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By: StormHerald

Chapter 2

I arrived in Paris looking and smelling like a homeless woman. My aunt,
damn her, was waiting for me looking like a tall, vampire model,
wearing a ridiculous black, glittering dress that was so low it showed
the edge of her navel and in her hand was a black, lace umbrella I
walked towards her, seeing her face light up in a bright smile.

"Lilly, you look atrocious. It’s wonderful to see you." She led me to get
my baggage then led me to her limo and ushered me in.

"My Brother says that you need regular sleep, that will put us behind
schedule but I guess there is nothing that can be done about it. You are
so cute, but you smell terrible, so we are going to the hotel right away
and I want you to freshen up then we need to shop."

I moaned and laid my head back against the loft leather head rest and
closed my eyes letting the bumpy ride calm my nerves. It had to be only
a little after lunch here, so it made sense that my Aunt would want to
go shopping, but I was exhausted and I knew that there would be no
hope of getting anything done until I went to sleep.

We arrived at the hotel and walked into the pent house, I ignored my
Aunt directing bell hops all around to organize things, as well as carry in
all the luggage, my two bags and her seventeen. I, instead, went
straight for the bathroom, and turned on the large Jacuzzi tub and took
a heavenly, hot bath. It must have been soothing because before I
knew it my Aunt was staring down at me and the water was very cold. I
shivered from both her black stare and the water, before standing up
and toweling quickly off.

"I forgot about human inclination towards jet lag." She rubbed the
bridge of her nose and slumped down in the chair in my room, "I'm
trying Lilly, but you are going to have to work with me here. We only
have a few days to get you six months’ worth of appropriate clothing."
I put on a pair of jeans, a black bra, and a white tank top then sat on the
bed. I looked out the window feeling entirely overwhelmed. No one
seemed to care that my entire life had just been uprooted, that I went
from happy American teenager who just graduated, to a European
vampire prince's betrothed. I sighed and turned back to my Aunt whose
desperate look had disappeared and turned into serious calculations.
Her eyes roamed my body and suddenly I felt the need to cover myself
with my blanket. Before I could manage it my Aunt had me out of the
bed and was observing me entirely from head to toe.

She grabbed a handful of my hair and scrunched it, watching it drop
and spring back in soft curls, "What is going on with your hair?"

"What?" I ran my fingers through it, trying to untangle the drying curls.
My Aunt ignored me and stared straight at my breast, leaning forward
and grabbing both and squeezing them softly. She lifted them and
released them, again, soft and bouncy, I wanted to die. She glared at
me through narrowed eyes, "Strip to your bra and panties."

I hesitated and she barked a loud now, snapping me out of any sense of
shyness I might have had.

I stripped quickly and stood feeling more like meat on the market than
a person as my aunt poked and pinched and grabbed different parts of
my body. Finally she stood back with a smug look on her face, "Your
mother failed to tell me how voluptuous you were."

I dropped my eyes, "Sorry, I'm big."

My Aunt scoffed, "Voluptuous is not big darling. I am gathering from
popular human trends that your body type is very desirable."
"Yeah for a human." I muttered and pulled my clothes back on.
"Yes, for a human." My aunt became distracted for a moment before
picking up the phone just as it rang.

"Hello...oh yes we will be there shortly." She hung up the phone and
turned back to me, "We have dinner reservations. Please tell me you
have some semblance of a dress."

I sighed and dug through the bag I had personally packed and pulled
out a bright yellow dress and put it on quickly. It was a sun dress but it
was the only dress I had, the little flowers smiled up at me and when I
turned to see my Aunt she was wincing so hard you would have
thought I had just staked her.

"I should have known, yellow, Hades give me strength. Alright dear, lets

Dinner was a very silent affair with my Aunt greeting different men,
some human, and most vampires. They all asked about me and after
being told my name the vampires scoffed then retreated making my
aunt more and more irritated by the end of the meal.
When we were in the car she turned sharply to me, "This dress is

getting burned when we get back, understand?"
I looked at her aghast, "But it's the only one I have."
"You will have more by tomorrow evening. No more yellow, its
disgusting, little flowers on it. You would think you were here to
compete in the Miss Idaho darling pageant or whatever asinine human
thing they do. It’s embarrassing."

I bit my lip and looked away, watching the scenery pass by without
really looking at it. I had embarrassed yet another relative, one I had
only known for less than a day. It seemed hopeless and in a very dark
mood I began to wonder if it wouldn't have been better for everyone if
one of those near death experiences had been a full death event.
"I'm sorry Lilly."

I turned back to my Aunt and saw her looking at me sadly, "There is a
lot going on and your father sent you to me, because he believed you
would have the best fighting chance with me. And I look at you in all
your little yellow dress, humanness and I feel like I may not even

"I don't want to marry Damien and I don't know why everyone is
working so hard for me to do that."

My aunt took a deep breath and then released it, "it isn't about you
marrying the Prince, Lilly. Courting can be a very violent thing, and I'm
sure your parents left all the explaining up to me."

"I guess because I don't know anything."

My aunt made a dark face and muttered my father’s name under her
breath before turning back to me, "Alright, well, first what you need to
know is that for six months you will be courting the Prince, along with
three other girls."

I was stunned, I didn't know there was going to be competition, my
heart raced a bit faster in hope. All Damien had to do was reject me and
then voila, I got my life back.

"I will be living with you, but the other girls, they will be independent
without a chaperone, I guess is what you would call me. This puts you
at a disadvantage, because while the three vampire girls will be seen as
strong and independent, I am afraid you will be viewed as week and

"Okay, but why are you going with me while the other girls don't have

"Obvious reasons being you're human and far more fragile than the
other three. Also, you have needs that vampires are not entirely
accustomed to, especially the old families where Halflings are changed
at the age of five into vampires so they can learn their life early. No one
will think about your needs like the restroom, or food, or water, or

She shifted uncomfortable as the limo stopped in front of the hotel but
she didn't move to get out, "There is another reason too isn't there?"
My Aunt nodded, "I'm there also to make sure you stay alive. Courting
royalty is very competitive and it wouldn't be beyond the other
betrothed to kill off the weak little human to better their chances."

"I might not live through this, then." I shuttered at the thought but
wasn't as afraid as I would have thought I should be, in fact it felt like a bit of a relief.

"But don't you worry dear, I am here for you. And our first order of
business is to investigate the competition and develop a battle strategy
accordingly." And with that she flung open the car door and got out,
practically bouncing to the front doors.
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