The Golden Thief – By Lisa Kessler
He took a deep breath as he stepped out into the night air. His body no longer needed oxygen, but keeping up appearances was important when he was mingling with mortals. Kane walked along the Seine river, trailing the blond woman who had captured his interest.
Paris had been his home for eight hundred years now. He arrived in France by boat after the great separation. He was know as Kan then, the God of the East. His immortal Night Walker brothers were forced to separate, fleeing from the Yucatan during the Spanish invasion.
He had remained in Paris ever since.
The city suited him. He was tall, just over six feet, with a thick mane of golden hair and deep blue eyes. His coloring blended with the French people more so than his own. He stood out among the Maya, but here in France, he could hide in plain sight. After learning their language, he amassed property and art over the years, while feeding on the Parisian underbelly. During that time, he watched the monarchy change hands, from father to son. Black death swept through his new country, claiming men and women from royalty to peasants. It was an indiscriminate killer, thinning the population even more than the constant territorial wars.
Years passed, political powers shifted, palaces were built and burned, while Kane bore silent witness. A phantom in the night. Money was his only tether to this desolate mortal world.
Until the night she robbed him.
A horse and buggy plowed by. The wooden spoked wheels splashed water onto his polished boot, but he didn’t slow his pace. Kane shoved his way through the masses of humanity, and he smiled when he saw her slip into the rear entrance of a bakery. Slowing his pace, he took his time, and approached the darkened building without drawing any unnecessary attention to himself.
When he grasped the wobbly brass door knob and twisted, the weathered metal squeaked. He froze and listened for any sign of movement. Convinced he hadn’t been discovered, Kane pulled the door open and slipped inside.
She was sitting at a table with a single candle, laying out coins and jewelry pieces. The flame danced in front of her, casting a warm light over her porcelain skin. He took a quiet step closer, enticed by a stray curl of her golden hair that rested on the soft pale curve of her breast. A crease marred her brow and her lips pursed together as she calculated her night’s earnings.
"I believe that pocket watch is mine."
She gasped and popped up from the table. Her surprise melted away quickly, to be replaced by a well-practiced mask of charm.
"You frightened me, monsieur." She plucked up his etched pocket watch from the table. "I found a satchel in the street filled with these trinkets."
Just the sound of her voice intoxicated him and soothed the empty beast of loneliness that raged inside of him. He took a step closer with a hint of a smile. "No, you found the watch in my pocket at the market square."
"I think you mistake me for another." She lifted her chin just slightly, enough to imply her shock at his accusation.
Kane narrowed the distance between them, surprised when she didn’t retreat back a step. Her scent overwhelmed him with an alluring blend of roses and spice, as his gaze slowly traveled up her body. Her dress was a rich emerald green color, fitted with an empire waist. He was glad to see the large European hooped skirt fashions fade with the French revolution. The new dresses were softer, enticing a man’s touch. She wore her shiny golden hair up in a loose knot, with stray curled locks falling down her neck and framing her porcelain features. Nothing about her was subtle or forgettable like a thief should be. She was an irresistible contradiction.
Taking the watch from her hand, he noticed her pulse pounding in her slender neck, but he made no move to feed.
"You are a flamboyant thief."
He never saw the slap coming.
"How dare you," she said with color flashing in her cheeks.
Kane smiled and reached for her hand. He drew her soft fingers up. Her struggles were nothing against his inhuman strength. He pressed a cool kiss to her knuckles as he stared into her eyes from under his brow.
"Forgive me for being so rude," he said in a hushed tone. "You are the most lovely, delicate, and beautiful thief I have ever seen."
This time he caught her other wrist before her slap could make contact with his face. Her bright blue eyes widened.
"Let me go."
"Not yet." He raised a brow and tipped his head slightly. "I am Kane Bordeaux."
Gradually he released her hands, and slipped his watch back into his pocket.
"My name is Marguerite," she replied. "I am sorry about your watch."
"I have a confession to make."
"Oui," he said with a crooked smile. "I bumped in to you at the marketplace tonight hoping you would take my watch."
Her brow furrowed slightly. "Why?"
"Because you are an intriguing mystery to me in a world that I have long tired of."
Her eyes searched his, and for a moment he thought she was going to apologize for taking his watch.
He didn’t know her very well yet.
"I did not steal your watch," she said.
He smiled. She was definitely stealing his heart.
Kane closed the yellowed pages of his leather-bound journal. He started his diary entries the first evening he noticed Le voleur d’or, the golden thief. Her beauty, along with her smile and her laughter, left her victims unaware they had been swindled of their coin purses or loose jewelry, like pocket watches.
Nearly three weeks went by before they finally met.
Through the glass doors, he could see Rita out on the balcony of their villa. She was tending to her roses in the moonlight. After two hundred years together, he still enjoyed watching her and hearing her voice. She was the sunshine to his darkness.
He walked out behind her, and wrapped his arms around her slim waist. Rita turned in his arms and gave him a playful kiss as her fingers slid back into his hair.
Kane held her close and whispered against her ear, "You are still my Le voleur d’or."
"After all these years, Kane," Rita pulled back with a sparkle in her eyes. "I did not steal your watch."
~~~ The End~~~