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charismasantora @ 02:39 pm: The World You Love-Chapter Two part 1
“Charisma. Charisma.”
Charisma groaned and turned over. She could sense the sunlight coming in through the window beyond her closed eyelids; she lifted one slightly to glance at the clock. It was still very early.
“Charisma, get up!” Didn’t Cecily remember that she was skipping school today? “Damien’s here.” Oh. Shit.
Charisma sat up quickly, causing blood to rush uncomfortably to her head, and the small body that had been resting on her slid down and let out a small squeal.
“Sorry, Hoochie,” she muttered to the little dog and got out of bed. On her way out of the room, Charisma glanced in the bathroom mirror. Her face was still a bruised mess. She cursed under her breath and pushed her hair in front her face, hoping to conceal the injuries from Damien. As she went out to meet her brother, Charisma covered her face with her hands as well, pretending to rub sleep from her eyes. She could see her brother through the gaps between her fingers; he was standing by the front door, and he looked quite angry.
“You didn’t call,” Damien said in a tone that matched his appearance.
“I forgot, I’m sorry,” Charisma answered groggily, still rubbing her face, though gently so as not to inflict too much pain on the delicate area.
“Why are you still in pajamas?” Damien demanded. “Don’t you have to leave for school soon?”
“I overslept,” Charisma said dishonestly, knowing that she was going to have to get out of her brother’s presence soon, before he became suspicious.
“What’s wrong with your face?”
Too late.
“What – nothing,” Charisma lied.
“Look at me, Charisma.” Charisma tried to evade her brother’s gaze, but Damien reached out and grabbed her jaw, pulling her face into clear view. “Did you get in a fight?” he asked furiously.
Charisma faltered for a moment, then answered lamely, “It... wasn’t my fault.”
Damien let go of her, and the look on his face seemed actually disgusted. “I have to go to work,” he said. “We’ll talk about this later.” With that, he turned and stormed out of the house.
Charisma realized that Cecily was standing next to her; she had probably witnessed the entire argument, and just stood awkwardly by. Charisma met Cecily’s eyes; there was sympathy there, but Charisma knew that Cecily wouldn’t say anything. Instead, she held up two slips of paper in her hand, which Charisma recognized as notes excusing herself and Alex from school.
She took a pen from Cecily and forged Damien’s signature on one sheet, and on the other she signed “Judy Fairfield”.
“Bye,” Cecily said, taking the papers and moving toward the door.
“Good luck on your test,” Charisma muttered tiredly, and she made her way back to Alex’s room.
“Wha’ happened?” Alex asked blearily as Charisma returned to his bed.
“My brother is not too happy with me,” she replied, getting under the covers.
“Are my parents gone yet?”
“I think so – I didn’t see them.” Charisma shut her eyes again, ready to fall right back to sleep.

Cecily slowly turned the dial of her combination, yawning. She found herself wishing that she had stayed with Alex and Charisma; they were probably fast asleep right now. The feeling only increased when she heard a familiar voice nearby.
“Hey, where’s Chris?” James had appeared at her side, and Cecily avoided his eyes as she opened her locker, fully aware of the fact that her heart had begun to flutter obnoxiously.
“At Alex’s,” she said in a very small voice, doing her best not to look at those gorgeous blue eyes that were currently trained on her face.
“How is she?” James asked anxiously.
“Um...okay,” Cecily answered, pulling a random book out of her locker, not even paying attention to what she was doing. All of her concentration was directed at keeping her eyes away from the boy next to her – and trying to control her heart, which seemed to be under the impression that she had just run a very fast mile.
“God, I feel terrible about last night,” James said, leaning casually against the lockers next to Cecily’s, completely oblivious to her anguish. “I honestly don’t know why I acted like such a dick.”
“Did you and Mark, like...work it out?” Cecily counted in her head: eight whole words, and just one hesitation. Was that a record?
“Oh yeah, we’re cool,” James answered. “In fact, we’ll probably eat lunch with him and his friends today, since Alex and Charisma aren’t here, right?”
Hmm, spending the entire lunch period with James and a bunch of senior guys? The idea was not in the least appealing to Cecily.
“Uh, I have to study for Trig during lunch,” she said, proud to have uttered a sentence of such length and coherence...though wishing she could have said it in a voice that wasn’t quite so tiny and meek.
“Oh, okay,” James said, nodding. “I’ll see you later then.”
He walked away, and Cecily busied herself with getting the right books from her locker, feeling extremely pathetic.

And right about now kids are getting out of school, but not me and Chris ‘cause we’re way too cool. Plus Charisma got punched in the face last night. By a bitchy vampire with lots of might.” Charisma chuckled at Alex’s improvised rhyme, which was accompanied by some simple chords on his acoustic guitar.
“That’s good, we should definitely turn that into a song,” Charisma joked. She and Alex were still in Alex’s room, he on the bed with Hoochie and she on floor with a small keyboard in front of her.
Alex laughed. “Yeah, there’s a reason why you and James do most of the lyric writing,” he replied, resting his right hand on the guitar strings and twirling his neon yellow pick.
Charisma hit a button on the keyboard; the instrument emitted the sound of a drumbeat. She started to press keys, which were set to sound like bells, creating an impromptu tune to go along with the beat. Alex started to strum his guitar again.
And right about now kids are getting out of school...” Charisma started, making the both of them laugh, hard enough to stop playing their instruments. “I should probably get going,” Charisma sighed. “My shift starts at three.”
“I thought you weren’t going to work today?” Alex said,
“Changed my mind,” she answered, shrugging.
“Why?” he complained.
“Because it will put off my inevitable conflict with Damien for a whole six hours,” Charisma said. “I’m wearing these,” she added, picking up a pair of jeans from the floor.
“Look who’s lazy now,” Alex commented, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m not lazy, I just don’t wanna go home, in case Damien’s back already,” Charisma explained as she changed her pants. She spotted a black The Cure shirt on Alex’s floor and recognized it as her own. “Hey, I was looking for that the other day...” She turned her back to Alex and pulled off her tank top. “Where’s my bra?”
A white piece of underclothing hit the wall in front of her. It fell to the ground, and she picked it up, putting it on along with the black shirt.
Charisma went to the bathroom and pulled some foundation out of a drawer with which to cover up the bruises on her face – it was kept there for that specific purpose.
“I guess I’ll come with you,” Alex said, coming to stand by Charisma and fix his hair.
Charisma’s stomach growled. “I’m hungry. Why haven’t we eaten yet?” she asked, realizing that they hadn’t even left Alex’s room all day.
“Because there’s no good food here... Let’s stop at Jelly’s on the way.” Alex took the make-up from Charisma’s hands and continued applying it for her.
“We can’t, I’ll be late,” she reasoned. If the words to Alex’s ridiculous little song had been true, then it was around two thirty, meaning that she was cutting it rather close.
“You’re always late. It’s not like Martin cares, he’s always just so happy to see you,” Alex remarked with a smirk. Charisma glowered at him, but there wasn’t much feeling behind the glare. “Plus,” Alex continued, “They’ll have just restocked the pastries after lunch, so there will be plenty of muffins...”
“’Kay, I’m sold.”

One bus ride later, Charisma and Alex arrived at the Brooksdale main street. They walked half a block to the café, and saw that none of their schoolmates were there yet, just a few adults sitting alone at tables, and the elderly lady behind the counter.
“Isn’t it a little early for you to be here already?” the woman asked as the two of them approached the counter. “Did we skip school today, dears?” she asked suspiciously.
“No, Rosemary, we have the last period off, remember?” Charisma lied, smiling sweetly.
“Oh, right, right,” Rosemary said, nodding. Charisma and Alex grinned at each other, then ordered two chocolate muffins. Alex paid, and they said good-bye to Rosemary as they left the shop, each with a large and delicious muffin in hand.
Charisma ate her muffin quickly and threw the wrapper away before entering Clothic, the store where she worked. Almost the second she and Alex had stepped inside, a man with spiky black hair and heavily tattooed arms appeared from between the aisles, as though he had been anxiously awaiting the sound of the bell ringing on the door.
“Charisma, you’re here!” he said, grinning from ear to ear.
“Of course I’m here, Mr. Craft,” Charisma replied, ignoring Alex’s smirk.
“How are you, Charisma?” her boss asked, still beaming.
“I’m all right, Mr. Craft,” Charisma said, starting to walk past him toward the counter, Alex at her heels.
“Oh Charisma, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Martin?” Mr. Craft said genially, following behind Charisma and Alex.
“Just a few more, Mr. Craft.” Charisma answered, going behind the counter and hiding her own smirk from Martin. Her boss just shook his head slightly, then walked away towards the back of the store.
“Ooh, new stuff!” Alex said excitedly, checking out the display of skinny jeans in the middle of the store, just in front of the counter.
“Hi Anthony,” Charisma greeted the older boy behind the counter. Anthony nodded his bleach-blonde head in acknowledgement, then resumed his position standing against the counter and looking bored.
The song playing throughout the store changed, and Charisma recognized the opening notes of “Friday I’m In Love.” Alex looked up from the pair of dark brown pants he was examining, smirk back in place. Remembering what shirt she was wearing, Charisma rolled her eyes and said sarcastically, “Why am I not surprised?”
“I, personally, am not entirely shocked that he noticed the logo on your shirt,” Alex said, “given its…uh…location.” He gestured at the large “THE CURE” on her chest.
“Shut up!” Charisma said playfully, taking a rather large pin from the bucket next to her and throwing it at Alex.
“Hey!” Alex dodged the pin and retaliated by tossing the pants in his hands at Charisma. She threw them right back, harder this time, and he stuck out a hand to block them. The pants fell on the counter and knocked over some bottles of hair-dye, which rolled across the counter, some falling onto the floor.
“Hey, be careful! I’m gonna have to clean this up, you know!” Charisma said indignantly.
“Aw, no, I’m sure Martin will do it for you,” Alex said, grinning mischievously. “Though I’ll bet he’ll let you bend over and get the stuff on the floor.
“Alex Fairfield, shut your mouth!” Charisma scolded him.
Alex put his hands in the air. “Hey, I just call it like I see it.”
Charisma just shook her head and looked to the back of the store to make sure Martin wasn’t listening.
“All right, I’m outta here,” Alex said, putting the brown jeans back on the display. “I’m gonna go find Cecily. She can’t possibly be doing homework, it’s Friday.” He started to leave the store, then called over his shoulder, “Let me know how it goes with Damien, and feel free to come sleep over if you need to escape his wrath.”
“Yeah, that’s if he ever lets me out of the house again,” Charisma called back.
The clanging of the bell announced Alex’s exit; Charisma sighed, starting to pick up the mess she and Alex had made.

Charisma stepped out of Clothic onto the dark avenue, and was surprised to see a wine-red station wagon waiting at the curb in front of her. She walked up to the car and opened the door, peering in at her boyfriend.
“What are you doing here?” she asked Mark, getting into the passenger seat.
“I came to pick you up, of course,” Mark said. “I haven’t seen you all day.” He leaned over and kissed Charisma before starting the car and setting off down the street. “How are you?”
“Much better,” Charisma said reassuringly.
“I’ll admit I was a little worried when you didn’t show up at school, but then James said that Cecily said you were okay, so…”
“You guys aren’t still mad at each other, then?” Charisma inquired hopefully.
“Nah, I caught up to him last night, and we did some more yelling, then we both calmed down and apologized.” He gave Charisma a sidelong glance and said, “I feel a little guilty about leaving you, though…”
“Don’t sweat it,” Charisma said quickly. “I’d rather you ditch me in my time of need than be in a fight with your best friend because of me,” she explained truthfully.
“It wasn’t ‘cause of you,” Mark said, his eyebrows furrowing. “It wasn’t your fault you got all beaten up.”
“Well, I could have decided not to follow them and save the kid,” Charisma replied; she had, after all, made the decision to attack the vampire.
“Ah, but then you just wouldn’t be Charisma, would you?” Mark said, smiling, as he turned the corner onto Charisma’s street. Charisma smiled too, turning away from Mark to look out the window as they pulled up in front of her house.
“And now for another epic battle in the ongoing war between Charisma and Damien Santora,” Charisma sighed as she unbuckled her seat belt.
“Does he know you skipped school?” Mark asked, looking concerned.
“I hope not,” Charisma said. “It sure wouldn’t help my situation.”
“Please don’t get grounded!” Mark pleaded, and Charisma smiled in what she hoped was an optimistic manner.
“I’ll try and talk my way out of punishment,” she said. “You know, sometimes I’m glad I have a twenty-eight-year-old bother to deal with instead of parents. I hear they actually have some sort of authority over their kids.”
“That they do.” Mark nodded, then the look on his face turned very soft and he said, “Hey, come here.”
Charisma leaned toward him and they kissed, Mark’s hand coming up to rest on the side of Charisma’s face. After a few minutes, Charisma became aware of light flooding the front yard of her house, and she broke the kiss to turn and look at her brother’s silhouette in the doorway.
“Oh shit,” she muttered. She got out of the car, and Mark wished her luck before driving off.
As Charisma ascended the steps to her porch, she looked up at Damien and saw the angry fire burning in his eyes that often made her reflect on how very suitable his name was.
“Where have you been?” Damien asked abrasively.
“Work,” Charisma answered.
“Work, my ass. Then why is he driving you home?”
Charisma did not appreciate the tone with which her brother had referred to Mark; Damien liked Mark, he had no reason to make it sound like he disapproved of the boy.
“I’ve been at work all afternoon, you can even call Martin and ask him,” Charisma snapped. “Mark just decided to come and pick me up.”
“Did you go to school today?” Damien questioned her abruptly.
“Yeah,” Charisma answered, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Is Delia asleep?”
“Yes.”
“Is Eric here?”
“What do you think?”
There was a pause, then Damien asked suspiciously, “Are you lying to me?”
“What – no!” Charisma retorted. “I went to school, you can even ask Cecily, she never lies.” Charisma only said this because she knew Damien wouldn’t actually ask Cecily; although she was sure Cecily would lie for her, Charisma didn’t like to force her friends to do that any more than she had to.
“Or, I could just ask one of your teachers,” Damien said, and the look on her face seemed to be daring Charisma to protest.
“I honestly don’t think my teachers know the difference between when I’m there and when I’m not,” Charisma replied without thinking, then regretted her words almost instantly.
“And why is that?” Damien asked, his voice rising.
Charisma really didn’t want to get into an argument about her learning habits (or lack thereof), so she said evasively, “Aren’t you supposed to be mad at me for not calling last night?”
“Thanks for reminding me,” Damien said, though there wasn’t a single trace of gratefulness in his voice. “Why didn’t you call, Charisma?”
“I just forgot, okay?” Charisma snapped.
“Too busy starting fights?” Damien asked, and Charisma felt thoroughly annoyed.
“I told you, I didn’t start it!” She supposed this wasn’t entirely true, but she had obviously had reason to attack. She couldn’t possibly explain that to Damien, though.
“What, so someone just came out of nowhere and hit you for no reason?” Damien demanded incredulously.
“I –“ Charisma faltered for a moment, before a small stroke of brilliance came to her. “It was in the mosh pit!”
At that, the look on Damien’s face became scornful. “You were moshing?”
“Yeah, so?” Charisma lied. “It’s not illegal or anything!”
“Yeah, but it’s…stupid,” Damien responded, looking genuinely confounded by the fact that his sister apparently enjoyed shoving and slamming into people in the middle of a crowd at concerts. “I mean, was it really that fun? Was it really worth getting punched in the face?”
“No,” Charisma said, irritated. Truthfully, she thought mosh pits were stupid, too, but they provided an excellent back-up story for any injury. “So I did something stupid, I’ve learned my lesson, now are we done?”
“No, we are not done!” Damien yelled. “Charisma, this is just another example of the bad choices you make –“
“Oh, I make bad choices?” Charisma was yelling, too, now, quite affronted. “How about our screw-up of a brother, who’s not even here because he’s probably out getting drunk or high and sleeping with strangers?”
“This is not about Eric,” Damien replied, and Charisma snorted dubiously.
“Yes it is, Damien. It is always about Eric!” she bellowed. “You’re mad that he’s so irresponsible, and you take that anger out on me, and give me all the responsibilities that should be his!”
“You don’t know a thing about responsibility –“
“Oh please!” Charisma’s voice was almost at a holler now. “I’m sixteen years old, and I have to work part-time to help support this family, and help take care of Delia, and –“ She stopped here; she had one other rather large responsibility on her hands, but it wasn’t something she could tell Damien about, no matter how much she wanted to sometimes.
“And what?” Damien hollered back.
“School!” Charisma replied defiantly.
“Oh yeah, I’m sure you’re really overwhelmed by all that homework you don’t do, and all those classes you don’t go to!” Damien mocked.
“Whatever Damien, you think I’m so immature, but I’m more mature than most people my age – I’m more mature than Eric, and he’s, like, ten years older than me!” Charisma yelled.
This is not. About. Eric,” Damien said through clenched teeth.
“Yeah. Right. Okay.” Charisma rolled her eyes and turned away, heading toward the door to her room.
“Charisma, I was eighteen years old when Dad and Sharon died and I took custody of you and Eric and Delia – barely an adult!” Damien burst out suddenly. “Don’t even talk to me about responsibility!”
Charisma spun around as she reached the doorway to the hall and said sourly, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have taken custody of us, we’d probably be better off with real parents!” She turned, not wanting to see the hurt look on her brother’s face, and stormed to her room, slamming the door.
Charisma found herself in complete darkness, something soft pressing against her side. Gee, that’s mature, she thought, mentally rolling her eyes at her eldest brother and opening the sliding door in front of her with unnecessary force.
Charisma turned on the light in her room, and took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. She knew she had gone too far. She never should have said that to Damien. What had she been thinking?
She walked directly to her window and opened it. She could see Alex’s silhouette in the window next door, and he had seen her too. Charisma climbed out of her own window and walked across the gap between the two houses. Alex reached out of his now open window and took Charisma’s hands, helping her climb into his room.
Charisma collapsed onto Alex’s extremely cushy couch, wincing slightly at the pain – she was still sore from being thrown against a wall the night before.
Alex plopped down next to her. “Well?” he said expectantly.
Charisma closed her eyes in anguish. “It was horrible,” she stated miserably. She recounted the entire argument for Alex, who listened quietly, the expression on his face becoming more and more pained.
“God, I’m such a jerk! Why the hell did I say that?” Charisma said when she finished, covering her face with her hands.
“Well, did you mean it?” Alex asked, and the tone of his voice indicated that he already knew the answer.
“Of course not!” Charisma took her hands off of her face to look at Alex. “I would much rather have Damien as my legal guardian than my step mom’s late ex-husband’s parents, who hated both her and my dad, and never even knew me or my family!”
Alex nodded. He could still remember, though it had been very long ago, the battle for custody over Charisma and her two youngest siblings. The whole ordeal had culminated in Damien dropping out of college so that he could raise his sisters, with the help of Eric, who had eventually proved to be a flake and no help at all.
“Well then, just apologize to Damien in the morning when you’ve both had a chance to cool off,” Alex advised Charisma.
“Yeah, I will,” Charisma agreed. “But still, I just feel like such a horrible person,” she whined, putting her hands over her face again. She noticed that it didn’t hurt nearly as much to touch the injury anymore – she was healing already.
“You are not a horrible person,” Alex said comfortingly, putting an arm around Charisma and pulling her into a sort of half hug. “And I’m fairly certain you know that.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Charisma rested her head on Alex, sighing deeply. “But I do do horrible things sometimes.”
She waited to be contradicted, but instead Alex grinned and said, “Haha, you said doo-doo.”
“Way to be mature, Alex,” Charisma said, rolling her eyes and lifting her head off of his shoulder. “Speaking of which, you know what Damien did? He shut my closet door. He probably did it before I got home, because he knew we’d fight and it’d end with me storming off to my room. I swear, that’s why he put that closet there, so that he could make me feel like an idiot when I walk in there expecting to be in my room...”
“Are you sure it wasn’t because there’s a window on one wall, your bed on another, and the piano blocking the third?” Alex asked logically.
“Yeah, whatever,” Charisma replied, ignoring the fact that Alex was perfectly right. “Who puts a walk-in closet on the same wall as the door?”
Alex shook his head at her. “I don’t think that the situation of your closet is really the issue here, dear.”
“Good point,” Charisma muttered.
It was quiet for a while, then Charisma spoke again. “I hate my brother,” she said bitterly.
“No, you don’t,” Alex said, pulling back to look her straight in the eye. “You know he’s just doing what’s best for you –“
“No, not Damien,” Charisma interrupted. “I mean Eric. You know, I haven’t seen him in days.”
A sad look crossed Alex’s face. “Yeah, I know,” he said quietly.
“He doesn’t care about us. It’s like he doesn’t even have a conscience!” Charisma said, feeling the anger build up inside her again.
“Of course he has a conscience,” Alex reasoned. “He’s just...a very troubled person.”
“Yeah, well,” Charisma said cynically, “I’d appreciate it if he’d get over his troubles and start behaving like a human being.”
“Human beings are flawed,” Alex said, leaning back and closing his eyes.
Charisma thought about this for a few moments.
“Not as flawed as vampires,” she said finally, and a small smile appeared on Alex’ s serene features.

Charisma was awakened the next morning by distant music, which she recognized as her ring tone. Just let me ask you hey, have you heard of my religion? It’s called the church of hot addiction… Charisma buried her head deeper into the pillow, ignoring the Cobra Starship song notifying her that someone was calling her. Whoever it was, she would call them back later…
The song finally stopped, but after just a few moments’ silence, it started up again. Someone was really trying to get hold of her. Alex groaned beside her. “Make it stop,” he moaned, obviously still half asleep. Charisma got out of bed and followed the sound of her phone until she found it lying on the floor under her sweatshirt.
“Hello?” she said groggily, opening the cell phone and raising it to her ear.
“Where are you?” said a female voice on the other end.
Oh shit. Charisma took the phone away from her ear for a moment and looked at the screen. Sure enough, it read “Catherine”.
“Catherine?” she said tentatively into the phone.
“Yeah, hi,” Catherine said impatiently. “Where are you?”
“Um…I’m on my way,” Charisma lied and hung up the phone. She got up quickly and practically ran to the window.
Once in her own room, Charisma changed swiftly into some athletic shorts, a sports bra, and a tank top. She put on running shoes and grabbed her iPod and her phone, stuffing them into her sweatshirt pocket. She sifted through all the junk on the lid of her piano until she found a hair-tie, then headed out the door.
“I need the car,” she informed Damien, who was standing at the kitchen counter, making a smoothie.
“Are you going to Catherine’s?” Damien asked, noticing Charisma’s attire. “Why don’t you just take the bus?”
“I’m late!” Charisma replied, taking the car keys from the hook by the door. She was just out the door when she remembered the events of the previous night, and she paused, wondering whether she should apologize quickly now or earnestly later…she supposed she had better do both.
Stepping back into the house, she said to Damien across the living room, “I’m really sorry about what I said last night, I didn’t mean it.” Damien just looked at her moodily and continued blending the drink in front of him. Delia, who was sitting at the breakfast and looking confused, had just opened her mouth to ask what was going on when Charisma stepped out and shut the door behind her.
Charisma drove at least ten miles per hour over the speed limit the entire way to Catherine’s apartment, and she arrived only half an hour later than she was originally supposed to be there. She rushed up the stairs to the second floor and knocked on the door of apartment 2C.
A few seconds later, the door was answered by a short woman in her mid-twenties with chin-length brown hair. “Sorry I’m late,” Charisma said, out of breath from running up the stairs.
“Charisma, what happened?” Catherine’s eyes widened as they looked upon Charisma, who realized that she still had a bruised face, and she hadn’t bothered to cover it up for this.
“Oh, yeah, I should talk to you about that,” Charisma said as Catherine stepped aside to let her into the apartment’s living room. Charisma took a minute to regain her breath, then began, “Well, I was at Elemeno, and I followed these people out because I thought they seemed kinda sketchy, and sure enough, there was this girl vampire about to kill this guy, and I went to stop her, but she was stronger than I had anticipated, and she…well…she kicked my ass. I skipped school yesterday, and I was gonna call you to see if we could cancel the work-out today, but I forgot.”
Catherine’s eyebrows were slightly raised. “Well, how do you feel? Are you unable to train, or –“
“I’m fine,” Charisma said firmly. The truth was, she didn’t really feel like physically exerting herself, because she had not quite recovered yet; but now that she was here, she might as well do some training.
“Okay then,” Catherine said, satisfied. “You go ahead and start warming up, and I’ll go get some water.”
Catherine went into the kitchen, while Charisma proceeded to the room in the apartment that harbored all of their training equipment. Charisma walked over to a set of shelves on the right wall, on which there was an empty iPod dock. She placed her iPod into it and started the playlist called “Exercise Mix”. As “A Day Late” by Anberlin emanated from the speakers, Charisma picked up a jump rope from the floor and started to warm up with it.
“How’s it feel?” Catherine shouted over the music when she reentered the room.
“Fine,” Charisma shouted back, even though pain was shooting through her body every time her foot came in contact with the floor. She wasn’t going to be a wimp – she had always known that she would never get far if she couldn’t deal with pain.
When the song ended, Charisma dropped the jump rope and started to stretch, ignoring the strain being put on her bruises.
“I’ll go easy on you,” Catherine said. “No sparring.” The next song started up, filling the room loudly, and all Charisma could do to show her gratitude was smile at Catherine.
Charisma did a bit more warming up and stretching, until she felt loose enough to start working out for real.
Catherine tossed her the tape and nodded toward the punching bag hanging from the ceiling. “Work on your punches for a while.”
Charisma obeyed, inadvertently timing her hits to the beat of the music.
Twenty songs later, Charisma was sweaty and out of breath, after practicing every form punch and kick she knew for over an hour.
“I think that’s good enough for today,” Catherine announced, hitting the pause button on Charisma’s iPod. Glancing at the clock, Charisma noticed that Catherine was cutting her training a lot shorter than usual, and she was thankful for that. She was exhausted, slightly in pain, and also very hungry.
“Now, let’s talk about this vampiress,” Catherine said, handing Charisma a towel to wipe her face with. “What was she like, other than strong?”
“Well, she didn’t seem much older than me, looks-wise. She was probably a teenager when she got bitten. And she was…” Charisma racked her brains, trying to come up with the words to express the nature of the woman she had gone up against. It was something that had been bothering her ever since that night. “She was oddly personal,” she said at last. Catherine looked confused, so Charisma went on, “I mean, she actually spoke to me, and I hardly ever meet a vampire who talks to me…And when she left, she was all, ‘See you around,’ like she’s expecting to run into me again.”
“Well that’s worrisome,” Catherine said, furrowing her brow.
“Yeah, I guess…I’ve never been targeted before, really. Do you think she’ll come after me?” Charisma’s stomach seemed to tighten at this thought. She had fought quite a few vampires since her freshman year, which was when this had all started; but never had she been pursued by one. It was usually she, Charisma, who found the vampire and tried to kill it; she had never been hunted before.
“I don’t know… Vampires have the ability to fixate on a specific person, just like humans do. Their intelligence is the same as ours, it’s the only way they could have survived all this time,” Catherine explained.
“Great,” Charisma said dryly. “I’ve got an intelligent psychopath after me – what more could a girl possibly want?”
“Hey, you knew what you were getting into when we started this,” Catherine reminded her.
“Well, what does this chick want with me anyway?” Charisma asked. “I mean, I actually fought her, I pulled out a cross on her. Wouldn’t she want to stay away from someone who obviously knows what she is and how to fight her?”
“Well, maybe that’s just it,” Catherine replied. “You presented a challenge. It must be boring, spending who knows how many years, decades – centuries even – killing naïve humans who don’t even know how to fight back.”
“Yes, I feel so very sympathetic towards her,” Charisma said ironically.
“Well, anyway, why she’s after you isn’t as important as what we should do about her. From what you say, she’s very dangerous, and it would be unwise to go looking for her.”
“True,” Charisma agreed, “but we’ve got to do something. She’ll try and kill again. I was lucky that I ran into her at Elemeno, but I probably won’t be as lucky next time.”
“You’re right, we can’t just let her run free,” Catherine said, “but running after her and getting yourself killed certainly won’t accomplish anything. What you’ll have to do is, go out during the day and look for any place where she might be hiding out. We’ll find out where she is, and use that as a starting point.”
“Good idea. I’ll go today.”
“No,” Catherine said flatly, and Charisma was taken aback by her decisive tone. “Not yet.”
“But I have a show tomorrow –“
“That’s fine,” Catherine stopped Charisma. “Give yourself another couple days to recover. I want you at full strength when you do this.”
“I’m not even looking to fight her!” Charisma objected. “Just to find out where she’s staying!”
“And if you think it isn’t dangerous to go out looking for a vampire’s hideout, then we need to seriously reevaluate how much you’ve learned these past two years,” Catherine responded resolutely.
“All right, all right,” Charisma gave in. She was eager to start looking for the vampiress – the sooner she found her, the sooner she could start planning how to get rid of her – but Catherine had a point. She wasn’t quite ready to go back out in the field yet.
“I don’t want you doing anything stupid while you’re still weak,” Catherine went on.
“Whoa,” Charisma said, putting a hand up in mock insult. “Injured I may be, but I have never been weak.”
“Oh, right,” Catherine smiled, “I’m sure you popped out of the womb with killer biceps and a six-pack.”
“Damn straight.”

Current Location: Where else?
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Current Music: Megalomania - Muse

Comments

[User Picture]
From:kara_noir
Date:September 2nd, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
wow.
Just wow.

Forget the prologue and start the book with this chapter.
I mean, you can keep it if you want, but in light of this chapter....don't. I think this chapter really explains what is going on and the prologue is just stagnant in the wake of this.

I think you need something to denote scene changes, like * * * or even
- - -

I was rather confused when the scene changed.

I liked the family conflict intertwined with the vampyreic conflict. It seems to me that Charisma is a very tough cookie. I like her character a lot. I alos like that she's friend with two guys but it doesn't look as if she's actually having sex with them, it that makes sense. I am kinda confused with that as well.

I liked this a lot, if you started out with this and not the prologue, I'd buy this book on the spot.

Remember, Chapter 1 is where you promise your reader that this book is going to blow them away, so keep blowing us away in the later chapters.
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