it wasn’t Liam or Sarah standing there. It was an unfamiliar male, standing at least 6’2”, with high cheek bones, and scruffy facial hair. “Can I… help you?”
“Not again.” I buried my head in my hands, holding open the door. “Let me guess. Liam? Selene?”
“Experience,” I said dryly, reaching for my phone. “Come on in. I’ll call Liam.”
Over the next few days, word spread like wild fire as more and more vampires arrived at the school. For some reason, all of them sought me out first, perhaps afraid to approach the reputation that was Liam. They assured us that our plan to kill Selene was being kept quiet, whispered in underground circles and put in prayers of safety. Some of them were old, some of them brand-new, but all of them had been under Selene’s thumb and were used as puppets by the mother of all vampires. We received vampires with hardened battle weary spirits, and new vampires, afraid and in tears, wanting to get back to their normal lives. Connor and Isabelle were just the beginning of the interesting stories. I talked to vampires that were older than I could ever imagine, vampires who had seen great wars that I read about in history books, and vampires who had met long dead heroes like Shakespeare and Kit Marlow. They had done so many things with their lives, struggling to be normal, to pretend that they hadn’t been cursed.
But not all of them were old. Some of them were only a few months old, and had met the right person at the right time to turn to for help. One in particular, Nina, was heartbreaking. The gentlest, sweetest girl, Nina worked for a homeless shelter in her human life, showing compassion and kindness to anyone who had come through the doors. She was one of those workers who went the extra mile, always giving money, slipping them an extra bread roll from the soup kitchen, lending them her cell phone to stay in touch with friends and family. After becoming a vampire, she couldn’t bring herself to feed on human blood at any point, or even live animals. She lived on buying raw hamburger meat and squeezing it out, licking the meager remains from a plate. The very thought of it made me gag, but she couldn’t be convinced of anything otherwise. She was tiny and weak. When she came to me, while I was walking to rehearsal, I thought she was going to collapse into my arms. I practically had to carry her to Liam’s office, nearly breaking down the door to beg for assistance. I had no idea what the secretary must have been thinking about what went on behind his doors, but at that point, I was past caring.
After he had met with her and we were alone. Liam sighed, looking sadly in the direction she had left. “She can’t die, no, but she can fall into an eternal slumber that she can’t be woken from without a proper feeding. She was practically trembling, my heart breaks for her.”
“And this will work?” I asked him for the hundredth time. “If we kill Selene, you’ll all be mortal again?”
He put his arm around me. “Yes, Amy, it’ll work.”
“But what about… us?” I asked, carefully. “Have you thought about that, about us? About having an… intimate relationship with me, if we’re both human?”
He sighed, running a hand through my hair. “Amy, we have to get over such a hurdle and that’s what you’re worried about?” He kissed the back of my neck, trailing down my throat. “Perhaps we should take advantage of it now, hmm, while we still can?”
I nearly melted into his arms, as he trailed them down my body. Perhaps we should.
And so, we became a vampire haven, a safe house, for the broken, tired and damned. None of them stayed at the school at night, except for Nina, so precariously close to death that Liam didn’t want her alone for an instant.
Since Liam had mostly kept to himself, he knew none of these new vampires, but he welcomed them with open arms.
“They come to you because you are safe,” he told me one night. “Because you don’t tempt them, and they know you are with me. You can’t snap and bite their heads off.”
“Literally,” I said, dryly, as we finished lunch in his office. “But what are we going to do with all of them?”
He took a swallow of water, giving me a tight smile.
“I have a plan, don’t worry. I just need you to be patient with me.”
I nodded, trusting him absolutely. Whatever Liam was planning, I knew that it was going to be good.
I hadn’t expected such support from others. Mind you, I hadn’t expected that anyone at all would actually know anything about the plan at all, but Connor told me that Amy and I had become a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
Of course, there were many vampires who wanted to remain vampires, and would hate us for transforming them back. I could only hope that we could keep ourselves secret and safe long enough to execute the plan, which I had no idea about. Amy, especially lately, was keen to see Selene dead, but I told her time and time again that we wouldn’t execute it until we were ready. While Sarah and Amy tried to find her Shield origins, I paced the corners of my mind, trying desperately to figure out a solution. But it wasn’t until I went to a production meeting for Phantom that things began to be clear to me.
“We’ve set auditions for next week,” Katya announced as she came in and we all settled in. “Full panel of judges, open school auditions.”
“The mass choreography is coming along,” Miss Nailer said, back from her sick leave. She was so unlike Porsche, so stiff and rigid, that I felt it hard to draw comparisons to both as dancers. “They’ve all been taught, at least once, so now it’s just a matter of going over them a hundred times. It’s going to be harder especially for non-dancers. But right now, it’s good.”
“We’ve started production on the sets,” Devon volunteered. “The famous chandelier is going to take the most work, and we’ll need two or three, because it goes through a lot.”
I nodded, barely listening. I could disappear for months on end and I knew my team would handle things. They were beyond competent, some of the best in the industry. When I had first come to the school, they had accepted me graciously, despite knowing, loving and working with Peter for many years before. But they had never treated me like a Hollywood actor looking for a job. They had gone about their duties, asking my opinions and sometimes overriding me, but always including me. For the first time in a very long while, life was about being on a team, about working together. It was a change for me, as I was used to being the most important and most catered to person in the room. But as I quickly discovered, it was a change I needed. Without them, this school would have failed long ago and they recognized that. I didn’t know how to teach, I didn’t know how to manage, and I certainly didn’t know how to deal with children. But I did know how to act, and they helped me use that in every aspect of my life. I’d been at the school 4 years now, arriving at 23 and feeling 18 with my lifestyle. Now, I felt I had matured 10 years to my proper age in the short time I was here.
Except my heart reminded me that I was eternally 23.
“I’ve finally done the scene breakdown,” Katya said, as she passed around thick packages of paper.
I really didn’t want to be in the meeting. I’d rather be anywhere else but the boardroom, looking at a scene breakdown for a show that was eight months away. My mind began to wander and I wondered if, in eight months, these meetings wouldn’t mean me rushing off into a basement. I wondered if after a late evening meeting, I could take Amy out to dinner, linger in a fancy restaurant, and wander home under the streetlights with her, kiss her under the moonlight and not have to worry about bloodlust, about transformation.