Timeline: mid-March, 2008
One night, when Ann-Marie went over to see Lyla. She wasn’t home as Ramiel indicated at the door, but would be there in awhile. In any case, Ann-Marie had been meaning to talk to Ramiel for some time. She really didn’t know where she stood with ‘Cambian’ as he liked to be called, and was interested in getting to know him better to prevent misunderstandings.
She asked, “If you aren’t busy, while I wait, would you like to take a walk and chat a bit. We hardly know each other.”
Ramiel’s eyes followed the curves of her body up and down while he considered her invitation. “I am not typically second choice. But I suppose the view will be enjoyable.” When he opened the door he was wearing only black jeans that hugged the line of his hips. Stepping back he let Ann-Marie into he house while he grabbed a shirt and jacket as well as shoes. As he stretched to put the t shirt Ann-Marie could make out the top of a beautiful blue tattoo cresting above his belt line. The other she noticed was a band around his right arm. His hair was long and flowing free tonight.
Tucking his flask into his jacket and stepping outside he lit a clove cigerette. “This way.” He said taking off down a well known trail.”
Ann-Marie joined him on the trail, taking in the nature and watching how Ramiel handled himself. After a bit she said, “So, tell me a little about yourself. We’ve worked together, but I hardly know you.”
Ramiel smirked as he exhaled smoke. “I am twenty three, brown eyes, white hair, around six foot. I enjoy a good rum or whisky. And I am a very good lover.”
“Hmm 23 and that good. You must make all the women swoon,” she said in her devilish way. “Confident in yourself aren’t you?”
“With good reason.” He said. “Why? Are you interested?”
She smiled and laughed a bit, “Are you always driven by sex Ramiel? Aren’t women more to you than that?” The question was given in a light, friendly manner.
“Answer is no to the first, and only one to the second. And you? What gets you going other than power?” he asked with a faint smile.
She looked slightly puzzled and a bit bemused, “Why do you think I lust for power? That sounds more like a vampire cliché, don’t you think?”
“No I don’t.” Again the smoke from his cigerette trailed in the moonlight. “Besides I saw you when Ironclaw and Shadowclaw faught. You enjoyed the power he had and you were glowing to be on his arm.”
“So wise are you,” she said with irony, “I concede to your insight, but consider this. I didn’t want such a fight, but it happened. I was quite proud of both of them, for differing reasons. The truth is that Ironclaw is my lover, and I’m deliriously happy with him, but I have no designs on him other than any woman would.” She paused, “Is that all the evidence you have? Or are you judging me by one event?” She was enjoying the walk.
“You just admitted it. I need no further proof. But if you must I have known a lot of women like you. You are drawn to power, either the kind you obtain for yourself or the kind you can feel between your thighs. It thrills you and makes you feel alive. Moreso in your case I would imagine. Do not get me wrong I am not saying that is all you are interested in. But it is there.
“If I were to guess at the attraction between you and Ironclaw I would saw the newness of it, the thrill of the chase, the unknown aspect. As for the fight, true it happened. But you were the one who chose to follow into the alley when it was obvious what was about to happen. You watched and enjoyed it.” He took the flask from his jacket and took a drink.
“What’s between Ironclaw and myself is an ongoing exploration of each other. It’s a good thing. It is a growing and exciting relationship, and we are both happy.” She continued in a light tone, “But as far as me, despite what you may think from your limited experience, you’ve known no woman like me before. Don’t assume that because you think you have a kernel of the truth that you know me. Just like I can’t know you from your immediate actions. Yet, I would guess you like power far more than myself. Am I right?” Ann-Marie said quizzically.
He laughed. “I said I have known women like you that enjoy and are drawn to power. I never said I know you. There is huge difference there. And apparantly a nerve that was stepped on.
“I do not seek out power nor am I drawn to it. So your answer is no in that context. I have it and I use it. But that is in no way the same as longing for it. Never have I been that. Plus I do not think that I have a kernal of truth. I know it. You and Lyla share that desire for power. Be it a strong man or leverage over someone. It is there.”
She smiled, “Not so much a nerve, I don’t so much have them. But honestly, you can’t know the Truth, only the gods have that knowledge. The truth of existence is far beyond a mortal, or even an immortal such as myself. We can only glimpse it, if we see it all at.” She leaned over and picked up a walking stick, “Yet, Cambion, I admire your youthful sense of certainty. A lot like myself metaphorically speaking when I was younger. So, if it isn’t power you want, what is it? Sex, hedonism, knowledge?”
“You really think age gives you untold knowledge. That is an error. You have no idea the depths of my experience or knowledge. Nor will you ever be able to. Though it would be much appreciated if you would stop with the insults on that level. Because that is how I take them.
“All I have made tonight are observations. My statement of you being drawn to power was made fact by your own admission.” Ramiel paused to watch her.
She smiled, a bit bemused by him. He seemed so easily on edge, interpreting friendly discussion and criticism as insult. Why? she pondered, as no direct insult had been made.
Calmly and in the same friendly manner as before she said, “Untold knowledge, no. However, age can give a certain wisdom. The beginning of which is knowing we know nothing, and whatever we think we know is but a dust mote in the universe. I concede you likely know much Cambion, certainly much more that I on certain matters. And I’m neither envious or jealous of you, and if I inadvertantly insulted you I apologize. All I wish to do is be friendly to you as you are John, Lyla and Ironclaw’s friend. Read into my motivations as you wish, but the truth is I simply am offering to be a friend. No more, no less.”
“Let me put it this way. If you don’t stop reminding me how old you are, I will start calling you Grandma. You insult me by assuming that I pale in your shadow simply because you are a couple years older than John.
“If you are going to be friendly to me it should be because you want to. Not because I know the others.” He put out the cigarette and it lit another one.
“Insult is such a harsh word. It requires desire to hurt. I don’t want to hurt you, belittle you, lord over you or what-have-you. I’m afraid you might be reading things and motivations that simply are not there. But, that’s okay. Misunderstandings happen. I think you are an interesting person Cambion; for your own sake, not because of others,” she replied.
“Can I make an observation though?” Ann-Marie asked.
“Insults are not always intentional. But they happen.” He sighed and exhaled another breath of smoke. “I know I am not going to like this but go ahead.”
“It has nothing to do with power, age, truth, or anything of that nature,” she replied with a smile.
He watched her.
“I’ve just noticed that you get annoyed easily. Perhaps by insults, perhaps by those whom you don’t like or don’t wish to be around. I’m not asking you correct it, just wondering if you knew.”
“Sometimes I am annoyed, but most of the time it is just me not wanting to put up with the shit others are dishing. Do not mistake annoyance with me simply not caring.” He returned her smile. “I am a bit of an acquired taste. I do not demand respect, but I expect it. Trust is precious and has to be earned as does the right to get to know me personally.”
“That works both ways of course,” Ann-Marie said, “A few questions then. Do you trust me? Do you like me? and most importantly do you respect me?” she asked him with her devilish grin.
“No, working on it, and not until earned. In that order.” He was neutral as he answered her.
“I would say exactly the same of you. Except the trust part. I trust you to do exactly what you say, and I trust you to protect Lyla. I can’t say much more,” she said confidently with a light air of friendliness. Her smiling ruby lips betraying no emotion but enjoyment of the conversation.
“At least we know how we stand with each other. That’s a start,” she said.
“Truthfully I don’t care if you trust me or not. What I do care about is when we are out on a mission you act for the group. Not your vampire friends. This group is first and all else is second. The last time we went out things went wrong and bad because I was preoccupied with keeping a war form happening. Everyone got way ahead of themselves and it cost us a great deal.
“As far as being my friend that is a very rare title. Sex is different. Personally I am growing tired of this circular conversation we have gotten into.” He said.
Her enjoyment of the conversation faded, “I suppose I am as well. This honest approach to get to know you has obviously failed in its purpose. You do not seem to trust such as me, I see that now,” she said with resignation. “Know that I appreciate all you and yours have done and I will help you as needed, but my loyalties and devotions are for me to know, not for you to dictate.” Her obvious annoyance at his demanding tone couldn’t be hidden. “Good evening, Cambian. You truly are an aquired taste,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Be seeing you.”
She turned to walk toward a grove near the house to continue her wait for Lyla.
“I am not the only one.” As he walked beside her. He stopped when she did. “You know if you are not here for someone else, like your brother, if your loyalty is not to him and lies with others then you may want to reconsider being here. Also as far as my dictating, no if that were the case I wouldn’t listen to anyone’s opinion. I merely speak my mind.”
She looked at him intently, “You do.” Continuing she said, “I have my moments also. I’ll keep my own cousel as to my loyalties, but suffice it to say my brother, Iron Claw and Lyla are among them.” She stopped at the grove.
He continued walking and stopped again when he stepped onto the porch. “Nice talking to you.” He went inside and shut the door.
“A pleasure, good evening,” she said, silently pondering the enigma that was this young man.