Chapter 6

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Arielle was too shocked to say anything to the vampire. The events of the past hour were all flooding back to her. Without the adrenaline or the life-threatening situations, Arielle was starting to feel the effects of her fight. The wooziness from being slammed into a wall, legs aching, and her feet sore. The blood had started to dry and make her uniform stick uncomfortably to her skin.

"We'll stop somewhere for you to wash up," the vampire said, as if sensing Arielle's thoughts (Arielle briefly wondered if she could read minds. That was a vampire thing right?), her smooth voice filling the car.

"Why?" Arielle asked. She had honestly thought the vampire would have kicked her out the car by now.

The vampire gave her a less-than-impressed look from the corner of her eye.

"It'll take us longer to get to the Council if you're covered in blood."

"The Council? Why do I have to see the Council?" Arielle cried uneasily, her voice rising a few octaves.

Anything to do with a vampire council never turned out good for anyone!

"You've witnessed rouge vampires. Seen them kill. Vampires are a secret race. Erasing your memories wouldn't work because you could see past the glamours that woman and the others put in place. The Council will decide what to do with you."

The vampire's explanation did nothing to calm Arielle. In fact, it made her feel worse. Panicky. What would they do with her?

"It means that they'll decide what your place in the Kingdom will be. The lowest position is being a blood donor while the highest is being an apprentice."

Blood donor? Arielle shivered at the thought. How does the Council decide that? What was the Kingdom? And how the hell did the vampire know what Arielle was thinking?

"Stop reading my mind!" Arielle bit out.

She did not appreciate someone invading her personal thoughts (and it had nothing to do with the fact that Arielle was scared the vampire had heard her thinking about how beautiful she was).

The vampire's lips twitched upwards.
"I'm not reading your mind. You spoke aloud."

Arielle's face heated up and she apologized. The vampire didn't seem that put out by Arielle's accusations. She seemed amused by them. It made Arielle feel as if there was a tiny ball of warmth settling in the middle of her chest. She blushed harder once she acknowledged the feelings.

It was quite again. Arielle was surprised that it didn't make her feel awkward or more embarrassed. She felt comfortable. As if they were on a long road trip together. Of course she had a million questions, Arielle was just trying to filter them all through her mess of a mind.

But one thing's for sure that she wasn't going to be anyone's blood bitch. Screw that! She had just escaped (twice) from being killed by vampires. Arielle wasn't about to let them ruin her life any more than they already had. She'll slip away whenever she got the chance.

Arielle suddenly felt like she hit a brick wall. Everything was catching back up with her. The stress, the lack of sleep, and the fights for her life. Arielle couldn't help but fall asleep, with her head lying against the car window.
Arielle jumped when someone started to shake her. For a second she was terrified it was Carmen and she had come to claim Arielle's life. When she saw the dark vampire's glowing eyes, she remembered what was going on. Carmen was dead and she was being taken to some evil vampire council by a really hot vampire.

That said vampire was now holding out a dufflebag towards Arielle. Arielle hesitantly reached for it. She gasped when their hands touched. The same tingling feeling overcame her like when the vampire had touched her bite mark (the one she made btw). The vampire pulled her hand away as if she'd been burned, a curious look on her face. If she had heard Arielle gasp she didn't mention it.

"It's clothes and some toiletries for you," the vampire clarified.

Arielle climbed out of the car, trying to ignore the pounding of her heart.

"Where are we?"

"You ask a lot of questions."

Arielle cracked a smile and looked around. She saw that they had parked in the darkest part of a parking lot and that they were currently walking towards a Gold Gym. Arielle looked down at the dufflebag. Where had she gotten the clothes?

"Hey, where did you get these?" Arielle held up the bag.

"I stole them," the vampire responded faltly.

Arielle whipped around to face her.

"You can't go around stealing stuff! What if someone saw you?" Arielle scolded the vampire while walking backwards.

The vampire actually grinned at Arielle. "No one saw me. I am a vampire after all."

Arielle laughed. "Aren't you cocky. Did you steal the car too?"

"Yes." The vampire looked way too smug.

"Careful. You'll look like you're having fun," Arielle teased her. She got the feeling that the vampire was the stoic and serious type.

The vampire snorted causing Arielle to laugh again, that warm feeling starting to spread throughout her body. As they walked in, Arielle noticed that no one was in the gym. The one guy working there was snoring behind the desk. Arielle walked towards the bathrooms, she knew they had showers (her mom used to make her go to gym with her sometimes). As she weaved through the gym equipment, Arielle glanced over her shoulder. The vampire was talking on the phone with her back turned away from Arielle.

Arielle turned down a hallway towards the showers when she saw an emergency exit door. It was her chance! This was perfect. Arielle would shower, change, and run like Hades was on her heels. Arielle smiled and ignored the feeling of disappointment with the thought of leaving the vampire. Arielle smacked herself. No, she wouldn't lose sight of what was important. That vampire was taking her to an evil vampire council where with her luck would make her a blood donor.

Arielle stepped into the bathroom/showers. Her footsteps echoing throughout the room as she walked towards the showers. The white tiled floor and walls were starting to give her a headache. Arielle let out a sigh of relief when she saw the showers. They weren't that bad. Blue stalls and tan curtains with the gym's logo on it. It could be worse.

Arielle stripped and started to shower. She scrubbed and scrubbed herself until all the blood was washed away from her body. Even then she scrubbed harder, trying to wash away the horrors of the institute. Arielle had washed herself a total of five times before she decided that the sticky feeling of blood wouldn't go away. She wondered if it ever would.

Arielle pulled out the clothes that were stolen for her (a sentence Arielle thought she'd never use). Clearly the vampire had stolen the first few things  she found because the clothes were massive on Arielle. She was drowning in the plaid shirt and jacket. Luckily, the vampire had stolen a belt along with the pants because even with it pulled at tight as it would go they were still slipping off her body. And don't even get her started on the shoes.

Arielle left the shower on and turned on a couple of sinks as she passed. She had no idea how good vampire hearing was but she wasn't about to make it easier for the vampire to hear her making a run for it. Arielle pushed the door open and stepped into the bitting cold. She would get away this time. She would get far, far away.

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