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On Your Own Accord 1

Summary opening

Hi, I’m Bridget Craig, college student, “heiress”, and the housemate of a two hundred year old vampire who is prone to boredom and violent acts against my dates. Did I mention I’m said vampire’s landlady too? Yeah, this is my crazy life that’s divided between making the grade and guarding my neck from Nicolas Muncel. The sexy vampire entrepreneur who I swear will be the cause of grey hairs. Provided he doesn’t turn me first.


Chapter 1


‘Caffeine…’
I stumbled through the maze of antique furniture on the way to the kitchen. The kettle was already on and Nick had left a note on the table. I smelled the earl grey that was being kept warm. ‘Bless your undead heart.’ I inhaled my cuppa and moved to his note.

Good morning Bridget,
This note is to inform you that Theo was ill last night. I scrubbed the carpet to the best I could but you may want to double check.
I know your aunt loved the creature but please do something about his habits.
Nicolas


I glanced at the cat in question and he was, without surprise, abandoned on the porch. When I opened the door, my cellphone buzzed. I giggled at seeing the text.
“Good to see you’re up to date on tech, Nick!” I called down to the basement. “And no, I’m not skipping class to take him to the vet. I told you to keep an eye on where you leave your drinks and meals. Not my fault he got into your stash.”
I could imagine the vampire glowering at me with groggy, wine colored eyes and I grinned at that visual. I’d get hell tonight, but until Nick got the message to be careful (and that I wasn’t my aunt – a bubbly woman who would cater to his every need) I’d continue waging a mini war against him. My phone buzzed again.

You are evil, Ms. Craig.

“Back atcha, Nicky.” I poked while swinging my book bag over my shoulder. I heard the echo of his growl from the basement apartment. I grinned and grabbed my lunch on my way out the door. Hopefully tonight wouldn’t be the night we ended up trying to kill the other.

*

After finishing my shift at the diner, I hobbled home. Despite having inherited all of my aunt’s worldly belongings, I still felt the need to work. Unfortunately for me, I had yet to get the knack of working in heels. The sight of home, an old Victorian, in the fading light was like water in a desert. Without much thought I kicked off my shoes in the hall and tried not to crawl toward the kitchen.
“Get back here!”
I looked into the parlor and found a man clad in a business suit on his hands and knees by the sofa. A hiss told me Theo was under the furniture.
“Be nice.” I chided to Nicolas as I passed.
The vampire looked up, his dark hair graced with dust bunnies from having had been under the furniture. He huffed, “That thing is a menace.”
“Says the person who leaves his super rare stakes unattended to take business calls.” I commented.
My knees buckled from the pain that shot up from my feet when I stepped off of the rug and onto the hardwood floor. I braced myself to feel the hardwood floor, but instead was met with a surprisingly warm and solid chest.
Nicolas looked at my blistered feet with a soft frown. Without pause he swept me up into a bridal carry. When we reached the kitchen I was deposited on a chair.
“I wish you’d stop being such a masochist.” Nicolas said as he dug in the freezer.
I glowered at him. “It’s called ‘work’.” I told him while mimicking his German accent.
“I thought your aunt left you enough to not need to work at that wretched diner.” He noted.
“Yeah, but it took her a life time of savings – eighty years – to achieve that number.” I sighed and prodded my sore feet. “It feels wrong to rely on that number in the bank.”
“Then raise my rent to meet the other needs you have.” Nicolas suggested.
I frowned, “That wouldn’t be right either. This is your house. You were the one who designed and built it. While the title is in my name you are the original owner who made this place a home. Our contract of living agreement stands. To change it now is unfair.”
“Just a thought, Bridget.” He said and closed the freezer door. He brought the ice pack to the table then returned to the fridge. He was about to kneel down to tend to my feet but I moved my legs out of his reach.
“I’m not invalid.” I grumbled.
“No, you just come from an era with devices that cripple women.” Nicolas replied while digging through my pile of leftovers in the fridge.
“I’m not going to laugh at the fact that this is coming from a man who is used to seeing a woman in corsets.” I said while easing my feet onto the ice pack.
A set of wine eyes looked at me, “You’d banish that back pain of yours if you gave it a try.”
“And ask for your help at five in the morning with lacing it tightly? Nice try but no.” I replied.
He shrugged, “It was worth a try.”
“Line twenty-five of our live in agreement.” I reminded him when I saw his eyes shift shades. ‘No biting, compelling, or glamoring.’
He glared at me, “I have time to wait for you to come to me on your own accord. One year is nothing to me, Bridget.”
“Yeah, yeah whatever. Just give me my cheesesteak and I won’t throw the nearest object at you.” I waved the matter off. I was not his or anyone else’s. A year of thwarting romances from a man born in 1809 shouldn’t be my biggest of successes. Besides, the immortal in front of me got bored. I wasn’t about to be his toy to pass the time.
Nicolas sighed at me but the sub was slid across the table to me.
“Be safe, Bree.” He said before stepping out into the night air.

~*~

The Undead Citizens League was a joke to us older vampires, but for the secret society to survive in Greene District the meetings were mandatory. The community was a majority of vampires with humans that shared the house with them either as the family they watched over or as a romantic interest.

I despised the meetings with my brethren. They reminded me that I was too far away from where I wanted to be.

The second I met Bridget Craig after her great-aunt’s funeral was the second I knew I had to have her. Unfortunately, auntie’s last wish was for me to watch over her only living relative to make sure she was not alone. Not dominate her. I had to do the one thing I hated; I had to wait for Bridget to approach me. I had the old woman’s blessing as long as I let Bridget choose her future.
That was something I hated.

When a New Blood spoke up, I fidgeted. The newly turned brought up topics that we elders never consented to and the New Bloods took up most of their floor time arguing against our wisdom. It felt wrong to be away from the house for too long.

Despite the district being a majority of undead, that didn’t mean mortals would behave. The historic centers of the city were robbed every so often. A mortal’s life was fragile and in need of careful handling. I wasn’t about to let my home be robed (and endanger Bridget’s safety). I also didn’t want to endanger third degree burns on the race home.

Mr. Hamm, a New Blood of a few years, rambled on and on about how we should gather in numbers and approach the government with the demand to be recognized as citizens legally instead of constantly forging papers to continue our way of life.
I sighed and got up. Everyone looked at me with shock and fear as I gathered my coat.
“Mr. Muncel!” Mrs. Novakova hissed.
“This is wasting my time. We’ve repeated to New Bloods the reasons why exposing ourselves publicly is unwise. The governments of the world know of our existence as well as the world’s richest. Those are the people who can cope with our existence because we’ve made them understand. To the everyday man, he’ll grow afraid and will attempt to destroy us.” I stated then looked at the New Blood. “We are not human, Mr. Hamm. We may look it but we are the predator who sits at the top of the food chain. Our appearance is human but our nature is as fierce as wolves or even a feral cat. Continue your humane manner of an immortal life, but have respect for those of us who were turned when there was no humane way to start our immortal lives.”
The New Blood had opened his mouth to argue, but I had already exited the building.

*

The house was quiet when I reentered. It was disappointing. The damnable agreement I made with Bridget made it where the house was mine from sunset to sunrise, and hers from sunrise to sunset. She almost always retired to the second level shortly after dinner.
It made things lonely…

I peeked up the stairs and listened to make sure Bridget was all right. Her breathing was even but the rustle of paper said she was reading. After listening to her reading habit, I set about my plan for the night.
After the careful relocation of Theo (the cat for some reason always fell asleep on Bridget’s bag) I pried Bridget’s only pair of heels out of her bag. My fangs ached when I smelled the blood that they absorbed when the blisters on Bridget’s feet broke through the skin.

After disposing of the horrid objects, I warmed some A- and walked down to the basement apartment that was made five years ago on Auntie’s insistence.
The space beneath the house was windowless but nowhere near lightless. Renovations led to adjustable lighting that lit the vintage recreation of the libraries and parlors of my youth. Cherry wood and faint noble patterned wallpaper circled the space. Only three rooms made up my apartment: a hallway/sitting area, the bedroom, and a master bath.
It was a far cry from the airy space above, but it was comfortable.

With dinner in hand, I typed in passwords into my laptop and checked business related investments.
Above me, three floors above me in fact, I heard Bridget moan softly. My whole body went stiff at the sound. When I heard the sound again, I swore.
‘She could kill me without a stake.’ I downed the last of my drink. Readjusting the laptop, I searched for romance advice. Methods of my peers did not work on charming her.
I needed a new approach before her sexual frustration killed us both.
I was a gentleman, but even I had limits. Hearing her battery-operated…thing was it. I’d tolerate the aromas that came with her romance novels, but I would never tolerate her settling for less when I was right here.

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