When the mansion arrived, the sun had set but the celebration had started with the music in the air. The horses came to a halt and the driver got down to open the door.
As Katie stepped down out of the brown carriage she felt a flash of deja-vu looking at the mansion.
She walked inside, her feet carrying her with a mind of its own.
The mansion was decorated with light bulbs and flowers. Few of the guests had already made themselves comfortable by drinking a glass of wine at the tables while the others spoke to each other, discussing matters of their own or others.
Men wore suits and women wore beautiful, extravagant gowns with jewellery that could be spotted from far as it shone in the light. Drinks and food were served by the servants time to time, heeding to the guest's requests.
As she tried searching for her friend, Annabelle in the vast room, her back hit a woman's side and she apologized for it,
"I'm sorry," and walked to the other end sighing. Anna is late, Katie thought to herself.
"Hello Miss," a guard came up to her after some time, "If it's not much trouble, could you show me your invitation please?" he asked her. At first, she frowned but she then smiled.
"Of course, here," she said pulling out the invitation card and giving it to him.
People would always suspect the poor. Just because she didn't wear any flashy jewellery or wasn't in a group talking to the elite members in the room didn't mean she had barged in without an invitation. Reading the card the guard bowed his head and left looking at other people in the room.
"Katie!" She heard Annabelle's voice chime in as she walked along with her husband, "I'm sorry for being late," she apologized as they hugged each other.
"That's alright. Hello Donovan."
"Hello, Katherine. How have you been?" Donovan asked in his deep baritone voice.
"I'm doing good. I hope my friend isn't giving you any trouble," Katie said making the couple smile.
"Not at all. She's like a firefly in my life," Donovan laughed looking at his wife as she held his arm. A man wearing a round frame walked towards them as they spoke, "Katherine, this is my cousin Tobias."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, mademoiselle," the young man named Tobias greeted her with a slight bow, "Annabelle has told so much about you."
"The pleasure is all mine," Katie replied politely.
As the evening proceeded, more people gathered in the main hall to celebrate the Winter's time. Her eyes kept searching and scanning the room but she didn't find him. She wondered if the Lord of Valeria was even going to make an appearance tonight, thinking this she felt her stomach drop.
Tobias was a hostile and a serious man. Katie gathered that he had come to the celebration only to talk to one of the men on the agricultural land that hadn't been allocated yet in his city. They now danced to the beautiful piano tones that were played at the centre.
"How long have you been a vampire?" Katie asked trying to strike a conversation which she was normally bad at.
"A decade and a half, though I don't have an exact count. After all, age is just a number. Don't you agree?" He asked to which she nodded.
"True," she murmured but then spoke, "For a vampire, it's just an infinite time but for a human, it's a time that needs to scheduled and organized with the minimum one has to achieve their dreams."
"I agree. Looks like Sir Carlington has finally come," Tobias commented looking towards a man who looked to be in his fifties with a big belly and a moustache, "Miss Katie, I apologize for the short company."
"Don't be, Anna had informed me earlier on it. I think you must go before Sir Carlington disappears," she commented looking towards the old man who was heading towards the exit. Tobias bowed quickly and took his leave to catch up with the old man.
Katie let out a soft sigh looking at the entrance door after Tobias left. Her friend Annabelle was busy with her husband talking to a couple and she didn't want to interrupt. When she began walking towards the back exit for some fresh air she caught sight of a black cat and the next second it ran away.
The garden was beautiful with the trees and bushes that held fruits and flowers.
As minutes passed she noticed a shadow in front of her that was following her and she turned around in time to lift her leg up to attach with the man's stomach in time.
"Ow my face!" The man groaned touching his face that was hidden underneath a scarf. Taking the chance she began to run, "Get her Hulio!" He yelled seeing her flee.
Another man came out from nowhere and she took hold of the branch that was lying on the ground. But when she swung it, the man caught it easily and pulled it away from her.
"Doesn't that look pretty eh. I'm sure you'll fetch us good money with that face," he said making Katie close her eyes tightly out of fear.
In that split second, she felt her hair loosen and a thud sound on the ground. Opening her eyes slowly she saw the man's body lying cold on the ground. Blood oozed out of his neck, damping the ground.
Then she saw the man she had been waiting for the entire evening. The reason she was here. The Lord of Valeria was standing in front of her and she felt all her senses seize.
Two guards came and carried the man away.
"Did they hurt you?" He asked her concerned while she looked dazed.
Eyes that were red as blood and hair that was black as midnight. He was taller than she had imagined. The rumours were true. He was a devil, a devil who could steal anyone's breath away. It was as if a missing piece of her was finally found. She was entranced with his mere presence.
She saw a small smile grace his lips and that's when she realized he had asked her something.
"Ah-no. I'm fine," she replied feeling a small blush rise on her cheeks and the snow flakes began to fall down from the sky.
Alexander hadn't expected to see her in the winter's celebration.
All these years he had made sure to keep her away from the mansion, to let her ease into the human world. And even though he didn't write letters to her or meet her, he knew she was safe and sound through Elliot.
She had grown into a beautiful woman. Her brown eyes wide that stared at him and her pink lips that were slightly parted. He didn't miss the innocence and the spark of desire in her eyes for him, and he smiled.