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|Why is that bad things are followed by even worse things?||
Richard lay on the four poster bed on top of the black silk sheets with his left hand cuffed to the solid oak post when he heard the door open. He pushed himself into a sitting position a little confused. It had been less than an hour since Rebecca had dragged Gabrielle into the carriage; it was to be a girl’s night out. The face he saw open the doors was his farthest guess, “Sky!”
Skylita smiled when she saw Richard, “It’s nice to see you, although I am a bit saddened to see you chained.”
“You know Rebecca.”
“Yes, and that’s what saddens me. I had hoped that you had freed yourself.”
“Richard, we will talk of this later. First,” Skylita began to fiddle with the handcuff until Richard heard a distinctive click. “Silver, very nice touch. Now where is Rebecca?”
“She took Gabi out to Duke Finiv’s ball.”
“Well let’s go find them. We need to find you something to wear, I don’t think the Duke will find your nudity amusing.” Sky blushed as though she suddenly realized he wasn’t wearing any clothes. She rushed upstairs and began rifling through Gabrielle’s dressing room while Richard padded behind her.
“Skylita we need to talk.”
“Later. Hey, where is Ryan’s clothes, they were always kept in here.”
Richard grabbed Skylita by the shoulders and gently held her absolutely still. “That’s what we need to talk about.” Richard closed his eyes before continuing, “Ryan died a couple weeks ago. He was executed for being Gabrielle’s human servant.”
“Ryan is dead?” Skylita’s voice was empty, “actually dead?”
“Yes, and Gabi isn’t taking it very well. This was actually the first night that she has gone to a social function since it happened.”
“It doesn’t matter right now. We need to get you dressed, and I also need to change.” Skylita selected a dark green silk dress and matching slippers. “Go get dressed. I’ll meet you downstairs.” Richard quickly backed out of the room, she suddenly smelled dangerous, Sky was never dangerous.
When Skylita entered the parlor when had pearls woven into her hair bring out highlights of silver and heart shaped emerald nestled between her breasts, breasts that were half-exposed. “You are beautiful tonight.” Richard spoke to her back as she laid an envelope on Gabrielle’s coffin.
“Come my coach is waiting.” Skylita walked out the front door without seeing if Richard was following.
Gabrielle blindly followed Rebecca through the guarded entrance into the lit mass of mortals. They had both fed earlier in the evening so the pulse of warmth was not enough to pull Gabrielle out of her trance. Rebecca led her in a circle of couches and chairs in the farthest corner from the wide doors. Seated across was Maria wearing a yellow silk long sleeved dress. At the sight of Kendroe sitting beside Maria, Gabrielle’s eyes filled with fire.
“Kendroe!” He stood and glided to take her hand.
“My lady, did you ever think I would leave you in your time of need?” His voice held the purr of the most dangerous cats.
“Yes.” Gabrielle allowed him to continue holding her hand.
“I am injured by your lack of faith in me.”
“Kendroe, you are the one that left me. You proved you wouldn’t be there.”
“I am here now.”
“Let’s dance.” Gabrielle’s voice held a tinge of longing. “And yes you are here now.” They spend a considerable amount of time silently battling on the dance floor.
As they walked back to the circle with hands entwined Kendroe whispered into her ear, “And you found love.”
She stopped to whisper into his ear, “I never thought that I could make you jealous. This is surely a night to remember.” Kendroe’s response was a kiss that included enough force to draw blood.
“Still tasty.” He slid away laughing.
Gabrielle arrived to find her second surprise of the night, Skylita standing before her. But, looking so different from the modest child who accompanied her in the social circles. “You are wearing my pearls.”
“I didn’t think that you would mind.”
“I don’t.” Gabrielle pulled Skylita into her arms. “It is wonderful to have you back.”
“I hate to destroy this family reunion,” Maria’s voice shattered all joy within its reach, “but Rebecca that one was not in the agreement. I cannot transport her.”
“Don’t you point at me as though I am vileness beneath your perfect slippers.” Sky’s voice was filled with anger and hatred. Rebecca attempted to slap her, but she caught her arm and twisted it. “I am not a little girl anymore.”
“I see that, now would you kindly release me?” Skylita slowly released her and then took a small step back. “Maria, may I speak with you for a minute?” The two heads walked out of earshot.
“Kendroe do you know what they are discussing?” Gabrielle turned to the man who was once her lover.
“No, I honestly do not.” Kendroe did not look at her. “Although I am guessing anything that those two are discussing can not be good.”
“Rebecca wishes to leave and needs Maria’s help.” Richard spoke quietly.
“Why would she possibly need her?” Gabrielle wearily glanced at the whispering vampires. “She could go anywhere in Europe and Asia that she wished.”
“I am not sure that I should tell you this, but I owe you and chance at freedom. Maria is headed for the New World, and her help is never cheap.” Kendroe smelled of fear for the first time in Richard’s memory.
Skylita grabbed Richard and Gabrielle’s hands, “Come with me. I have some place safe. You both can finally have your freedom.” She quickly glanced to mare sure that Rebecca was still occupied. “Kendroe you could even come. But, we need to hurry.” She led them towards to door; they could all see the waiting darkness.
“Halt!” Maria’s voice rang across the room, but no immortal stopped. They could all feel the winds of power sweeping across their skin; it caused them to move quicker and was on the steps when Gabrielle felt Skylita release her hand. She turned back to discover that Skylita was caught with a chain around her wrist.
“Release me. You can’t cage us anymore.”
“Oh, that is so true.” Maria sneered as she snapped a silver collar around Sky’s neck, “but I see you can be collared.”
Richard howled and began to rush Maria when Rebecca latched his collar from behind. Gabrielle tried to release Sky’s collar, but she couldn’t release the lock. “Dammit let her go she’s isn’t part of this anymore.” Gabrielle’s please were ignored.
Maria slithered up to Kendroe with a collar in hand. “Kneel.” Kendroe looked at Skylita before shaking his head. “Did you not hear me? On your knees!”
“I will not kneel before you. Not anymore!” His voice was shaky.
“As you wish.” He did not fight when he was collared. “I don’t know what she did to you.”
“Made me see the joy in freedom.”
Gabrielle stood very still on the staircase next to the orchestra, but there was no collar for her. “Freedom.” Was the last word she heard from Rebecca before they lead Kendroe, Richard, and Skylita away.