Catnapped – 10

Okay hopefully this makes sense!

 

* * * *

Jacques woke up in a room with white walls and golden brown furniture. Nothing familiar. It took him several minutes to recall what had happened.

“Vampires,” he hissed.

A frantic search of the room didn’t reveal any vampires lurking in the corners. This wasn’t a guarantee that they weren’t there. Jacques climbed out of bed pleased to find he still wore the clothes from the night before. Even if his jeans were a little stiff he didn’t have to worry about anyone removing anything other than his shoes. He found them lined up by the foot of the bed.

Ears perked for any sound he shoved his feet into his sneakers and tied them enough they would stay on his feet if he had to run. He pressed his ear to the door but didn’t hear anyone on the other side. Either the vampires didn’t care if he left or they didn’t think he’d awaken soon enough to cause problems.

He opened the door a crack, just enough to check around. No one stood outside or in the hall as far as he could see. Relieved he pulled the door completely open and stepped into the hall. He didn’t spot any cameras or other people. Maybe vampires didn’t need surveillance equipment.

Halfway down the hall Jacques ran into company.

“Where are you going pretty kitty?” A stranger came out of the shadows to leer at Jacques.

“To sharpen my claws,” he snapped.

The man laughed. “I’m Billen and you smell delicious. If I didn’t know you belonged to Nevio I would take a nibble for myself.”

“I don’t belong to anyone, Nevio included.” The hunger on Billen’s face told him he might have said the wrong thing.”

Billen trailed a finger down Jacques arm. “Are you denying Nevio’s claim?”

Jacques opened his mouth to do exactly that until he caught the cunning shine of Billen’s eyes. “No. I want to talk to him first.”

“Hmm, cautious kitty.”

“No. I’m just not stupid. The second I discard Nevio you are going to be on the prowl and I don’t want to be your blood bank.”

“You’re rather picky for a guest in our house.”

“Guest, kidnap victim. It’s all the same to you. Now are you going to take me to Nevio?”

“Eventually, I might decide to play with my food first.” Billen flashed his fangs at Jacques.

Jacques held up his right hand and transformed it into vicious claws. “And I might gut you where you stand.”

Billen paled, a nice trick for an ivory-skinned vampire.

“I’ll take it from here Billen. Please remember that while he is here Jacques is under my protection. If he feels he needs to protect himself I won’t hold him responsible for his actions.” Nevio’s feral smile eased Jacques anger.

“Thank you.”

Nevio smirked. “Oh you are very welcome. I will do anything to keep you happy.”

Jacques blushed. He couldn’t do much else. “Can you return me home.”

“You weren’t going home. You were leaving. I’m just encouraging that step.” Nevio’s reasonable tone didn’t fool Jacques at all.

“I wasn’t running here.”

“Why not? I can be your home.”

“I’m sure you could,” Jacques said trying not to sound too condescending. “However I’m going to go finish my degree in museum sciences.

“You can do that here,” Jacques said, his lush mouth firming into a hard line.

“No. I really can’t. The university here doesn’t offer it.”

“You can do distance learning.”

Jacques folded his arms and glared at Nevio. “And when it’s time for me to do my labs?”

“Really you are just creating obstacles sweetness.”

“For the sake of a truce between our families I am resisting the urge to punch you in the face,” Jacques said.

“I appreciate the warning,” Nevio said.

“As you should.” Jacques sat down on he bench and waited.

Nevio sat beside him and took Jacques hand to hold between his. “I know you are feeling overwhelmed. I can help you with that.”

Jacques opened his mouth then shut it again. He couldn’t quite decide what to do with a delusional vampire.

Catnapped – 9

Jacques opened his eyes. His glaze flickered around the room taking in everything but absorbing nothing.

This isn’t my room.

Jacques’s room had a mural of the savannah on his ceiling with images of his parents in their lion form. The blank expanse of white floating overhead confused him. “Where am I?”

A knock at the door drew his attention. “Come in?”

He didn’t know if he truly wished to have whoever stood outside the door to come inside but if they were polite enough to knock they probably didn’t mean him any harm.

The door swung open revealing a lean man with green eyes, dark hair and a scowl.

“Hello kitty, I brought you some food.”

“I’m a lion not a pussycat,” Jacques corrected.

The man set a tray on the table beside him. “My apologies, oh mighty lion.”

“Apology accepted and you may refer to me as king of the jungle.” Jacques said with mock dignity. He refused to show fear to a complete stranger. “Now where am I and why am I here?”

“I’m Noah and after you’ve eaten I’ll take you to Nevio who will tell you everything.”

“You’re a vampire aren’t you?” If Nevio was around he must’ve kidnapped him.

“I’d give you a cookie for your brilliance but all I’ve got is steak.”

“I’ll take it.” He waited for Noah to set up his food and remove the domes. He didn’t drool over the perfect steak and he would go to his grave denying it. After cutting a piece of he gave it a sniff before biting.

“Worried we’ll drug you?”

“I was kidnapped, who knows what you are capable of.” Jacques glared at the impertinent vampire.

“I think you can trust us not to drug you after you just work up. Nevio wants to speak with you after all.”

“Good. I’ve got plenty I want to say to him too.”

“I’ll be back in an hour. Finish your meal and take a shower if you want. We brought in your suitcase so you have something to change into.” He pointed to where it had been propped on a footstool in the corner.

“Thank you. You’re very considerate kidnappers.”

Noah flashed him a cheerful fanged smile. “We like to think so.”

Before he could come up with a witty comeback, the vampire bowed and scampered out of the room.

Jacques turned his attention back to his excellent meal. A quick glance around showed no sign of any clocks and with his phone and watch missing it could be any time. There was no light shining through the window so he couldn’t tell the time by the position of the sun. He had never been that great at determining it anyway.

After finishing his perfectly cooked steak he picked out some clothes from his suitcase. “Time for a shower.” Although he didn’t know how much time had passed, Jacques’s clothes had a grimy feel.

Jacques had an odd placidity over his kidnapping. Outrage and anger would’ve made more sense than the calm acceptance. Maybe there had been drugs in his steak after all. He brushed the mild worry aside as he dressed. When Noah knocked on the door an hour later Jacques was ready.

“I’m glad to see you’re not being difficult.”

Jacques let the unfair accusation slide. If he had been difficult it would be no less than they deserved.

“Why don’t you take me to your leader?” Jacques tried for a smile but it didn’t feel right on his mouth. Danger. His inner lion had its fur on end poised to attack. Waking up in a vampire lair didn’t reassure him they meant him no harm. Only knowing Nevio wanted his blood took away his fear.

“Come with me then.” Noah led Jacques out the door and down the hall. Jacques cast a curious gaze around him. The air smelled stale with a hint of blood.

Vampires.

How many of them lived in this one manor

Noah knocked on a closed door that appeared like every other closed door they had passed.

“Enter.” The deep voice sent shivers down Jacques’s spine.

Noah opened the door then motioned Jacques to follow. Jacques watched the vampire enter the room and kneel before the man sitting in a large overstuffed chair.

“Sire, your meal is here.”

“Hey!” Jacques snapped. “I’m not a snack.”

Catnapped – 8

Sorry it’s a little short but it was a good stopping point. I’ll post an extra edition this weekend to make up for it!

****

When he didn’t hear from the vampires he should have been suspicious. Instead Jacques foolishly believed Nevio had given up his pursuit. Driving down the highway he sang along to the radio. The hatchback full of his belongings drove sluggishly from the weight but he got everything to fit inside.

A wide grin spread across his face as he passed fields. He rolled back up the window when the scent of cows became overpowering. He enjoyed nature but not all of the smells that came with it.

His tire light came on. “Damn.”

There wasn’t a good place to turn off. Jacques had purchased the hatchback with his own money, his first major purchase. “I just replaced these tires.”

Unfortunately the fields of hay and cows didn’t seem to be hiding a gas station where he could check out the issue or get a new tire if necessary. On the plus side he had car breakdown insurance. If his tire blew he could have someone come repair it. This didn’t set a good beginning to his road adventure.

His phone rang. A side road appeared on the right. Jacques pulled into it and onto the shoulder. He snatched up the phone as it began to ring again.

“Hello,” he said, answering without looking at the screen.

“Hello my sweet.”

Jacques pulled the phone away from his ear to check out the number. He didn’t recognize it. The voice sounded vaguely familiar. “Who is this?”

“I’m hurt that you forgot me already. Refuse one contract and you refuse me for life.”

“Nevio?”

“Of course. Who else would be calling you?”

“Any number of people. You aren’t the only person I know. I have an entire pack that might give me a ring.” Jacques couldn’t claim closeness to the entire pack but he had more than a few friends among the wolves.

“Where are you?” Nevio asked.

“On the road.” No sense telling the vampire he was sitting on the side of the road.

“But you aren’t moving.”

Jacques glanced around but didn’t see anyone. “How do you know that?”

“I know a lot of things, my sweet one.”

“Are you tracking me?”

“Of course. You didn’t think I’d let you leave town did you.”

Fear crawled across Jacques skin. “Um yes?”

“Silly boy. You’re not going anywhere.” Nevio’s dark purring voice sent chills down Jacques spine.

“I’m going to school. Remember that was why I didn’t want to sign a contract?” Jacques rallied. He refused to show fear. A vampire wouldn’t respect anyone he could cow into submission and he had a feeling he needed this vampire to respect him more than anything if he expected to get out of this situation.

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that.”

Jacques swallowed the lump in his throat. “What are you going to do?”

“Well, first I’m going to have one of my men put a nail in your tire.” The voice no longer came from the phone.

Almost afraid to look, Jacques pulled his ear away from the receiver and turned his head to the left. Nevio stood right outside the window. “I don’t suppose this is one of those situations where I have to invite you in?”

Nevio smiled. His fangs prominently displayed. “Didn’t you know? That’s just an old wives’ tale. Vampires can go wherever they want.”

“Oh, goody,” Jacques said in a faint tone. He cleared his throat. “I’m going to school.”

“Of course you are,” Nevio agreed.

Jacques didn’t trust him.

“But there might be a delay.”

Before he could ask any questions. His world went dark.

Catnapped – 7

Oops I forgot! I need to preschedule these next week. *nods*

* * * *

The rest of the week was quiet. Jacques kept waiting for some word from Nevio. He refused to admit he might be interested in what the vampire offered. Resolve hardened his momentary weakness. If he gave in now he would always be giving in to the vampire.

“You’ve got some mail.”

“Hmm?”

“Mail.”

Jacques snapped out of his daydreaming to find Sarah, the pack secretary, waving an envelope at him.

“Oh, thanks.”

“Mmhmm, want to share what’s bothering you? You’ve been walking around the pack house with your head in the clouds the past few days. People are starting to take bets whether you’ll walk into a wall soon.” She lifted one highly waxed eyebrow. If there was one thing the pack females took seriously it was body hair.

Jacques forcefully shoved any ideas about where else she might wax from his mind with a shudder and stared at his envelope. “Wolves will be on anything.”

A husky chuckle left her lips. “True.”

Before he could say anything else she spun on her three inch heels and strutted off. She might be called the pack secretary but Sarah was more like the administrative backbone of the pack who could rip out your spine if you tried to cheat on your business report. Some of the pack found her almost as scary as the alpha.

Jacques opened his mail and found his acceptance letter to the Master’s program in Museum Studies. He let out a breath. He had been accepted. A wide grin spread across his mouth. He ignored the small pang that reflected wistfully on the vampire. He wasn’t mean to be a vampire companions.

“I was surprised to hear you turned the vampire down.”

Jacques jumped, dropping his letter with a squeal. Once he could gather his breath he spun around and glared at his adoptive father. “Don’t do that!”

Alpha Caldera laughed. “You were to engrossed in your letter. You shouldn’t block out the rest of the world. You never know when you might be attacked.”

“In the middle of the pack house?” Jacques lifted his right eyebrow as he filled his voice with doubt.

His father nodded. “Yep, you know how the wolves like to pounce on their favorite lion.”

Jacques wished he could deny his father’s words but he couldn’t. The wolves did like to play pounce on the tiger. His father always claimed it was a learning exercise and ignored Jacques claims it was a way for the wolves to attack him with consequences. More than once he had ended up in the pack healer’s office.

Although he got along with most of the pack there were the occasional wolf newcomers who didn’t appreciate a lion among them and they often looked the other way while their children ganged up on Jacques. Through the years he had learned how to handle multiple opponents in a fight so he figured it wasn’t all bad.

“I got my acceptance letter.” He snatched it up off the floor and handed it over to his father.

His father scanned the pages before returning them with a wide smile. “Congratulations. I think you will do very well with this. When do you leave?”

Jacques examined the deadlines on the sheet. “After a bit of shopping I think I’ll leave next week. I’m going to drive.”

“Why? It’s a long way for you to go alone.”

“I’ll be fine.” Jacques waved his father’s concerns away. “I want to have my car at school and this is the easiest way.”

“I could have one of the pack take it over for you.”

“Father. I can do it. You don’t have to coddle me any more. I’m all grown up now.” He patted his father’s shoulder.

“I know.” Caldera let out a long breath. “I just keep thinking of you as the sad, shaggy lion cub I found years ago who needed me for his survival. I forget that you’ve left those years long ago.”

Jacques impulsively hugged his father. “I’ll always need you, father, just maybe not as much.”

Catnapped – 6

“You heard me. Now I have to get going.” Jacques didn’t even bother to come up with a reason behind his need to exit. Why make one up if he didn’t need to. Unfortunately Nevio bounced back quicker than he expected.

“Oh no you don’t.” Nevio snagged Jacques collar and scruffed him like a maladjusted puppy.

“Ack, let go!” he gasped.

“I will when you give me a real reason.” Nevio pushed Jacques gently onto the closest chair where he bounced a bit.

“I don’t think I need to.” He gave his best superior look. The one he’d copied from the beta. That guy had a huge stick up his ass and always acted superior.

“I think you do. For example what excuse will you give your father?”

“I don’t have to give my father an excuse he will go along with my choice because he wants me to be happy and he told me I could make the decision on my own.”

“Well he obviously doesn’t understand that you need a firmer hand.”

“One more reason not to become contracted with you,” Jacques finished triumphantly.

Nevio pinched the bridge of his nose. “Are you always like this?”

“Yep,” Jacques replied in a cheery voice.

“And do you think it will prevent me from wanting your blood. All you’ll be doing while I drink is moaning.” Nevio’s wicked smile gave Jacques all ideas about why he would be making obscene noises.

“I’m sure you make it very enjoyable, but I still have to decline. I don’t know if I want to limit my future to just being a blood puppet for a thirsty vampire.” Best get all his concerns out there. Maybe if Nevio heard his explanation he would leave. Jacques ignored the twinge in his heart. He didn’t want to be some blood suckers morning, evening and afternoon meal. He didn’t. Despite Nevio’s sexy manner and handsome features.

“Why do you think you are either my food or have a career? What do ou want to do anyway?”

Jacques rubbed his chin. That was the question, wasn’t it? “I don’t know.”

“Did you go to college or receive any extra schooling?”

The only reason he didn’t snap at Nevio’s intrusive question was the curiosity in the vampire’s eyes.

“Yes, I’ve gone to college. I have a degree in Archeology.”

“Really? What did you plan to do with that degree?”

“I’d like to work for a museum but I need to get a Master’s degree to be competitive in the job market better to have a couple of degrees to be honest.” He rubbed the back of his neck. Usually about this point the guys he dated began to give him a patronizing look over his job possibilities.

“If you sign the contract I will pay for your Master’s degree no matter how many you’d like,” Nevio said persuasively.

“Really?”

“Yes. Of course I would have to extend the contract by a couple of years.”

“Ah.” There was the catch. “I appreciate the offer but I must decline.”

Nevio narrowed his gaze as if trying to peer into Jacques soul to determine the perfect combination of answers to get his way. “It is a good offer.”

“Yes, but it’s like taking out a student loan. As much as I want the degree I don’t think I want to pay the interest acquired.”

“Hmm, you are a difficult child.”

“I’m not a child!” Jacques replied, indignant.

“Well, definitely no tin body,” Nevio purred. “But in mind. It will take you many years to grow into a proper companion. Which is why a multiple year contract is necessary.”

“You are under the impression that I want to spend years preparing myself to be your companion? A bit full of yourself aren’t you?” Jacques grinned. He stood up and headed for the door. “Thank you for your fabulous offer but once again I must decline. I think our life goals are too different.”

He kept down his giggles until he made it out of the room and down the hall. Nevio’s bewildered expression stayed in his mind for the rest of the day causing him to burst out into laughter at random times. Used to his odd ways the other pack members just shook their heads and didn’t even bother to ask him why.

Catnapped – 5

Sorry for the delay! Here you go!

* * * *

Jacques didn’t know what to do about the contract. On one hand he kept remembering Nevio’s handsome face and piercing eyes, on the other he didn’t want to be a blood donor.

He didn’t mind giving blood to the vampires as part of a group but being the only one to feed one had an intimacy attached Jacques didn’t know if he was ready for. He flipped through the contract for what felt like the hundredth time trying to make the right decision. Even though his father had given him the contract, disapproval still hung like a dark mist around him.

Examining the situation from all angles didn’t give Jacques any insight. He groaned, tossed the contract on his desk then flopped onto his bed. He didn’t know what to do and most of the people who would give him advice had decided to be neutral like they were fucking Switzerland.

A knock on his bedroom door pulled him out of his indecision.

“Come in.”

The door swung open and one of the lower ranking wolves peeked his head in. “Your father asked to see you in his office.”

“Thank you. I’ll be right there.”

The wolf shifter nodded and closed the door behind him. Since the messenger referred to the Alpha as his father instead of the Alpha he expected a more informal meeting. Just in case he wore his nicest pair of pants that didn’t have holes and a Tshirt lacking any of their usual sarcastic sayings.

He rushed down the hall once when he caught sight of the time on the grandfather clock. “Damn, I didn’t think I took that long,” he whispered as he broke into a light jog. He knocked the den door a slight sense of déjà vu sliding through him.

“Enter.” It wasn’t his father’s voice that called out. Jacques hesitated, his hand on the doorknob. Before the could make a final decision the person on the other side took it out of his hands and yanked it open.

A pair of brilliant glowing eyes met his own. “Oh.”

“Good afternoon Jacques, imagine meeting again.” The vampire’s smooth voice took away the edges of annoyance that no one had thought to warn him they were having company of the fangy kind.

“Imagine. It’s so rare to find me in my own house.” Jacques folded his arms and leaned against doorjamb not quite ready to enter a room with an unknown entity. As much as he enjoyed flirting with the vampire he still hadn’t decided whether to sign the contract or not.

Nevio grinned. “I’ve come to see if I can tip the scales in my favor. Your alpha seems to think additional discussion is necessary.”

Jacques played with the hem of his shirt and kept his eyes cast down. Some vampires could hypnotize with their eyes and he didn’t know Nevio’s powers yet. A vampire leader would probably have skills regular vampires didn’t.

“I do have some questions,” he said at last.

“Please come inside. I’ll be happy to clarify any questions you have. I brought a copy of the contract for us to go over,” he finished with a dimpled smile.

Nevio oozed an old-fashioned charm Jacques didn’t trust. Vampires had a reputation for persuasion and Jacques refused to be a victim. He entered the room glancing over his shoulder to keep track of Nevio behind him.

“Don’t worry little lion. I never attack my prey.” Nevio’s amusement didn’t reassure him, at all.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He strove for a neutral tone but his shaky voice didn’t help.

A quick glance around the room proved his father wasn’t there. “I was told the Alpha needed to talk to me. Is he coming or was it just to get me here?”

“No need to worry, I’m just here to talk. Alpha Caldera didn’t think you’d come if you knew I was here so he arranged this meeting. I did have to swear to not lay a fang on you during our encounter.”

Nevio’s petulant expression belonged more on a preschooler than a suave vampire and Jacques had to press his lips together to hold in his laughter. “I’ll have to thank him for that later.”

“Hmm, you do that. Now what questions do you have about the contract?” He asked in a pleasant tone. Perched on the corner of the Alpha’s desk, Nevio’s body language remained relaxed and inviting.

Jacques took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. If his heart rate sped up Nevio would know of his nervousness and he had a ridiculous urge to impress the man. “I don’t have any questions of the contract per se. I just don’t think I want to sign it.”

“What!” The temperature in the room plummeted and Jacques was forcefully reminded that he sat in the room with an apex predator.