“He was a vampire.”
She knew by now how vampires were made. They were born Caros who had taken human lives for immortality. “Then you did the right thing. He wasn’t human any longer. I’m not talking biologically, but I’m talking what’s in here.” She pointed to her heart.
Misty cupped his face. It humbled her that someone like Domenico chose to confide in her things that she knew instinctively he did not share with anyone else. It humbled her to feel that he needed her approval.
“Anything that troubles you, Domenico, let me know. I will do what I can to help you, okay?” She smiled tremulously. “I love you.”
He answered her with a kiss and all the love that his heart could hold.
A girl is always supposed to have her secrets, but what about a man’s? Is it bad that I want everything there is to know about Domenico? I feel like the more I know of him, the more hidden layers I discover, and they’re not all pretty. Some of them are dark and treacherous, like snakes waiting to poison me.
Yesterday, I managed to get the story out of Domenico about how he lost his virginity. He said it was his piano tutor. She was twenty-four and he was fourteen. I think it is rape but he says it’s not. If anything, Domenico told me she was the one who was used because he had later on used his newly learned sexual skills to persuade her to let him play hooky with his lessons without telling his parents. He told me how he had bent her to his will completely, so much so that she would give him a blowjob on the rare times he would practice the piano.
Sometimes, I’m scared at how manipulative he can be – how unapologetically ruthless he is when he thinks it’s the right thing to do.
“You’re going away again?” They were having breakfast at their bedroom’s private balcony when Domenico shared with her his plans.
Domenico patted his mouth with a napkin. “I have to. Just for a few days, I have to hunt down more vampires.”
“But…” She put her coffee cup down because her hands were shaking too much. Yes, Domenico was strong. But so were vampires. She had asked the twins about it, and they had not hesitated to tell her the truth since they also feared for Domenico’s life. Vampires were no longer bound by their consciences and were wont to do whatever it took to satisfy their greed and thirst for blood.
“I have to do this myself, Misty. For Matteo.”
She didn’t argue after that. “Just please don’t do anything rash.”
He laughed. “I’m not rash in any way.”
She held her tongue even though she so badly wanted to argue. He wasn’t rash as a rule, but he did tend to do things unthinkingly if it meant giving him another point to score over his father. The twins had told her that Dio was against Domenico’s involvement with the hunt, and that alone had been enough to make her husband decide to join.
Misty bit her lip. “Can’t I go---”
Domenico whitened. “No, Misty. I will worry endlessly about you and I could lose my life in the process.”
She stared at him miserably. “Please don’t go.”
“Misty, for Matteo.”
“But is it really for Matteo?” she cried out.
He stiffened. “What do you mean?”
“Domenico, I love you, but I’m not blind. Or stupid. You can go after his killer without being a part of this hunt.” She grabbed her hand and held it to her heart. “I don’t want you to be a part of this just because your dad---”
Domenico took his hand away at her words. “You forget as well that I am not a child, Misty. I’m over thirty years old. Do you think I still let old family quarrels rule my decision?”
Yes. Because he still hurt.
But she couldn’t say that, not when he was looking at her so coldly. “Forgive me,” she said softly and took his hand again, laying it on her cheek. Turning around to kiss his palm, she said, “Just be safe, please?”
“I will. But you have to promise me the same thing.” Domenico looked at the scenery before them. In the horizon, it was easy to spy the mansion of the twins, the girls, and at the center of it all, his parents. All the Morettis lived in a single estate, but the land was expansive enough to give everyone as much privacy and space as needed.
“While I’m gone, I want you and the others to move in temporarily with Dio and Elena.”
Misty straightened in her seat at that. “Why?”
“Just a precaution. It’s the most protected area in the estate. Can you promise you’ll do that?”
When Domenico left, Misty and her siblings moved in with her in-laws as promised. The first day, she didn’t see Dio the whole time but they all were able to join Elena for dinner. She was pleased to see her siblings and Domenico’s mom getting along well. The twins and the three E’s visited as well, and the meal turned into a full-fledged party.
The next day, Misty caught sight of Dio in the garden and impulsively approached him. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” he returned civilly enough.
An awkward silence fell.
‘So…we’ve been married for almost a month,” she ventured.
Dio nodded, his gaze remaining at the plants he was watering.
She played with the hems of her floral blouse nervously. “Domenico’s too busy these days so I didn’t think I should bother him with this but…”
Dio switched the hose off. “Do you need money?”
She shook her head, wiping her suddenly clammy palms on her white shorts.
Domenico’s father frowned at her. “Then what?”
“What should I do as his wife? What are my responsibilities?”
“Whatever he says they are,” Dio answered brusquely, turning his back on her.
“But he has no time to teach me. But you could – could you let me know what you had your wife do at the start?”
Dio looked at her again, a scowl on his face. “I told you, there’s no need to curry favor. Your position will not be threatened.”
Misty wanted to stomp her foot in frustration. “I am not doing this to curry favor. I’m Domenico’s wife and I want to be of service to him.”
“Then divorce him.”
She flinched but rallied quickly, “Anything but that.”
“Then I don’t have anything else to say.”
“Why do you hate me so much?” she demanded.
“I don’t hate you. But you’re different from us and you haven’t mated---”