“Oh, God, my head!”
Tiana awoke early the next morning, wondering what had happened the night before, and then it all came flooding back to her. Paris; dancing, champagne...ok, that explained the headache.
She sat up and then saw that she was back in her own room. She also realised, to her surprise, that she was alone in bed, and yet, Lestat had been here, she could sense his presence. Blinking, and rubbing her head, she rolled out of bed and onto the floor as her senses began to drift back to her. Ok, she was in her petticoat; where was her dress? Lifting her head she saw that it was draped neatly over the back of the chair. Slowly she managed to stumble to her feet, rubbing her eyes and then she threw her dressing gown around herself. “Oh, God, my head!” she groaned, trying to pull herself together as she slipped on her slippers and glanced at herself in the mirror. Her hair was sticking up all over the place. Seizing a brush, she ran it quickly through her hair and then the smell of coffee reached her nostrils. She frowned. Was Esme making coffee?
Feeling she could finally face going downstairs, she did so, and to her surprise, and immense pleasure, it was Lestat who handed her a cup of coffee. “Morning,” he smiled at her.
“How much did I have to drink last night?” Tiana asked, taking the cup from him.
“Enough so that you’d be pretty vulnerable to any vampires who were there last night, and I’m pretty sure there were quite a few at the Moulin Rouge,” Lestat replied, grinning.
“Oh, dear,” Tiana sighed, rubbing her forehead. “What was I thinking?”
“Relax; it was your first night in Paris.” Lestat touched her arm. “It’s natural that you went a little overboard.”
“Overboard?” Tiana looked up at him. “What happened last night? I don’t even remember.”
“Well, after about your fifteenth glass of champagne, you passed out,” Lestat replied. “I had to carry you home; not that I minded.”
Lestat smiled. “No. I just took your dress off and put you in bed.”
“Did you spend the night?” Tiana frowned at him. “I thought you needed someone to let you in?”
“Your sister’s boyfriend did.”
For some reason, Lestat looked slightly twitchy when he said that. Tiana frowned, lowering her cup. “What? You look uneasy.”
“There’s something about that man I don’t trust,” Lestat replied, plain and simple.
“Really? He seems alright to me.”
“Trust me.” Lestat glanced at her. “A vampire knows these things. Be careful of him.”
Tiana smiled. “You can count on me.”
Lestat smiled. “Well, I’d better go and you’d better find a way of getting rid of your hangover.”
“I haven’t got a hangover.”
“Yes, you have.”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Yes, you have.”
Tiana grinned. “Ok, if you’re going to keep reading my mind, then we have no future.”
“Sorry, force of habit.” Lestat replied, with a grin, and then he leaned forwards and kissed her. “Am I forgiven?”
She couldn’t help but nod. “You’re forgiven. How do you do that?”
Lestat smiled. “It comes naturally to me.”
Tiana followed him to the door. “Ok, so that’s another one off my list.”
“Two,” Lestat corrected her. “Donc, jusqu’a ce soir, ma beaute.”
“What does that mean?”
“So, until tonight, my beauty.” Lestat kissed her again, and then turned to go.
“Lestat!” Tiana cried. “Je t’aime!” That much she could remember from the night before.
Lestat gave her that loving look that made her heart melt. “Je t’aime trop.”
She didn’t need to know a lot of French to know that he had just said “I love you too.” Feeling very much loved, she quickly hurried back inside and phoned Belle.
She answered on the third ring, sounding like she had just got up herself. “Hello?”
“Belle, guess where Lestat took me last night?”
“Where did Lestat take you last night?” Belle asked with a yawn.
“Seriously?” Now Belle sounded more awake. “Paris the city? In France?”
“And are you still there now?”
“No, I’m back home.”
“So he took you there and back in the space of one night?”
“Yep!” Tiana giggled. “Oh, Belle, it was so incredible! We saw everything; the Eifel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame...oh, it was so incredible!”
Belle laughed. “Well, it sounds like someone had a good night!”
“I did...until we got onto the champagne.”
“Ok, am I talking to Tiana now or Meg?”
“It’s not funny, Belle. I have a hangover the size of Venus.”
“Well, a good breakfast will fix that,” Belle advised her.
“Oh, and he’s teaching me French. Bonjour!”
“So, I’m guessing this is really getting serious, then? You and him?”
Realising that she hadn’t yet told Belle or Meg about the recent turn of events, Tiana took a deep breath. “He’s agreed to turn me into a...” she looked around in case John or Esme was around and then hissed “You know what.”
“Seriously?” That came out as a squeak from Belle.
“Yeah, I know, I know, there’s a lot of negatives we drew up together, but Belle, if it was Adam, you’d want to do anything to be with him, even this?”
“Well, yes, I would, you’re right.”
“That’s how I feel about Lestat.”
“I know.” Belle took a deep breath. “Ok, well if you’re happy then we’re happy for you. When’s he going to do it?”
“Well, he wanted me to draw up a list of things to do before I’m twenty and we’re going through them now. When we’ve done them all...”
“Hello, vampire Tiana,” Belle finished, “or, should I say “Bonjour, vampire Tiana?”
Tiana giggled. “Thanks, Belle.”
“That’s ok. So, what’s next, then?”
“I have no idea,” Tiana smiled. “Being with him is like being on a roller coaster you’ve never ridden before; you don’t know what’s coming next but you love it. Anyway, I’ve got to go; Esme’s back and staying with me.”
“Esme’s back?” Belle whistled. “Good luck!”
“Thanks, I’ll need it. I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”
“Ok, see you. Oh, does Esme know about Lestat?”
“She’s met him.”
“But does she know he’s a vampire?”
“Not yet. I don’t know how to tell her.” Tiana bit her lip. “Oh, I’ll figure something out.”
“Call us if you need any help, ok?”
“Will do. See you, Belle.”
Tiana hung up and set about making breakfast. Then, hearing footsteps behind her, she turned to see John stepping into the kitchen. “Hi,” she smiled, politely.
“Where’s your boyfriend?” John asked.
“Gone, but I’ll be seeing him later,” Tiana replied, pouring coffee.
“Hm.” John nodded. “That is interesting.”
Tiana barely heard him. “So, did you have a good night last night? Is Esme still asleep?”
“Yeah; kinda like your boyfriend ought to be right now.”
Tiana froze. “Wha-what do you mean?”
“I know your secret.” John smirked. “You’re dating a vampire.”
Tiana almost dropped the coffee pot in shock as she whirled to face him. His eyes told that he wasn’t teasing and she swallowed hard. “How do you know that?” she whispered, her mouth dry.
“Because I’m a professional vampire hunter and I can recognise one a mile off.”
Tiana trembled. “Have you told Esme that?”
“No point in frightening her,” John replied. “But if I were you, I’d be frightened. You think that dating a vampire is glamorous and romantic? That he’ll always protect you from danger? Wrong! He’ll suck you dry. They’re nothing but monsters.”
“That’s a lie!” Tiana snapped. “They’re just different! And you have no right to hunt them!”
“Just like they’ve got no right to kill people?”
“Vampires need to feed; like wolves!”
“And will you still feel this way when he feeds on you?”
“Lestat would never do that to me!”
John folded his arms. “Really? You trust him?”
“With all my heart!” Tiana replied, defiantly. “And if you come near him I will kill you, and don’t think I won’t!”
John scowled at her, even though his mouth twitched in another smirk, and Tiana felt frightened. Oh, God, what if he killed Lestat? What then? She had to warn him.
“We’ll see,” John smirked.
Dropping her kitchen utensils, Tiana shot from the house. Whatever happened, she just had to find Lestat and warn him that his life, that both their lives, really, were in danger...
“I know your secret. You're dating a vampire."