Chapter 16: Throw back Thursday.
A week later Emily was floating around the main
room in Karpathia's, stopping for a few moments to talk with one of the
many vampires she had yet to become personally acquainted with. It was a
long, tedious exercise as word of her ascension to royalty was
spreading far and every day there were a score more new vampires coming
to the club to greet their new Princess.
continuously when she complained loudly in private. He found it highly
amusing watching his little wife adapting to her new role among his
kind. He hid the concern he had from her when he noticed the open
rejection of her from some of the older vampires.
At least thirty
of the very oldest of his kind deliberately set themselves apart from
the main group following Emily. They were led by Janick, a dark haired
vampire who even older than Cullen by half a century, The malevolence in
Janick's black eyes, as he followed Emily around the room, set Cullen's
Cullen knew his wife was aware of the hostility even
though she refused to talk about it. It would just smile and tell him it
would sort itself out in good time. Still Cullen's mood was tense as he
watched Janick frown as Emily got steadily closer to his little group
of followers. He was so intent on watching Janick that he didn't spot
Elizabeth flounce into the room. It was Liam's groan which caught his
"That's trouble, if I ever did see it," his friend muttered darkly.
stifled a groan as he saw Elizabeth approach. She looked stunningly
beautiful as always and her eyes had more of a hint of trouble in them.
where is your wife, Cullen?" she said haughtily the moment she reached
him. "I hear she had been raised to royalty. I wish to speak with this
Princess." She made the word Princess sound like it was a dirty word.
The room instantly went silent.
a care how you speak, Elizabeth," Cullen said coldly, his face set in a
hard mask. "I will not have a bad word said against my wife. You would
do well not to anger me."
"So this is the infamous Elizabeth,"
Emily said brightly, coming up behind the blonde vampire. She walked
around the woman slowly, raking her with her violet eyes. She wasn't
surprised to find she hated the woman on sight. She had been responsible
for so much heartache in Cullen's life.
"Whatever were you
thinking, husband?" Emily suddenly laughed. "It must have been like
lying beside an icicle when you were married to her."
hissed. "We never had any problems in the bedroom," she said frostily,
running her eyes insultingly over the little redhead before her. "I see
your taste did not improve any, Cullen," she drawled.
vitriol," Emily chuckled. "I'm mortally wounded, Elizabeth," she said
mockingly. "I do believe I may even tear up. No, doesn't look like that
will happen after all."
The blond vampire glared at her. "There is
nothing sadder than someone finding themselves so amusing whilst others
are merely bored," she said drolly.
"Actually there is something
sadder," Emily countered with a smile. "The sight of a pathetic, jealous
woman who now realises what a fool she has been but, sadly, can do
nothing to correct her mistake."
"The only mistake being made here
is that my kind is allowing a little jumped up nobody to rule over
them. Royalty is a birthright and you are less than six month's born to
this life while others have lived for millennia. It is the travesty!"
"Please, feel free to petition the King," Emily said dangerously quietly. "You have my blessing to do so."
"I don't need your blessing to do anything," Elizabeth spat. "I do not recognise you as my ruler."
spun suddenly to look around the room. "Surely there are other's here
who see this as the travesty it is. Stand and speak!" she caught
"You, Janick," she said. "I know this is not
sitting well on you. If enough of us denounce her then the King will
have to listen to us."
Emily held her breath and put a calming
hand on both Liam and Cullen's arms as they jumped up enraged. The room
was deathly silent as heads turned to Janick.
"My king has
proclaimed her his Granddaughter," the dark haired vampire finally said.
"He has always ruled wisely. I accept his decision."
Emily breathed out slowly as she felt the moment of crisis pass and Cullen and Liam relaxed and slowly sat back down.
right, Cullen, sit back down like the good little pet you are,"
Elizabeth hissed venomously. "You always were weak and pathetic. It was
why I left you. I couldn't stand your little puppy dog eyes following me
Emily felt a rage take hold of her like none she had
ever experienced before. An enraged growl roared passed her lips and
she lifted Elizabeth by her throat and brought her crashing down on top
of one of the coffee tables.
A stunned silence filled the room as Emily held the other woman pinned down on the table, her face a mask of fury.
next time you open your mouth and speak to my husband I will hold you
down and cut your tongue out," she said icily. "I hope I am making
myself perfectly clear here, Elizabeth, because this is the one and only
warning you are going to get from me. If you cannot learn to hold your
tongue then I will teach you how to."
Elizabeth stared up at the
little woman, fear in her eyes. She was so strong and the expression on
her face was terrifying to behold.
Emily released her and stood straight. "You may get up now," she said in a bored tone.
Elizabeth struggled to her feet, trying to keep as much of her composure as she could.
husband and I tend to spend most nights here so I suggest you frequent
one of the other establishments in the city when you visit, Elizabeth,"
Emily said quietly. "Perhaps for the next century or so at least. If you
find that you have a brain in your pretty little blonde head and you
teach yourself to curb your acid tongue, you may return here sooner.
Don't try to deceive me though. I will know if you do."
Highness," Elizabeth finally said in a voice that shook slightly. She
slowly backed away until she was far enough from Emily's reach that she
felt safe to turn and flee the room.
Cullen stared at Emily in
shock. He was totally stunned by what he had just witnessed. His sweet
little Emily had just turned into an extremely dangerous woman. He
struggled to reconcile this new side to his wife from the one he knew.
know that look, husband," Emily sighed softly inside his mind. "How
long can I expect to receive the silent treatment this time?"
think to make a joke of this?" Cullen snapped. You think attacking
another person and threatening to cut their tongue out is a laughing
"She challenged me!" Emily snapped back. "Right here, she
called an open challenge against me and then attacked you when it
failed. Was I supposed to just stand there and let her get away with
"The Emily I know and love wouldn't have dealt with it the way you just did," Cullen spat furiously.
"It was your Princess who dealt with it, Cullen, not your wife. Sometimes they have to be a separate entity."
"That's what I'm afraid of," he said ominously.
watched Cullen walk away and stifled a sigh. Their private conversation
had lasted mere seconds. Liam raised an eyebrow and she rolled her
eyes. Conversation had begun again in the room and the staff was
clearing up the broken glass from the coffee table.
and turned to look at Janick. He was watching her, though the black look
was not as conspicuous as it usually was. Instead she saw a hint of
curiosity in his gaze. She walked towards him slowly, his followers
parting to allow her access to their leader.
"Would you walk with me, Janick?" Emily asked quietly, inclining her head respectively.
"Yes, Highness," he finally said, his expression guarded.
Emily could feel all eyes on them as she walked slowly from the room, Janick at her side.
"I had not thought we would have something in common, Janick," Emily finally said.
"Neither would I, Highness," he answered honestly.
know you have little love for me, Janick," Emily said quietly. "But you
have a deep abiding love for our nation. Which is what I was alluding
to just now. You had the perfect opportunity to make your stand against
me without being the open instigator and yet you publicly endorsed me
because it would mean going against our King."
"The King has ruled
wisely for millennia, Highness," Janick answered. "I may not always
agree with his decisions, but he is my ruler and I must accede to his
Emily paused as they entered the meeting room. It was
deserted. She began walking again until she was in the centre of the
room. Janick followed her a few steps behind.
"I can hardly
believe less than a year has passed since I stood here in this room and
had but a moment to choose between my love and the vampire nation," she
said introspectively. "Such a terrible choice. Which one to break, my
husband's heart or the vampire nation?"
"You do not seem to have suffered too greatly from that decision, Highness," Janick said, his tinge of contempt in his tone.
Emily arched an eyebrow at him.
you really think so, Janick?" she asked softly. "Still to this day I
suffer the repercussions of my actions. Have you ever truly loved
someone, Janick? Loved them so badly that your heart beats in time with
theirs? Loved them so blindly that your every thought, your every
emotion revolved around them?"
"No, Highness," he said quietly.
is how I love my Cullen," she breathed softly. "He is my reason for
existing. What I did to him that day nearly destroyed him. Not many know
this, not even the King, but his rage and pain and grief overcame him
that day and he almost broke my wrist and I had to have four stitches in
She saw shock flit across his face.
"Oh, it was
entirely accidental," she said with a slight smile. "He had no concept
of what he had done at the time. I hid the knowledge from him, knowing
he would find it impossible to forgive himself."
She sighed and looked around the room slowly.
went to him daily, standing before him, demanding he see me whilst he
coldly refused to acknowledge me. Each day my heart broke more and more
as the very reason for my existence turned colder towards me. I was
losing all hope when finally Elizabeth came and Cullen saw something
which made him bend just a little. It may be hard for you to believe
after today, Janick, but I am immeasurably grateful to Elizabeth."
"It was an interesting display of gratitude, Highness," Janick said dryly and Emily laughed.
it to say, my husband did come home to me eventually though I spent
many days consoling him as the grief of his actions overcame him. I
thought he may never recover from the unintentional harm he did to me.
The level of pain and suffering he endured because of first Elizabeth's
betrayal of him, and then mine. is something I struggle to live with
daily even now."
Emily sighed sadly and ran a tired hand through her hair.
now my husband is once more disappointed in my actions. Again,
Elizabeth is somewhere in the mix. The repercussions of my choice to
save the vampire nation rumbles on and still I have not yet managed to
achieve the goal I have set for myself. So you see, Janick, I have
suffered most grievously for my decision and I still continue to suffer
He stared at her intently, his expression thoughtful. She watched him, wondering what he was thinking.
"And yet you would do it all over again, even knowing what the outcome would be," Janick finally said softly.
"In a heartbeat," Emily whispered sadly.
"Because you love our nation as much, if not more, than I do," Janick breathed, his expression suddenly awed.
Emily nodded silently.
I am ashamed," Janick finally whispered, his expression anguished. "I
have allowed my fear of change to cloud my judgement and done you a
massive injustice. Please forgive me, my Princess." He bowed low as he
"There is nothing to forgive, Janick," she said softly.
"You did what you did out of love for your nation, not personal gain.
"How can one so young, even in human years, be so wise?" he asked his voice full of awe.
laughed. "I have many older, wiser heads around me who never cease
chattering in my ear," she chuckled. "Their wisdom is a great asset to
have as I learn how to be worthy enough to rule our people."
always concerned me, Highness," Janick admitted. "How the very best of
us seemed to surround you and yet I saw you as a threat to us. I could
never understand it until now. They were so much wiser than I."
each bring something unique into my life," Emily said after a brief
pause. "As a whole they are invaluable to me. I cannot lead wisely
without good counsellors to keep me on the right path. I have room for
one more, Janick," she added with a smile.
He stared at her in
astonishment. "Me, Highness?!" he gasped. "You would seek counsel from
me after all I have done to undermine you?"
"I would seek counsel
from you because of your wisdom and deep abiding love for our nation,
Janick," Emily sighed softly. "Our nation will thrive if we work
together instead of against each other. Our goal is the same."
watched as the last lingering spark of doubt faded from his eyes and he
suddenly smiled a beautiful smile. "I would like that, my Princess," he
"Will you be my friend, Janick?" she asked softly, her eyes warm.
"It would be my honour to name the Princess of Vampires as among my closest friends," Janick smiled.
I'm glad we've got that settled," Emily smiled brightly at him. She
threaded her arm around his and began walking again, back the way they'd
After a brief hesitation at her unexpected familiarity and
quick change of mood, Janick chuckled and laid his hand over hers where
it rested on his arm.
"So, Janick, what thing do you miss most?"
Emily asked lightly. "I find as I talk with our people that they lament
the loss of activities or some traditions which have fallen along the
wayside as the centuries have rolled past."
He thought for a moment and then smiled.
Highness," he sighed. "We used to have chess tournaments once a month
but it has been over four centuries since the last one."
Emily exclaimed, her eyes alight with joy. "I love chess! I used to play
it all the time when I was at university. I had to stop though because I
kept beating everyone. I was the undefeated champion for three years in
Janick looked at her in surprise. "It seems we have
something else in common, my Princess," he said dryly. "I would not have
imagined you for a chess champion though."
"Why not? Chess is
about logic and patterns as well as strategy. I thrive on logic and
patterns. It is easy to work out someone's strategy. After a few times
watching them play I can easily discern the pattern they follow."
"Perhaps we could pit our wits against each other one day soon?" Janick smiled as they entered the common room again.
"Even after I've just told you I am undefeated?" Emily teased laughingly, aware that the entire room was watching them.
Janick laughed too. "Ah, but I had not yet told you that I am also undefeated. For over a decade!"
Emily shook her head smiling. "But you will most likely let me win as I am your Princess," she said waggling a finger at him.
"I have a reputation to uphold," he said indignantly. "I fully intend to wipe the floor with you, Highness."
stepped back, stuck her hands on her hips and threw her head back
laughing loudly. "Bring it on, Janick! Name the time and place and we
will see who wipes the floor with whom."
Cullen had stomped off to
their room after his argument with Emily. He was incensed at the way
she had handled the situation with Elizabeth. She was changing and he
didn't like what she was changing into one little bit. He smarted at the
way she had slapped him down. At least she hadn't done it publicly this
time. It still didn't make the way she so easily dismissed his feelings
any more palatable.
He paced around the room and then walked back
to the common room again. He carefully smoothed his expression before
he went back in. There was no sign of his wife. Cullen plopped down on
the sofa beside Liam.
"Where's Emily?" he asked.
"She went for a walk with Janick earlier," Liam replied, sipping from a glass of wine.
"She what?" Cullen hissed through clenched teeth, his body tensing. "You let her leave with him!?"
Liam looked at him in surprise. "Why would I have stopped her?" he asked puzzled.
"Are you bloody blind, Liam?" Cullen spat. "Have you seen the way he looks at Emily?"
down, Cullen," Liam said firmly. "People are starting to look over and
yes, I have seen the way Janick looks at Emily. It's slightly concerning
I agree but not dangerously so. Janick would never do anything to harm
"I'm glad you're so blasé with my wife's safety," Cullen said darkly. "Forgive me if I don't share your sentiments."
you're so concerned about Emily you walked out on her after she was
challenged publicly by your first wife," Liam countered angrily. "Most
husbands would have supported their wives but not you Cullen, you have
to have a temper tantrum because Emily did what she had to do to assert
"She threatened to cut out Elizabeth's bloody
tongue, Liam. Is that the Emily you know? Because I sure as hell don't
recognise the woman who said that."
"Words, Cullen," Liam growled
in anger. "Your wife is very skilled with words. It's a pity you're too
pigheaded to think clearly when Elizabeth is around."
Cullen stared at him in shock. "What exactly do you mean by that?" he said in a dangerous voice.
do you think they saw here today?" Liam said harshly, his voice low as
he gestured towards the room. "They saw their Princess publicly
challenged by her husband's first wife. They saw her defend her position
and also her husband when that bitch attacked you with her sharp
tongue. They saw her husband walk out on her, the implication strong
that he was displeased with her treatment of his first wife. What do you
think they make of all that, Cullen? Who do you think was the greatest
danger to Emily's position here this day?"
Liam threw himself back against the sofa, his expression dark and angry.
sat there mutely for a while, a frown on his face. "It wouldn't have
mattered who she had said it to," he finally said, his voice cold and
"It's just a pity it was your ex-wife," Liam retorted his
anger still strong. "How much longer are you going to let that woman
come between you, Cullen? If you want to end your marriage to Emily then
just tell her and be done with it. She has already held your hand once
through your insecurities over what Elizabeth did to you. Do you expect
her to do it again knowing that half this room probably thinks you're
still in love with that cold hearted bitch?"
"I do not want to end my marriage and I am not still in love with Elizabeth," Cullen spat furiously.
could have fooled me," Liam snapped. "If you can't support Emily in all
she has to do to save our people then let her go. Don't be a millstone
around her neck. She, at least, understands that hard decisions must be
made sometimes for the greater good. Something you've failed to
Liam sat forward again, his eyes hard as he glared at his friend.
girl would cut her own heart out if it was required of her to save our
people, Cullen," he said angrily. " She did so on the day of her trial
and she is constantly doing so. She may be your wife but she is also our
Princess. I can't even begin to comprehend how difficult that duel life
must be for her to cope with. And to have a petulant, selfish husband
on top of it all. It's a wonder she is doing as well as she is!"
you think I don't know the sacrifices she's willing to make?" Cullen
snapped. "I've lived through what she's willing to do and believe me it
was no picnic, Liam. Try understanding how it feels to know that the
woman you love so much, who you can't stand the thought of being apart
from, would casually break your heart again if it was for the good of
"Never causally, Cullen," Liam said, suddenly sounding very old and very tired.
"She'd still do it though," Cullen hissed, his voice full of pain.
you cannot love and accept the Princess of Vampires, Cullen, then you
cannot love Emily," Liam sighed softly. "I know you do love her, it is
plain for everyone to see but somewhere deep inside you the betrayal of
Elizabeth still lurks. You do not trust your wife, Cullen. You do not
believe in her. Which is why you struggle so with the Princess. If you
cannot give Emily your unconditional love, trust and belief in her, then
you must let her go. You must sacrifice your heart for the good of our
Cullen stared at his friend, a tortured expression on his
face. Was what Liam said true? Were his demons still deep somewhere
inside him? Did he lack the trust and belief in Emily that she so badly
needed from him?
The sound of his wife's laughter caught his
attention. His head turned as did Liam's as Emily walked into the room,
arm in arm with Janick. They were laughing at something Janick had just
said. He watched Emily's eyes sparkle as she bantered playfully with the
"I never thought I'd ever see that," Liam breathed, his voice full of awe. "Our Princess works her magic once more."
stared at his wife and he saw the truth in Liam's words. There was a
part of her which he just couldn't deal with. The part which asked her
to sacrifice her own happiness for the greater good. Despite telling her
time and time again to follow her instincts, to rely on her deadly
intuition to guide her path, Cullen mistrusted that part of her. He knew
it was selfish of him to do so but he couldn't help himself.
wife turned and looked at him, as if sensing his gaze on her. She stared
at him for a moment and then he saw the light slowly go out of her
eyes. She still smiled but her soul was suddenly lost somewhere deep
Emily turned and looked at Cullen. His beautiful face
was so conflicted as he watched her. She stared into his eyes and saw
the inner conflict within him. He was struggling so hard with something,
something which would have devastating consequences for her. Her
intuition flashed suddenly, causing deep despair to roll over her in
Emily felt the life suddenly drained right out of her.
Cullen was leaving her again. She was certain of it even if he hadn't
consciously made the decision yet. It would appear that Elizabeth had
won again. The balance to the heartache she was about to face was the
unity of her people. Janick's acceptance of her was the last hurdle to
be breached. It came at the cost of her happiness. And Cullen's.
knew he loved her. He adored Emily, the sweet, feisty human woman who
had appeared in his life so unexpectedly, showing him what true love
really was. It was his Princess he couldn't accept. The things she had
to do for the good of all.
Emily's heart broke soundlessly as she
continued to look into Cullen's eyes. Why did they have to pay this
awful price? It just wasn't fair.
"Is there something wrong, my Princess," Janick asked, his voice concerned.
looked away from Cullen. She smiled sadly at the dark haired vampire.
"It's just my heart breaking once more, my friend," she said softly.
"Nothing I am not accustomed to. We will have our match soon, yes?" she
added touching him lightly on his arm.
Janick frowned down at his little Princess. She had looked so fierce earlier. Now she looked so fragile, so delicate and tragic.
"The man is a fool," he finally said, his voice rough with emotion.
Emily smiled wanly and walked towards the door leading to the private quarters. A second later, Cullen rose and followed her.
"When are you leaving?" she asked quietly when Cullen closed the door behind him.
"Emily," he said softly, his voice pained.
"I understand, Cullen," she sighed sadly.
do? Because I sure as hell don't," Cullen said, suddenly feeling
incredibly angry. "Why don't you fight as hard for us as you do for
everyone else, Emily? Am I not worth the effort?"
She turned to
him, tears in her eyes. "It's not me who won't fight for us, Cullen,
it's you," she said quietly. "You just can't let go of the past. It
doesn't matter how hard I try to heal you from the pain Elizabeth
caused, you still cling onto it desperately. You refuse to accept what's
right in front of you as you stubbornly hold onto your insecurities.
What more can I do?"
"Give this up," he suddenly yelled. "Walk away from this place with me forever right this very minute. Choose us, Emily!"
would condemn your own people for the sake of your own happiness,
Cullen?" she sighed softly. "Would we survive together if I did as you
ask of me?"
"No," he whispered hoarsely. He raked his hand through his hair and then moved to sit on the bed.
"I love you, Emily," he said desperately, fear and pain in his voice.
enough to accept me as I am, Cullen," Emily said sadly. "Not enough to
put Elizabeth behind you. Tell me which bothered you more today. The
fact that I threatened to cut out someone's tongue or the fact that it
was Elizabeth's tongue?"
Cullen stared at her in shock. Did she really believe that he still had feelings for his first wife?
"I don't love Elizabeth anymore, Emily," he ground out hoarsely.
not," she said. "But you still care enough about her that my threat to
her caused you to come to a crisis decision about our marriage. About
our life together. Perhaps that is why you can't believe in me, Cullen.
You have demons to exercise which I can't help you with. I've tried so
hard but I've failed miserably."
"I don't want to be apart from you, Emily," he whispered in anguish.
you can't stay with me either, I know," she said softly. She sat down
beside him and held him close. His hold on her was full of desperation
as they both tried to deny what was happening.
"Go, Cullen," Emily
finally said, her voice bleak. "I will stay here if you have no
objections. You can stay at the apartment while you decide what you want
Cullen gripped her tighter, not ready to let go of his beautiful wife just yet.
probably just as well we never found the time to look for a house
together," she said ironically. "Saves some time consuming legal matters
to be taken care of."
Cullen slowly released her and dropped his head into his hands.
stroked his head gently. "Come home when you've worked out your demons,
my love," she whispered sadly. "I will be waiting for you no matter how
long it takes."
She stood and left him in the room. She managed
to hold her tears at bay until she reached the meeting room. She ran up
the steps of the dais and through the door to the small ante chamber the
King used when he was visiting. She locked the door behind her and then
slid down the wall sobbing. She'd lost her love again and this time she
had no idea if he would ever come back to her.
To be continued....