Charlotte knew, zero doubts in her mind that she had, at the tender age of sixteen, met the man, her eternal partner. Heartbeat rapid, cheeks glowed, a text from him made her float, the joy she spread infected the house. Emilie mused; Charlotte proclaimed to love a man she had met twice. He invited had invited her to dinner; Emilie gave him “the look”; a concerned mother unsure her daughter should be dating. She considered Charlotte her baby, as though she would be five years old until she died. His demeanour was significantly older than his apparent years; he showed a polite and assertive presence, addressing Emilie as Mrs and Ma’am, she disliked both, but Caleb seemed unable to drop the formality.
Charlotte shuddered, a nervous giggle, awaiting their second date; the Romance Festival held promise and the elixir that opened the gateway to a lovers heart. Secrets exposed as Sakura tea, its silky texture stroked the throat, warming the body and awakening the senses. His icy touch made her skin hum, hair on her neck stood as his lips brushed her throat, a smooth cheek against hers and the promised kiss. Body melted to his, fingers curled in hairs; Charlotte wanted this kiss to devour, to have Caleb claim her as his.
He forced them apart, a mix of fear and desire, his eyes fierce, a warning she was getting close, a deep growl, Caleb regretted his decision, wondering if he could take it back. Their date had been an unwise choice; aside from the tea’s influence, Charlotte was hungry, eyeing the food stalls and the mouth-watering options. Food was no longer a staple of Caleb’s diet for several centuries, in his formative years, Caleb enjoyed the illusion that fine dining gave him some sustenance, a pretence he no longer used. Her fascination scared him; Charlotte showed excitement, a fascination with the lives he experienced, the ones he tasted. Human lovers refused to eat with him, embarrassed by their natural desire to consume; Charlotte made no admission; she delved into the rich sauce, twirling her fork, savouring every bite. Charlotte moaned as flavours filled her senses, making the restaurant patrons blush. He found the performance hypnotic, the throat as she swallowed, his lips parted, desiring her blood.
Vampires took an oath to take what they needed by permission, to leave beating hearts; their numbers dwindled as humans chose to refuse the bite. Others, including his master Vlad, refused to surrender his nature, the hunt, feeling the unquenchable thirst, he continued to feed unrestricted. Why the oath existed was debatable, Caleb believed it came from the war, a surge of power that saw the magic realm ripped from existence. Spellcasters attempted to bend the laws that bound this reality; they sort the power of the Sim Gods and death. The humans, unable to comprehend the magic surrounding them, targeted occult; merpeople disappeared, rumours of their presence in Sulani unsubstantiated, aliens survive bound in human disguises and werewolves hunted to extinction. Turning humans, forbidden by the high council; with a few exceptions to maintain ranks and as mates, but Caleb remained undecided in his thoughts. Charlotte was naive, and until she turned eighteen, deemed incapable of making the life-altering decision.