Oh, no. Not again.

This isn’t happening.

This can’t be happening.

I’d thought that he’d be the same vampire he was just before he turned into a human. I hadn’t thought he’d revert to the uncontrollable bloodsucker he’d been when he’d first woken up after his four-hundred-year sleep. It hadn’t even occurred to me. But now, to my horror, everything about this situation reminded me of that time. The way he had rammed me up against a hard surface, his eyes burning, his cool breath against my skin.

Everything felt identical to the day we’d first met.

What about our children?

I did the only thing I could think to do in the past whenever Derek lost control of himself. I began humming our tune. Even though his hand was placed over my mouth, I hummed it as loudly as possible.

“Silence.” His voice came as a growl. “Your little tune won’t work any more.”

What?

His chest heaving and eyes ablaze, he lowered his head to my throat. I gasped as his fangs scraped against my neck, his cold tongue running along my skin.

I was beginning to lose all hope that I’d be able to get through to him in time when his grip loosened. I felt him step away.

When I opened my eyes, gone was the look of mad bloodlust.

In its place was Derek’s boyish grin.

As soon as my eyes met his, he doubled over and began laughing.

“You should have seen the look on your face!” he gasped.

My mouth fell open. The blood rushed back to my cheeks.

“Oh my God, Derek!” I breathed.

“You looked so adorable… and when you tried to hum our tune.” He caught my face between his hands and pressed his lips against mine. “I’m sorry. It was all too easy. I just couldn’t resist.”

“You almost gave me a heart attack.”

He broke out laughing again, and this time I couldn’t stop myself from joining in, even though I was still quivering in my shoes from the shock.

“I thought we were all the way back to square one,” I said. “All that work I put into you, all for nothing.”

“No,” he said, his chest still heaving as he tried to contain his laughter. “I suppose whatever progress I made when I was a vampire before, I’ve retained… luckily for you.”

He raised a brow at me and pulled me against him, breathing into my neck.

“That said, you do smell rather tempting.”

“Well, you can have a bite of me later,” I muttered, looking up as the others came racing toward us.

They stared at us, their faces white with panic. The terror in their eyes turned to confusion as they watched us both acting as if nothing had happened.

“All of that,” I said, glaring at Derek, “was your king’s idea of a joke.”

“So what does it feel like to be a vampire again?” I asked.

We were in Vivienne’s penthouse, in one of her spare rooms. Derek lay on his back on the bed while I rested beside him, holding his hand in mine.

“It’s… strange. Now that I’ve spent time away from it, I don’t detest it as much as I used to. I suppose it’s also a relief to not be constantly worrying about fire bursting from my palms whenever I get too, uh, excited.”

He winked at me. I grinned back at him.

I’d suggested that he rest after the trauma of the morning, in order to prepare for what he was to do. Now it was nighttime.

We both fell silent. Now that the time we had agreed upon had approached, blood rushed to my cheeks again. I was sure that we were both thinking the same thing.

I bit my lip as I looked up at him. His face was now serious, his eyes intense.

“Well,” I muttered. “I guess it’s time.”

Without another word, he stood up and, scooping me up in his arms, walked out of the room. As we passed the living room, we saw Vivienne and Xavier sitting together on the couch.

“You’re going to do it now?” she asked.

Derek nodded.

They both got up and approach us, but Derek shook his head.

“We won’t be needing either of you. I can handle her… whatever state she might be in once she’s turned.”

He rushed out before either of them could respond. We took the elevator down to the ground and he began whipping through the trees. His speed left me struggling to breathe as I tightened my hold around him.

We passed right by the clearing where Vivienne had turned Derek earlier.

“Where are we going?”

“You do realize that this is the last night we’ll both be the way we were when we first met? When I first fell in love with you.”

I nodded as his words sank in.

Derek, a vampire. Me, a human.

We ran along the beach, along the outskirts of the wall, until we reached a cluster of giant boulders. He climbed up over them. After a few minutes, it came into view.

The lighthouse.

All the memories that came with the place washed over me and I had to fight to hold back tears.

He approached it and sped up the stairs. Once we reached the top, he pushed the door open to the cozy circular room and laid me down on the four-poster bed we had brought up here especially for occasions when we took time away from everybody.

He walked around the room, drawing the red velvet curtains and lighting the candles that surrounded the bed.

“I had my fun earlier,” he said, approaching the bed and looking down at me through his dark lashes. “Now this is your night, Sofia. Your fantasy.”

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