Catnapped – 12

Jacques spent the morning reviewing the contract. For a contract where he bartered with his blood it was a pretty good deal. Nevio offered him a solid salary for his time and for living there. His room, food, and a car were part of the package. A slight twinge of irritation went through him over the car but he let it slide.

With vampires he would have to pick his battles. Making sure Nevio didn’t take over his life would be the largest one. He could accept a car with good grace.

The way Jacques saw things he could either give in with good grace by signing the contract, or he could fight Nevio and lose all of his opportunity for negotiating. He didn’t bother to consider a third option of being allowed to leave. Vampires were territorial and Nevio saw Jacques as belonging to him. No way would the vampire let his meal walk out of the door and not do anything.

Jacques clutched the pen he found tucked into a drawer and frowned. A deep sigh escaped from the recesses of his soul. “I’m screwed either way,” he muttered.

A headache pressed down on him adding to his oppression. He growled. His lion half wanted to run.

Why shouldn’t he? Didn’t Nevio tell him to examine the document? If he were to negotiate in good faith he needed to relax. He couldn’t concentrate under a time crunch. A wicked smile curled his lips.

“I hope he warned them he had a lion in the house.”

Laughter rang through the room seconds later followed by a loud roar.

As he suspected the noise brought company. A man he didn’t recognize opened Jacques door. He didn’t wait to discover his response. Instead Jacques ran past. The startled yelp added to his enjoyment of the moment.

Let them try and cage the lion, he would show them what it meant to try and tame the beast.

The long hallways were perfect for a good run. Jacques followed the carpet to a landing then down a flight of stairs. The front door thwarted him with its closed status. He growled at the barrier.

“Are you running for freedom or stretching your legs?” Nevio’s voice called out from the top of the stairs.

How did the idiot think a lion could answer? Jacques plopped down on the marbled floor and glared at the vampire.

“Hmm, good point. You’re not exactly the English speaking type of lion. This isn’t a cartoon after all. If I let you out will you stay on the grounds? I don’t want someone to shoot you thinking you escaped from the zoo. I’ve warned my fellow vampires that my sweet lion has joined me. No one on the state will seek to harm you.”

Jacques waited.

“Nod if you are just going for a run,” Nevio demanded.

Jacques let the moment linger for a bit before nodding. The damn vamp needed to sweat a little. Did vampires sweat? A question to have answered another time.

“All right then. Like I said don’t run past the gates. We don’t want someone making a lion rug.”

Jacques didn’t bother to respond to Nevio’s humor. He fled as soon as Nevio opened the door enough for him to get through.

“Have a good run. I’ll leave the door ajar for your return,” Nevio promised.

Fresh air filled his lungs as Jacques fled from the stifling mansion. Years among the cold walls didn’t sound like a good time but maybe he could coax the wolves to come visit and liven things up. He could already tell that the vampires needed a bit more excitement. Who better to add it than the pack?

Pondering the downfall of the vampire coven, Jacques explored the grounds. Looking back at the mansion he admired the gothic pillars and enormous size. The ivy trailing up the sides added a romantic charm.

However, it was the landscape that took Jacques breath away. He currently stood in the middle of a small flower garden in full bloom. A riot of colors and smells flooded his senses. The urge to run faded as he inhaled the heady fragrance of the blossoms.

Jacques flopped down in a patch of sunlight and gave into his feline urges to become one with the sunny circle of grass.

Catnapped – 11

Okay so I reread 10 and there is a bit of a flow issue. Instead of going back over it I will just get on trucking. LOL This is what happens when I type sleepy.
* * * *

“Tell me what you need,” Nevio crooned.

“Freedom,” Jacques quipped taking back his hand.

“Once we’ve established a contract I will see about letting you have more ability to move outside of this house. However, I want you to look over this contract first.” He pulled a bundle of papers out of his inner pocket then handed them over.”

“Thanks.” He didn’t try to hide his sarcasm. If Nevio planned on keeping him here against his will he would be hearing a lot of it in the future.

“Don’t mention it,” Nevio beamed. “Now please keep in mind not everyone here is friendly. While none of my coven will attack you outright we have frequent visitors. Some of them might take offense of a mouthy feeder.”

“Then they can take their fangs and go,” Jacques sniped.

Nevio rubbed his hands over his face. “You are going to make this as miserable as possible.”

“Yes I am. Maybe you should let me go so you can enjoy the peace of my absence.” He raised his right eyebrow at Jacques.

“Good try, my little lion.”

“I’m not little,” Jacques denied.

“But you are mine,” Nevio’s pleased smile had Jacques clenching his fists.

“I really want to punch you.” The words blurted out before he could snatch them back. He pressed his hand to his mouth. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean that.”

“Yes you did.” Nevio ran a hand over Jacques hair. “But if we are going to be together we need to learn to get along.”

“Or we could part ways with no ill feelings.” The more the vampire fought him about it the more resentment faded and his amusement rose. His father always said he was a contrary creature.

“We could, but I’m not willing to.” Nevio wrapped a strand of Jacques hair around his finger. “How about we do a test?”

“What kind of test.” Jacques mistrust increased.

“Hmm, maybe test wasn’t the right word. How about trial? You stay here, with me, for two weeks and we get to know each other. And I don’t mean you tolerate me for two weeks than run off. I want you to genuinely try.”

“And what happens if we prove incompatible after two weeks.”

“I let you go.” Nevio lost his wistful smile and released Jacques hair. “I won’t hunt you down, or force you to return. I’ll even resist the urge to drug you and keep you captive.”

Jacques ran a hand through his hair. “I should probably be worried that you have that as an option.”

“I said I wouldn’t.” Nevio shrugged shoulders in an elegant dismissal.

Jacques mentally poked at the pros and cons for a while before deciding. “All right you have a deal. I will give you a genuine try and make a final decision in two weeks.”

“Excellent.”

He didn’t expect the kiss pressed to his lips and it ended before Jacques could properly object. “What was that for?”

“All the best personal contracts are sealed with a kiss. Take a look at yours and let me know if you have any changes or suggestions.”

Before Jacques could say anything else, Nevio left. Still clutching the contract in a tight fist Jacques headed back to the room he woke up inside. It only took him one wrong turn before he opened a door and entered the now familiar room.

Flopping down on the bed he unfolded the contract to give it a careful examination. If he decided to go along with this he needed to know all the details. He wouldn’t put it past Jacques to sneak in a little clause like Jacques had to massage Nevio’s feet every night.

He raised his eyes at the section titled schooling. Nevio had apparently taken his concerns seriously. A museum curator would be coming by to tutor him once a week while he was in residence and he would be doing his classes online. Would that really work?

Jacques tapped his chin as he considered the possibilities. At least Nevio seemed to be taking his concerns seriously and not just trying to plow over him.

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.