Trouble Mounts 15

Alejandro said, "Admit it. You would have fallen for her tricks as well, if you didn't have a lifemate. And she lead me to Valencia. The least I could do is help her out."

“From what I see in your mind cousin she didn’t use any tricks” he said chuckling “and if you are playing the humanitarian card then I’m mother Teresa” he said with a naughty smile “that being said don’t forget she helped me too, she helped me bond with my lifemate in that hell whole while my body was not my own, if you having wild sex with her helped her I have no problem with that, after all I owe her more then I can ever repay in my life time to her for bringing me and my life a together and sparing my lifemate of the torture that would have befallen her, I’m just saying I could have done it better” he said with a joking and playful expression.

"I doubt it," Alejandro said. "I heard those women had to bring in other men to sleep with because you were too slow. Being gentle only gets you so far."

“Don’t challenge me cousin I have no shame and I’ll show you my memories of everyone one of my conquest “ he said in a warning tone. He let him feel the push in his head letting him know he was in there

"I don't even want to know, playboy," said Alejandro. "Maybe I should go warn your lifemate. She may want to get tested after being with you, just to be safe."

“She has already been to the doctor and it has been confirmed, she is addicted to me” he said with a playful smile but Alejandro could see the genuine happiness in his eyes

"Sure, rub it in," said Alejandro sarcastically before adding, "Seriously, though, I am happy for you. Our family was worried about you for a while. I don't think there is a hunter more deserving of a lifemate than you."

“Well there is Valen...he is much older then us and I see the darkness growing in him...I heard he recently went into isolation, I’m worried what that means for him, like his ancestors he was always so worried about helping the Jaguar people he neglected to go search for his lifemate” he said in a worried tone “now I fear it is too late” he said sitting down in a chair by the fireplace

"Valen is strong," said Alejandro, putting his hand on Mike's shoulder. "He will do what needs to be done and will do it with honor. He went into isolation to protect everyone, just as the Ancients had when Mikhail was prince. There may be others like him that are close but feel greeting the dawn is cowardly. They may seek him out so that they have a safety net. I doubt anyone would argue against a second Brotherhood forming."

“He is my older brother Al, he will greet the dawn, I know this, he will not let himself fall, I just hope if it comes to that he comes home to do it” he said looking into the fire “no one should have to die alone..” he said and Alejandro knew he spoke of his best friend Samuel who had died alone on the battlefield.

"You can't keep blaming yourself for that, Mike," said Alejandro. "You were fighting your own battle against a master vampire. It was a tragedy, yes, but if you had been there, we would have lost you too, and where would that have left your lifemate? We sent him off with honor, as he deserved, and we all felt we could have done more, but the truth is, it would have taken more than one of us to save him, and we were all in battle. He would not want you to morn his loss, but to celebrate his life and to live happily." Alejandro's stomach growled and he put a hand too it. "I guess, I need to find something to eat. That sounds strange coming out of my mouth. I'm used to feeding."

He went to the kitchen to find some food that didn't have meat in it. It took some doing because he felt like he was starving and everything seemed to appeal to him in that moment.

ill be back, call me if she wakes up mike said and left.

After cooking many different things to eat, he sat down and began to eat, he was startled when he heard her voice “how do you know how to cook so well...I thought Carpathians don’t eat food” Val said as she leaned against the door frame of the kitchen. She was in a big t-shirt that had a claw mark on the stomach, giving it a wild sexy look to it

Alejandro choked on his food when he saw her, not because she had scared him, but because she looked so damn sexy in nothing but that torn shirt. He drank some water, taking in a gulp of air after.

"Well, we have to appear human as much as possible," he said. "That includes knowing how to cook, and how to make it look like we are eating. Sometimes, illusions aren't enough, so we must actually eat our food, but that is where it gets tricky. Carpathian bodies aren't made to take in food, so our bodies reject it. It's very painful, actually, but necessary when someone looks too closely at things." He took another bit. "However, I'm human now, so I finally get to do something I've always wanted to try. Eating food. I have to say, the recipes made each of these dishes sound amazing, but they all taste bland to me. I put in the right seasonings, cooked it just like it said. Why do these vegan meals lack flavor?"

“You don’t have the right ingredients here to make vegan food taste good and your missing out if you don’t try something better....don’t think I am offering for you but I’m starving and I am going to cook something...so if you want you can have some9she said walking over to the cupboards “I’m not a vegan and your cousin filled the house with food I like so yeah..” she said opening the cupboard. When she reached up to grab a seasoning pack from the top shelf the shirt rode up, exposing the bottom of her tone plump buttocks, making it very clear she was very naked under that shirt.

If I were a Carpathian, I'd at least put clothes on her, he thought, clenching his fist. If I didn't have my honor, I'd wouldn't be able to stop myself from claiming her right now. I hate being human. He was just grateful that the table covered his large erection.

"As long as it doesn't contain meat," he said. "I'm still Carpathian enough to find the ingestion of meat abhorrent."

“That makes no sense...for one you drink blood and too you are a Jaguar right? There are no Jaguar vegans” she said grabbing some other ingredients “I love meat and I am cooking chicken Alfredo but if it bothers you I’ll just leave the chicken out of yours but I still don’t get why you don’t like meat and for that matter since your bodies human you should at least try it” She said with a shrug as she filled a pot with water

"You wouldn't be saying that if you could see from the chicken's point of view," he said. "Carpathians see animals, all animals, as our brethren. And My grandmother was a Jaguar before her conversion, so the cat is strong in us, but we aren't really Jaguar. True Jaguar are nearly extinct, sadly. They were a magnificent race, but the men didn't treasure their women and children. Their nature made them leave. Some tried to stay, but you can't always fight instinct. Few managed, but still, the women turned to humans that would love them and stay with them. The Scarletti family is of Jaguar decent, as is many on their lands. It is because of their diluted blood that they value family and do not abandon each other. Some of them can even shift, though it is difficult for them to control their cat, not knowing if they hurt someone or not, but they have a Carpathian family that is related to them watching over them and protecting them. They even use the gifts bestowed upon them from that Jaguar lineage to conduct favorable business deals. They are remarkable to see in action and love fiercely. Maybe we can visit and learn from them."

“The only family I had growing up was my adopted grandmother, I say adopted because she adopted my father” she said with a shrug “old bat may she Rest In Peace” she said in a upset tone making it clear she did not have a good relationship with her “anyways I have no interest in meet a family that is not my own” she said “if anything I would just like to find out more about my parents, obviously secrets were kept”

"If you give me their names, I'm sure my cousin can look into it for you," he said. "I don't have the same persuasive powers I used to, but they will give him the information if he asks for it. My name may carry weight, but without my abilities, they still wouldn't give me those records."

“Well from what I know their names were Malveno and Belladonna Scarletti, though when I tried to look up the family name I couldn’t find anything on it...it was like they never existed, it was my grandmother who told me their names on her death bed but my birth certificate has them with different last names, I don’t know why”

He choked on his food again, this time, needing her to slap his back. He looked up at her, seeing her with new eyes.

"That explains a lot about your personality," he said. "You are definitely a Scarletti. They are an Italian family. However," he sat, scratching his chin, "if they were put up for adoption, then that means only two things. Either they were illegitimate and their parents didn't want it known for some reason, or they were kidnapped. Both prospects are not good. But it means that the family I told you about is your family."

“If that’s the case why would I want to meet people who gave up my parents?And what do you mean kidnapped? I would think it would be hard to kidnap your kind, minus the shapeshifting you can track better then a blood hound and who would want to kidnap my parents? Well then again I guess they were not that invincible....they did die in a car accident “ she said walking over to the stove to continue cooking

"Valencia, you said Scarletti," he said. "That's the Jaguar family. They can die just as easily as humans, but some have the ability to shift into a large cat. The Carpathian family's name is Justicano. That means, if they were kidnapped, it would have had to have been for the money. Ransom, but it never came. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't because they didn't care, but that something else would have had to happen to prevent them from saving your parents. I'll see if Mike can contact Don Franco, get information on this. If what you say is true, they will need to investigate your grandmother's life as well. She could have raised your parents as her own when the ransom never came. If your parents had of sought the Scarletti family out, perhaps our first meeting would have been vastly different."

“My father met my mother on one of his business trips to Brazil...so if he was kidnapped he didn’t act like a man who had been traumatized like that, he was outgoing and kind...” her voice lowered as she spoke “they both were, I just don’t understand why I was kept in the dark...even if I couldn’t shift...” she said live always felt like a freak...a out cast because of my connection to cats...if I would have known there was a reason behind it maybe I wouldn’t have felt that way”

"We will look into this," he said, going to her and putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "We will find out the truth for you. But you were never a freak. Valencia, you are of the light, beautiful and bright. When around you, there is no way anyone could not bask in your glow. Perhaps those that made you feel this way felt ashamed because they saw what they could have been through you, and rather than admit to themselves that they were tarnished, they made you feel as if you were. You are special, Valencia, and you deserve to be treated as such."

She didn’t look at him but he could hear the smile in her voice when she spoke “go sit back down before I throw this raw chicken at you”

"Hey, now," he said, joining in on her fun. "I'm sure I'm tasty enough already. I don't need Ode de Chicken added to my natural scent, thank you."

He saw her hand grip the stove hard. Her heart was beating fast in her chest, he was right his scent was enough and it was driving her crazy “back beast” she said not looking at him but holding up a piece of raw chicken as a warning

He put his hands up and said, "I surrender. Poor, frango. Used as a football instead of your food." He wiped away fake tears. "How tragic."

She shook her head and hid her smile and continued to cook, soon the whole kitchen smelled so good his mouth began to water. After a few more minutes she turned off the stove and set a plate of the food in front of him, even without the chicken it smelled delicious but he also knew and was disturbed by the fact that to his human body at least, he couldn’t deny the chicken smelled good too. She sat at the table with him but chose the seat farthest from him and began to eat. He couldn’t help but notice how she tucked her hair behind her ear as she brought the food to her mouth, or the way her lips parted and she licked them to get the sauce of her lips

He forgot his hunger for just a moment and watched her. Everything about her beckoned to him. When she looked at him, he quickly took a bite. Flavors burst in his mouth and it was like he couldn't eat enough of it.

"This is really good," he said half way through. "I never knew something homemade, by hand, could be so amazing." He suddenly stopped and couldn't look at her. "It seems there are things I still do not know. Simple things like making a dinner by hand, or creating something slowly over time... My family always focused on combat skills, but artistic talent never seemed to be a part of our genes. Yet, this, a simple dis, holds so much of you in it." He looked up at her. "How can something made by hand, without special abilities, seem so much better? How do human live without being able to clean themselves without a thought? Or scent the air to learn of its stories? Or..."

“Ok stop...look we don’t have abilities to make our life easier, we have to work hard and learn everything just like you, the only difference is the way of life...some people don’t even have homes or food...we have more responsibilities then your kind, we have to eat,sleep,we get sick... you don’t have to worry about that, you drink blood, you survive off of one thing, but us, we have to not only be careful what we eat but what we eat also effects our health. There are so many differences between humans and your kind I don’t think you will ever fully understand how much harder it is to be human....” she said in a sad tone “your kind are things from fantasy....humans dream of being like you just so we could have a easy life and be happy...to be able to fly...shape shift, live for hundreds of years....to not have to worry about sickness or money...” she said putting down her fork “my whole life I worked hard to survive and in a span of a week you come and take it from me without letting me have even just a moment to wonder if this is what I want..how can a species that live so long be so ignorant of the humans they share their world with...”

"It isn't that we are ignorant, Valencia," he said. "We see a different view, just as humans do. To us, humans need our protection from vampires. They could have been friends or family, but we must bring them to justice. And some of us work, just as you do, with our hands and shape things. We have painters, musicians, and jewelers, hand making everything. I never got to explore that, though the human family that protects us during the day did. I never wondered about making things by hand before because my path was simple. Hunt the vampire, protect the innocent or die trying. Surviving meant knowing you could defeat your enemy, and if you failed, then the other world waited." He wanted to take her hand, but since she was so far away, he gripped his pant leg. "I never meant to make you feel as if I stole your choices from you. I never wanted that. You are a strong woman, and I will never be worthy of you. I know that. I'm too far in the dark, and you in the light. I wanted you to choose me because that's what you wanted, not because I forced you to. I may be a hunter, Valencia, but I'm not a dictator. You have a life well established, and you deserve time to learn what you want now that I've entered that life. I would like to tell you I would leave you alone completely, but I can't. I did say I would greet the dawn in two years time if you didn't choose me, and I meant that, but my family would watch over you after. You are my lifemate, claimed or unclaimed, and that makes you family. We protect our family." He looked her dead in the eye. "Teach me. Please, teach me how to be human."

“I can’t teach you to be human...it’s something you have to learn on your own...there is so much to being human and there are endless possibilities and outcomes...it’s about learning and growing...it’s so hard to explain what human is when every one is different and there are so many things that effect how someone becomes their person they will be. From background to their parents to their environment to their will and own mind and their strength to continue on..so many things” she said eating again “I can teach you the basics like cooking and washing and other things like that but the internal struggle you have to figure out on your own...that’s what humans do” she said “we don’t have Lifemates...we don’t have the promise of someone loving only us for the rest of our lives...people cheat...people die...and people change, so at the end of the day even if someone is married happily or surrounded by family we know we are alone, because at the end of the day our life is ours to live, not theirs”

"You made every human sound like our hunters," he said. "I must admit, I never thought of it like that. All the human I know were part of our extended family. They protect us during the day, full of honor and are warriors, yes, but always being alone. It's sad in a way. It's true, the males are born knowing there is a woman out there with the other half of their soul, but we don't always find her. Many become monsters before they even get the chance or after they lose their lifemate, then there are those that chose it." She felt a change in him, a deep pain. "I've seen human monsters, Valencia, ones that hurt their women and children. But to see your friends, your blood, turn into a vampire in front of you..." He pushed the plate away. "Let's change the subject. Please."

“Imagine all the Carpathian people in one room right and you know some of them are these vampires but you have no abilities to tell which ones, that is but just a small glimpse of what it is like to be human, see we can’t tell who the monsters are so everyday we have to risk it, at least you can tell” she said continuing to eat “everything in me screams to be what you are just so I can have a easy life but....I don’t what to make such a big decision like that based on such feelings....” she said “I won’t deny I feel them, my heart and my mind are human and as such there is always a desire for an easy life....to be selfish and greedy but it does not mean I have to act upon them” she said “as far as you seeing people turn into monsters you are not the only one, people go through that everyday, I’m not saying it means it is not important but I’m saying you have to move on, if you don’t then you stop living it’s that simple” she said finishing her food and getting up, she took her plate and reached for his “are you do.....”

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