"Of course, Alice took a lot of convincing that there was even a problem, cinderella too.”
Tiana slept peacefully in her beloved’s arms, blissfully unaware of anything at all, until Lestat woke her with a kiss. She blinked up at him and then a smile crossed her face. “Hey,” she murmured, still marvelling that he had come back to her salama and sound.

“Hey,” he smiled back.

Tiana pressed closer to him, feeling warm and loved. “So, are wewe going to tell me what happened last night?”

Lestat sighed. “Well, after wewe left, I sought out Marius and the others. It wasn’t difficult; they were all in the same place. Apparently they’re not too happy with the fact that I’m in upendo with a human and I’ve exposed our secret to other humans who are still walking around free.”

Tiana stiffened. “Oh, God!”

“It’s alright.” Lestat gave her a reassuring squeeze. “They’re keeping their distance – for now. Anyway, I told them what was going on. Of course, Alice took a lot of convincing that there was even a problem, cinderella too.”

“Alice and Cinderella?”

“Cinderella was a maid in Victorian times who fell in upendo with her employer; but he used her and then dumped her for another woman. Enraged, she swore revenge, so when Marius found her she begged him to turn her and then they both killed her employer and his mistress.”

Tiana gulped, picturing it all too vividly. “And Alice?”

“Vampire brat. 1592, she was a twelve mwaka old girl dying of plague when Marius found her. Most child Wanyonya damu stay in the younger body but age mentally, like a certain girl I used to know, but Alice still acts like a child even though she’s over four hundred years old.”

Tiana smiled. “You don’t like her very much?”

“Like I said; vampire brat. Anyway, Marius was able to talk them round, so...”

“So, what?”

“So we led a confrontation on John Smith.”

“How does that work?”

Lestat laughed. “Easy. We just turned up outside your house as he was stepping out the door. Of course we had to wait until it got dark; the others can’t survive in the daylight just yet, they never fed off the blood of an ancient.”

“And what happened?”

“He’s a clever one, that John. He was prepared.”

“With stakes and garlic?”

“Tiana, garlic doesn’t work on vampires. That’s just another false rumour made up kwa Bram Stoker. But stakes can temporarily wound a vampire, although not kill. But John had thought zaidi ahead than that. He’s rigged up a machine like a lantern that can replicate the UV rays of the sun.”

“Oh!”

“Yeah; so the others took off. I was the only one unaffected kwa it.”

“So, what happened?”

Lestat smiled. “There was a bit of a fight.”

“A bit?” Tiana sat up. “Seriously, what happened?”

Lestat sighed and sat up. “Alright. It was good savouring the calm before the storm but now I’m just going to come right out and say it.”

Tiana looked at him, worriedly. “You killed him?”

Lestat glanced at her. “You think I lied to wewe when I alisema I wouldn’t?”

“N-no...”

“Well, I wasn’t lying, and I haven’t killed him. He’s still alive. Though we did have a pretty brutal fight, and well, kwa the end of it he’d suffered quite a crack to the head which knocked him for six, and then when he came to, all memories of being a vampire hunter seemed to have vanished from his mind.”

Tiana let his words sank in. “You gave him amnesia?”

“Well, it was an accident, but since wewe didn’t want me to kill him, all things considered it’s probably for the best.”

Tiana flung her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Well, that’s good! What are wewe worrying for?”

“Your sister saw the whole thing.” Tiana paled quickly. “I think it’s salama to say that she knows your boyfriend’s a vampire and she’s not happy about it.”

“What happened?”

“Well, of course, she went running to John’s aid, and I managed to shut off his lantern thing. kwa rights, I ought to have destroyed it completely, but I didn’t get a chance to. At any rate, that was when Marius and the others came back. They were all for killing them both, but I wouldn’t let them. I know wewe wouldn’t forgive me for it. And then, well, Esme went a bit wild, shouting that she was going to destroy us all, and Alice nearly went for her, and believe me, it is hard to hold back a twelve mwaka old vampire like her. Anyway, Esme dragged John back into the house, and of course we couldn’t enter because she wouldn’t have let us in.” Lestat sighed. “But it’s not over yet.”

Tiana let his words sink in. “My sister wants to hunt wewe down?”

“Sorry.”

She shook her head, trying to make sense of it all. “No. No, this can’t be happening.”

“And now she thinks I’ve corrupted wewe and wants to “exorcise” you.”

“You’re not helping here.”

“Sorry.”

Tiana threw the covers off her and seized her clothes from the floor. When she was dressed, she turned and saw that Lestat had already got up, dressed and was now lying back on the bed, waiting for her to finish dressing. Tiana crawled over towards him. “Lestat, it’s ok. We can work this out, together.” Taking a deep breath, she added, haltingly “Tout ira...bien...tant que... nous sommes ensemble.”

Lestat smiled and took her hand. “You’re absolutely right, ma petite fleur. I see you’ve been practising.”

Tiana managed a smile. “I found a French dictionary in Adam’s library.” Then, she added, in an attempt to impress him, “Vous...etes la... chois qui...me soit... arrive.”

To her surprise, Lestat laughed. “Oh, Tiana!”

“What?”

“You just alisema “You’re the thing that’s happened to me.”

Tiana blushed. “Oh. I was trying to say you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“I know.” Lestat grinned at her. “Complicated stuff, obviously.”

“Shut up.” Tiana slapped his arm and he laughed again. Tiana sighed again. “I’m scared, Lestat.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know what to do. I mean, if it were anyone else trying to hurt us, I don’t think I’d much care what happened to them, but she’s my sister...”

Lestat pulled her to him. “Tiana, I told wewe before; wewe don’t need to be scared of anything when you’re with me.”

She nodded. “I know, but-”

“I know.” Lestat didn’t have to read her mind to know what she was thinking.

Of course, Adam, Belle and Meg were surprised when Tiana came downstairs for breakfast with Lestat in tow. “Tiana let me in,” he offered, kwa way of explanation, and they were content with that. He filled them in on what had passed the night before, and they all listened intently.


“Jeez,” Meg said, finally, breaking the stunned silence that had filled the air after Lestat had finished talking. “So now we’ve got an amnesic ex-vampire hunter and an angry Esme to worry about.”

Tiana glanced at them. “We? wewe guys don’t have to get involved in this.”

“Sweetie, we do,” Belle replied. “You’re our friends.”

“And besides, we know Lestat’s a vampire, so how can we not be involved?” Adam added. “If Esme somehow learns John’s methods, she’s going to be pretty ruthless. Most vampire hunters are.”

Lestat glanced at him. “How do wewe know that?”

Adam smiled, wryly. “My mother was a vampire hunter, and I’m afraid that wewe were on her hit orodha before she died. Sorry.”

Lestat grinned. “I’m flattered.”

“We should read her journal,” Belle said. “Find out how vampire hunters operate. In any situation, research is always key.”

Tiana smiled. “Thanks, guys.”

“You should know, though,” Lestat added, seriously, “you’ll be in just as much danger if wewe help us.”

Meg grinned. “Well, it’s about time something lively happened in New Orleans, so wewe can count me in!”

Adam nodded. “In spite of my original thoughts on vampires, they should be aliyopewa the chance to live. No one has any right to take away anyone’s life.”

Belle nodded. “We should use this place as a base and form a plan.”

So, after breakfast was done with, they all went up to the maktaba and Adam dug out his mother’s journal and case notes.

“She’s got a orodha here,” Tiana observed, “of other vampire hunters of her generation.”

Lestat had a look. “It’s alright, they’re all dead. That last one,” he pointed to the name Eric Prince, “died quite recently, I know.”

The doorbell rang at that point. “I’ll get it,” alisema Meg who was nearest the door.

Now, in Meg’s defence, she had, like so many, assumed that because sunlight killed vampires, daylight could too, so Wanyonya damu couldn’t venture out even on a siku when the clouds blocked any blue sky and sunlight from view for a full twenty four hours, and she also didn’t know what any of Lestat’s fellow Wanyonya damu looked like, so it wasn’t really her fault that they got in, although the fact that they alisema they knew Lestat, granted, should have made her suspicious, but she was too busy worrying about Tiana to think straight. And it was only thanks to Lestat’s quick senses that they didn’t make a meal of her. Like a bullet he shot from the room and positioned himself between Meg and the other vampires.

“Fancy her yourself, do you, Lestat?” asked Alice, looking at Meg like she were a piece of meat. “I don’t blame you, she does look tasty.”

“Easy, Alice,” commanded Maius, stepping forwards. “One step at a time.”

Lestat had heard him say that before; right before feeding time. “No one is feeding on anyone here,” he said, glaring at Alice, who kept licking her lips in longing.

Tiana hurried into the room, followed kwa Belle and Adam. “What’s going-?”

She broke off. Everything happened so fast. Alice, clearly sensing that Tiana’s blood was far zaidi alluring than Meg’s, was at her side in a second, and then so was Lestat. In one mwepesi, teleka violent move, he knocked the child vampire to the floor, away from Tiana. It was hard not to feel sorry for her, Tiana reflected.

“That’s enough!” Marius snapped.

“I’ll say!” Lestat looked at him. “What are wewe doing here?”

“You know as well as I do, Lestat, these humans aren’t meant to have any knowledge of our kind,” drawled Marius.

“You can forget it,” snapped Lestat. “They’re mine! I lay claim to them!”

“Ooh!” Alice pouted. Now Tiana saw why Lestat called her “vampire brat.” “You’re no fun!”

Lestat shot a scowl at her. “Watch yourself, fledgling, au I’ll throw wewe off a cliff!”

Cinderella, at least Tiana assumed she was Cinderella, aliyopewa her clothing, sighed. “So, what? They get to live knowing our secret?”

“Given that Tiana’s going to be one of us soon, yes,” Lestat replied, smoothly.

She scowled at him. “When did wewe become so soft, Lestat? Time was you’d kill them soon as look at them!”

Lestat simply smirked at her. “Given that wewe can’t touch them, did wewe come here for anything else, au was that all?"

Marius glowered at him. “Lestat, you’ll be the death of us!”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

Without a word, Marius turned on his heel and was gone. The others followed. Tiana pressed close to Lestat. “What did wewe mean; they can’t touch us?”

Lestat slipped an arm around her shoulders. “I laid claim to you, which, kwa vampire laws, means you’re salama from other vampires, all of you.” He glanced at the others. “They can’t feed on wewe because, kwa rights, I’m the only one allowed to do that. But wewe can relax, I won’t. I just had to do something to keep wewe safe.”

Meg looked touched. “You’re really not like the other vampires, are you?”

“You’re brilliant,” Tiana whispered, hugging him, tightly.

“So I’ve been told,” Lestat murmured into her hair.

“What are wewe doing here?”