Davy Harwood in Transition (The Immortal Prophecy)
Davy Harwood in Transition
I felt stupid.
There was no other way around it; no way could I justify my emotions. I just felt stupid.
Emily had hounded me for the last two months. She wanted me to talk to Mr. Moser. Finally, after she'd held my cell phone hostage, I'd had to succumb. So this is how I found myself back in the infamous building where I used to volunteer with the hotline.
I suppressed a shudder. I really hated working at the hotline and it wasn't because of the last time I'd been in this building. Although that moment had changed my life, the real reason was because I hated talking on the phone. Only a select few got on my 'I'll talk to you on the phone' list.
"Davy Harwood," Mr. Moser boomed as he entered his own office. If he was trying for intimidation, it would've worked three weeks ago.
Mr. Moser did not qualify for my phone list.
I waited until he rounded his desk and sat. His leather chair squeaked underneath his weight, but his two beady green eyes weren't amused and didn't care. His orange tie had flapped over his shoulder and it stayed there, caught between the wrinkles of his green buttoned dress shirt. His khaki pants hadn't fared better. I wasn't a wrinkle-noticing person, but I wouldn't have been surprised to find out they'd been rolled up and stuffed in the back of a drawer for the last two years.
He lifted an eyebrow. "Do you have anything to say to explain your actions three weeks ago?"
I was more concerned about how his tie still hadn't moved off his shoulder. He looked like an idiot. Was I supposed to tell him?
"My actions, sir?"
"You broke protocol."
Oh, that. The night that had changed my life. If only Mr. Moser actually knew I was supposed to go up to that roof.
"Oh," was all I said. I tried to sound apologetic. I folded my hands and when I looked down, I even fiddled my thumbs.
"I'm not buying it, Davy." Mr. Moser was very smart.
"Buying what, sir?"
"You answered the phones after we'd already closed. You broke protocol. You identified the caller's location; chose to intervene without any communication with your supervisors, and then you had the balls to resign by sneaking a letter under my door. I am not buying your act right now, young lady."
He said 'balls'. I loved that.
"Yes, but…" I really had no defense. I'd claimed what had happened was too traumatic for me to continue working with the hotline. Things had been traumatic, but he was right. I'd chosen the coward's way out so that I wouldn't get in trouble.
I eyed Mr. Moser up and down. The beady eyes had a glaze of anger in them. "I had hoped better of you, Davy."
He sounded disappointed as he took a deep breath. "Emily is an outstanding Listener. She spoke highly of you, but perhaps she was biased since you're roommates. Still, even Adam seemed to have taken a liking to you. He respected you, Davy."
I had so many corrections to Mr. Moser's rose-colored perspective. One, Emily was an awful listener. She might be a wonderful Listener at the hotline where she was fulfilling a requirement for a social work class, but she didn't listen to anyone in real life. And two, Adam had taken more than a liking to me. Adam had asked me out on one date. The date had failed miserably and I didn't think being kidnapped had been the problem.
"What are you thinking?"
"Well, under the circumstances I do not support your actions. You broke protocol and you should have the correct discipline. Then there's the item of your resignation. I know that you didn't really mean to resign and because of Miss Whistworth's death, the hotline is in need of any willing volunteers so I've decided to look past your actions."
What? Did he mean…? There was no way.
Mr. Moser beamed. "You can start tonight. Adam needed a replacement since he's taken two weeks of vacation. You can take his desk."
I had no words. I couldn't even feel my toes and I felt everything, literally.
Mr. Moser was already up and out of his office before any thoughts could form in my brain. And when I realized I'd been duped, I groaned and dropped my forehead on the desk. Not only did I feel stupid, but I felt like a complete moron.
When my phone vibrated, I snapped it open. "Yeah?"
"What's wrong, slick?" Kates drawled. I heard music in the background and that meant one thing.
"Are you at the Shoilster?"
I'd been there twice and hated both times. Plus, it was a vampire bar. I wasn't the biggest fan of vampires.
"Hell no." Kates barked out a laugh. "Listen, I'm going to be out of town for awhile. I need to figure some stuff out."
My childhood friend had been camped out in my dorm room for two weeks. The news was met with varying shades of relief and concern. I knew if Emily was the type to shout for joy, my roommate would've been screaming at the top of her lungs. I was growing tired of the tension between the two. Of course, Emily had reason for her dislike. Kates had been the one to kidnap us, but Emily wasn't privy to the fact that Kates had tried to save me from her psychotic vampire boyfriend later that evening.
"Where are you going?" She might be a vampire slayer, but she'd find trouble. She always did.
"I'm not going to find Lucan."
I relaxed, just a little.
Kates added, "There's something I gotta do on my own. Trust me, slick. You can talk to Blue if you want. She agrees that I should go and do this thing."
"I don't know, Kates." I wasn't too concerned about what my Empath Sponsor had to say since I'd been avoiding her ever since I found out she was connected to my immortal enemy.
"What don't you know? You don't even know what I'm doing."
I opened my mouth.
Kates beat me to it. "I'm not telling you because you'll just worry. I've talked about it with Blue. She agrees that I should go and do this. And she thinks I shouldn't tell you so I'm not. Besides, you have enough to worry about. You're the freaking Immortal, Davy. I have no idea why you're still in college, much less going to see that idiot supervisor."
I was going because Emily made me, but I couldn't say that to Kates. "I'm living a normal life because I'm going to be living for a long time. Are you sure that you're not looking for him?"
Kates' boyfriend had been a psychotic vampire, but he was human now. So that made him a psychotic human with all this knowledge about vampires and how to become a vampire again.
Kates was silent for a couple beats. "I don't really have to, remember?"
I flushed and shut my mouth. The reminder was duly noted. If anyone was going to find Lucan, it'd be Lucas Roane, his twin.
"Have you heard from him?" Kates asked, gently.
I rolled my eyes. I didn't need kid gloves."I haven't seen Roane since he took off."
That had been ten days ago. And since he was hunting Lucan, I had no idea how long it would take. Lucan was human, but he thought as a vampire. Roane was not only a vampire, but a hunter. I was surprised he was still gone actually. Hunters had the skill and jurisdiction to hunt and kill any vampire that broke the decree that stated no humans were to be bitten or harmed by vampires. They were the elite of their race and Roane was one of the best.
Lucan didn't stand a chance.
"Your roommate has been buzzing around the room like she's on meth. You sure she's a sober saint? She ain't acting like it."
"Did you say something?" I was so thankful to Kates' attention deficit. No more questions about Roane.
"What? I've been perfect."
"Kates, no," I groaned.
"The chit needs to toughen up, seriously. I've gotta go, Davy. I'll be in touch. Don't worry about me. I love you. I'll be fine." And my childhood friend hung up.
I sighed and dropped my forehead on the desk. What else could I do?
"Okay, Miss Harwood, we've got you back in the program!" Mr. Moser broadcasted as he strode back into his office.
Yes, my life could get weirder. I lifted my forehead from the desk. "Mr. Moser, I hate phones. I'm not good on the phone. I'm not good at this work."
"Nonsense! You're perfect."
Meaning, he was desperate. Adam's two weeks to mourn his girlfriend of one day must've put the hotline in a dire spot.
"When is Adam coming back? Maybe I could fill in until he gets back?"
Mr. Moser squashed that idea as he slapped a file on his desk. "We'll figure that out when the time comes."
I winced from the slap and resigned myself to my fate. I had an entire six hour shift answering a phone in my future. You'd think I would've seen this coming since I was the Immortal and empathic, but I was lame.
"No, Anne, you shouldn't let your roommate eat your peanut butter. If it bothers you, you could ask her not to eat your food. And don't feel foolish calling the hotline about this issue. Sometimes the smallest arguments stand for the bigger problems."
I was bored. Five hours and fifty eight minutes had passed and my eyes gleamed in excited anticipation. Two more minutes and I could hang up the phone. No after hour calls would lure me back. I'd gone that route and see where I was—in the exact same spot! Never again. And I fought back a yawn.
I glanced over and saw Holly Brightner waving. She leaned across our desks and tapped my Dialogue Reassurances sheet.
I rolled my eyes and shooed her away. Still, I recited like a sympathetic moron, "Anne, the peanut butter probably stands for something more. What does the peanut butter really stand for?"
Shoot me more minute.
Holly gave me a smile in approval and I resisted the urge to kick her underneath our desks. Her pasty white skin and round brown eyes were enlarged underneath her glasses. When she blinked, I swear that her lips formed a small oval and the image of an owl flashed in my mind. And her brown hair was pulled back into a tight bun. If Holly had a spirit animal, it would've been an owl.
Thirty seconds and I no longer cared what Anne had to say. I'd used my empathic stuff on her and felt the normal jealousy and insecurities that so many girls suffered. The girl wasn't homicidal or suicidal. That was all I cared about.
Five seconds, four, three, two, one…I hung up and grabbed my bag.
Holly stopped me. "Davy, you didn't cite the proper farewell greeting. It's very important to the callers. You never know what they're going to do after they end their call with us."
"It was peanut butter, Holly. Peanut Butter."
"We have the guidelines for reasons. I know you've been away for a few weeks, but—"
My phone cut her off, which was a mixed blessing. I was ready to eviscerate Holly.
The phone rang again and I looked at shift was over.
Rang a third time.
Holly's mouth fell open.
The fourth ring seemed demanding. I knew what I should do, but my shift was over and Mr. Moser had said no calls after hours. When Holly saw that I had no intention of answering the phone, she reached over and did it for me. She listened for a moment and then held the phone away from her ear. "They hung up."
I wouldn't have wanted to talk to Holly either.
My bladder was screaming for attention so I made a trip to the bathroom before heading home. When I popped back in for my bag, I saw that Holly had left. I'd never been so happy in my life…and then my phone rang again.
Doom and gloom settled on my chest. I knew who was on the other side. Consider it my empathic curse.
It rang again…and again…and again…and I knew it wasn't going to stop.
I dropped my bag, plopped down in my chair, and picked up the phone.
"You're right. That other girl has the attitude of an owl. I don't blame you for being irritated."
Welcome to my world of craziness and the supernatural.
"So you're not in my head anymore, you're on the phone now?" For being my next Immortal guide, I wasn't sure I liked this new route of communication.
"I'm on the roof. Be there in five."
When I heard the dial tone, I stared in disbelief. Not only was I going to meet my next guide in person, she hung up on me. I hoped that she meant five minutes, not five seconds. Who could get up there in five seconds….that's right, me. I squared my shoulders, nervously smoothed out my jeans and pressed my yellow tee shirt tighter around me. I shouldn't be nervous. Whatever I looked like didn't matter. The Immortal was already inside of me, it's not like the guide was going to take one look at me and yank it out because I wasn't pretty.
Still. I wished that I had used my anti-frizzy curl gel when Emily had chucked it across the room at Kates. Kates had laughed. I had laughed. Emily had stormed off and my gel had been left underneath my bed.
I trekked out of the office and headed towards the roof door. As I started up the sparse stairs, I heard my footsteps echo all the way down to the basement. Each echo made my heart pound. By the time I got to the top, I felt like I was going to explode, like a bomb was ticking underneath my skin.
Then the door was open and I stepped onto the roof.
For a second, just a briefest of moments, I saw Talia on the edge again with her golden hair waving in the air and her white dress billowing from the wind. The same sad acceptance railed against me.
But I blinked and the image was gone. Instead, a different girl was there and this one was a doozy. Red eyes, black and blue sleek hair that fell past her waist, and ivory skin that any vampire would've marveled at. She stood at my height, a little slim with her hipbones sticking out, and a mark covered the entire left side of her face.
I gulped and froze. There was no way I was getting closer.
She snorted, rolled her eyes, and I felt her disgust blast me.
I was safer where I was.
And then in a flash, she was in front of me.
Oh man, those red eyes looked like they were on fire. That mark was an intricate symbol of weaving lines. I wondered if it meant something and then cursed my foolishness. Of course, it meant something. Everything meant something in my insane world.
"You're right. It does mean something, but it's nothing for you to know. Not yet." She was smug as she leaned closer.
I gulped again. The red in her eyes that looked like fire was fire. An actual flame was in her eyes. It moved in perfect rhythm with the wind that swirled around us on the roof.
"What are you?"
She laughed. "I'm not a vampire."
"Are you a werewolf?"
"I'm not a werewolf either. And no, I'm not anything that your precious vampire is going to know either. I'm beyond his knowledge. I'm beyond a lot of people's knowledge."
"Are you a witch?"
The flame glowed brighter for a moment and then settled back down. "Very good, Davy, but as I said I'm not anything that your lover knows. He knows witches."
There was a riddle there, but I retorted, "He's not my lover."
"He was. He will be again. And he's much more than that." As she spoke, her head tilted to the side and smoke swirled in her eyes to cover up the flame.
"You're a fortune teller witch. You see the future, don't you?" I hated fortune tellers. And, even though I've never met a witch, I was pretty sure I didn't like them either.
She laughed again and the smoke vanished with a swift pop. Her fire was back. "I come from a witch, but I'm no longer a witch, Davy. I'm much much more and I'm here to help you."
"Help me with what? The last one who told me that needed me to accept the Immortal inside of me. What's your agenda with me?" They always had agendas.
"The other one annoyed you, yes?"
She already knew the answer to that.
She had a smug smile on her face. "I'm here to piss you off."
I barked out a laugh. "It's not hard to do that—"
"No." she stepped closer. The fire tripled. Her jaw was so strong, so poignant, and it told me that she meant every word she uttered. "Stepianhas annoyed you. She was sent to you to help you accept who you were, but I know her methods. She used riddles. I will not use riddles. I will tell you bluntly and directly. And I will piss you off. I will not annoy you. I will make you angry. I will make you furious and if so be it, all the better."
One, Stepianhas? Two, what did she mean by making me furious? And three, I was already pissed off.
"You're already doing a good job. Who the hell is Stepianhas?"
"My name is Saren. Stepianhas was your last messenger. I will not talk further about my sister. My job is to challenge you and help you learn your powers."
Stretching. Learning. Powers. All I could hear was a name. "There was a name to the annoying voice in my head? That was a person? That wasn't me?"
"She was sent to you as I have been sent to you. We are not of your world, but we will help guide you among this world."
"I thought you said no riddles." Dumbass.
She paused, thought, and then smiled sheepishly. "It seems that my attempt at directness has different meaning in your world than mine. I apologize. I believe that I should've said that I am not my sister. I am the one to teach you of your consequences."
"You suck at this job." I was tired of all this Immortal stuff. "Why now? It's been two weeks."
"Uh—" Her mouth gaped open for a second and I saw the thoughts fly through her head. Literally.
I watched them for a moment before it hit me what I was doing. The last one said something about 'She's the Immortal, she will know. She mustn't know. If she shall ever find out, it will be catastrophe. Remember the vampire. It's about the vampire.'
It was like reading words on a page. "What do you mean when you say that it's about the vampire?"
Saren's eyes widened as she saw me inch closer, but she didn't say anything for a moment. "He is important."
"Why?" I wanted intrude on her personal space. It worked on me, it should work on her.
She grinned and lifted a palm in the air. I felt the air being sucked into her hand and knew she was going to use it against me to shoot me away from her. To a normal person, this would've happened in an instant. To me, I felt the air swirl around me and halted the speed. When I saw her slam the force at me, I lifted my own hand and waved it. It bounced off me and shoved her backwards.
She hadn't fallen down, but it pushed her to the edge of the building. She lifted her head in shock. "You are better than I expected."
I lifted my chin. "You can't bully me. I'm the Immortal." As I said it, I knew I shouldn't have. Saren straightened upright and her eyes changed from a flame to a bonfire. The outline disappeared around her eyes. Flames leapt from outside of her eyes and smoldered the air. I smelled the burning in the air. Then she lifted a hand and flames shot at me.
"No!" I held up my hand. Something charged out of my body and met the flames full force. Instead of coming at me, they shot in the air. The entire sky lit up in flame. I looked up and thought three things. It looked pretty, there was no way that was inconspicuous, and holy crap! Sirens sounded in the distance and looked over. Saren was gone.
What a surprise.
I turned towards the exit and wished I knew how to transport myself by snapping my fingers. Some Immortal perks still needed to be learned. When I got to the street, I ducked into an alley as the fire truck braked in front of the Heffler building.
I hated that building. No good came from that building.
I cut across the middle of the campus and was almost to my dorm when I felt the air change. The hairs on my back stood up. There was a shift in the atmosphere. It was like if I'd been walking with a comfy blanket on me and someone ripped it off me. I knew someone was there and I was out in the open. When I heard a slight growl, I reacted without thinking and twisted my body around. I bent backwards.
Bennett leapt at me. His eyes were shocked as he went over me. His dirty blonde locks had grown longer since I'd last seen him, but he dressed in a black leather vest and jeans. His boots clipped my chin and I fell to the ground.
"Ouch!" I snapped up and held my chin. I felt blood against my fingers. "What'd you do that for?"
His eye gleamed with a purple shine. His chest heaved up and down and his hands fisted together as he stood there. "You turned him." Then he charged and caught me. With my back against his chest, he lowered his head to my neck and growled. "Turn him back."
"Bennett, stop that!"
He clamped me tighter against him and his teeth touched my skin. They didn't break the skin or draw blood, but he wanted me to know he could. I was starting to wonder how demented he'd become. Didn't he remember the last time a vampire drank from me? "Bennett, you will become a human if you drink from me."
"You're the Immortal. You can turn him back."
"Turn who?" Then it clicked in place. "You want me to turn Lucan? Are you crazy? I don't even know where he is or if I can do that."
"You're the Immortal. You can do anything."
A part of me puffed up in pride. I was the Immortal. Of course, I could do anything. Then reality set in. "Bennett, I turned into the Immortal two weeks ago. I wouldn't know how to do it."
"Think it and it happens!" he growled and lifted me in the air.
"Oh—" Not good. My feet dangled for a second before he slammed me back down. This time I fell all the way to the ground and laid there. Bennett was on top as he whispered in my ear, "You will change him or I will hurt you."
Then the air changed again. Something was coming and they were coming fast. Before I could look, Bennett was off me. I scrambled up in time to see Roane throw Bennett into the building across the yard. The brick cracked from the force. Before Bennett could fall to the ground, he caught himself and jumped from the building at him.
I sat there with my mouth open as I watched Roane stand in place with his shoulders ready. His knees didn't look like they moved when he caught Bennett, twisted, and slammed him on the ground. Instead of catching his throat to hold him place as I expected, he impaled him to the ground and flicked a lighter on him. Bennett's eyes got wide and he gasped. He started to kick, trying to scramble away, but whatever Roane had impaled him with kept him in place. Before the lighter hit his chest, Roane swept a hand around me and lifted me in the air. I felt myself being carried away, but I tried to watch Bennett. Roane tucked my head into his shoulder. He wouldn't let me look. When he moved past a building, I saw the air light up.
"Block him. Block him now."
I hadn't realized that I'd been trying to feel him when I closed my eyes and did it. Not a second later, Bennett's screams filled the air. I clasped onto Roane tighter and wound my legs around his waist. No matter the circumstances, it was good to feel him again, maybe too good.
Roane carried me to the roof of a building. When he set me back on my feet, he went to the edge and looked down. A red glow lit the sky from where Bennett had been and I grabbed his hand to help steady myself. My knees were shaking so loudly, I was surprised Roane didn't hush them.
"I want to see who comes." Roane gripped my hand.
Instead of Bennett, a fire burned in his place. "His body's gone?" There was a citrus smell in the air that mixed with the fire. Both odors made my stomach churn.
A small smile flashed over his face, but it was gone quickly. His face contrasted in a myriad of shadows from the glow. The tops of his cheekbones and nose were highlighted, but everything else was dark. It gave him a supernatural look, but then again, he was a vampire.
"It burned faster than normal. He drank from someone who'd overdosed on heroin. It speeds everything up."
"That explains the purple eyes." I was about to ask more when Roane touched my shoulder and nodded at the quad below. I didn't see anything, but he spoke in my head, "Let the Immortal see."
The fire felt like it was all around me and Roane's inner tension lashed at me like a whip. I could taste the heroin from the human's blood in Bennett. That was the citrusy feel in the air. Wrinkling my nose, I started to share how weird that was, but closed my mouth as I sensed movement from all corners of the quad. They were vampires. They moved at a slow synchronized pace and made sure no one could see them. With my human eye, I wouldn't have. But as the Immortal, I knew what they thought and felt their arrogance. As I closed my eyes, I felt into them. They were used to doing what they wanted. They thought they were above everyone else, including other vampires.
"Who are they?"
Roane gripped my hand and shook his head.
And below us, they froze as one entity. Their black forms, masked from the shadows, melted backwards. They were gone in the next instant.
He expelled a deep breath.
I knew I messed up, but I had no idea how.
"You twitched when you asked me that. Your hand twitched."
"They could see that?"
"They felt it." He sounded disappointed.
"They felt my hand twitch, but they didn't know we were here? How's that possible?"
"They didn't know we were here because as they move in, they blanket their surroundings."
"We're above them."
"Doesn't matter." Roane sat on the edge. He dropped his head in his hands. "They have sonar that sends pulses all around them. They map the ground. One disturbance or change in their 'map' and they go away. It could be as little as a bird or a rock that fell. One movement, a hand twitch, and they leave."
Talk about anal. "They're scared of a bird?"
"They aren't scared. They're powerful, stronger than the hunters' bloodline."
"They're vampires." No one was stronger than the hunters.
"They're more. They're a different species of vampires."
"You guys have species?!"
Roane chuckled and found my hand with his. "Each vampire is born from the bloodline of the vamp that turned him or her, but those guys are different. They were born as vampires. There's magic in their blood that lets them reproduce. They give birth just like humans."
"Baby vamps." Holy crap.
"Baby vampires." He nodded.
"How do they do their sonar stuff?"
"No one knows. They stick to their own. We don't even know if they follow the decree. We know about them only because Lucan found a baby girl one time. He had a thing for anything unusual. My brother was obsessed with anything more powerful than us. It's why we found Talia when she was so little."
Every hair on my body stood upright. I shuddered. "How did you know they'd be here tonight?"
"I didn't. I knew Bennett was obsessed with having you change Lucan."
"You think Bennett knew where Lucan is?"
He shook his head. "I know he didn't, but he knew where you were. I think Lucan found that girl and her line has taken him in. If I were him, I'd have them find you. You're an unknown to him now. He thought he knew everything about the Immortal, but he now knows that he doesn't. He didn't take your power. You made him human instead. That's never been in the lore. You're going to become his new obsession now."
And that was alarming on a whole other level. "They were following him to find me?"
He nodded and clenched his jaw.
My eyes got wide. "That's why you killed Bennett, isn't it?"
"As much as I'd love to follow them back, I won't risk you."
"How would you be able to follow them? It sounds like they're living ghosts to the vampire community."
Roane looked at me and titled my head up. His hand cupped the side of my face and his thumb caressed my cheek. "I'd follow you, not them."
There went my heart. It stopped its pitter pattering.
"I could follow you anywhere."
Now it took off like a horse race.
His hand dropped and he stood up. "I drank from you before you fully became the Immortal. I can smell you from a continent away."
My shoulders slumped down. The pitter patter race ground to a halt. "You know just what to say to a girl."
"It's the aroma. Your blood overwhelms me at times."
My nose wrinkled. "So I'm smelly?"
He looked out over the quad and murmured, "Yes. Exactly." Then he abruptly looked down. "No, not in a bad way. It's a good way. We were lovers. It's an intimate aroma, like perfume."
Roane laughed and took my hand. He pulled me to my feet and then hugged me tightly. "We will be again. I'm hoping." His eyes held mine captive and the Derby race started once more.
"I'd like that too."
He rested his forehead against mine. "Bennett is dead."
"Yeah. And the fire is gone already." The burning smell and glow had both vanished.
"Don't you want to check on your roommate?"
"What? Why?" Talk about curveballs.
"He nipped from her. That means she was under his spell. Now he's dead—"
"I can't believe I didn't think of that already. She's going to be flipping out. She thought she was in love with him." I surged upright and then stopped to glower. I used to hate vampires. Roane and a few others had redeemed them in my eyes, but now I remembered why I hated them so much. Their stupid little spells they could put on humans. "I have to get home right now. The abrupt break will be sending her off the deep end."
Roane nodded and kissed my forehead. "I'll be at the Alexander tonight."
"Okay. I'll come by after she's calmed down."
Roane walked me back to my dorm and left with one last kiss to my forehead. I watched him leave and sighed. I was glowing. How could I not? I just hoped my roommate wouldn't notice.
When I walked into my room, Emily took one look and threw a book at me. I ducked, but the second one hit my chin. "Ouch!"
"What? Did you just see Adam? You're happy!" Her chest heaved up and down. She was seething. Then she twisted her hands in her hair and pulled at it. "I'm going crazy, Davy! I don't know what's wrong with me."
I did, but I wasn't going to tell her. "Do you have your period?"
"I just had it."
"There's a full moon tonight. That makes people go crazy."
She stopped pulling her hair and her hands dropped against her legs. "Really?"
I shrugged in my head. "Sure. Unless you really are going crazy."
"No, no. It must be the full moon. It has to be. It came out of nowhere."
"What does it feel like?"
"Like my reason for living just died. I have no purpose anymore. I should kill myself."
She answered so quickly, my eyes popped out. "Okay. You shouldn't work at the hotline until this is gone."
"Why?" she asked with a blank face.
"Because…" You're crazy. "Trust me. It's the full moon effect. You're not normal right now."
"Will this go away?" Desperation flashed over her face and her hands started to go for her hair again.
I rushed forward and caught her hands. "It will go away. Promise."
"How long does the full moon last?" Her voice hitched on a hysterical note.
"There's the pre moon stage and the post moon stage. Plus, you have the half moon and partial moon. I'm sure all of that makes it go longer."
"Oh." She sounded dejected as she sat on the couch. "What am I supposed to do? I felt like I lost my husband, like he was brutally murdered and slowly ripped to pieces."
"Uh…" I saw some wine coolers in the corner and grabbed them. "Drink."
She pushed it away. "That won't help. It'll make it worse."
"Okay." Then I sat beside her. "What can I do to help you?"
"I don't know. Take my pain away."
Oh no. I swallowed tightly. I knew Emily wasn't serious. She didn't know I was empathic and her request was an actual possibility, but I didn't know if I wanted that madness in me. "How about a sleeping pill? You'll sleep right through it and wake up refreshed for a month?"
I settled for a second best option.
"I don't feel like that's a healthy thing to do. I feel like I should go through this. I should feel this torment."
"You're crazy. Why would you want to do that? This isn't your fault. You're feeling this because of—" I clamped my mouth shut. "Because of the moon."
I watched Emily and saw she was determined to feel this thing through. Sometimes she amazed me and other times she made my head spin around. Who would want to feel this type of madness? Emily would.
She hugged a blanket around her. Tears coursed down her cheeks and she sneezed a few times. I handed over a tissue box. "You're determined to stay awake for this?"
"Yes." She sounded determined, but I heard a waver in her voice.
It was all the permission I needed. "I'll get you some juice."
She looked at me with grateful tears in those eyes. "I'd appreciate it so much. Thank you, Davy."
I grabbed one of the cups from our dirty bin and went to the door to wash it. Emily didn't spare me a look as she huddled into the couch and I grabbed my purse. When I went to the bathroom, I cleaned the cup and pulled out some sleeping pills Kates gave me awhile ago.
I dumped three in Emily's drink and stirred it so the powder dissolved. And when I handed over the juice to her trusting hands, I felt no guilt. I was drugging my roommate out of love. If I left her alone with the madness that came when a love bite was broken, she would have tried to commit suicide. I'd seen it before and I wasn't going to let Emily do something stupid like that. "Drink all of it. Your body needs those vitamins."
She guzzled it down and wiped at her chin. "Thanks, Davy. You're the best roommate."
Well…the jury's out on that one. I popped in a movie, grabbed my blanket, and settled beside her. Emily's eyes kept watering through the movie until I reached over and grabbed her hand. She would quiet right away and I allowed myself to pull some of that pain out of her. I felt the madness trying to get through my barrier, lashing at me, snarling, but I kept it at bay. Emily's pain was pushed underneath the craziness and it streamed into me like a calm river. If I hadn't been the Immortal, I couldn't have separated the threads. An hour later, I opened my eyes and saw that she'd fallen asleep with both hands clenched on mine. There was a feel of desperation in her body.
When my eyelids started to feel heavy and drop, I realized some of the sleeping pills must've gotten into my system too. Roane was at the Alexander and I wanted to see him, but my eyelids refused to stay open. After five minutes, I gave up the fight and moved to my bed. It wasn't long until I found myself dreaming of vampires with rabid purple eyes.. And then a voice screamed in my head, "Davy! Wake up!"
I shot upright and banged my head on Emily's bunk. I rubbed my head, expecting to see someone in my room. There was no one and I started to lie back down.
"Get up! Get up! You're needed at the Alexander NOW!"
Alexander. Roane. Crap.
When I got to the Alexander, I wasn't surprised to find it filled to the maximum. It had always been the hotspot for the showy and shallow. And those were just the humans. The basement was filled as well, but with vampires.
I turned and saw Gregory. He stood by the bar with a drink in hand. His face was stiff and his thick square-like jaw seemed cemented in place.
"Hi, Gregory." I held a hand out and the blond Viking vampire took it for a handshake. He had never warmed up to me, but as one of Roane's loyal followers he was forced to be nice. He smiled thinly and offered his drink. "Lucas is in his office. I'll take you there."
As I followed him into a narrow back hallway, I was surprised to hear Roane's given name. I'd grown so comfortable thinking of him as his bloodline's name that I'd forgotten it wasn't his first name. As we continued through a few more hallways, I was surprised how Gregory fit though them. Then, at the end of one, he knocked on a black door. I would've walked past it and not known it was there, but it opened to Roane's office. He sat behind a massive mahogany desk. While the entrance was plain, everything inside the office was not. The desk was large enough for a king to lie on. Leather couches and chairs sat beside it while a painting was mounted on the wall. I watched the smiling woman in the painting and half expected her to speak to me. She looked too life-like for my own liking.
Roane lifted his head and his coal eyes flickered when he stood. "Davy. You came. Thank you, Gregory."
Roane gestured towards a chair when the blonde giant left. "I need a few minutes to finish some paperwork."
"So I better get comfortable, huh?" I looked at the door as I sat down. "For being Hulk Hogan, he's quiet like a ghost. It's scary."
"He's a vampire."
Roane shifted some papers and piled them on a corner of his desk. "Vampires can't hurt you anymore. You can get that chip off your shoulder you have against us."
I shuddered in my chair. "And yet, they keep coming after me."
"Because some of us are dumb." Then he smirked. "We're like humans in that way."
"Was that a joke?" I arched an eyebrow. "Where's this new Roane come from? I thought everything was serious, the world is ending, and the Immortal needs to be protected."
"Maybe this is the real me? Maybe I'm a funny vampire underneath everything?" His hands paused as they shifted some papers into a folder. Then they continued and a smile flittered over his face. It was gone in the next instant.
I narrowed my eyes as I watched him. He might be joking about being funny, but I'd felt inside of him. He was all resolve, determination, and death bended beneath him. Then I smiled. "You've missed me."
His hands paused again and gripped the folder before he closed it and lifted his head. His eyes sparkled.
I was across the desk in an instant and in his arms. He gripped me tight as I settled on his lap, straddling him in the leather chair. I clasped behind his shoulders and breathed him in. His neck trembled slightly and then I pressed a kiss against it. He groaned and stood up with his hands underneath my legs. He held me tight against him and lifted to carry me to a nearby couch. As he laid me down, he held himself above me and studied me. His eyes were intense. Something shifted in them when he traced my face with a finger, down my cheek, around my lips, and back up the other cheek to brush some hair from my forehead. It was a loving touch and my eyes started to water as I felt the tenderness.
"What's wrong?" he asked in a gentle voice.
I tugged him down on top of me and hugged him with all my might.
"You missed me too." His voice was muffled against my neck. It teased my skin and shivers broke out over my body. I felt him smile as he added, "A lot."
It was more than that. Something in me would always yearn for Roane. When I saw him again, that something woke up. It was as if I'd been asleep till he got back and now he was back, everything else woke up too. Did he feel the same? The old question burned in the back of my head…or did he feel it for Talia?
Roane pulled away and sat up. "What's wrong?"
"Talia." I didn't hesitate. I didn't see why I should.
Roane shut down. His eyes had been open and alive. "What about her?"
"You loved her. She held the Immortal thread before me. I can't help but feel that there's a part of her inside of me and that's who you want." Most girls wouldn't have managed the first words, but I was more now.
Roane stood and crossed to a bar. After he poured himself a drink, he offered me one. I shook my head, suddenly cold. Roane moved back to lean against his desk as he regarded me. His eyes were dark. "I loved Talia. I won't deny that."
There it was. I didn't flinch.
Roane added, "I've never lied about that. I did love Talia, but I don't love her anymore."
My eyes shot to his.
"I don't know what you're really asking me, but I can guess. It's not the right time for that, but what I can tell you is that what's between us is between us. You may think Talia is a part of you, but she's not. There's nothing in you from her. She held the Immortal thread inside of her and gave it to you. You've taken the thread and you've become the Immortal. If anything, it should've been that Talia held something of you inside her when I loved her." He studied me when he was finished and then sipped his drink. His throat swallowed in a slow motion.
I gulped. When those eyes were focused on me and intense. When he said words like that, I had to grip the couch to keep myself from launching at him. I wanted to beg him to take me then and there, but I didn't. Then I fought to calm my trembling voice. "Okay."
Roane flashed a smile. "Okay? That's it?"
Someone knocked on the door at that moment. Roane turned his back to me when it opened and I expelled a ragged breath. I tried moving off the couch, but my legs were jelly.
Then Gregory spoke from the doorway, "We have an impending."
Roane didn't move at all, but everything changed; danger emanated from him. An alarm bell went off in my stomach and my jelly legs were suddenly as sturdy as stone. I stood, but stayed by the couch. I wanted to go to his side, but Roane wasn't a vampire who enjoyed the comforting damsel. When he nodded with his jaw clenched, Gregory looked at me and then closed the door behind him. He said it all in that one glance. Something was wrong and Roane wasn't telling me any of it.
"What's going on?"
He took my arm and led me to the door. "It's time for you to go."
Hello, I thought we were going to have sex. Now I really was alarmed. "What was that about? Gregory looked at me before he left. He felt bad about something. What is it?"
I dug in my heels and looked directly at him. He had his shields up, he always had them up, but I went through them like vapor. His manner had been a show. He'd been flirting and forcing himself to feel relaxed, but it was the opposite. He had lied about Talia. He still loved her, but there was more. Something had gone wrong with the Roane Council and his insides were on edge, murderous edge, because of it. I slipped out and saw he hadn't a clue that I'd been there.
"You never told me about the council meeting. What happened there?"
His eyes flared in anger. "You stay out of me."
"Then tell me the truth. Tell me what's going on."
"You need to leave." He pushed towards the door, but stopped to grab two daggers and a 9mm. He strapped a sword over his back and when he turned back to me, I didn't recognize the hunter who stood in front of me. I'd seen him in fighting mode, but this was different. There was no emotion, just business. That business was killing.
When he took my arm again, my head snapped back and I felt the Immortal rush through me. She coursed through my arms, toes, veins, and into my eyes. I knew Roane saw my silver eyes when he cursed.
"Do you know?" he asked.
I closed my eyes and lifted into the air. The room swirled around me. Everything moved around me as if I was in the eye of a tornado and then I looked out and saw who approached.
They were a group of vampires. All were heavily armed with weapons, similar swords as the one Roane wore. Wren was with them, but two large Goliath vampires held her arms. Her wrists were bound in greenery. Her eyes were strained and teeth clenched against the pain. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew what side I stood with. Before the thought entered my mind, I was already behind Wren and the two giant guards.
Everyone was in a time warp so no one saw me when I took a knife from one of the guards and cut through Wren's bandages. Her shoulders lifted up as if refreshed. The pain left her and she sprang into action. I pulled back from the group, watching her take the sword from one of them and plunging it into their heart. As they fell, she whirled around and decapitated both of them in one movement. Then she landed on her feet primed for attack as the rest of the group turned in shock. Only a few reacted. The rest paused a second to wonder how she got free. They paused too long.
Roane was already on them. Wren saw him fighting and a crooked smirk flashed over her face before she began fighting with renewed energy. She fought freely without pausing as she sliced and diced through the vampires. Roane killed the same way. He cut down every vampire in his trail, but gave no feeling or thought to any of them. When they were both done, each stood in the middle of the wreckage and looked at the other. Wren smiled shakily as her body trembled in excitement. Her coral eyes looked wild, hyper. Roane felt nothing. There was no emotion in his eyes. Then he turned towards me and I vanished.
I was waiting in his office when they arrived a few minutes later. Wren burst through the door and her adrenalin blasted against me. She was on a high, but when her eyes caught sight of me all that energy faded. It left her depleted and she snarled, "You."
She looked the same. I hadn't noticed when she'd been held captive, but now her attention was focused on me. It was intimidating, or should've been, as I studied her in turn. She wore the same leather corset with silver snappings and leather boots. Her eyes snapped in disgust when she felt my appraisal and she flipped those long auburn curls over her shoulders to purse her ruby lips together. "Like what you see?"
"You still look like a hooker." Disdain oozed from my pores.
She drew to her full height and took a menacing step towards me. That's when Roane passed around her to his desk and murmured underneath his breath, "She can make you human…"
It was all the warning she needed. She stopped, snarled again, and swept out of the room. The door slammed shut with enough force to shatter glass.
Then I looked up and met Roane's gaze. Any smart comment I might've made about Wren's departure died in my throat.
His eyes snapped at me. "You want to tell me what you were doing out there when we're still trying to keep your identity a secret?!"
"What are you talking about?"
"The Elders know that the Immortal is alive, but they don't know your name. Anyone who knows it's you is either loyal to me or dead."
"Except Lucan and Kates."
"Yeah," he sighed. "Except those two, but Lucan won't say anything. He'll want to keep that information to himself. And Kates is loyal to you, right? She is, right?"
"Yeah." I gulped. "She's loyal to me." And now she'd left for some reason that she wouldn't tell me. He didn't need to know that bit.
"You need to stay away from me."
"What?" I cried out. "You told me to come here tonight. You told me that you wanted to see me and now you're telling me to stay away?!"
Roane looked resigned. "I have to protect you and one way I can do that is if you have no connection to me. They might know the Immortal is here—"
"Vampires, Davy! All the vampires." He sat now as if surrendering. "The secret's out. Everyone knows the Immortal exists and she's here. I tried to tell the Elders that you left, but they must not have bought it. They know you're here. They might not know who you are, but they know the Immortal is here."
Oh. This was not good. "What does this mean for me?"
He shrugged. "I have no idea, but it's not good for you. My guess is that they'll try to kill you first. When they realize that won't work, they'll capture you and they'll figure something else out. They aren't friendly, Davy. They're scared of you and vampires don't handle fear very well. Everything else is supposed to be afraid of us, not the other way around."
"They can't kill me. Can they?"
"I don't know. Do you even know?"
"No." I looked away. Saren hadn't been helpful with any information. Riddles. Everything was riddles. "So I go and do the normal thing that you wanted me to do before?"
"I don't see any other way right now." Roane's hand rested on the desk and then he clenched it into a fist. "It'd be good if you go. I'm sorry."
With a knot in my throat, I nodded. "When will I see you again?"He looked up and sorrow flashed for a moment before it was replaced with regret. Guilt came next. I knew he wasn't going to answer me so I said, "I know you still love Talia. I saw that inside of you."
He tried to smile, but failed. "I hate that I can't keep a secret from you."
"Trust me. I wished I didn't know half the stuff I do." Then I turned and started to leave. As I reached the door, Roane stopped me.
I turned and my heart jumped.
He smiled, but it was haunted. "Gregory can drive you back. After that you need to stay away from me."
My heart fell back in place. "Okay."
The Viking vampire was silent as he took me to my dorm. Roane had sent me away. He didn't want to see me anymore. I knew the reason behind it, but it stung. A part of me, the little girl inside of me wanted to fall into his arms and live happily ever after. The rest of me knew better.
"We're here," Gregory said as he put the car into park.
As I was about to get out of the car, I reached over and grabbed his arm. Gregory didn't react. He made no movement, but I knew he was guarded against me. That's when I realized the sound of his little girl's laugh had been tickling my empathic abilities since I'd gotten in the car. I just hadn't noticed it till then.
The laugh came from his unconscious and my empathic sense had reached for it. I met his gaze. "I will turn your daughter back. She can be yours again."
Something shifted inside of him and he jerked his head in a nod. "Thank you."
I nodded back and climbed out.
"Davy," he called after me. I looked over my shoulder. "Please don't make a promise like that unless you are sure you can fulfill it."
I remembered the last time I'd been in a car with him and spoke with honesty. "I have no doubt that no matter what Roane promises, there's going to be another war. I'll be at the center of it and I've got a hunch I'll meet your daughter. I will try one hundred percent to turn her human."
He smiled, shaken.
Then reality clicked with me. "Don't tell Roane I said any of that."
He shook his head. "He'd advise me not to believe you. For some reason, I do."
I wasn't sure how old Gregory was, but he looked old for a vampire. And when he smiled, I wondered when he had last smiled. His face looked cracked until the smile disappeared. Then all the cracks fell back in place and it was smooth again.
"Okay." I waved goodbye before I headed back inside. When I got to my floor, I saw a girl standing outside my room with her nose pressed against the door.
And I thought I was coming back into the world of normal. "Hey, what are you doing?"
She turned with wide eyes. She was a petite girl with reddish hair that was separated into two braids. They hung over her shoulders and touched the suspenders of her blue jumpsuit.
"Who are you?"
"Um." She bit her lip and looked back at the door. Then she looked at me again. Panic filled her eyes and she bolted. A door slammed shut down the hallway almost as soon as I blinked.
"I don't see that every day either." I took a deep breath and opened my door. The vision of Emily tangled in a ball of blankets on the floor greeted me. She snored happily and some drool trailed to the floor. I checked the clock and realized that I'd need to put another dose of sleeping pills in her juice.
As I went to the bathroom to mix the concoction in the glass, I heard someone behind me.
"What's wrong with her?"
The weirdo stood in the bathroom doorway. She blocked me from the hallway."I can tell something's wrong with her. What is it?"
I stared at her and then started giggling. When I couldn't stop, I realized something was making me laugh and I looked at her with tears in my eyes. "It's you. You're doing this to me."
"Doing what?" She frowned.
"You're tickling me! What are you? You're a werewolf!" It was their constant sniffing. They sniffed out everything in the air, even if they didn't know they were doing it. It was as natural to them as breathing.
Her eyes bulged out. "I smell vampire on you, but you're not. What are you?"
I bent over, giggling.
"What can I do? This has never happened before.” She looked panicked as more giggles erupted from me.
"It's because—" I couldn’t even talk.
"Should I leave?"
Still giggling, I nodded with tears running down my face. The door slammed shut and almost immediately the laughing fit lessened so I was able to stand upright. I breathed out and wiped the tears from my eyes.
"Are you better now?" she called from the hallway.
"Yeah," I called back. "How far down the hallway are you?"
"A few doors away. I'm sorry?"
"That's okay. It's not really your fault."
"I feel ridiculous talking like this. What's your phone number?" Her voice trembled.
My phone? I felt in my pockets and tried to remember the last time I had used my cell phone. "My phone's in my room. Leave your number on my board. I'll call you when I can. I have to check on Emily first."
"Okay. I'll do that."
When my eyes stopped tearing up, I finished mixing the sleeping pills with some orange juice and headed back to my room. There was no werewolf lingering in the hallway and when I got inside, I woke Emily enough until she drank the juice. As soon as she was done, she groaned and rolled over. Snores came from her soon after.
I heard a knock on my door and a piece of paper slid underneath. 'My name is Pippa. The number is 555-918-0044. Call me!'
I didn't recognize the area code. I frowned at the paper.
"Are you going to call me?" she asked through the door.
"My roommate's fine. I don't have to explain anything to you."
"What? Something's wrong with her. I need to know."
"No, you don't. I'm not hurting her. I'm helping her. She'll be as good as new in two days. You can ask her yourself then."
Good luck getting a real answer.
"What? Come on. Please! I need to know." Her voice hitched on a note, like she was about to cry.
An empath could only deal with so much. I sighed and crossed to the door. I pressed against it and whispered, "I am not trying to be mean. I just can't do this right now. Leave, please?"
She whimpered on the other side. "I have to know…"
"If you don't leave, I will have this building streaming with vampires. I know your kind doesn't like them." As far as threats went, I thought it was a solid one.
She was silent for awhile. "I have to know what's wrong with your roommate. If she doesn't get better in two days, I'll call my pack."
I had no doubt she would. "This isn't your business."
Again, she was quiet for a little bit. "My inner wolf is telling me otherwise."
Oh—ugh! I was tired of everything supernatural. "Whatever. Just go away."
I felt her leave. I didn't feel the slight tickling anymore. But I knew she'd be back. Anything supernatural always came back. They were always ominous. Then I watched Emily snore into the floor.
Nope. Nothing supernatural with her.
She wouldn't wake again for a long time, so I fell into my bed. At last.
Halfway through my first dream, a bloodcurdling scream woke me up. I bolted upright in bed and saw Emily in the middle of the room. She was pulling at her hair. Her hands had formed fists and were entangled in her hair. "AHHHHH!"
As screams went, hers could've been in a horror film.
"Hey, hey!" I tried to soothe her. "It's okay."
"It's not okay! What's wrong with me?" Tears cascaded down her face and she looked at me. The pain was so powerful, it staggered me back. "What's wrong with me, Davy? I am going crazy, aren't I?"
"No, no you aren't." I hugged her close and made soothing sounds. I rocked her back and forth.
"Do something. Make this stop. I can't handle it anymore," she sobbed into my chest.
I closed my eyes and held her tighter. Then I took a deep breath because I already knew what I was going to do. God help me, I went inside of her. I didn't control it like I had before. I didn't have the time. I went all in and choked on the emotions. It felt as if a bucket of vipers had been let loose. They were everywhere. Slithering. Biting. Angry.
Once I managed to stand my ground in the midst of the madness, I reached out and grabbed one of the emotions. It was hopeless. I gathered it to me and reached for another. I kept going until I had enough clasped to me that she could calm down. I wasn't sure how long this had taken, but then I enveloped the emotions into me. They passed the barrier of our bodies and I'd taken them into me.
As they bounced around inside of me, I opened my eyes and saw that Emily had calmed. I managed out, strained, "Go to the bathroom and come back to bed."
Emily nodded, still trembling. I'd taken what I could, but there was still Bennett's madness inside of her. When the door opened, I wasn't shocked to see Pippa there with concerned eyes. She looked from Emily to me and her eyes widened. She knew what I'd done and then she nodded.
They had never met, but Pippa extended an arm to Emily and she went to her. The two walked together.
I knew it wouldn't be long until they came back and I tried to hurry and get another potion of sleeping pills ready for Emily. My hands were shaking, butI only spilled a little bit before the door opened. Emily came in. She was calmer than when she had left.
I looked at Pippa and saw she must've done the same thing I did. I had no idea wolves could do that, but it didn't matter at that moment. I held out the glass to Emily. "Drink!"
She did and it wasn't long before her eyelids started to droop. When she curled into her bed, I looked at Pippa who had remained in the hallway. She watched me in sympathy.
"What are you?" she asked.
I jerked a shoulder up. It looked more like a twitch. "Does it matter? How'd you help her?"
"I did what you did. Wolves can go inside of other wolves. We can take their pain too."
I frowned as I still twitched. "Emily's not a wolf."
"Her soul is entwined with one."
"What does that mean?"
She gave me a sad smile. "You'll see."
Then she left and I closed the door. As I slumped on my bed, I shook my head. That was weird, even for me.
The next few days were the same. I went to class, the hotline, and checked on Emily as I could. At first I'd been reluctant, but Pippa won me over. Her wolf's sniffing didn't tickle me as much and she wanted to help with Emily. She made a good argument. There was something unnatural about Emily's willingness to go to Pippa that night. I wasn't sure what to believe about the wolf thing, but I couldn't sense any bad intentions from Pippa. So Emily found herself with one more friend when she finally sat up three days later, weaned from Bennett's lovespell.
"Who is she?" Emily asked an hour later after Pippa had come with coffee and left again. "She lives on our floor? I've never noticed her before and I notice everything."
Well, not everything.
I shrugged and reached for a coffee. "I don't know. She likes you."
Emily went still at my words. "What do you mean?"
I frowned at her. "I don't mean that!"
"Oh." She relaxed in her seat.
"I just meant, I don't know. She likes you. I think she needs friends and can tell you're one of the good ones." I hurried towards the door since I was late for the stupid empath meeting that Blue kept making me promise to go to.
"Davy." Emily halted me when my hand reached for the handle. I glanced back and she smiled. "You're one of those too."
Awkward. "Sure. Have fun with your new girlfriend!"
"She's not my girlfriend," Emily shouted after me as I rushed down the hallway.
I couldn't stop my grin, but it vanished as Pippa came out of the bathroom. Judging by the look on her face, she'd heard Emily's comment. "Girlfriend?"
I slammed on my brakes, right in front of her, and spoke in my mind, 'If you hurt her, I will hurt you and trust me, I can. If you tell her anything about this, I will come after you and your whole pack. I don't need a slew of vampires. I can do a whole lotta damage by myself.'
Pippa's eyes widened when she heard my voice. 'You don't know what you just did. The Mother Wolf knows about you now.' Then she spoke, "How can you do that? What are you?"
A part of me regretted my impulse, but I covered it up and gave her a smug smile. "I think you should be asking 'who am I?' Don't say anything to Emily."
Pippa turned and watched when I started to inch towards the hallway's door. "It's not for me to say anything. She's linked to another wolf. It's his place to say it."
I paused in the doorway. "Good then…" Was it? As I turned and left, I knew I needed to learn as much as I could about werewolves. I knew they repressed their emotions, but they were different from vampires, a lot different.
I'd gotten as far as my car before my skin started to tingle. Talk about annoying and then everything rushed at me. I'd been about to open my car door when the Immortal took over. Everything flew around me and I was lifted into the air. My eyes narrowed as I looked out and saw another approaching vampire group. There was no captured Wren with them and these vampires didn't seem bent on war. I hoped not. Then I closed my eyes and found myself in Roane's office. Everything still circled around me, but I saw him and Wren at his desk. Their voices were muffled when I heard her say, "—for her. Why can't we let that happen?"
Roane straightened. "If you're loyal to me, you're loyal to my decisions. Are you not, Wren?"
She stepped away from the desk and sighed with her head bent. "You know I am. You know what I gave up."
Roane narrowed his eyes. "Then trust me."
Gregory swept through the door in that moment. "They're here."
Wren's eyes widened and Roane shut down. He clipped out, "Let's get ready."
Gregory and Wren left the room, but Roane stayed behind for a moment and scanned the room. His eyes were narrowed and lingered where I stood, but then he left with a guarded look over his face.
When his door shut, I was back at my car. I gasped and bent over to rest my forehead on my car. What had just happened?
Saren materialized on the other side of my car. Her eyes were still the same smoldering flames, but she was dressed as a normal college student in a white sweatshirt and jeans. The black hair was swept up in a simple braid.
"You look normal except for those things." I pointed at her eyes.
They burst into flame, but quickly sizzled as if someone had thrown a blanket over the fire. "I'm not here to play with your mind. I'm here to help you."
"What's the catch?" I eyed her in suspicion.
She held up her hands in surrender. "I'm here to help. What did you just see?"
"Really?" There was no catch?
"I'm to help you."
"What'd you mean when you said that I'm transitioning?"
"Your powers. When you accepted the Immortal before, it was only the start. Everything molded to your body, but you don't know your full power. You don't know an eighth of your powers and you have to learn them one at a time. You can't learn it all at once. It's too much. Your mind would be overwhelmed. I'm here to help and explain things to you."
"So what was that just now? Any time that I've been around Roane, even when I slowed time, he always knew I was there." And why did she seem so much nicer than the last time?
Saren smiled. The flames lit again, but they were small embers. "I'm not nicer. I'm here to do my job and that's to tell you what's going on. When I need to make you angry, I won't hold back. You need gentle guidance and answers right now."
I still didn't like her. "About what just happened?"
"The Immortal sensed something that you needed to know. It/you sent yourself there."
"Why didn't he know I was there?"
"He's powerful, too powerful, but if you don't want him to know you're there, he won't. That was you, not the Immortal. You didn't want him to know you were there. What did you see?"
"A group of vampires are coming to town. Roane is going to meet them."
She nodded. "What does that mean to you?"
"They're coming for me. I'm guessing that they'll try to kill me."
"Try." I nodded.
Saren nodded too. "Who were the vampires?"
"I don't know—" I started to say, but Saren shook her head. She stepped close. "You know who they are. Who are they?"
I didn't even consider it. I just answered. "They were Roane vampires. They were sent by his Elders."
I had no idea how I knew it, but I did. "They're here to usurp Roane from his position as their hunter."
"Are they going to succeed?"
"No." I spoke so quickly, my eyes widened in surprise. I hadn't known that I knew any of that.
"Why not?" Saren knew. She measured every thought I had. "Why not, Davy?"
"Because he's powerful," I blurted out. The knowledge simmered beyond my reach. Now I grabbed it. "He's powerful because his blood is in me. He's connected to me."
Saren smiled and stepped back. "You're doing well. You might not need my help."
I frowned. I wasn't sure how I felt about that.
"He's more powerful than all the hunters." She still watched me.
I nodded. I hadn't known that, but it made sense.
"You don't like that?"
"Like what? That he's connected to me?"
She took a stalking step towards me. "That really bothers you. You don't like that he's connected to you, do you? You really don't like it."
I looked away, but I couldn't ignore what she'd said. Did I like it? No. I'll be honest. Everything was too much. I wasn't ready for this, much less ready for my abilities to help someone else. Roane was something personal, too personal to me. I didn't enjoy that I helped him become more powerful. At least, I didn't enjoy that I hadn't made that decision. It was taken from me.
"He doesn't know how powerful he is." Saren glided close behind me. "He knew you were the Immortal, but he didn't know your power would go to him. That's not why he wanted you to take his blood."
"Then why?" I turned back around. "No riddles. I need to know."
"Because he was answering something inside of him. Something in him beckons to him just like I beckon to you. It doesn't make sense, but it will. Someday. And as for what you heard just now, you needed to know they were here. You're the Immortal. You'll start to know everything that happens, whether you want to know or not. Right now, I'd be less worried about the Roane Elders and more worried about that Mother Wolf. She's a bitch."
And I needed more on my plate. "I'm supposed to go to an empath meeting. My sponsor is making me go."
Saren laughed. "I'm your sponsor, Davy. Don't go. You'll overwhelm them. They'll feel inside of you and most won't make it to the hospital. Trust me. And dump Blue as your sponsor. She doesn't mean well in the end."
My eyes snapped to her. "What do you mean by that? She's like a mother to me."
Saren smirked and stepped back. I felt her absence before it happened so I reached out and grabbed her arm. "Don't go."
She glared at my hand. I felt like it had been scorched and I let go. I didn't have another second to react. Saren was gone. I almost expected a puff of smoke to linger where she'd been, but there was nothing. Just air. Now I was really frustrated.
"Davy?" Emily called out behind me. "I thought you were leaving for something? Where do you go all the time?"
My roommate was such the inquisitive one. I wasn't too worried. She'd forget about it in two seconds, but I was relieved to see that her normal coloring had come back to her cheeks. In the broad sunlight, she almost looked like nothing had happened. She had changed to a similar outfit that Saren had worn, but her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Pippa was dressed in something that made her look like a hippie, complete with the same two braids as before. The shirt was full of flowers and her pants were brown suede?
"Davy," Emily spoke again.
"Oh. Right. I'm not going anymore. Something…I changed my mind."
"Oh. Well, we're going to get some breakfast. Did you want to come with?"
Pippa shifted behind my roommate, but the movement was so small. I wouldn't have noticed it four weeks ago. When she refused to meet my gaze, I shook my head. "I'm going to head to the library instead. There's something I need to look up."
Emily frowned. "You're going to do homework?"
"Who else would I go with?"
"I'm the one who usually forces you to do homework. With me. And you're going alone?" My roommate looked too speculative for my taste. "Are you sick?"
"Ha ha. That's funny. See you." Then I hurried away. I didn't like that Emily was with Pippa, but I knew the wolf would keep her safe and I needed information on werewolves. I couldn't ask Roane. I didn't think to ask Saren. I was advised against seeing Blue. Kates was gone. So that left the library. Fun times.
I wasn't sure the library would have literature on werewolves. I expected cartoons, teen romance novels, maybe some articles, but I was surprised they had an entire selection of older books. When I looked for where they were, I wasn't surprised. They were on the sixth floor and the creepiest floor.
The book was gone when I got there. So I hoofed it back to the main floor and requested to check it out whenever it was due back. The guy looked like I had three heads when he informed me that the book was not allowed to be checked out. I gave him a blank look in return. Then he sniffled up his nose, lifted his arms like he was a tyrannosaurus rex, and proceeded to walk me back up six flights of stairs. As soon as we got there, he looked dumbfounded when he saw the book was gone. I enjoyed that.
"Well," he sputtered. "I have no idea. That book isn't allowed to be checked out. No one knows where it is. No one cares about where it us unless…" He gave me a meaningful look. "Why are you looking for it?"
I gave him a blank face. "I'd like to be a werewolf. You?"
He rolled his eyes and dismissed me with a hand. "I thought you were looking for a class. Perhaps one of your classmates has it, but I can see that I'm wrong. Hmmm?" Then he threw both hands in the air. "It'll show up."
"You're not very helpful."
He shrugged. "It's my last week. Do your worst."
As he left, I glowered at his back. When it didn't burst into flame, I gave up. I must not have really wanted to hurt him. Then I turned for the bathroom and as I walked past an aisle, I caught sight of someone bent over a table with a very large, very old, book in front of her. Maybe… I approached with caution at first, but the girl was oblivious to anything around her. Her nose was pressed into that book and I wondered how she could handle the dust from it.
I drew a breast to her table and checked the book. It was the one I wanted. "How long are you going to be reading that?"
She shrieked and fell from her chair.
She pulled herself back up and studied me. "Who are you?"
"Who are you?" I narrowed my eyes. The girl had long brown hair that fell to her waist. She had a heart shaped face and glasses that covered dark eyes. Though she was dressed in a baggy sweater and jeans, I knew she was stick thin. Her feet peeked out from underneath her jeans in red ballet shoes. "I like your shoes."
She blushed. "Thanks. My sister didn't want them so I got them. I was over the moon when my mom sent—wait—Why do you want to read this book?"
She blinked and pushed up her glasses. "I didn't expect that answer."
"Why are you reading it?"
"Not for the werewolves." She laughed and turned back to her page. "This book has one of the best chapters on witches from Caduna. Do you know where that's at?"
"It's a secret place the Quakers first settled, but there was an abolition of witches so they moved and decided no one should know of the place."
"How do you know of it?"
"My family. One of the witches was my great-great-great-great-well…one of the founding witches was in my family. The secret was passed down."
"So you know all about that place?" This was interesting and all, but not what I had come for.
She frowned and scratched behind her ear.
"What's wrong? The secret didn't go to you?"
Tears welled up in her eyes as she shook her head. "It's always passed to the oldest daughter and I'm not the oldest. Tabitha doesn't care about this stuff, but she got everything. The stone. The books. The pendant. I got nothing" She sighed heavily. "I'm the witch of the family. I can do magic. The most magic she can do is with guys. She can get any of them. Not me. What's your name again?"
I extended my hand. "My name's Davy. What's yours?"
She placed her hand in mine. "I'm Sarah, but you can call me Brown. I prefer that name. I feel like I'm part of the earth and that's the natural color of the earth. Brown."
"It's blue. The oceans cover most of the planet."
Something sparked in her and shot through me. "I know, but my connection is to the land, not the water. Maybe Tabitha has that connection."
I heard her voice, but it came from a distance. When that something sparked through her, I was bombarded with images. One was the ocean as if someone was riding over it to us. The other was of a girl in a field. She was watching me. Slim. Long brown hair. Blue eyes. Another image was at night. Brown was standing in front of me and she held her hand out to me. She was trying to warn me about something.
Brown stared at me. "Are you okay? Wait! Are you a witch too?"
"No." My voice came out hoarse. "How long have you been one?"
She sighed in disgust. "I've felt like I've been one all my life, but I didn't start doing spells until now. I was forbidden to talk about it or do anything with magic in high school. Tabitha's the chosen one in my family and that's only if she chooses to become a witch. All the family powers will go to her. Not me."
"Is your mom a witch?"
"No. She chose to pass on her powers. You can do that in my family. You can get all the powers from our ancestors."
"And if you don't? What then?"
She shrugged. "You just live a normal life."
"And if you choose the powers?"
Her voice trembled. "Then you have the responsibilities of all the other witches in my family."
"What are those?"
"I don't know. You don't know until the powers pass onto you."
"What if your sister decides she wants to be normal?" I flushed as I realized I was jealous. The girl had a choice.
"Then the powers will go to the next oldest daughter, hers or mine, or Kendra's. Not me."
Her eyes looked like she was seeing something far away, remembering something painful. She bit her lip for a moment and more tears welled up in her eyes. When she brushed one away, I realized that she'd forgotten about my existence.
I felt magic in her and she was just beginning, but the power in her was enormous. I felt it. It reached me. It was why she told me any of this. And I knew her magic would grow the more she trained and reached for it.
A wave of sadness swept over me and I knew it was hers. My empathic abilities had gone inside of her. I wanted to heal her. When she didn't react, I knew she couldn't sense my powers. I decided to push a little further inside of her.
When I found the thread of her magic, I followed it deeper inside. It stopped and I felt it was boxed in. That's when I realized that though she was blocked from her own magic, it still seeped out slowly. She was pulling it out the more she learned and she was determined to get it all.
"You really want your powers, don't you?"
Brown jerked her eyes to mine. "What? Oh, yeah. Is it that obvious?"
"I can feel it from you." I frowned. "What happens if your sister gets the powers and you do too? Can there be two?"
"There never has been before so I'm not sure. Why?" Then her eyes popped open again. "I can't believe I've told you all this. I'm usually—I never talk to people. What is it about you? Do you have a special power over me? That's the only thing that would make sense. I feel like a fool." As she spoke, she shot to her feet and started stuffing papers in her bag. When she shoved the book in too, I opened my mouth to remind her it wasn't supposed to be taken home, but she rushed away before I could say anything. It wasn't long before I heard the door alarms sound.
Then I sat back down and wondered about this girl. I knew I should've been curious about her powers as a witch, but anything magical or supernatural didn't surprise me anymore.
"Your thoughts are transmitting so loud, I could've heard them on a radio."
Roane glided out from one of the book shelves and sat where Brown had left.
"I thought we weren't supposed to see each other?" I frowned when my voice came out raspy, but I couldn't help it. There was something about Brown that made me sad. I didn't think it came from her anymore because I still felt it and then Roane showed up.
It was me. I was sad.
'Were you in my office before? I felt you, but I couldn't place you.'
'I know about the Roane Elders, about the other vampires.'
'What do you know?'
'They want to take away your huntership and they want to kill me.'
'That they can't. You're too powerful because your blood is in me.'
He looked away and swallowed. Roane kept his emotions in check, but I felt his fear for a second before it was taken away the next moment. He didn't want me to feel what he felt. I chose not to comment how that hurt, but was it my place to know those things? He loved her, not me.
He thought, 'The Elders sent a sorcerer. He felt your presence, but he can't narrow it down to where you are in town. I shouldn't be here. They might be tracking me—'
'They're not. You know they aren't. You're better than them.'
Roane frowned for a moment. "I wanted to ask if I had been imaging things or not. I know I hadn't so I should be going."
I wasn't going to say good-bye. I didn't want to do that anymore, but I watched him. He didn't move. Then he looked around, and still didn't move. "Was that a witch you were talking to?"
I nodded. "She's powerful, but something's blocking her. She has a weird family thing. She was telling me about it."
"She's a Bright. I've heard of their line, but I've never met one before."
"You know of them?"
He nodded. "Lucan was lovers with one of them, when we first became vampires. She stirred a lot of his thirst for the unknown. The Bright women are powerful witches, but most of them don't use their power. No one knows why."
"It only goes to the eldest daughter."
He shrugged. "Regardless, they all have the ability, but they don't want their power or they don't use it. The Vampire nation would be more curious about them if they did. I'm glad they don't. We have enough problems with witches and sorcerers. Your friend doesn't have power? I thought I felt some from her."
"She has power, but it's blocked to her. She can't access it. A curse was put on their bloodline. I could remove what's blocking her, but I don't know if I should. I'm afraid what might happen."
"Don't. It'll draw more attention to you. You need to stay hidden. Do normal things." Roane stood up again and looked around. A flash of emotions crossed his face. "Are you doing okay? It's been a few days. How's Emily?"
"She's normal again. Bennett's lovespell was nasty. I went in her a few times and removed some of that madness. Horrible. I hate vampires." I cringed and then realized I had said. "I'm sorry! That's not what I meant."
Roane smiled gently. "It's fine. I'm not too fond of my race right now either."
Oh right. "Is it bad for you? What are they going to do to you?"
"They tried to kill me. It didn't work. They left and they'll send hunters this time."
"You'll be going against what you are?" But he was better. He was more powerful because of me. He'd be fine. Right?
His eyes sought mine and held them. "I'll be fine. Gregory, Wren, and others are loyal to me. They'll help me, but yes, I am more powerful than them."
I was relieved to hear that. I knew it, but it seemed more real when he said it.
"Davy, why didn't you let me see you today? I felt you. I wanted to see you," Roane spoke in a soft voice.
"It wasn't really me. It was what I am. It didn't want you to know I was there. I was confused too." That was when I realized that I'd never told him about Saren. Then I realized that I didn't have any intention of telling him. I trusted Roane, but something held me back from telling him. I wasn't sure why and that bothered me. I didn't want to always feel alone.
"You're transitioning into your powers. You don't know them, not fully."
Saren had said the same thing.
Roane looked towards where he had come from. He still didn't move so I asked, "Is there something else? Is something bothering you?" Was it her? Was he thinking of Talia?
His eyes whirled back to mine. I saw her in them. He had been thinking of her and that hurt more than I ever wanted to admit. "Do you miss her?"
Everything in him shut down. Roane was stiff now and he spoke, "I'll check with you every now and then. I don't want you to worry about me. I'll be fine and if something happens, Gregory and Wren will come for you. You'll be protected by one of us if you should need it."
He left abruptly and I couldn't help but think more should've been spoken between us, but she changed everything. The memory of Talia would always come between us and I had to accept it. He loved her, not me. A part of me wanted that to change. That same part of me clung to the idea that it would, that he'd turn his love to me, but I wasn't so sure now.
I tried to be normal after that day. Blue called me a few times, but I never answered. I knew she called because I skipped that meeting and the next two, but I couldn't tell her why. Saren told me not to speak to Blue anymore and for some reason, that didn't bother me. It should've, but it didn't. Maybe I had sensed what she was trying to warn me about my sponsor?
"Hiya, roommate!" Pippa called out when she came through the door. My actual roommate followed behind carrying a shopping bag.
"Hey guys." I tried to sound cheerful, as much as Pippa, but I didn't have the heart. And I didn't think her greeting was that funny. She had become like a roommate since she and Emily had become best bosom buddies. "You guys look happy. Why?"
Emily frowned. "What's wrong with you?"
What was wrong with me? What was wrong with her? More and more my roommate had started to transform into someone who was direct and dare I say it? She met problems head-on? Was this possible?
I narrowed my eyes. "You're changing. Why?"
Pippa's eyes widened and she grew silent. I felt her melt into the background.
Emily dropped her bags. "Excuse me if I'm changing. I don't feel right, if you really want to know. And who are you to talk? You've changed too, Davy. It's like you're moping. You ignore calls from that purple lady and you don't go anywhere except for class." Then her eyes got wide. "Is this about Kates? Did you guys have a fight and I didn't know? Am I being a bad friend?"
Pippa glanced at Emily. Her nostrils flared and I felt the wolf sniffing the air. It felt like she was trying to sniff her way into me. When I felt the tickling, the giggle rose up and I stood from the desk. "This has nothing to do with Kates. This is about you. You were going crazy and now you seem off. I don't know why, but it's different."
"Bad different?" I heard the caution in Emily's voice.
"No." The tickling hadn't stopped. "It's a good different. I don't feel like I've been a part of it and that makes me a little sad, I guess." Then I laughed.
I laughed harder and glared at Pippa.
"What?" My roommate looked between us two. "Davy, do you think this is funny?"
"Not at all." I couldn't stop giggling.
"You're laughing. That's not polite."
She sounded so offended, which only made me giggle harder. Pippa was sniffing like crazy. It felt like her nose was pressed into my butt.
"I'm sorry." I bit down on my lip, trying to silence the laughter. Then I snapped at Pippa, "Stop it!"
She squeaked and rushed out of the room.
"What?" Emily's mouth hung open. "What is wrong with you? She wasn't doing anything."
She was, but I couldn't tell that to Emily so I shrugged. "I'm jealous of her. She's your new best friend. You two are always together and it's like you're attached at the hip. I'm sorry. I'm human. I felt left out."
I was going to hell. A very bad, dungeons-with-fire type of hell.
Emily melted. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Davy. I didn't think you cared. You seem so aloof sometimes, like there are things bothering you, but you never tell me. I had no idea it was me." She put her hand on her chest. "I'm touched, I really am."
I saw that she was genuine and my self-loathing kicked up a notch. Emily was a good person. She was human. She was a bystander and she'd already taken a few hits from the life I lived. Vampires. Being kidnapped. Now a werewolf was her best friend.
"Oh. Don't feel bad. Really."
"But I do." Then she threw her arms around me and hugged me tight. "We will hang out. You. Me. Pippa. All three of us. I want the two of you to become friends. It'll be great."
This was the last thing I wanted, but she was right about one thing. I had been moping. I had no real life. I was pathetic so I plastered on a bright fake smile. "Okay! Let's do it. Us three. We should go drinking."
Emily's smile disappeared. "What? Drinking? Nooo."
"It won't be like the last time. I promise." There was no Kates this time. We'd be fine.
"I was hungover for three days and I don't even remember drinking." Emily shook her head. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"Oh come on. It'll be fun."
Emily still didn't look convinced.
"You need a pick-me-up, right?" I clasped her shoulders and smiled again. I even showed my teeth. I blinded her. "Let me give that to you. You need something to help jump-start your life."
"Not really," Emily murmured. "I thought that was you?"
"You. Me. What's the difference? Let's go out, have an adventure, and laugh about it over coffee tomorrow."
"I don't want to be hungover," she mumbled.
I shoved her towards the closet. "Pick out a hot outfit. I'll go tell the dog and then we'll head out. It'll be fun. Trust me."
But I was already out the door. By the time I knocked on Pippa's door, I had another fake smile on. "Hiya, neighbor!" I even waved cheerfully.
Pippa stepped back. "Hey."
"Emily and I are going out for a drink. Come with."
"I don't know." She glanced up and down the hallway. "I might stay in."
"You're coming with us. No debate. We'll have a grand time."
Pippa tried to grin, but it faltered. "Are you sure?" Then she drew me into the room and shut the door. "What about, you know, me being a werewolf and whatever you are. I still haven't figured it out. You're not a witch, are you?"
Images of Brown flashed through my brain. "No. I'm not a witch."
"Oh." She visibly relaxed.
"You don't like witches?"
"No. Not at all. They don't like us."
I couldn't imagine why. My smile went up a notch. "So are you coming?"
She bit her lip and twisted her hands together in front of her. "Can you tell me what you are? It's really been bothering me."
I fought against the urge to roll my eyes. "I'm empathic."
"What?" There was confusion first and then understanding dawned. "Oh, I get it. Vampires go crazy about empaths. No wonder you smell like them so much. Or, used to. You don't smell like vampires much lately. Are they leaving you alone?"
A part of me felt like she bought that half-truth too easily, but the other part condemned me to hell again. "Are you ever going to tell Emily about you?"
Then Pippa shrugged. "It's not my place to tell her what I am. Her mate will tell her. It's his place."
Mate. I didn't like the sound of that. "Who is this guy?"
Pippa smiled again and tugged at the ends of her two braids. "I have no idea, but she'll meet him. I feel it in my blood. So does she. She feels the promise of him through me. It calms her when she's near me."
I'd seen it in Emily. If Pippa went away, the old Emily would be back within a week. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. The new Emily seemed stronger, but if I had learned anything through my ordeal with the vampires it was that if something was being kept hidden, it wasn't a good thing.
I wasn't a good thing.
Ugh. The guilt flared inside of me again. Lies and secrecy. Both words weren't good and my life was all about them now.
"You know what? Nevermind. We can go for a milkshake instead."
Pippa frowned. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah. That'd be better." I was kicking myself as I went back to my room.
Emily had already changed for the night out. She was dressed in a shimmering white shirt over gray slacks. She looked good, very good. But she smiled and waved towards my desk chair. "You didn't tell me about Brown. She should come with us."
My eyes popped wide when I saw the witch at my desk with a book in her hands. She smiled politely and stood. "Hi, Davy. Remember me from the library? I've thought a lot about that day and decided that you'd been sent to me for some answers. I can give you those answers." Then she extended the book to me. "You can read as much about werewolves as you want. It's not my place to stand in your way."
Emily gushed, "She's a witch! Can you imagine that? We know our own witch."
Oh. Not good.
Then my roommate murmured, "I didn't know you liked werewolves?"
"What?!" Pippa squeaked from the open doorway.
"Pippa, this is Davy's friend, Brown. She's a witch."
Brown smiled and lifted the book again. "And I brought this for Davy. She wanted to learn about werewolves."
"She did?" Then Pippa seemed to regroup. "You're a witch?"
Brown lifted her shoulders and preened. "I'm a new witch. I don't have much power, but I can feel it. It runs in my family and I know, I just do, that someday I'm going to be a great witch. I know it."
While the wolf was at a loss for words, I stepped in. "That's wonderful, Brown. You'll be a great wol—witch. You'll be a great witch."
"I'm going to be sick," Pippa whimpered behind me.
Brown's chest puffed up and her cheeks got red. "Thanks, Davy. That means a lot and you barely know me too, not like that vampire that was watching us until I left. I saw him, you know. I felt him, I should say. He was a hottie. I didn't know you knew any vampires."
"Oh my—" Pippa crashed to the floor behind me.
"Vampire?" Emily questioned.
I checked behind me and Pippa gave me a weak wave. One of her shoulders was propped against the wall. "I'm okay."
"Did you say vampires?"
Brown turned to Emily and nodded. "You couldn't guess how many go to this college. They're everywhere. Well, they were everywhere, but I didn't notice them much for awhile. Now they seem to be everywhere again. I don't know what's going on. My family doesn't practice witchcraft enough to be considered a threat or an asset by the vampire world. I think that's a good thing. How about you? Do you know any vampires?"
Emily bristled. "There are no such things as vampires."
Brown laughed. "Next you're going to tell me that you don't really think I'm a witch, right?"
"No. I believe in Wiccans. I had a friend who became a Wiccan in high school, but there are no vampires, except in movies."