Royal Blood

Chapter 10 The Invitation


I coasted my way home and was parking my bike in the garage when I heard the sound of something hovering a few feet away from me. Cautiously I tiptoed toward the door, my flashlight primed for any maverick vampires.
I saw nothing. Just my dad's parked SUV. I was sure it was a hungry raccoon foraging for leftovers in our garbage can.
Then I heard a twig snap.And footsteps.
I decided to make a run for it. Our back door was only ten yards away from the garage. All I could think of was Freddy Krueger. Michael Myers.Or hockey-masked Jason. Crazy horror movie stalkers haunted my thoughts. I'd seen far too many scary movies to shake them from my mind,Think kids shows , I thought.Barney .Teletubbies.Dora . Those images frightened me more.
If I had my keys ready, I'd make it safely inside before anything could cause me bodily harm. I took a deep breath and geared up to charge forth. But before I took my first step, I was caught in a surprising trap. It wasn't Trevor blocking my escape in the shadow from the garage, or even the most nefarious vampire of all-Alexander's enemy,Jagger Maxwell. It was Alexander.
"Oh... It's just you. Thank goodness!" I made my way to hug him, but he kept his arms folded.
"Where were you?" he asked. He stood stern as my father had many times when I'd broken curfew.
"I just went out for a ride," I said truthfully.
"By yourself?At night?"
"It's still early. My bike has a light on it." All true.
"Then what's that for?" he asked, pointing to my flashlight. "Were you searching for something?Or rathersomeone?"
"It's always good to have extra light. I'm not like you: I can't see in the dark." I grimaced, hoping he'd grin back. His stony expression remained fixed.
"I went to your house," I confessed. "Everyone in Dullsville, including Matt, Becky, and Trevor, has spotted your parents. All I had was a vague memory of a portrait you'd painted of them. I wanted to see them for myself."
I felt awful. My impatience had gotten the best of me once again. I'm not sure how I'd feel if Alexander was sneaking around my house, trying to ogle my parents as if they were subjects in a Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,sideshow. I was no better than the local gossipmongers.
I waited what seemed like an eternity for Alexander's response. I was so ashamed of myself I barely made eye contact.
My boyfriend took my wrist and gently drew me to him.
"I think I might have to place you under arrest for trespassing. But I always go easy on pretty girls who confess," he said ominously.
"You knew, didn't you? I'm that predictable?"
"It was just a matter of time before I spotted you hiding in our bushes."
"So you're not mad?"
"I'm not through with you yet. Are you prepared to accept your punishment?"
I nodded reluctantly. I wasn't sure what a vampire's punishment might be. But I was ready to find out.
"I sentence you to a thousand kisses," he said.
"Can I begin now?"
He finally smiled. I pressed my lips to his and snuggled against him.
When we broke away, I apologized again.
"It's okay. It's time that you meet them. But for tonight, you'll have to settle for me." Alexander winked.
And for the next hour I continued to fulfill my sentence.
Another letter arrived mysteriously-only this time it was at my house.
"You have mail," my mom said when I got home the following day. "It's on the kitchen table."
I wasn't used to receiving cards when it wasn't my birthday or a holiday. Even if it was a college brochure, I was excited something was addressed to me.
A deep purple envelope lay next to our pastel blue salt and pepper shakers.
In beautiful black calligraphy it read:Miss Raven Madison. Like Alexander's mail it was devoid of postmarks or stamps. On the back it had a candle-waxed pressed seal of an S.
I almost tore into it when I remembered how Alexander opened his mail.
"Mom," I called. "Do we have a letter opener?"
"I think there's one in your dad's desk."
I opened the French doors to my dad's office. He had a dark oak desk topped with family pictures. I scanned the desk for any sharp objects but didn't find anything other than a few pens and a golf tee. I was growing antsy and rifled through his desk drawer.
Finally, underneath a file folder, I found a gold letter opener, the end in the shape of a tennis racket. I carefully slit open the envelope.
I pulled out the note card and read:
Mr. and Mrs. Constantine Sterling
request the pleasure of jour company
for dinner this Friday at sunset
Benson Hill
It was official. I was finally going to meet Alexander's parents, and I had the invitation to prove it!