Season Content Notes: abduction, blood, sexual content
The first thing my mother had done after the destruction of our clan was to empty as many financial accounts as she could access. It wasn’t nearly all the clan had, but it was enough for her to take me, Ozanna, and Emil, and disappear into human society, with new identities. She then did her best to blend in with the human world.
Like so many up-and-coming yuppies, ‘Sandra Marques’ bought and remodelled a large home in an expensive neighborhood, moved in with her daughter and retired parents, joined the PTA, and in a few years was just one of the community. Her ‘cancer’ diagnosis when I was in highschool saddened her neighbors and brought in an outpouring of support for our small family. When she died, after a long and difficult battle, she left me her home, a secure place in a community suspicious of outsiders, and the perfect camoflauge.
At 18, with Ozanna and Emil’s full support, I set about destroying my reputation. I had lost my mother, had full responsibility for somehow saving our lost clan, was all but alone in the world — Ozanna said that if I hadn’t buckled under the stress she would have been worried. She was right, and if they hadn’t helped me find a ‘permitted’ outlet, Lună only knows what I would have done. Emil said that if I was going to be foolish, I should at least be smart about it.
So as soon as I was legally an adult, I tore up my college acceptance letters, dropped out of high school (and, at my “grandparents’ ” insistence quietly got my GED several towns over). I cancelled the neighborhood Christmas party Mama had hosted every year (which made sure that all the neighborhood knew what I was doing), and set about blowing ‘all’ the money Mama had left me on cars, clothes, and clubbing. I came home drunk a few times, Ozanna insisted on keeping up my combat lessons and if you think a hangover is bad, try fighting with one. But enough drinks spilled on my clothes that the neighbors who paid attention still smelled alcohol on me from time to time.
Honestly, after a year of being the bad girl, I’d run through the worst of my anger and petulance, and was bored of the clubbing every night. But I loved the clothes and cars, and by then my reputation was so destroyed in town that I could sign up for a few evening and night courses at a nearby community college, and as long as I was getting in way too late, the neighbors just assumed I was still partying it up.
In the mean time, Ozanna and Emil poured their woes into a few sympathetic ears. They tried to so hard, they really did. How sad their Sandra would be to see what I was turning into. They prayed every day that I would come to my senses. What would happen to us when my trust fund ran out… At least, the neighbors comiserated, I never got into drugs.
It was a different, brighter camoflague from Mama’s, but built on the foundation she had created. And the whole reason for it was in the back of the plain white cargo van I was parking next to my vintage Mustang.
Because with the reputation I had, it was just possible that I could move in five hot strangers — one of them old enough to be my father — and still ‘blend in’ as the town’s resident bad girl.
As soon as I started looking for the remnants of my clan, the clock would start ticking. Sooner of later, the enemies my mother had hid us from would find me. My mother’s ‘purloined letter’ method had kept us safe so far. I just hoped it would hold out long enough for my new sotii to figure out how to keep all of us alive.
With a nervous smile, I put the van in park and looked back over my shoulder to see Karen blinking awake. “Welcome home.”
No one said a word on the drive from Nastasia’s hideaway to her home. If Karen had been awake, she would have been asking a million questions about Nastasia’s knives. But she wasn’t awake.
Karen wasn’t awake.
Marcus’ brain kept hiccupping on that. Karen wasn’t awake. Nastasia had told her to sleep, and she just… slept.
Nastasia had apparently done that to all five of them and knocked them out hard enough that she’d been able to get them out of the bar, into a vehicle, out of the vehicle, and tied up to a bunch of lawn chairs without waking any of them up.
This vampire shit was real. Really real. And he’d just thrown himself straight into it.
His conscious tried to say that he’d just thrown his team straight into it, but Marcus knew damn well he had an over developed sense of responsibility and the rest of the team were fucking adults capable of making their own (bad) decisions.
But who ever was responsible, they were here.
Literally as well as figuratively, as Nastasia turned the van into a driveway and pulled into a large two car garage.
Karen was waking up and Marcus caught her eye. “Okay?” he mouthed.
She grinned sleepily. “I need to see the sharps.”
Marcus chucjked. She was fine. He also figured she’d forget about the sharps in 3… 2… 1…
Nastasia parked the car. “Welcome home,” she said.
And Marcus watched Karen’s face blank out as she switched gears like a the pro she was.
Marcus felt it as well. As soon as they stepped out of the van, they were in business. His pants squished uncomfortably as he stood and signaled for Benj to get the door. He was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one and that would a subject for epic teasing within the team later.
Now? They done their job covered in mud, blood, piss, and sometimes shit before. After all that, semen was barely an annoyance.
Benj popped the door and hopped out, on point until they’d cleared the residence. “Room’s clear,” he said. From the little Nastasia had said, her enemies hadn’t found her yet, but they weren’t taking any chances. Marcus and Leyla followed Benj, then Karen, with Victor standing up on the tailgate to scope the room. Not that he had a scope.
Marcus opened Nastasia’s door, reflexively using his body to block anyone around them from getting a clear view of her.
“Alright, ma’am. You wanted bodyguards, you got us. One of us, usually Leyla or Karen, are with you at all times, starting now. We need a tour of the premises, then we’ll set up a temporary watch and who ever isn’t on duty will crash for the night. Tomorrow we’ll need to retrieve our equipment, review and reinforce the defenses here, and discuss your schedule.”
For the first time since waking up in that basement, Marcus was in control. His team operated around him like the well oiled machine they were. It wouldn’t last. He expected Nastasia would prove an expert at throwing him off balance. But he’d take what he could get.
“Alright,” she said, slipping out of the van to stand in front of him.
He’d seen her before, of course. Seen her when she cam back in for their ‘negotiation’. Seen her before she took his blood. But this time he really looked at her.
Early on, she’d said the Benj wouldn’t be interested in her if he could see her, and Marcus could see why. She wasn’t what he’d call pretty. Her face too round, her nose to large. She’s plucked and shaped her eyebrows, but it just made her eyes seem naked. It was a face face. But her hair was a silk curtain draping over her, all the way down to her hips. Large hips. And her voice… “Alright, Marcus. We have some equipment for you, and we’ll get whatever you need.”