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On Your Own Accord 2

*~*

Closing my laptop, I inspected the list that my research had produced.

1. Be stable – show her that you will stick around even if things get tough.
2. Provide – give her gifts without a reason.
3. Listen – things are said for a reason.
4. Honesty – only way to keep her.
5. Know her – beyond the face, beyond the personality she shows the world.
6. Love letters all ways gives boyfriend points.

My eyes locked on number five and I sighed. I barely knew anything about Bridget outside of her daily habits and what Auntie told me. I knew so little about her tastes that I had gotten her gift cards for Christmas and paid for her and a friend to go out to a nice dinner for her birthday. I didn’t even know what her major was in.

Grabbing the pen again, I jotted down one final note.
‘Plan 1. Get to know Bridget…’


*~*

On my break from waiting tables, I sat down at Jenny’s table where she had her homework and cheese fries splayed out all over the place. The brunette blinked at me comically when I stole a bite. I worried my hair with my fingers and looked at her pleadingly.

“Convince me not to stake him.” I begged her. As my next-door neighbor and bestie, I had no doubt that she’d understand why Nickolas was irritating me. She lived with her third-great uncle, Alexander, and was born into the knowledge about vampires and the supernatural. Jenny De’Bloc was the know-it-all when it came to the coming and goings of the Greene District.

She sighed and leaned forward. “What has the tall, dark vampire sex god done now?” She asked.

“Everything. He’s made me breakfast faithfully for two weeks straight. Every other morning I find a flower on the table or in my bathroom. There’s a taxi that picks me up for class every morning then another one that picks me up after class and after work. And now I’m finding letters left on my nightstand when I come home from my shift. Letters that make no sense whatsoever.” I recounted the past two weeks of confusion. “I don’t get it. For a year he’s been perfectly fine with us living separate lives and now he’s something out of a chick flick.”

“Something we both know you hate with an unholy passion.” Jenny muttered before she popped a fry in her mouth. “Bree, I’ve lived in Greene District my whole life. Nickolas is never that nice to a person. The only reason I can think of is he’s honestly perusing you.” An impish smile graced her lips, “Some body likes you.” She said in a sing-songy voice.

“But why? I’m not-”

“Finish that sentence and I will throw my drink at you.” She warned with a look that made me pierce my lips tightly. “You are pretty and you are interesting.”

“He’s seen the world, two hundred and something years worth of it. What can I offer him that isn’t something that he hasn’t seen already?” I couldn’t be pretty. I was a tiny, red haired, freckled oddity of humanity who was rarely asked out on a second date by my own kind. How could a vampire see anything in that?

“You won’t know until you ask.” She replied then leaned closer. “Have you ever thought that Nick is trying to update himself to make you happy?”

It was my turn to blink.

*~*

I stormed into Alexander’s home and went straight for his brandy. I poured myself a drink and kicked it back in one go before even attempting to speak a single word.
“I want to kidnap her.” I confessed to my friend and brother. Speaking of which, they both were staring at me with shocked expressions.

“Don’t kidnap Bree. It’s illegal and she would not find it romantic.” Alexander, a vampire with blond hair and medium height, said imploringly while acting just like the English gentleman everyone expected.

I gripped the glass and resisted the urge for another shot. Getting wasted wouldn’t help me stay in control. “Then what in hades name does she consider romantic? I’ve done everything that the modern woman considers romantic and she hasn’t responded.”

“Perhaps kidnapping would speed things along…” my brother, Rupert, thought aloud. The former mercenary gave me a grin as a form of giving me his permission to do the illegal thing.

Alexander glared at Rupert. “You’re not helping.” He hissed at him then looked back at me. “Just give it time. She’ll realize what you’re saying soon enough.”

Though Alexander meant for the words to be comforting, they weren’t. Instead, they angered me more than that damnable device she hid in her bedside table. “How long? Until another man sweeps her off her feet or when I am standing in a hospital looking at a woman whom the world thinks is my mother or grandmother? I cannot wait.” I said with my heart aching. I couldn’t lose Bridget. Women like her were rare. She could handle the darkness. She never tried to run from it and she accepted it. It took all self-control to not lock her away selfishly. She was made for this life. She was made for me and only me.

“Nickolas, love cannot be rushed the way you want it to be.” Alexander reasoned, “Ask her out. Your intentions are clearer that way.”

***

The next morning I stayed up to fix Bridget her breakfast and to wait for her at the table. It was a Saturday, she had no classes to rush off to nor did she have a shift at the diner today. I had her to myself for as many hours as I could stay awake. When the sun rose, I vowed that I would ask Bridget out on a date for tonight or tomorrow evening before allowing myself to rest.

When the stairs creaked, I stood and brought the food to the table. While following the location of her footsteps, I placed utensils, juice, tea, and syrup on the table. I waited nervously for Bridget’s arrival in the kitchen and bowed to her when she did.

“Good morning, Bree,” I greeted. I watched her as she looked me over and then glanced over the kitchen with a cautious gaze. Confusion was in her eyes and for a moment she looked frustrated, but she didn’t say anything. Instead, she sat down and sipped on the tea.

I stayed silent until after she had finished her tea. Once I was sure she was awake and not grumpy, I spoke.

“I’ve come to the realization that during this past year I have forgotten my manners and I’d like apologize for that properly. I was hoping that you’d allow me to make up for my rudeness by taking you to the establishment of your choice for dinner tonight.” I had rehearsed this line all night and was proud when it came out the way I intended.

Bridget gawked at me. “What,” she breathed so softly only my inhuman hearing could hear it.

“May I take you out for dinner tonight?” I asked bluntly. Bridget sat there slack jawed. “I’m asking you if I may take you out on a date tonight.”

“Oh…” she breathed softly then my words sunk in. When it did she squeaked and her cheeks flamed. She hid as best as she could behind the mug in her hands, her beautiful eyes locked on the steaming brew. “I…This is unexpected.” She confessed.

I sat down across from her. “How so?” I asked as gently as I could.

“I never thought you’d want to take me out on a date.” She said meekly. The woman who sat in front of me wasn’t a Bridget I knew. She was shy, unsure. Something in her voice said that she was expecting me at any moment to take back what I said. 

“I am, Bridget. Er,” I coughed to cover my misphrase. “I do…have. It would bring me great pleasure if you would accept.”

An elegant brow rose and Bridget leaned back in her chair. The motion was slow, but she nodded. It took all self-control to not launch myself over the table to kiss her.

*~*

The impromptu date threw me into a panic state after Nickolas went to sleep. It had been years since I went on a date and I had nothing appropriate for a date. Nothing I owned was along the line of alluring, flattering, or sexy. Everything was basic jeans, a few fishnet shirts and rock tees from concerts, and skirts that screamed rural-town-girl. Jenny would tease the heck out of me for this, but I was desperate.

When I let myself in, Jenny was already on the stairs with the biggest grin I had ever seen.

“Uncle Alex said Nickolas was gathering the courage to ask you out.” Jenny said as explanation for why she was ready. “Need an outfit?”

I nodded and closed the door behind me. I followed Jenny upstairs to her room and she started going through her closet. Every so often she threw an item on the bed.

“So where are you going tonight?” She asked while inspecting a pair of leggings.

“Don’t know… He said it’s my choice but I don’t know where I want to go.” I answered then sat down on the bed to look at what she threw on the bed. Thus far the stack was of lacy little black dresses.

“Need any suggestions?” Jenny asked.

“No,” I said and toed off my shoes. “I have a few ideas.”

“Ideas that hopefully lead to getting some.” Jenny teased.

I blushed and looked at the outfits she had on the bed. “I might with outfits like these…” Jenny had pulled out some dresses that had very generous plunged necklines. Some of the LBDs had shorter skirts on them than my high school uniform.

“Shut up and try them on.” She responded.

I sighed and ditched my shirt to try one dress on. It had the most modest of the necklines but it was still a sweetheart. Once on, I ditched my jeans and looked in the mirror. 

The silky black hugged me in the right spots and felt like a second skin. It traced the right curves while keeping some form of tummy control to hide the fact that college lifestyle and working at the diner made me go up a dress size or two since high school graduation. Self-consciously, I grabbed a blue lace shrug and pulled it on. Jenny pulled it right off.

“You have it, you flaunt it.” She scolded me with a tsk. “No one would have guessed this was beneath sweatshirts and baggy jeans.”

“This is his era’s idea of being naked.” I protested.

“And it’s time he got used to it.” Jenny said with a smirk. “Now…” she drew out and grabbed her makeup bag. “Let me do your makeup?”

*~*

I woke two hours before sunset. My grooming and attire followed the advice of the romance articles. I bathed in earth-scented musk – a combination of sandalwood and crisp, warm amber – and selected a less formal shirt. I rolled up the sleeves to my elbows and left the top three buttons undone. The feel of black denim was bizarre but I’d endure it for Bridget’s pleasure.

The final part of the attire was a jacket to ward off the evening air. I, of course, wouldn’t need it but Bridget would. It was a navy blue suit jacket and it fit well against the black of the jeans and the gray of the shirt.

Once upstairs I listened for Bridget, following her heartbeat to the parlor. If my heart still beat, it would have stopped upon seeing the image before me.

The full vision of a temptress, a sucmbi, sat before me in the parlor. I had always seen Bridget as a woman with a welcoming appearance, a woman who wasn’t too skinny and a woman who was practical. Never before had I seen her in such alluring attire.

She was seated on the high winged backed chair with a book in one hand and a clutch on her lap. Her dress barely brushed her knees and looked like a second skin against the cream of her bosom. Scarlet hair was fixed in a professional looking bun with two stray wisps kissing her pale cheek. Her eyes were dusted with silver and charcoal, which made her emerald eyes look coy as they fluttered over the words on the page. 

I cleared my throat to hide the squeak in my voice. She looked up and stood; notifying me of the knee high heeled boots she wore. I moved closer and cupped her cheek.

“You look beautiful…” I said while I fought the urge to beg her for a night in so I could be the only one who saw her in this.

Her eyes fluttered close but reopened momentarily to look straight at me. “Thank you,” she said and looked at me. “You’re looking handsome tonight.”

“Have you thought of where we’ll be dining tonight?” I asked.

Worrying on her lip, she nodded and looked hopeful. “If it wouldn’t cause any problems, is Italian good?” She said in wonder.

I nodded and offered my arm. “As milady wishes,” I said with a half bow.

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