“This person is totally writing about us.” Biagio said from the top of a building.
“Would you put that stupid book away, we are supposed to be hunting.” Albano said back, his eyes watching below. “Besides, it is impossible for someone to be writing about us.”
“You know if you’d actually read one of them, you’d know.”
“No thanks, comics are not my thing.”
“Nothing’s your thing. I wish the author used their real name, there’s just a pen name on here.”
Albano glared at him and he rolled his eyes, tucking the book into the inner pocket of his jacket. They were waiting for a predator, a rapist that had been attacking tourists during their visits to Italy. Beatrice walked quietly down the sidewalk on her way to see her publisher. She had just finished the drawings and dialogue for her next novel and wanted to get everything in as soon as possible. She clutched the strap of her satchel, feeling a sense of foreboding. She shivered and her heart suddenly felt like it was being squeezed. She stopped in her tracks as images flashed before her eyes, playing out like a movie. Walking in front of her was a woman. Beatrice followed her, her hand slipping into her pocket as they neared an alley and pulling out a knife. Beatrice blinked and was back to where she was before. She had recognized the street and it wasn’t that far from where she was. She took off at a sprint, needing to save that woman.
A scream filled her ears as she made it to the street she was looking for. She made her way to the alley, her heart giving a lurch when she saw the man on top of the woman, his knife to her throat. “Get off her you bastard.” The rapist looked up at her, his brown eyes staring menacingly at her. He hit the woman beneath him, knocking her unconscious.
“Looks like I get two bitches tonight.”
Beatrice glared and quickly thrust her hand into her bag to pull out a police grade taser. It had cost her a couple hundred dollars but it made her feel safe and right now it would mean saving herself and that unconscious woman from being raped by this asshole. He had started to run at her but before he could do whatever it was he had planned she shot him, actually enjoying when he started to scream. It felt good to give him a taste of the pain he had wanted to inflict. “fuck you asshole” she said.
Albano was surprised at the woman’s presence and quickly dropped down from the building he was perched on. Beatrice felt his presence behind her and spun around, ready to defend herself and the woman whimpering on the ground. Her eyes widened in shock at the man’s face. That pale skin like alabaster, those eyes like two shimmering emeralds and that hair that reminded her of raven wings, it was him, the man from her books. “You.” She was dumbfounded, unable to believe what she was seeing. He was real. She suddenly felt very dizzy, her head spinning as her mind tried to register that this was happening.
“Are you alright?” Albano asked the woman.
“She’s gonna faint.” Biagio said just as her knees buckled. Albano moved without thinking his body taking over so he caught her before she hit the ground. “Is she okay?”
“I think so.” He listened to her heart and breathing. “She’s still alive.”
“You went and scared her.”
“Shut up brat and check on the other woman.”
Biagio stuck out his tongue, but went over to the other woman who nearly screamed when he reached for her. “Hey, it’s okay I promise. I just want to help. Let me take you to a hospital.”
“What about him?” She pointed at her would be rapist.
“Don’t worry about him, my brother will take care of him.” He lifted the woman into his arms then captured her gaze with his own. “Sleep okay.” Her eyelids fell closed then he turned to his brother. “What are we going to do with that one?”
Albano sighed. “I guess she’ll be coming home with us tonight.”
“I’ll see you at home then.” Albano watched as Biagio hopped between the two buildings then disappeared before dropping his gaze back to the woman in his arms. He brushed strands of her long, chestnut hair out of her face and his heart stuttered in his chest at her beauty. He shook his head, knowing there was no time to admire her when a rapist lay not to far from them.
“Just stay here okay.” He said softly to her and gently laid her on the ground. He walked over to the man and grabbed him by his throat. A groan escaped his throat and his eyes opened. Buona sera maiale.” He said angrily. He wanted to kill this man, but decided he was best left to the authorities. He stared into the man’s eyes. “You will go to the police and confess your sins. You will forget you ever saw me.” He dropped the man to the ground. “You will go once the woman and I are gone.”
Knowing the man would obey he gently lifted Beatrice again, making sure her head was laying comfortably on his shoulder before taking off for home. She had seemed to know him but that couldn’t be. He decided she was just overwhelmed by all that had happened and he had simply startled her. When he arrived home he took her to his room and tucked her in. “wake soon so we know you’re okay” he said before walking out to talk to his brother.
Albano was sitting on the library balcony staring off into the night when Biagio climbed over the edge and sat down on the railing. “What’s on your mind brother?” He asked.
“That woman, she recognized me.”
“So.” He hopped down off the railing and stretched. “What do you want to do about it?”
“I don’t know, maybe I was just imagining it, but she really seemed like she knew my face.”
“Well, is she awake yet?” Albano shook his head. “Maybe we should check on her and make sure she didn’t hit her head when she fell.”
“I would have noticed.”
“Come on, just in case.”
He sighed. “Alright then.”
He got to his feet and he and his brother went up to his room. He pushed the door open and the moment Biagio saw her, his jaw dropped. “Holy shit.”
“That’s…that’s Badmari Dietrich.”
“Who is that?”
“Are you fucking serious?” He reached into his jacket and pulled out his book. “She writes my favorite books. She’s the one writing about us.”
“That’s impossible Biagio.”
“Moron, we’re vampires, how is what she’s doing more impossible than that?” He flipped the book open and showed it to his brother. “This is you,” he said as he pointed to one of the pictures “and this is me.” He turned to the front of the book. “She even put a biography in here for both of us. I can’t believe I have the Badmari Dietrich in our house.”
“How old are you?”
“You’d be a fan too if you actually read one of her books. She’s really good and the art is fantastic, she’s definitely caught your brooding, dark nature perfectly.”
“I am not brooding or dark.”
“Just like Batman.”
He growled “I’m not”
“you’re only proving it right now. This is so exciting! I cant wait for her to wake up! I need to gather all I need her to sign”
“After the night shes had you’re worried about her signing things?’
“well I’m not going to shove it in her face the second she wakes, I’ll let her eat first” Albano rolled his eyes causing Biagio to laugh “Its hard to contain myself. I’ll finally be able to ask her how she knows so much about us”
“Just get before I do something violent.”
“So dark and brooding, better don your mask and cape Batman.”
He took a step toward his brother and Biagio hurried from the room, laughing the whole way. Albano sighed and pulled the chair out of the corner and to the side of the bed. He wanted to be here when she woke, since it was his fault she was unconscious in the first place. He crossed his arms over his chest, his eyelids becoming heavy as he watched her peacefully sleeping form. Beatrice’s head felt fuzzy as she slowly drifted into consciousness. She slowly opened her eyes, blinking them a few times to help clear her vision. Confusion settled over her as she stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling and she wondered where she was. She sat up slowly, the sound of soft breathing catching her attention. Her eyes immediately to the man sitting next to her, widening as she remembered what had happened. The rapist, the woman, and the appearance of the man from her books all came rushing back and she had to slap a hand over her mouth before she started screaming. She didn’t want to wake him. She slid slowly off the bed, her bare feet making no sound on the soft carpet as she moved around the chair.
She told herself she had to be dreaming again, that he wasn’t real. The moment she was out the door she took off running only to coming to a sliding halt at the top of the stairs when she saw the other man from her books coming up. “Oh you’re finally awake.” He said, giving her that boyish smile she knew all to well.
“No way.” She felt faint again.
He was up the stairs in a blink, startling her so she yelped in surprise. “Easy, everything’s okay.”
“You could do without giving her a heart attack brother.” Albano’s displeased voice said from behind her. She pressed herself against the wall, keeping them both in her sights. “I assume you can here how fast it’s beating.”
“Calm down, I was just making sure she wasn’t going to faint again.” Biagio said back then turned his eyes to her. “Sorry.”
“It can’t be, y…you’re Biagio and you…” she looked into Albano’s beautiful green eyes, “you’re Albano. You can’t be real.”
Albano was suddenly standing in front of her, his face right in front of hers. “You need to calm down before you pass out again.” He was a little surprised when her heart continued to thunder in her chest. “Hmm, hypnotic suggestion doesn’t work on you. Biagio please go make her some chamomile tea and cut her up some fruit.”
“Why don’t you do it?”
“Because she’s my responsibility, so go. Besides, don’t you want to help out your favorite author?”
With that Biagio walked away and Beatrice ventured to ask “how am I your responsibility?”
“You passed out because of me. I’m sorry I startled you”
“its just shocking to see you two are real”
“You thought we weren’t?”
“I see you two in dreams.”
“Interesting. I regret to say I’ve never read your books but my brother thinks you’re amazing. I guess I should have”
“If you’re really the same man I dream about then I know you’re not big on reading..it’s okay. Don’t feel bad about making me pass out. That wasn’t really your fault”
“still, I’d like you to stay, even if just for today. I’ll show you a nice evening as my apology. You would make my brothers night”
“I’m far too curious now to leave”
“good, lets go sit somwhere comfortable. I’m worried about you passing out again so allow me to carry you” He said even as he picked her up. “I guess that wasnt a question” she said in her head as he walked her to another room.
Beatrice and Albano sat in silence, her studying him like some fascinating new specimen. He smiled at her and she blushed, looking at her hands. “You’re far more handsome in real life.”
“You should really read my books.”
Biagio came in with a big smile, a tray in his hands. He sat it on the coffee table in front of her then took one of the chairs. Beatrice thanked him and couldn’t help but smile at how enthusiastic he was. She always loved meeting her fans. “I can’t believe it’s really you, Badmari Dietrich.”
“Please call me Beatrice and my last name’s not Deitrich, it’s Adamari.”
“Still a cool name.”
Albano cleared his throat. “May I ask about your dreams?”
“Of course.” She picked up a slice of strawberry and quickly ate it before speaking. “Ever since I was a little girl, I had these dreams. Some of them were terrifying, I would hear screams and see blood.”
“Sounds like when Biagio and I were in the military.”
“When I told my parents about them and then later claimed to be psychic, they moved me here to Italy and got me into therapy in hopes that would help fix me.”
Albano reached over and grabbed her hand. “How stupid of them to try and take your gift away. I’m very sorry you had to share the horrors of war.”
“It’s okay, I got over it. Sorry I’ve been in your head.”
He smiled warmly. “I don’t mind, though you may find more things you don’t like.”
“You’re a dark avenger and a lot of fun to write about and draw.”
Biagio laughed. “Like Batman and it’s even funnier because you’re a vampire.”
“So are you.” Albano shot back.
“A modern vampire, you’re totally old world Batman.”
“I swear he reads too many comics and watches far too many cartoons. I am nothing like Batman.”
Beatrice shrugged. “I always thought you were very Batman-ish and besides Batman is tall, dark and handsome so you should be proud of the fact.”
Albano actually felt embarrassed though no blush tinted his pale cheeks. Being called batman by a gorgeous woman like Beatrice wasn’t insulting like it was when Biagio called him that. He cleared his throat and drank some tea. Biagio chuckled “so she can call you batman but not me huh? Next you should tell him to update his clothing. Your opinion seems to have some weight” Albano shot a brief glare at his brother before sipping tea again. “Would you mind signing a few things when you feel well Beatrice?”
“I can now, I’m really fine” Biagio seemed to vanish from his chair and reappear with a stack of books ‘these please” she smiled and began signing each of them. When she completed the stack Biagio took them back to his room with a huge grin. Beatrice looked over at Albano who hadn’t spoken “you okay batman?”
“oh yes, just enjoying my tea.”
“is it okay that I call you batman?”
“yes, makes more sense when you call me that I guess” She smiled, a sight that made his heart flutter. “why dont you update your clothes” she asked as she set her elbows on the table and rested her head in her palm.
“I like these and besides looking like an eccentric tends to keep people from questioning me and my brother never aging or the fact that we avoid sunlight.”
“Well until you meet a sanguinarian or goth, then they’ll be really interested.”
“Vampires who aren’t vampires. They dress up, drink blood, some even have sharp canines, but they’re completely human. They’d love you.”
“Hmm, then let’s hope I never meet one, I’m not much for entertaining.”
“I know.” She said with a smile. “You would look good in modern clothes though, you could still be eccentric. Lets go shopping.”
“I don’t know.”
“Come on, you said you owed me for making me faint. I promise to find something you like.”
He sighed. “Damn it, I’ll never hear the end of this.”
“The end of what?” Biagio asked as he came back into the room.
“He’s letting me take him shopping.”
Biagio grinned and Albano said, “Don’t even start. Are there even any stores open?”
“You need to get out more brother, there are always stores open.”
“Alright fine, let’s go.” Beatrice smiled happily and got to her feet. “Let me go get your shoes.” He hurried upstairs, grabbing her shoes and then his wallet. He was back down in the blink of an eye and bent down, helping her into her shoes so she blushed. Once they were outside, Albano picked her up and they took off running. She was amazed at how fast they were going, the world was literally a blur and made her so dizzy she had to squeeze her eyes closed. She was so relieved when they finally came to a stop and she could breathe again. “You okay?” He asked as she opened her eyes and she blushed at how close his face was, their noses were nearly touching.
“Fine, just not used to moving so fast.” He lowered her to her feet and brushed her windswept hair back.
“I’m sorry, you should have said something.” He stroked her cheek then jerked his hand away when he saw her cheeks redden. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay, I really like your sweet side. Batman has one too you know.”
“Come on guys, stop flirting before he changes his mind.” Biagio said. Albano rolled his eyes and Beatrice laughed, taking his hand and following Biagio.
She kept a snug hold on his hand until they were inside the store . She began to go from rack to rack skimming through their selection. Albano and Biagio just watched, one admiring while the other knew if he had anything to do with picking the clothing he’d say no. It would have to be fully Beatrice’s choice for him to take it home. She had about six pieces of clothing in her arms when she walked over and asked “would you try these on for me?” He looked at her a few moments then said “sure” They walked to the fitting room then Albano went by himself into a dressing room.
He pulled his clothes off and dressed quickly in one of the outfits she had chosen. He examined himself in the mirror as for moment then stepped out. “Look good?” He asked.
Beatrice moved closer and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. “There.” She looked him over. “Biagio, go and grab one of those jackets.”
“Make it black.” She walked around him in circles, her eyes moving over him as she studied every detail. Biagio came back with a black jacket and she made Albano put it on. It fell to just above his knees and looked good next to the deep blue shirt and black pants. She nodded her approval and smiled up at him brightly. “You look like a model.” She said happily. “I picked you out some t-shirts too and jeans. You look so handsome.”
“Now he’s never going to be able to go back to his old clothes.” Biagio remarked and Albano glared at him.
“He looks handsome no matter what. Let’s pay for this stuff and go eat you can wear this out.”
“Alright.” Albano said as he grabbed his old clothes and wallet and Beatrice grabbed the outfits she had picked out. The woman behind the counter smiled.
“Your husband looks so handsome.” She said, making Albano and Beatrice blush and Biagio burst out into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Albano paid for the clothes and allowed Beatrice to rip the tags off his new clothes before they exited the store.
“She thought you two were married and the looks on your faces were priceless.”
“It was just shocking” Beatrice said with embarrassment. He knew he was taking the risk of being killed but he said “I think Albano liked it” Albano hit his brother on the back of the head “stop, you’re embarrassing her” Biagio laughed on and off until they arrived where they were going to eat. He wiped the tears out of his eyes from laughing so hard and cleared his throat. He knew he needed to stop before he was alone with his brother again. They looked over the menus and easily found somthing they wanted.
Beatrice felt her phone vibrate in her pocket once they had ordered what they wanted and she quickly pulled it out, her eyes widening when she saw publisher’s number. She had completely forgotten about the pages she was delivering. “She answered, “Hello.”
“Where are you Beatrice?”
“Sorry, I ran into some trouble.”
“What kind of trouble, are you alright?” She rolled her eyes, Lewis was always such a worry wart.
“I’m fine, I just forgot about the pages after. I’m eating right now, but I’ll stop by the office afterwards.”
“I’m at home so just drop off the pages at my house and I’ll take them in in the morning.”
He sighed. “As long as you’re safe it’s fine.”
“See you in a little bit.” She hung up and stuck her phone back in her pocket.
“Who was that?” Albano asked, having heard the entire conversation.
“My publisher, I made him worry. We’re going to have to go by his place after dinner so I can drop off the pages for my newest book.”
“Are you jealous brother?” Biagio asked with a grin.
“Nonsense.” Biagio chuckled then turned his attention to Beatrice.
“Do you have the pages on you, can I see them?”
She laughed. “I left my bag at your house, but I wouldn’t let you see them regardless, you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out.”
Biagio groaned and pouted. “Come on, I mean we do have to take you all the way back home to get them.”
“You sure are cute for such an old vampire.” She couldn’t help but tussle his hair. “I’ll let you read the first page, but that’s it.”
Knowing he’d get that much excited him. Biagio sat up straight and beaming as they waited for their food. They ate then went back to Albano and Biagios home. This time Albano was more careful about his speed. He would feel terrible if she ended up sick to her stomach since she had just eaten. He breathed easier when he stopped and she was fine. Biagio was first to her bag but handed it to Beatrice so he wouldn’t accidentally see more than she wanted him to.
She found the first page and handed it to him. He sat down eagerly, finishing it much too fast “please, I need the rest!”
“dont you know whats going to happen?”
“well yeah but the way you write it is so interesting. It’s cool seeing it from your perspective”
“could I see?” Albano suddenly asked. Biagio handed it over. Beatrice waited nervously as his eyes drifted down the page. He smiled when he finished it “I regret not reading them sooner”
“When does it come out?” Biagio asked as they stepped outside.
“Ah, I can’t wait. Now I’m going to have to read the whole series over again to keep me from going crazy.”
“I’ve raised one hundred and ninety year old child.” Albano said with a smile.
“You only have ten years on me brother, that’s not much. He thinks he has to be so mature because he’s older.”
Beatrice tussled his hair again. “You’re far too adorable.”
“See even she thinks you act younger than you are.” Albano lifted her off the ground. “But make no mistake, he’s the only one I trust fighting by my side.”
Biagio smiled. “I vote she stays forever, she makes you all soft and mushy.”
Albano actually blushed, the red standing out against his pale skin. “Shut up brat.” He said then looked down at Beatrice. “Where are we going?”
Beatrice was also blushing, Biagio’s words circling in her mind so she didn’t register his question at first. “Huh?”
“Your publisher’s address.”
“Oh sorry.” She rattled off his address and Albano took off, Biagio following close behind. She rested her head on his shoulder as she once again thought about Biagio’s words. She knew they had only been in jest, but a part of her warmed at the idea. This man had been in her dreams since she could remember, he was as much a part of her as her need to breathe and had been her constant companion when her parents thought she was crazy. She looked up at his face. He was so focused and serious most of the time, even in her books, but when he looked at her that all seemed to vanish. She wondered how he felt, especially since he hardly knew a thing about her. They arrived at Lewis’s in record time and he was surprised when he opened the door.
“Wow, that was fast.”
“Here, all finished.” She said with a smile as she held out the folder full of book pages.”
“Awesome, we can’t keep your fans waiting or they might gut us.” He finally noticed she wasn’t alone and looked between the two men. “Are these…no, but they really do look like…could they be the inspiration for your characters?”
“Maybe, probably, who knows, writer’s secret. I’ll see you later, good night.”
“Night, stay safe.” He closed his door and Albano once again lifted her.
“where are we going?” Biagio said and Albano quickly spoke, almost stumbling on his words “you did say you’d spend atleast one evening with us. Please let me take you back to my home”
“I’ll need a change of clothes first”
“very well, I dont mind stopping by your place.” she smiled and told him where she lived. He quickly took her, Beatrice once again enjoying how snug she was in his arms. Wondering if she really softened him as much as Biagio thought she did up until he set her down again. “you two can come in if you’d like” she offered. “yes!” Biagio said gleefully then followed her inside. The brothers wandered around while she made her small bag. Albano was excited to get her in his arms again once she said she was done and ready to go.
Beatrice made sure she grabbed her sketchbook and pencils after packing her clothes, wanting to do some sketches of Albano and Biagio if they had the time. When she came out of her room and entered the living room, Biagio was looking at her books and Albano held on of the photos from her mantle, his eyes studying it. She watched a smile pull at his lips and her heart sped up a little. They both looked up, Albano quickly returning the photo to the mantle. “Are you ready?” He asked, his eyes warming at the sight of her.
“Yes, thank you for waiting.” She replied as she crossed the room to stand in front of him. She glanced at the picture he had been admiring, seeing it was one of her at the French Alps. It had been a reward for selling a certain amount of books. In the picture she was covered in snow after taking a tumble while learning to ski.
“It was no problem.” They left her home, Albano making sure the door was locked before lifting her into his arms. She held her bag against her chest and rested her head on his shoulder as he ran. She really loved being this close to him and was genuinely disappointed when they made it to his and Biagio’s house and he put her down. “You can keep my room if you like.”
“Are you tired?”
Albano shrugged. “Not particularly.”
Biagio looked between them with a smile. “Well, I think I’ll turn in, running around made me pretty sleepy.”
“Oh well good night then.” Beatrice said.
“Night.” He feigned a yawn and headed upstairs.
“Hmm, usually he’s so energetic.”
“Maybe he’s actually worn out, even you guys get sleepy right?”
“Of course.” They both stood there for a moment, the silence seeming to stretch between them.
“Um, so I was wondering if maybe I could do some sketches of you, I mean as long as you’re not tired.” Her fingers tightened nervously around the strap of her bag.
“Cool, uh the library then?”
He smiled. “Sounds good.” She followed him through his house, excited and nervous about being alone with him. “We can sit on the balcony if you like.”
“Okay.” He pulled the double doors open and motioned for her to go first, making her smile at his politeness. He took a seat in one of the chairs and she dropped down in the other and pulled her sketchbook and pencil box out of her bag.
“Do you want me to do anything in particular?”
“No, just sit there and look handsome.” He stared at her as she sketched, her heart giving a leap every time she looked at him. His eyes had always been so intense and she had tried her best to capture his look on paper, but drawing them from her dreams and being the object of their scrutiny were two very different things.
“You’re incredibly beautiful Beatrice.” He suddenly said and her face burned red, her hand stopping mid line.
“Oh, thank you.”
He reached across the table, gently grabbing her chin and tipping her head back. “I can’t stop admiring you.” His thumb brushed feather light over her chin. “May I kiss you, I need to make certain of something.”
“That it’s possible to fall in love with someone in one night.”
Her blush deepened and he smiled “please?” Her blue eyes stayed locked on his green as she tried to make her mouth form a word “yes” she finally forced out. The word was weak and nervous but it was finally said so he slowly brought their lips together. Albanos kiss was surprisingly gentle. She melted, her heart going wild which was more embarrassing because of his ability to hear what he was doing to her. She wished she could know the same. She wanted to know if he was feeling even half the emotions and sensations she was.
Time faded away so they had no idea how long their mouths had been moving together when Albano pulled back. He rested his forehead against hers “it’s very possible” he whispered. “you love me?’ Beatrices asked somewhat breathlessly. “yes, you don’t have to say it back. I understand”
“No, that kiss made me feel it too. I love you Albano, maybe I have for a long time.”
“You’ll be mine then?”
“yes, I’d like that a lot” Albano tenderly pulled her into a hug. He held her for a short time before sitting straight again “you want to finish now?”
“I honestly don’t think I can after all that. I’ll finish tomorrow”
“I’m not ready to stop spending time with you” he smiled warmly “do you have to stop being with me to sleep?” her blush returned with more fervor than before. “Um, no, I guess not”
“then we could cuddle” she nodded and he lifted her, taking her to his bedroom. They both changed into pajamas then nervously got under the covers. Albano who seemed to have more courage and stability of mind pulled Beatrice tightly against him and sighed before kissing her neck. Goosebumps instantly spread across the area so another smile tugged at his lips. “you like that?”
“mhm” He did it again then just laid down. “I love you Beatrice”
“I love you too Albano” she answered. “be careful letting your heart go wild like that. You’ll make me worry about you” he whispered, as if already battling sleep from being so comfortable. “I’m.I’m trying” They laid blissfully together until dreams overcame them both. Late in the night Albano woke with a start at a loud thud in the house. He quickly realized it was his brother and allowed himself to relax in Beatrice’s warmth and scent again. He moaned, wondering what her blood tasted like. It was somthing he would hold off on trying. She knew what he was but he didn’t want to scare her away by asking if he could taste her too soon.
Tonight he just enjoyed having found love. It had always been about protecting people and his land but now his life had much more meaning. This was somthing he would be careful with, nurture so it would grow into somthing everlasting. Her leaving was already somthing that would break him if it happened but he would make sure that would never come to pass.