Home > Crimson (The Ultimate Power #2.5)

Crimson (The Ultimate Power #2.5)
Author: L.H. Cosway

Part One

Blood and Sunshine

The Crimson night club, Tribane city...

I stare down at the woman as blood drips from her neck. It is quite an attractive look.

Her naturally blond hair is splayed out around her head, striking a fierce contrast against the black leather couch in my office. Her long neck hangs back, an expression of absolute rapture on her face. I don't know what it is about blonds, but I have always had a preference for them. My friend Lucas tells me it's a sign of my narcissism, that I choose women who have features similar to my own. I couldn't care less.

I glance down at my watch to find that it's almost ten o'clock. I will have to make an appearance out in the club soon. I decide I can spare another five minutes, as I lean back down and take a few more sips from her jugular vein, before licking away the excess blood from the woman's pierced skin. Delicious.

She lets out a little sigh when I pick her up and carry her into the empty room next door. She'll have some privacy in there to sleep off the high from my bite. I can almost smell the endorphins running through her system.

She's wearing an expensive perfume which I find quite appealing, although her natural scent beneath that is nothing unusual. I smile for a moment after I've put her down onto the futon on the floor. I knew from the moment she walked into my club tonight that I would feed from her. She had the kind of appearance I admire; little red dress, long silky hair, a slim figure and honey coloured skin.

I close the door over to allow her some privacy. As I step out into the hallway, I notice my half sister Delilah walking toward me, a look of irritable determination on her face. She hates it when I leave her to entertain my business associates out in the club. Delilah is a dhamphir, born back in the 1920's to a beautiful Swedish human woman my father been infatuated with for a short period. I don't recall what her name had been, but I do remember what she looked like, and Delilah resembles her a great deal with her alabaster complexion, bright green eyes and fiery red hair.

Delilah has always been something of an anomaly in this city, living among vampires despite the fact that the rest of her half human, half vampire counterparts despise us and dedicate their lives to the goal of our extinction.

She lets out a long, theatrical sigh as she approaches me. At my age, you'd think I'd be used to dealing with disgruntled females. Unfortunately, that is something even two hundred and seventy six years of experience cannot provide. Delilah can often be quite moody. Lucas likes to point out it is because she is a perpetual teenager. Dhamphir genetics tend to dictate that even though a person might be fully grown, they are condemned to the body and appearance of an eighteen year old for a very long time. It will take another fifty years or more for Delilah to move on to looking like an adult in her mid twenties.

It could be worse, I ponder humorously, she could have fallen victim to a fate akin to the eternal child Claudia from the book Interview with the Vampire. Thinking of this makes me laugh internally. Humans and their mythologies. Little do they know that we vampires do not need to die to become as we are, we are our own species. Born through the occurrence of some wonderful evolution of mankind, to live for a thousand years and survive with the consumption of human blood.

“Ethan,” Delilah begins, crossing her arms over her black dress, “Nicu Arcos is asking for you, I told him I'd go and fetch you for him.”

“You can inform him I'm on my way,” I answer her, before paying a quick visit to the bathroom to wash the red stains from my mouth. I wouldn't want to appear unprofessional. Nicu is a business acquaintance of mine. In fact, he had been good friends with my father Alin back in the Old Country some two hundred or more years ago. This new club I'm running, which I quite aptly named Crimson (it's sort of an inside joke between myself and Lucas) has really taken off in the last couple of months. Vampires around the city are falling over themselves to supply me with goods and services. It's all rather boring to be honest. But needs must.

As I leave through the staff doorway and enter the main area of the club, the thumping beat of the music assaults my ears. I like this song. Something about sleeping now in the fire. The place is packed with human clubbers. All out for a good time. I have designed the club to cater to the alternative set; Goths, punks and heavy metallers. I suppose they are the humans most inclined to provide blood. Wild and misadventurous. Not that it takes a lot of convincing, all I need to do is focus my gaze on a human and they instantly yield to my will.

I make my way through the bodies, the smell of blood filling my nostrils is the finest scent I could ask for, enhanced by the slight touch of sweat as it drips from those gyrating on the dance floor. My senses allow me to hear every heart beat, they thump as a whole and meld together, making the most glorious sound as it mixes with the heavy music.

Never once in my life, which has spanned almost three centuries, have I lost my fascination with human kind. They are so vibrant, so vital. Despite the fact that I have never felt anything as strong as love for them, I hold an intense affection for the fact that they provide me with an abundant source of entertainment and sustenance.

Speaking of the former, a female with short, spiky bleach blond hair reaches out and latches onto my arm, a suggestive look in her pale brown eyes. I would perhaps have shown her a good time, if it weren't for the fact that I have only just fed. I give her a regretful shake of my head, and she looks disappointed before she releases her grip on my arm and I continue to the VIP section where I am to meet with Nicu.

I spot the old codger sitting at a table surrounded by several female vampires, as well as my sister Delilah. Nicu and my father had always gotten along because they had one thing in common, and that was a rampant addiction to the company of the fairer sex. Nicu is well into his eight hundredth year, and yet he is still as virile as ever. He has one hand placed on the thigh of a brunette, while the other rubs up and down the bare arm of a busty blond.

“Ah, young Cristescu,” he greets me as I approach his table with a wry smile on my lips. It is quite a novelty to be referred to as young, although I imagine that in Nicu's eyes I am merely a pup. “Come and join us,” he finishes, before placing a kiss on the neck of the blonde.

I take a seat in between two other women who I recognise as regulars here at the club, although for the life of me I cannot recall their names. They both smile as I sit, one of them leaning in particularly close to me. At times I enjoy the company of females of my own species, however when it comes to copulation I have always preferred the allure of humans. The scent of their wondrous blood and the fragility of their short lives makes them so much more attractive to my senses.

“How are you this fine evening, Nicu?” I ask cordially, and nod to the barman to bring me over my usual tipple, scotch on the rocks. I developed a taste for it back when I spent the best part of a decade in the early 20th century in Edinburgh. A beautiful city that I have always adored.

“Oh just wonderful,” he replies, a wide grin on his dark face as he clutches the ladies on either side of him even closer. I feel a small touch of nostalgia listening to Nicu's accent, as it is so like my father's had been, changed over the years of a long life, but still with that slight hint of Romanian.

“Good. I hope my staff are keeping you well lubricated,” I tell him, and he smiles again agreeably while toasting me with his glass of champagne.

I allow Nicu to focus his attention on the ladies for a time, while I scan the main area of the night club below me where the humans flock in a sea of intoxication. My mind is slightly elsewhere, since Nicu's presence is causing my thoughts to wander to my father, and how he is no longer with us. Of course, it has been almost two decades since he passed, yet it always hurts to think of his death. We had not been on the best of terms when he'd died after being viciously attacked by a group of vigilante vampire slayers while on a trip to Rome with one of his concubines. He should have lived for another three hundred years, and yet, his life was snatched away from him by a few measly humans because they had caught him alone and unawares.

We had fought before he had gone on the trip, his persistent whoring had finally worn away at my nerves and I had accused him of being disrespectful to the memory of my deceased mother. Well, I had expressed my anger in words much more unsavoury than that. But I won't repeat them now. So, he had gone away furious with me and I with him, and we had never had the chance to reconcile our differences.

This is perhaps the main reason why I now keep my half sister Delilah so close to me. My father had loved her greatly even though she was a dhamphir, because she had been his only daughter. I had never cared for her particularly up until his death, but I had decided that protecting her and giving her the best life possible would be my way of making things right with dear old dad.

It's funny really, because now I would not give her up for anything in the world. She has grown on me a good deal. There are many vampires who look down on the fact that I allow her to live among us, and not on the other side of the city with the rest of the dhamphirs. They can complain all they want, it won't do any good because Delilah is staying exactly where she is.

Nicu clears his throat then, distracting me from my thoughts. “So Cristescu, shall we get down to business?” he asks, rising from his current seat and shooing the women who had been seated next to me away so that he can sit down.

“Of course,” I answer smoothly, and for the next half an hour we discuss the terms for him supplying the club with a stock of alcoholic beverages from his warehouse on the outskirts of the city. Nicu is one of those vampires who always has his fingers in a wide range of pies, wholesaling being one of them.

I have had a variety of different businesses over the years, but currently I am focusing my attentions solely on the running of Crimson. It's quite the little earner too. I've only been open for four months and already I'm making a phenomenal profit. Perhaps the humans are subconsciously drawn to the allure of the vampires who dwell here, who will feed on them and give them a wonderfully euphoric high. All it costs is a drop or two of their tasty blood.

Nicu's voice becomes slightly hushed once we begin discussing a new beverage he is distributing, designed solely for the consumption of vampires. Red wine laced with a hint of human blood. My interest piques at this, and I agree to give it a trial run at the bar in the VIP section, where the vampire clientèle order their drinks.

Once we are finished with the business talk, Nicu goes back to the vampire lovelies on the other side of the table, and the two who had been sitting next to me earlier return to their places. They talk to me of various inconsequential topics of conversation, but I'm not particularly in the mood to bed either of them tonight.

Delilah is still sitting silently close by, sipping on a glass of white wine. I gesture for her to come and join me, as it will provide me with the chance to get rid of the overeager ladies currently seeking my affections. Stubbornly, they move out of the way for my sister and she comes to chat with me for a bit.

After a while Delilah falls silent and I notice her attention is latched onto something or someone beyond where we are seated. She seems intrigued, which is a first because it takes a great deal to intrigue Delilah. I follow her gaze and notice the human she is staring at is a pale, dark haired female with huge bright blue eyes. Skittish blue eyes that are constantly flitting from human to human in the club as though in tremendous fear.

Delilah sometimes takes a preference to bedding women, although most of the time she enjoys the company of men. I wonder what it is about this human that has caught her attention. I am pondering this, when suddenly I realise I have unconsciously sought out her scent. If I had been standing it would have knocked me to my knees. She smells like the sun. How can a human smell like the sun? Impossible. As a vampire, I am highly allergic to the rays of that wondrous star, and being denied something tends to make you a little bit obsessed with it. Needless to say, I am captivated.

“Amazing,” I whisper, and it catches Delilah's attention enough for her to pull her gaze from the human female.

She leans in close to me and replies, “So you noticed her too, there's something about her that smells different, still human, but different.”

“Yes,” I answer, wondering what could account for this human's uniquely alluring scent. Goodness, I can feel my fangs descending from my mouth just thinking about what her blood might taste like.

Delilah notices and smirks. “I'll go and talk to her,” she says, before drifting smoothly away from the table.

I watch her as she descends the steps that lead down from this section. When I seek out the human again I see that she is stood in front of a booth where a group of men are seated, and she appears distressed. One of the men makes some flippant comment and it causes her to let her gaze fall to the floor in defeat. A burst of anger pulses through me, as I think of what the bastard might have said to her. Something rude and ungentlemanly I imagine. I have to physically calm myself down and quell my anger, but the strength of my emotions doesn't fail to perplex me. Why have I become so instantly protective of this woman whom I have never even met before? It's truly mind-boggling.

A smile touches my lips when I see Delilah assuming her stern pose and giving the men sitting at the booth a good talking to. That's my girl. Although I would have preferred to have been the one to reprimand them, perhaps with a little fist action. Again, these odd protective instincts are strangely foreign to me. The woman couldn't be any further in appearance from my usual preference, and yet I am finding myself feeling so strongly about her, and all in the space of a few short minutes.

Delilah is speaking to her now, and the woman appears shocked that someone like Delilah would be helping her in any way. Then Delilah leaves her and comes to rejoin me.

   
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