Arabella’s heels scraped against the upholstered seats as Isaac pushed her feet off the carriage seats for the third time. After barely a second of having them on the ground, she crossed her legs up again, intentionally kicking Isaac’s knee.
“Was that really necessary?” he asked, swiping her feet back to the ground.
“Just about as necessary as bringing me along. I really had better things I could be doing today.” She chirped back.
“You asked to come along,” Isaac protested.
“Yes, and now I regret it because you’re being mean to me and I’ve decided it was your idea.”
Isaac folded his arms and leaned back in his seat. He closed his eyes and tried to block out the pounding in his head. It had been several days since he had depleted his store of bloodbags. Only now was he able to go back out. He still had three women remaining but he was needing to ration their blood. He had restrained himself from draining them outright. Not as weak as they were. He figured there was no point in having a meal if it would not be enjoyable. There was no pleasure in haphazard feeding. The young and beautiful were a much better experience. And he could not deny how the tension and fear added to the taste.
Lost in thought, he did not notice that Arabella had put her feet back, this time slung over his lap. He only marked in when he stood to get out of the carriage and hastily beat the streaks of dust off of himself.
“Are you coming inside?” he asked.
“No, I don’t like watching you hunt.” She closed the door behind him.
He shook his head and looked up at the factory in front of him. It was squat and grey. Above it was a clear layer of smog. At the door, he was met with a group of guards. They stood at attention as he got closer.
One of them stepped forward. He wore different attire than the others. Isaac took him to be the foreman“We didn’t know you were coming, sir. We would have prepared. Right now-”
Isaac held up his hand to stop the man. “Not to worry. I’m sure I’ll be able to pick them out myself.” He stepped forward and the guards parted on either side of him. Entering into the factory Isaac instantly noticed how dark it was inside. At the tables closer to him he could see the women stationed there falter in their work. They kept glancing up at him, whispering to each other. Looking at the nearest table he indicated one of the girls.
The guards behind him seized her, dragging her so that she was face to face with Isaac. He smiled, leaning close to her. He could see the dread plainly on her face as he tilted her chin up. She leaned away from him.
“She will do just fine,” he said. He pushed her back and the guards collected her. Looking around him he could see a pair in the back of the room whispering. The taller of the two seemed to be explaining something. The shorter girl did not look afraid. Her dark hair was falling out of its bun, hanging in waves around her face. She was strikingly beautiful. Isaac was used to picking only pretty meals, but this girl stood out from the drab others. She seemed to have no idea who he was though.
Experimentally, Isaac grabbed a nearby girl who was glaring at him. As he made contact with her she shrieked.
“Get your hands off me!” she arched her head back from him and spat in his face. Isaac growled, tightening his grip. With one hand he wiped his face. Taking the opportunity, she wrenched one of her wrists free and clawed at Isaac’s face. The pain was dulled. Though the girl’s nails were long and unkempt, she had very little strength left.
Isaac sighed. He lowered his mouth to the struggling girl’s throat, biting down hard. The rush of fresh blood invigorated him. She tasted like peppery terror. As he drank, Isaac flicked his eyes up to look at the brunette girl he had noticed in the back. She was listening intently to the girl beside her, her eyes widening in realization. But still, she did not look worried. He dropped the girl he was holding. Her body hit the floor with a heavy thud.
“I had hoped your stock would be more compliant than last time, foreman,” he said, stepping over the body. “It really is quite disappointing to have such trouble on such a mundane errand.”
Deliberately, he approached the girl’s table. The one who had been explaining jumped back. He stood directly in front of the brunette, watching with some satisfaction as she had to crane her neck to make eye contact with him. He laid a hand on her cheek.
“What is your name?” he hissed.
“Lavinia. Lavinia Devon.” She said.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen you before, Ms. Devon. You must be new.” He tried to freeze his voice. He wanted to see this girl afraid but she would not budge.
“Do you always take this long when picking your meals, or am I just that hard to make a decision on?” She asked harshly.
Isaac was taken aback. He laughed, trying to cover the flush that threatened to creep over his face. He had never been spoken to like this before. This level of confident aggression was new. And combined with Lavinia’s alluring face, he could not help but feel a pull towards her.
“Oh, that’s not what I’m deciding. A pretty face like yours is impossible to pass up. No,” he pressed his lips to her throat, feeling her sharp intake of breath. “On the one hand, I could drain you dry, right here, right now.” Isaac knew he would not, but the feel of her pulse against his lips was tantalizing. He would have to take special care with this one.