As promised, here is the Shattered Souls sneak preview (unedited).
There are SPOILERS! I recommend reading Imprinted Souls/Bloodlust/Divine Ashes/Blood Bound, before reading this chapter.
When you have an eternity to live, it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’ve seen it all… that you have ‘lived’ it all. With time, it becomes more pleasant to live by re-living your memories than to make new ones. In a way, I think that was what he had in mind when he gave me that journal.
This drastic realization didn’t come slowly… it wasn’t something that built up with time. Everything just really hit me tonight. I had never been great with birthdays anyway. I knew that something was bound to happen.
The journal wasn’t even that big of a surprise. Yes, it wasn’t his usual type of gift. He usually went for the extravagant vacations and designer clothes. He had been saying for a while that I should start writing a journal. That there are things… memories that should never be forgotten… especially when you have an eternity to live.
Anyway, in human years, I am supposed to be forty-eight years old… looking at the mirror, I saw the same girl who was weeks away from finishing high school when she – I was turned into a vampire. The worst was that my reflection was a constant reminder of the worst events of my life. I looked the same as I did when my parents last saw me. The same as when my soul mate died, coincidently around my birthday. Truly, I still blamed myself for what happened to Matt. No matter which way I looked at it, it was my fault.
It was as if the world around me changed, but I stayed the same.
I sat in front of the mirror for a very long time. I felt empty… as empty as I felt thirty or so years ago.
“Lexi, are you about ready? We have to be there soon.”
“Yeah, just give me five minutes.”
I stood up, changed into the cute black dress and Christian Louboutin shoes that he bought me earlier this week and put on a happy face for the one who did just about anything for me. He did everything that he could to try and make me forget my past… to forget his past. Over the years we traveled so much and took so many classes that I thought I could probably do just about anything by now. That was one thing I had no regrets about. The choice that I had made nearly thirty years ago led me to have what any human would consider to be a lifetime of happiness.
When five minutes went by and I was still not ready, he came for me. He knocked on the door.
“Can I come in?”
I was just putting on my shoes. He froze at the door and smiled. “Good thing I don’t need to breathe. If I was human you would have taken my breath away.”
I laughed and rolled my eyes at him. I knew that he was trying to cheer me up. He could sense my mood just like he could thirty years ago.
“Are you still not telling me where we are going?”
“Nope,” he walked toward me, gently moving a lock of hair behind my ear and then leaning closer to kiss me. Out of habit, when he stopped kissing me, I started to lean forward for more. His kisses left me just as dazed as they did decades ago.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a black silk scarf, putting it over my eyes. I smiled. Then I could feel his lips on mine again.
“I thought we had somewhere to go?” I said when he stopped kissing me.
He led me out of the room and out of the apartment. I tried to rely on my senses to figure out where we were going. I could hear the elevator. We got in and seconds later it stopped. I thought it was stopping for someone to get in, but he grabbed my hand, fingers entwined, and led me out of the elevator. I could feel the breeze, but I no longer felt the cold weather. I guess you could say that was one of the perks from being what I was.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“You will find out soon enough.”
We took a few more steps forward.
I could feel him standing behind me. He leaned forward, kissing my neck as he removed the blindfold.
I was mesmerized by what I was seeing. We were at the rooftop of our building. One of my favorite places to as he called it, ‘run away from reality’. All around us, there were clear Christmas lights everywhere.
“This is amazing!” I said.
He shrugged. “You deserve amazing things.”
I turned to face him.
“Thank you,” I said.
“For being you… for making another birthday bearable.”
“Bearable? Come on, Lexi…. Things are not that bad.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. You know how I am with birthdays.”
“Yeah… I know… hopefully my next surprise will cheer you up again.”
“There is more?”
He nodded and looked to his left, where there were blankets on the ground, along with a dark bottle, which obviously contained blood, and two wine glasses.
“So, is this surprise for me or you?” I asked in a sarcastic tone.
He shrugged. “For you, of course… although I can’t say that I won’t benefit from it.”
I took my shoes off and we both lied down. He put his arm around me, pulling me closer. I rested my head on his chest and we just watched one of the few things that year-after-year never changed… the dark sky of NYC with stars that could be seen only from rare places like the rooftop where we were. I just watched those stars, as he pulled me even closer to him and whispered, “Happy Birthday, little minion.”