Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy) (9 page)

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She couldn’t stand another minute of this. So without another word, she snatched her briefcase, strutted out the door and hurried to her car, intent on catching the next flight to Paris.




Scarlet’s heart beat with excitement as they pulled up to Sage’s mansion. He had driven her here from the party, and she recalled the shocking moment when she’d first seen his car: a black Lamborghini. She’d never seen one before. As she had sat in it, sinking into the hard, leather seats, so low to the ground, she couldn’t help feeling as if her life were becoming more and more surreal.

She had never met anyone who had owned a car like this—and in fact, had never met a boy who seemed as mature and ageless—and mysterious—as Sage. Everything he did just made him more mysterious. Every question she had just led to more questions. How could it be that he was driving a Lamborghini? Was he that wealthy?

They had barely spoken during the drive, which only deepened the sense of mystery.

He’d driven her down familiar village streets, then made a few unfamiliar terms, taking her down roads she rarely drove on in all her time growing up here. The roads twisted and turned and before she knew it they were on the famous river road, on which sat the largest and most expensive mansions overlooking the Hudson River. After a few more miles, he turned off into one of them.

Now, the huge wrought iron gate was slowly opening before them.

She could hardly take it all in. She’d never been to any of these mansions in her entire life, and hadn’t known anyone who’d lived in them. Now here was this boy, Sage, appearing out of nowhere, in his black Lamborghini, and taking her to one of the biggest and grandest of them all.

As they drove down the driveway, it seemed like it took forever. His front lawn was the size of a state park, and they passed under rows of mature trees, sheltering the driveway. The moonlight peaked through the branches as they went, and finally, the house came into view.

It was not a house: it was a sprawling stone mansion, stretching out in multiple wings. Behind it, its huge lawn sloped down to the Hudson River. It was the most beautiful home she’d ever seen; it looked like it belonged in a fairytale.

She could not believe that Sage lived here. And she could not believe that he had picked her, of all the girls. It almost felt too good to be true. She had a million questions she was burning to ask him, but didn’t even know where to begin.

“Is this like your parents’ house?” she asked.

“Some of the time,” he responded cryptically.

Just like him: every question just led to more questions.

“What does that mean?” she pressed.

She didn’t want to be nosy, but at the same time she felt that if she were going to get close to him, she needed some straight answers. She needed to know who she was with.

“We have houses around the world. We don’t stay in this one that often anymore.”

He had given her an answer, but of course, it just led to more questions. She figured she’d stop for now; she didn’t want it to seem as if she were interrogating him.

He pulled up in front of the house and they got out and walked towards it. There was a soft glow coming from inside.

“Are your parents home?” she asked, puzzled.

“They’re out for the night. My entire…family went out tonight.”

“Do you have brothers and sisters?” she asked.

“One sister. And lots of cousins.”

“Do they all live here?” she asked, wondering how such a small family could live in such a huge house.

“Sometimes,” he replied. “They come and go a lot. It’s hard to keep track.”

Again, his answer just made her want to know more; but she held back for now.

He grabbed the ornate brass knocker and yanked open the arched oak door, at least a foot thick. It creaked, and she felt as if he were opening a door to another world.

They stepped inside and he closed the door behind them, slamming it shut with a bang.

They entered a cavernous, stone parlor, lit by a low-hanging, candle chandelier, all the candles flickering. She looked left and right, and saw that the series of open rooms stretched forever, candle sconces all along the stone walls flickering, giving the rooms a soft, warm glow. There was no other lighting, and the rooms were dim. She also spotted huge, marble mantle fireplaces on either end of the room, each with a glow of a dying fire.

It was the most beautiful house she had ever been in. She hardly knew what to make of it: the rooms were pieces of dark, antique furniture; there was a four-poster bed in the middle of the living room, a chaise lounge on the far wall before the fireplace, huge, ornate mirrors and Persian rugs covering sections of stone. She felt as if she’d entered a Medieval museum.

She looked over at Sage and wondered about him. Did he really live here? What was this place?

In the far corner, she spotted a black, Steinway piano. From its thick legs it looked to be several hundred years old. She was suddenly curious.

“Do you play?” she asked. She’d always wanted to learn to play. She’d started listening to classical music lately, between her pop, and found it relaxing, especially before bedtime.

He shrugged. “A little.”

“Can you play something?” she asked. “I’d like to hear it.”

He hesitated.

“Come on,” she goaded.

He walked slowly over to the piano and looked at it longingly, as if he hadn’t touched it in years. After a long pause, he finally sat at the bench.

Sage wiped a thick layer of dust off the lid, then slowly opened it and pushed it back. He looked down at the keys, closed his eyes and breathed deeply. It was as if memories were coming back to him.

“I’ll play you something from my childhood,” he said.

Scarlet came over and stood beside him. As she stood there, she looked out through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the moon, illuminating him at the piano. Through the old, warped glass she saw the huge backyard, framed by oak trees, sloping down towards the river—and beyond it, the glistening Hudson.

Sage began to play, and the music took her breath away. She was transported. It was the most beautiful melody she’d ever heard, slow and soft and dark, and the more he played, the more relaxed she felt. As the notes filled the air, all the stress of the last few days began to pour out of her. All the tension with her parents, the stress of her being sick, her fighting with Vivian, with Maria…it all slowly left.

When he finished, a peaceful silence filled the room. The grandfather clock ticked several seconds before she could open her eyes again.

“That was beautiful,” she said.

He smiled, then quickly closed the lid, as if embarrassed.

“It’s been a long time,” he said.

“What song was that?”

“Beethoven,” he said. “The Moonlight Sonata. You should have heard him play it,” he added nostalgically, looking off into the distance as if remembering.

Scarlet was confused.

“Um…hasn’t he been dead a long time?” she asked. “How could you have heard him play it?”

He seemed caught off guard.

“I meant…um…what I meant to say was that I heard a recording of him playing it.”

But Sage looked flustered, as if caught in a lie. And as Scarlet thought about it, it seemed odd—they didn’t have recording devices hundreds of years ago. How could he have heard Beethoven playing it?

But he quickly got up from the piano and took her hand, and began to lead her through the house—and her focus changed. The feel of his hand on hers was electrifying: it was hard to think of anything else.

She was nervous as he led her through all the rooms, and wondered where he was taking her. Could he be leading her to her bedroom? If so, what would she say?

Scarlet got even more nervous as she started to think about how attracted she felt to him. She thought back to her time with Blake, by the river, of how she had changed. Wanted his blood. She felt so nervous that something like that might happen again—this time with Sage. She couldn’t allow that to happen. She couldn’t ruin things. Not twice. She willed her body to stay normal. She prayed that she wouldn’t suddenly freak out again and have to run out of here.

Please God. Make me be normal. Just tonight. Just let me get through this.

Finally, Sage led her to a set of tall, French doors. He reached up, unlocked the antique brass hardware, slid the bolts and turned the delicate knobs. He pulled open both doors and took her hand and led her outside onto the wide, stone terrace.

The night air was crisp and refreshing. The terrace stretched forever, fifty feet in each direction, and culminated in a wide, marble railing.

He led her to it and as they leaned against it, she looked out at the huge full moon over the Hudson, the water sparkling. The air was filled with the sound of the ancient trees swaying in the wind.

Scarlet felt as if she’d walked into a postcard. She wanted to freeze this moment forever.

It also made her feel a more pressing need for answers. Who was this boy, really? Was this all too good to be true?

“Tell me about you,” Scarlet said, as she turned and faced him. His mysterious grey eyes were glistening, reflecting the color of the moon as he looked out at the horizon.

“Like what?” he asked.

“Anything. Everything. I really don’t know anything. You’re so…mysterious. Nobody really knows anything. It’s like you just showed up one day, out of nowhere. Tell me about you. Your past. Where you’re from. Your family. It’s all so…different. You’re so different from everyone around here. Don’t you see that?”

He looked away, and she hoped she hadn’t pushed too far. But she was dying to know, and she had to ask.

“I don’t understand why different isn’t okay,” he answered.

“It’s fine. I don’t care. I guess I just want to know who I’m with.”

He sighed.

“My family is pretty intense. I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you more but I can’t. Maybe one day I’ll be able to, and you’ll understand.”

Scarlet was beginning to feel disappointed. She
understand. Why couldn’t he tell her?

“What I can tell you is this,” he continued, “I know it’s hard to believe, because we barely know each other, but I care about you. Very much.”

He turned and looked into her eyes, and the full force of his stare was overwhelming. She felt butterflies.

“The first second I saw you, in the cafeteria, and when I saw you again outside your house, I felt like I knew you. Like we’re connected somehow.”

He looked into her eyes and as he did, Scarlet felt her heart pounding. It was eerie, because that was the exact same thing she had been thinking. And she didn’t understand how it was possible, either. It made no sense. They barely knew each other. How could they have such strong feelings?

“Do you feel it, too?” he asked.

Scarlet hesitated, not knowing how to respond. She got nervous.

“Maybe,” she said, her voice trembling.

He reached up with one hand and gently brushed the hair from her face. As he did, he ran his fingertips along her cheek—and his touch was electrifying. She could barely breathe as he took a step closer, leaned in. He came closer and closer, and she leaned in, too, just a bit.

And for the first time, their lips met.

Their kiss sent an electric shock throughout her entire body, and she felt everything she knew about the world starting to change. First, it was a soft, gentle kiss, then he kissed harder, and so did she. She closed her eyes, and felt her world melting.

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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