Istanbul was beautiful at three o’clock in the morning. The silver moonlight reflected off of the black waters of the sea. The dark sky blended in to the waters, draping the horizon in a sheet of black. The streets around the Turkish lair were quiet. Only the sound of a distant barking dog, broke the silence of the peaceful scene. As he studied the landscape, Cairo was anything but serene on the inside. On the outside, he looked like the tranquil, two hundred year old vampire that he seemed to be. His dark hair hung to his broad shoulders in waves, framing his pale skin and green eyes. An unbuttoned black silk shirt and black silk pant covered his athletic frame.
He’d build this seaside lair in his youth, after he was turned into a vampire. In its prime, the castle was host to many parties. Not anymore. This sixteen room castle was boring and empty to him now. Cairo looked down at the goblet he held in his hand, unable to finish his snack of type o blood, and tossed it over the railing. He turned and walked back inside his lair before he heard the crystal shatter against the ebony rocks. What he needed was a distraction from his thoughts and clapped his hands. The guard brought in a belly dancer for his entertainment.
As the dancers hips moved in rhythm to the sitar, Cairo yawned. That back and forth motion of her creamy caramel sinew should’ve hypnotized him but she didn’t. Her gold and red sarong and matching bra framed the area of her torso that he should’ve bitten by now, but he wasn’t even thirsty for her blood. Her long, coffee hair swayed just above her hip line as she turned her back to him and arched backward to peer at him. Cairo breathed in slowly. While she was breathtaking, she’d just be a plaything and nothing more. After one night, he’d just toss her aside like a pile of dirty clothing. He bitterly spit on the ground, causing the dancer to stop, confused as to his sudden mood change.
His guards quickly ushered the dancer from the room as the music continued to play. The next dancer was rushed in to please him, but he wasn’t. While this one had the high round breasts that beg him to hold them like oranges, he just wasn’t aroused. Cairo closed his eyes. Behind his closed lids, his mind and body were back in Paris, not in his Istanbul lair. He was seated at his usual table in the back of the upscale club, l'cage de Phoenix, The Caged Phoenix. The red velvet curtains parted and there she was.
Cairo whispered the name of the dancer in his fantasy. Lily. For the past twenty years, he’d watched her undulate her hips to the beat of the conga drums and for twenty years he’d tried, and failed, to find someone to replace that image. Opening his eyes, he looked at the dancer before him with disgust and dismissed her with a wave of his hand. Troubled, Cairo moved through his lair toward his sleeping chambers. Damn it, he scolded himself. He was acting like a love sick teenager, not the handsome vampire who could have any woman in the world that he was. Frowning, he accepted a goblet of blood from his servant before going into his chamber and slamming the door closed.
With a sigh, he sat heavily on his king-sized bed but it was too early to sleep. Plus, Lily’s image still played behind his eyelids. Her dark chocolate skin glistened beneath the lights of the stage. Her long, black hair hung to her waist in waves. High, full breasts that he longed to touch his lips to, swayed gently with every swivel of her hips. Enchanting was the word to describe her. Though he’s watched her perform for years, he has yet to work up the nerve to talk to her. Cairo has sent her gifts anonymously; costumes, flowers, perfume, and candy yet whenever he approached her, words failed him.
Setting his goblet on the nightstand, he reclined on the soft, black bed linens. Oh, how he wished that she were here with him. Maybe one day. Cairo ran the palms of his hand down the length of his face. This was beyond frustrating. He was a vampire, for Satan’s sake, and could have any woman in the world at the snap of his fingers. But, no, he was smitten with a phoenix. He laced his fingers behind his head and stared at the blank ceiling. It was her scent that gave her away. While it was not forbidden for a vampire to mate with a phoenix, the fiery bird’s powers could be harvested by a vampire’s bite and used to take over the world. Contrary to belief, vampires weren’t immortal. Only the blood of a phoenix would give them eternal life.
Cairo was nearing the end of his life and not because of natural causes. But, because of a disease he had contracted due to consuming tainted blood. His breath became shallow at the thought of death. He had no intentions on harvesting Lily’s power. Just her body. Would she trust him enough to let him get close to her? No, he thought. And so, he would continue to admire her from a far. Besides, he chuckled to himself as he rose from the bed to strip off his clothing and climb between the sheets, he wasn’t looking for a mate. He’d been doing just fine as a single vampire. A woman would complicate his lifestyle of travelling and gambling.
However, he thought as he began to cough, this illness wouldn’t let him do that anymore. He was castle ridden. His teleport was spotty at best and he didn’t have the energy to do any of the things he once loved. Cairo leaned over the side of the mattress and dry-heaved. Three months. That was all the time that he had left of his life. While he had wanted someone to share the last of his days with, the only woman he wanted to share them with was Lily. It had been months since he’d seen her and he missed her.
He closed his eyes but opened them with a start when a new thought popped into his head. What if some other vampire or human claimed Lily before he could? Turning onto his side, he pounded his pillow with his fist as the steel shades covered the windows. That settled it, he huffed as he laid back down. At dusk, Cairo was going to Paris to claim her before it was too late.