An Empty Grave, Chap. 26-31

Hello all!

It has surely been awhile since the last time I’ve published anything, and I am very sorry about. During this whole time with Corona Virus, it has been a complicated time for my family and my work, as I’m sure it has been with you as well. I hope you all are well and safe! I hope work is accommodating, because we all need it.

Anyways, I’ve published six chapters today all in this post and I hope you enjoy them. I’m also going to be publishing the first two chapters of my newest novel so please be on the lookout for that and let me know if you have any questions.

Stay well,

Catie

Chapter Twenty-Six

Bianca

Of course, Hayden and Alec hit if off. She’s hot. He’s hot. And they’re sitting right next to each other. Well, right now they’re dancing together. No, Hayden didn’t just ditch me. She asked if I was fine with it, and I said yes because I am. Is it awkward that I’m sitting at a table with just my ex-boyfriend not saying anything? Hell yeah, but Hayden should have fun. She’s not just here for me.

Duke and Remi are of course on the dance floor, which leaves Chase and I sitting alone. Neither of us seem to know what to say. It shocked me when he said that right now we’re better off apart, like maybe he’s changing, growing for the better. I know things aren’t going to just change overnight, but maybe in the near future things between us can be better.

It still makes it hard to sit here with him when all I want to do is talk to him, embrace him. Yet, I know that I should stay away from him. Oh god, it’s like a roller coaster in my head. I want to be around Chase, but I know that I shouldn’t. I want to talk to him but it would better if we kept our distance. Back and forth I go. It’s making my head hurt.

“Come on,” he says, breaking me from my thoughts. I turn to see him standing up and buttoning his suit jacket.

“Where?” I ask, confused.

“I can see your mind racing from here and it’s giving me a headache,” he chuckles. “Let’s go dance. I promise I won’t do anything I shouldn’t.”

I think about it for a second. Just a quick second, and then I’m throwing caution to the wind.

“Fine,” I breathe out, standing up.

We walk to the center of the room, neither of us touching the other until we’re near the other bodies dancing. Then we face each other. Chase holds out a hand, and slowly, I take it while stepping into him. He wraps his other hand around my waist, and I gently place my hands on his shoulders.

“I can’t believe we graduate on Monday,” I say, thinking about how time has just flown by. It’s weird to think about just six months ago, Chase and I didn’t know each other – not well at least. I just knew his name. And I didn’t even know that Duke, Sarah, or Damen even existed. It was a whole different life back then.

“I know,” Chase says, his voice low and almost… sad. “These past six months… they meant the world to me. I want you to know that.”

I frown, looking up at him. “Why… why does it sound like you’re saying goodbye?”

He smiles but it’s forced. “I’m not. I promise, I’m not going anywhere.”

I drop my arms, and take a step back feeling like a bucket of ice water has been poured over my head.

“Why do I feel like you’re lying to me? Again?” I ask, anger now in my voice. I knew I should have stayed away from him. I knew it.

Chase starts to speak, but a loud banging interrupts him. Then a loud clash and a scream sounds through the air.

Everyone in the gym freezes and the music stops as we all look for where the sound came from. It’s focused in the front corner of the gym, to the left of the stage. There’s a short hallway there that leads to the fire escape. The banging continues, this time sounding closer, and everyone on the dance floor slowly backs up.

Chase reaches out, grabbing my arm, and pulls me back with him and the rest of the crowd. I search for Remi and Duke, and I find them a few feet from us with Alec and Hayden.

‘What is it?’ Hayden mouths to me, but I shake my head. I have no idea.

“Alright, everyone, there is no need to panic,” our short and balding principle says as he steps on the stage. Mr. Peterson looks out among the students. “Security will be here in just a moment, and they will handle this situation.”

“That won’t be necessary,” a deep, Irish brogue announces. It draws our attention back to the hallway where now five men stand. The one in the front smiles as he looks among the crowd. He’s a handsome man, with sharp cheekbones and short brown hair. He looks kind unlike the four men flanking him that have their fangs out, looking deadly.

“Wait, that’s…” I hear Hayden start, but I don’t hear what else she says as the murmurs begin among the crowd. Our classmates are scared and don’t know what is going on.

“We won’t be long,” the Irishman says. “And they won’t be able to get in anyways.”

The man nods his head and the four men behind him suddenly break out in a run. They go straight to the doors on the other side of the gym and baracade them shut with chairs.

“What is going on?” The principle calls. “What do you think you are doing?”

The Irishman turns to him with a deadly smile. “Speak one more time, and I will rip your throat out,” he says, grinning and showing fangs.

The principle gulps, and backs away until he’s hiding backstage. Coward.

The Irishman steps forward nearing the crowd, and every person near him takes a very large, very cautious step back. This seems to amuse him, because he let’s out a roar of laughter.

“What do we do?” Duke whispers-yells.

Chase whips his head around.

“Get the girls out of here. I’ll take care of this,” he says, before he drops my arm and pushes past people to make his way to the front of the crowd.

Duke wraps his hand around Remi’s forearm and begins pulling her back with him.

“I’ll distract the vamps at the back door,” I tell Hayden. “You and Alec try to get as many people out as you can using the exit to the right of the stage.”

They’ll have to cut through the changing rooms, and go into the school. If there are vamps stationed around the perimeter of the building, there will at least be more places to hide within the school.

“But, shouldn’t – ” Hayden starts, but I shake my head, cutting her off.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

Leaning down, I grab the knife and stake that I strapped to my legs before leaving the house. I start to make my way to the vampires at the back of the room, when the Irishman speaks again.

“I’m looking for two wonderful teens. Chase Halloway and Bianca Monroe,” he says, raising his voice to make sure that everyone hears him.

I still, and Hayden’s eyes meet mine.

‘Go,’ I mouth. I have a feeling this is about to turn ugly.

Alec and Hayden, accompanied by Duke and Remi, duck down and start weaving through the back of the crowd. I peer out of the corner of my eye to see them make it to the exit. Hayden starts tapping on peoples shoulders and whispering.

“Ah, Chase!” The Irishman exclaims like he’s an old friend that hasn’t seen Chase in years. “Good to see you! Now, where’s that little girlfriend of yours?”

“She didn’t come,” I hear Chase reply, sounding disinterested.

“Sure about that?”

Silence descends, and I turn back around, to see the crowd parting until the Irishman and I are looking eye to eye.

“Wow, you’re really loved by this crowd, I see,” the Irishman says with a chuckle.

“I make friends everywhere I go,” I say with a forced smile.

“I bet.” He motions me forward. “Come forward, Ms. Monroe. Let’s see if you can make a new friend tonight.”

“I’m all set on friends, thanks.”

The man cocks his head to the side, peering at me. When he smiles this time, it’s all fang. “I was being polite. Now, come forward or I find a snack. I’m actually feeling quite… famished.”

Without seeing another option, I take tentative steps until I’m standing next to Chase in front of the very tall Irishman.

“Hm,” he ponders, once I’ve done as he’s asked. “I thought you’d be shorter.”

“We’re here,” I say, ignoring his statement. “Let everyone else go.”

He watches me for a moment. Without taking his eyes off mine, he states, “You have ten seconds to leave. Ten…”

Everyone starts running, pushing and shoving past each other, trying to fit through the doors. It takes everyone a moment to clear through, but then everyone is gone, screaming through the hallways as they try to make their escape. Even the principal appears for a moment and looks at Chase and I like he wants to do something, but then he turns and takes off running.

When there is no one left, I look towards where everyone ran off and see Hayden and Alec peering through the doorway.

Subtly, I shake my head before turning back to the man in front of me.

“What do you want?” I ask, clearly irritated.

The mans grin grows even wider, this time with teeth showing.

“I want to see you bleed,” he says.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chase

The man steps towards Bianca again. I start towards him, not wanting him to touch her. But suddenly there are two vamps on either side of me, gripping my arms, holding me immobile.

I struggle to break free from them, and I almost do but then I sense another vampire behind me right before an arm wraps around my throat, keeping me even more immobile.

“You see, Chase here, made a deal with the Aldinn. The boss man just wants to make sure that Chase has held up his end of the bargain,” the man explains to Bianca.

“Meaning?” She asks, not even glancing at me.

“Meaning, I need to see if you are still a normal girl.”

“Or if I got my powers back,” Bianca finishes for him.

“Right you are, blondie.”

“Meaning you need to see me bleed,” she finishes.

The man nods and pulls out a knife. “Hold our you arm, please.”

Bianca does as he says, extending her forearm. He takes the knife and slices it down the smooth skin of her arm, a trail of blood following. Bianca doesn’t even flinch.

We all stand there for a moment, no one moving, all eyes on the wound. Blood drips from her arm, down to the ground but it doesn’t show any signs that it’s healing.

“All of this was so you could prove I didn’t have my powers?” Bianca asks, clearly annoyed. “The cops are going to be all over this place in a few moments, and what are we supposed to tell them, exactly? Typically vampires, not thinking about the human side of things.”

“Why would we think about the human side of things? That’s for humans to do. You’re worried about the police? You handle them,” the Irishman tells her, not taking his eyes off the wound.

“How about you tell the Aldin that I’m sick and tired of this bs. I’m not apart of this world anymore so leave me out of it!”

With just a blink of an eye, the Irishman is standing in front of Bianca, his hand wrapped tightly around her chin, holding her on her tiptoes. I struggle against the men holding me but they just hold tighter.

“Let her go,” I growl, but both of them ignore me.

“You’ll always be apart of it,” the man says. “With or without your powers, you are the Huntress. Every vampire knows who you are. So I might just think about being a little nicer if I were you because it’s not hard to find you.”

After a few agonizing minutes, the man let’s go of Bianca and glances at the wound on her arm once more.

“I do believe she is a normal girl. Since his end of the bargain is still upheld, none of you or your friends has to die.” The man looks to me. “As for you. Might want to say your goodbyes. Graduation is coming fast.”

The man spins on his heel, whistling as he walks away. He raises a hand in the air, and the men holding me let go, and saunter after him. Soon it’s just Bianca and me.

She doesn’t look at me, her eyes still on the vampires.

“Bianca,” I try.

Whipping around, she pins me with a watery glare.

“‘Might want to say your goodbyes?'” She nearly shouts.

I try to step close to her but she places her hands on my chest, shoving me away.

“You tell me, Chase. You tell me what’s going to happen on graduation or I’ll never forgive you. It won’t matter how much I think I love you, I will be done with you.”

Glancing away, I try to think about the options that I have. I either tell her and lose her, or I don’t tell her and lose her. Neither one is appealing. I take a deep breath.

“He only wanted one thing,” I say, looking back at her. “I tried. I tried to make him change his mind. To offer something else, but this was it.”

She doesn’t look away. She keeps her eyes on mine, willing me to tell her.

I close my eyes, and take a deep breath.

“On the night of graduation, he’s going to turn into a vampire.”

For a moment, there are no sounds. I’m not even sure that she heard me.

Slowly, I open my eyes. She stares at me in shock, the tears forming once again.

“I – ” She starts, but then shakes her head.

“Bianca,” I try, stepping towards her, but she shakes her head again, taking two quick steps back.

“No,” she says.

Once more, I reach out for her, but she spins on her heels, and runs – full force – to the doors. She hits them with a loud bang, the door shooting open as she breaks free.

I run after her not knowing what she’s going to find out there, but when I get there, I only see our friends. Hayden’s holding her as Bianca sobs into her shoulder. Hayden’s eyes are wide as she looks at me, her arms wrapped comfortingly around the girl that I love. Remi has tears in her eyes as she looks from Bianca to me and back again. Duke stares at his cousin wordlessly, a somber expression on his face.

It’s then that I know – he heard every word and no doubt told the others. Alec watches me with dark eyes, but I let my gaze fall back on Bianca. She won’t look at me, her head buried into Hayden’s shoulder as sobs wrack her body.

For a while, no one says anything.

Really, there are no words to say.

We’re just a group of people – a group of friends filled with grief.

Authors Note: QUICK NOTE: For those who have kept up with this story from the beginning, if anyone remembers a man being mentioned in the earlier chapters when Hayden first came to town – his name was Aiden and he was the man who told Hayden to come to Deklan. I’ve changed his name because I’ve realized Hayden and Aiden are just too similar. Therefore, Aiden’s name is now Killian Cormac. In the chapter below he is mentioned and I just wanted to clear up any confusion you might have. Let me know if you have an questions!

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Bianca

The car ride is quiet. I lay against Hayden, tears burning my eyes. Hot rivulets run down my cheeks, and splatter onto her shoulder.

I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know what to do.

He’s going to become the one thing I’m supposed to hunt. The one thing I’ve spent years killing.

“We’re here,” Duke says, quietly.

I sit up, wiping my eyes and climb out of the car.

No one says a word as they follow me into the building and into the elevator. The quiet ride is almost comical as I count the seconds until we make it to the top.

When the doors slide open, I step out first and find Deklan and Marian standing along the windows. Candles are already spread out along the ground, the lights turned off, and a chill run through me.

Deklan and Marian both turn to look at us. I see Deklan’s eyes instantly become alert as he takes me in. I can only imagine what I look like right now.

“What is it?” He asks, pushing off the window and coming closer. “What happened?”

“We were ambushed at the dance,” Duke explains softly from behind me.

“Is anyone hurt?”

I shake my head. “They wanted to know if I was still a normal girl. That I didn’t have my powers back. He said that if I had my powers back he would kill all of us.”

“Who?”

I start to say that I don’t know but Hayden speaks before I can.

“It was Killian. He was leading a group of men.”

Turning, I look back at Hayden. “The one who sent you to Deklan?”

She nods.

“That’s mean that he’s back in town,” Deklan says. “The Aldinn. He’s back and it’s getting close to whatever it is he’s planning.”

“Graduation.” I fill in. “Whatever it is, it’s going to happen on graduation.”

Deklan eyes turn on me, and I can read the question in them.

“He’s going to be turned into the vampire,” I say my voice scratchy and rough, and I feel the tears form in my eyes again.

There’s a moment of silence, no one knowing what to say, and I shake myself.

“Let’s get this started, huh?” I say, taking a deep breath and clapping my hands together. “How do we do this?”

Hayden takes a step towards me. “B, if you do this…”

I shake my head, already dismissing her words but she continues.

“If you do this, you’re going to want to hunt him,” she continues, urgently. “You won’t be able to be around him. He’s going to be what you are made to kill.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” I ask, my voice barely a whisper as I pin her with a look.

“Wait,” Duke says, stepping in between us. “What are you talking about? What are you going to do?” He asks, looking at me for answers.

I don’t say anything. I clench my jaw and look away.

“She’s going to get your powers back,” Hayden answers for me.

“You can’t do that,” Duke nearly growls, and I bring my gaze back to him. “Look at what happened tonight! They came here for proof. What happens if they do it again? What happens when he finds out that you’ve got your powers back?”

“It’s simple, I’m going to kill him,” I say.

Duke scoffs. “How did that work last time?”

I narrow my eyes. “What do you expect me to do? Sit around while the Aldinn destroys everyone around me? Who is going to be next? You? Sarah? I can’t sit around and wait for that to happen. With my powers back, I will find a way to kill him.” I look around the room, finding Marian still by the window, looking slightly frightened. “It’s magic, right? It’s all magic? My powers? Lycanthropy? Vamprism?”

She nods, her eyes a little wide.

“And if my powers were able to be taken away and brought back by a spell, then that means the spell surrounding the vampires can be broken, too. That means that the Aldinn can be killed. Isn’t that true?”

Again, the witch nods.

“Then, I am going to kill him. Either I do, or I die trying but there is no in between,” I say, looking back at Duke. “You’re either with me or you’re against me. And I don’t really care which because I’m doing this. I’m not hiding from him and pretending monsters aren’t real.”

Duke shakes his head and closes his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath.

“I’m with you,” he says, when he reopens his eyes a moment later. “I’m with you, I’m always with you, but I’m also scared for you.”

I nod. “Me too.”

“It’s not going to be easy,” Marian says, finally finding her voice. “Killing him. It’s an awful, complicated kind of spell, that could not only harm but kill in the process. You’ll need a handful of old artifacts and it won’t be easy to get your hands on them.”

Swinging my gaze to her, I nod. “Kind of figured that. You know, with the whole ‘generations of Huntress’ dying and me being the only one left’ thing. Now, can we start this thing? I’m kind of dying to go for a hunt.”

Marian nods, and gestures to a pile of white clothes near the circle of candles.

“You need to change into these clothes. Everything comes off,” she clarifies, handing me the pile. I turn and go to the bathroom.

Once the door is closed, I take a seat on the edge of the tub, and take a deep breath. In and out. Just got to focus on my breathing. In and out. In and out.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chase

Alec doesn’t say anything to me as he drives me to Haven. I don’t expect him to. What can he say? Sorry your about to die but not die? There’s no greeting card to help through this situation. Which is why I didn’t want anyone to know. Not until the last day when there was nothing left to do.

After Bianca had left the gym, Alec and I waited to talk to the police who showed up a few minutes later. We spun it the best that we could, that the guys just wanted money, that they were stoned and didn’t know what they were doing. It took over an hour before they decided that we could go. Of course the principle was found cowering in his office, and he didn’t believe our stories, which made the officers frown as they looked us over. We gave bad descriptions that hopefully sends them in the opposite direction, and then we got the hell out of there.

Now, we’re parking in front of the old abandoned hotel. I know what’s going to be waiting for me when we go in there. I don’t doubt that by now everyone in our little circle has been contacted. God, Jules – I wanted to be the one that told her. I shake my head, and take a deep breath. It’s not going to get any better just waiting, so I open the car door and climb out. We get up to the building, no sign that anyone is here except for Duke’s car parked down the street.

The ride up the elevator is long and dreadful, and when the doors ding open, at first I don’t see anyone, just the flickering of light. I step out and look around. Hayden and Remi are sitting on the counter top of the kitchen, their backs facing us. Duke paces back in forth in front of them. At the far end of the room, beyond Duke is a circle of candles. Standing outside of the candles is Bianca, Deklan, and Marian. Deklan and Marian are looking at Bianca as she says something while dancing on the balls of her feet like she’s full of energy. She’s no longer wearing her dress but now white joggers and a white tee.

They all begin to turn as they hear us walk off the elevator, but my eyes are focused only on Bianca. She’s standing taller, prouder, almost like she’s gotten a sense of confidence that she didn’t have before. Her skin is brighter, eyes shining as she looks at me. I look from her to the circle of candles, and back again. Questions line my brain, and then…

No.

No, please don’t tell me she did what I think she did.

Her eyes meet mine, and that’s where I find all of my answers. I jerk to a stop, and take a step back almost like she had hit me.

“What did you do?” I ask, breathing out my words, trying to be calm.

For a moment no one says anything and I let out a harsh laugh. “Please don’t tell me that you did what I think you did.” I close my eyes. “I wanted you to be normal, to have a normal life where you didn’t have to deal with vampires and people trying to kill you.”

“People are always trying to kill me, no matter what I do,” she says. “You heard Hayden when she came here, and what the Irishman said tonight. Everyone knows who we are, it doesn’t matter if I have powers or not.”

“He’s going to kill you when he finds out,” I say, opening my eyes and focusing on her. Her cheeks are pink, but I can’t tell if it’s excitement or anger. It could be both. Excited about her power. Angry at me. “And everything I did will be for nothing.”

“Then I guess we better hope he doesn’t find out,” She says, and I can tell she’s cautious, like she’s hiding something.

“What exactly did you do, Chase?” Deklan asks with narrowed eyes as he steps past Bianca.

I stand tall, not flinching as he get’s closer. He won’t intimidate me. I did what I had to do and I don’t regret it for a second. And I tell him that.

“I did what I had to do.”

“No, Chase, you had a choice,” Deklan snarls as he rushes me. He grabs the front of jacket, just like the guy did in the gym, and slams me into the wall behind me.

“You had a choice,” he says, sounding so grave, so solemn. He lifts me into the air with a hand at my throat, looking like it actually pains him to do this.

“Deklan,” Bianca warns, approaching him like he’s a wild animal, her hands out in front of her, talking in a soothing tone. “Let him go.”

Deklan shakes his head, his fingers tightening around my throat and I gasp for breath, my fingers trying to pry his arm off of me.

The elevator door dings at that moment, and people step out but I can’t see who it is.

“Deklan!” a voice cries. Jules.

Now Bianca is at his side, grabbing at his arm. “Deklan, let him go, you’ll – “

“What?” Deklan laughs. “Kill him? I can’t, remember?”

Dekan releases me and I drop to the ground, gasping for breath. Bianca kneels next to me, brushing her fingertips over my throat. I close my eyes, catching my breath, and willing her not let go.

“If I kill him, that’ll be a blessing compared to what’s coming,” Deklan says, shaking his head. “How could you do that? How could you do something so careless?”

I open my eyes at that. I brush Bianca’s hands away, and stand up.

“Careless? I was careless?” I shake my head. “You weren’t there, you don’t understand what happened. She died!” I shout, flinging a hand towards Bianca. “I watched her die, right before my eyes. You know they let me go to her? He released me from the chains, and let me hold her lifeless body in my arms. Because he didn’t care if I lived or died – he just wanted her. If I didn’t do what I had done, you would’ve been burying her when you found us instead of taking back here and waiting for her to wake up. So, you’re right, Deklan. I had a choice? Either live in a world without her or bring her back. And I didn’t like the idea of the former.”

Deklan shakes his head, and buries his face in his hands. “You don’t know what you’re in for.”

“I can handle it,” I say firmly.

“God, you actually believe that.” Deklan drops his hands from his face. “Have you even thought about why he wanted this from you? What he could possibly want you for? You’re a Protector, Chase. He’ll have you under his control. What if he sends you after Bianca? After your family?”

I shake my head. “I can control it.”

“No, you can’t! It took me years to be able to control my emotions, to break the bond I had with my sire. The sire bond is a serious connection to the newborn vampire and the vampire that changed him. You’ll feel indebted to him. He’ll own you.”

A collection of gasps surround at Deklan’s words. I glance in the corner to see Damen, Sarah, and Jules all standing with shocked faces. Once more Jules has tears in her eyes, and hands covering her mouth as she looks at me.

“It’s already done,” I tell him, them. “There’s no fighting this. He’s already here. I have until the night of graduation.”

“And you’ve known about this for months?” Jules asks, her voice an angry whisper like she’s trying not to cry. She drops her hands from her face. “Since the night that he kidnapped you? And you never said anything?”

“I didn’t want you to be sad. Any of you.” I chance a glance at Bianca, but she’s staring at the ground, her whole body tense. “I thought it would be easier if it just happened.”

Jules – even though she’s angry – she steps forward, wrapping her arms around me. I hug her back, and close my eyes for a moment.

“Chase…” Deklan says, taking a deep breath. “I think it’s time that you go. All of you, actually. Go home. There’s nothing we can do.”

Jules pulls away, and looks at me. I nod. We’ll go home so I can spend the night with her and my father. She turns, going to the elevator, but I glance once more at Bianca.

“Rose – ” I try, calling her by the nickname, my nickname that it feels like I haven’t used in ages.

At the sound of it, she snaps her head up, and shakes it sharply.

“No,” she breathes, her eyes hard.

“Bianca, a word,” Deklan calls.

Bianca turns on her heel, going to him but not saying a word. I know she’s waiting for me to leave.

Hesitantly, I turn and go to the elevator where the others are already piled on and waiting for me. I walk slowly, hoping that just maybe she’ll call me and tell me to stop, but she doesn’t. I get on the elevator and turn around, staring at her back. She doesn’t even look at me before the doors close. I let my head hang with eyes closed.

The ride down to the ground floor is uncomfortable to say the least.

When we get off, Jules goes in the direction of her car, as do Sarah and Damen. Duke, however, turns to me, and pulls me into a hug.

“We’ll be here,” he says. “Before and after, to help you through it.”

He let’s go and Alec steps up, doing the same.

“Thanks,” I say to both of them.

Remi stands behind him with a wide eyed look.

“Go home, and get some rest. I’ll call you guys later.”

They nod – Duke pulling Remi to her car, and Alec getting back on the elevator. I walk out behind the pair, and find Jules with the car running. I give the building one last glance.

“She’ll talk to you, Chase. She just needs time,” Jules tells me through the window.

I nod, and climb into the car.

I just hope it’s before there’s no time left.

Chapter Thirty

Bianca

“There’s only one reason why the Aldinn wants to turn Chase. It’s to use him,” Deklan says to Marian and I. “He’s going to have him stay here to watch us, to watch you, Bianca.”

“Then we leave.”

It’s Hayden that says this. We all turn to see her still sitting on the kitchen counter, not having left with the others.

“What?” Deklan asks, sounding annoyed.

“This artifacts, do you know where they are?” I ask, looking at Marian.

She shakes her head slowly, still looking frightened. Maybe arguing makes her skiddish. “No, there are rumors but no one truly knows where they are.”

“Then I should go look for them,” I say, looking at Deklan.

He opens his mouth and I know he’s already going to disagree so I cut him off.

“No, I can’t be here when Chase… I can’t do that. I can’t kill him, but I know I can’t be around him either. And I don’t want to sit around while the Aldin watches me. ‘Cause what happens next? He kills me? Has Chase kill me? No, I’m not going to let that happen. I’m not going to let the Aldinn win.”

“You can’t go alone,” Deklan says, shaking his head because he knows in the end he won’t be able to stop me.

“She won’t have to,” Hayden answers, hopping off the counter and coming towards us. “I did say ‘we leave’.”

I can’t help the grin that forms on my face when I look at her.

“I don’t trust you,” Deklan enunciates like he’s talking to a child.

“Yeah, I got that. But, B does. And you were already going to kick me out come graduation anyways, so why not? And if you really don’t like the idea of us going, then keep Lily here as leverage. Something happens to B on my watch then something happens to Lily,” Hayden says, crossing her arms and challenging Deklan.

“You’re making it sound so simple,” Marian interjects. “It’s not going to be easy. There are going to be people, and vampires, and who knows how many other creatures guarding these items for the Aldinn. And it’s not just items, you’re going to need a dark witch.”

“Why can’t you just do it?” I ask, frowning.

“Because I’m a light witch. I practice light magic. This spell that you’re talking about? It’s all dark. It comes from the darkest, most vile form of magic. I can help with the spell but you’re going to need a dark witch to perform it, and even then their chances of surviving it are slim. Good luck trying to find a witch willing to perform it.”

“I’m not going to sit around and wait for the Aldinn to decide to kill us. I’m going to try. I don’t need to be told how hard it is, I need to be told where to find these things. So tell me a witches name, point me in the right direction and I will be off.”

“I think I can help you with that,” An Irish voice interjects, and we all turn around.

The Irish man that was in the gym earlier stands before us, arms crossed over his chest, a grin on his face.

“Killian!” Deklan exclaims, brushing past me to pull the man into a hug.

“Good to see you, old friend,” Killian says, hugging Deklan back.

They embrace for a moment before pulling away.

“Nice to see you made it here, lass,” Killian says, looking at Hayden.

She gives him a two-fingered salute.

“You said you could help?” I ask, with a roll of my eyes, ready to get this ball rolling.

“I can,” Killian says, nodding. “I know of a witch who can do the spell and would be willing to.”

“Who?”

He cocks his head. “Now, I can’t give all the information away at once, can I? Looks like you’re just going to have to trust me.”

“I don’t,” I reply, raising an eyebrow.

“You can,” Deklan insists, and it makes me bristle. He can’t trust Hayden but I should trust Killian just because he says so.

“I’ll even go and help you find her,” Aiden suggests.

“Why would I want you to do that? Wouldn’t the Aldinn miss you?”

“Because you never know when a vampire can come in handy. And no, he wouldn’t considering he tried to kill me tonight.”

Deklan’s features turn concerned for his friend. Killian shakes it off.

“Don’t worry about it. We were supposed to go to the school and kill some of the students to show Chase that he doesn’t get to go back on his deal, but I wasn’t comfortable killing helpless teenagers so I didn’t. Of course Magnus was more than happy to tell the boss that I didn’t follow through.”

“Magnus?” Hayden questions, while I say, “Chase isn’t going back on his deal.”

Killian raises his eyebrows. “Really? Guess he didn’t tell you. He showed up at the club over the weekend asking the Aldinn to change their deal, to ask for something else. The Aldinn got pissed and had some of his guys take him to the alley and beat him. Got him pretty good from what the guys were saying afterwards.”

This makes me think for a moment. This was why he had bruises at the beginning of the week. This was the night that he called me and I didn’t answer because I was asleep. My stomach drops.

“Anyways,” Killian says, continuing. “I’m currently on the run. So, if you’ve got room in your car, I’ll take it.”

Hayden and I share a look.

“He saved my life,” she shrugs. “And Deklan trusts him.”

“Fine,” I say, turning back to the men. “We leave in the morning.”

Hayden opens her mouth but Deklan beats her to speaking.

“Whoa, Bianca, slow down. Take a moment to think this through. Sarah is going to want to see you at graduation. And you’re going to want to say goodbye to Chase. You might not want to right now, but you will. Give it a couple of days and make sure that this what you really want. If it is, you leave Tuesday morning, right after graduation.”

I look between all of them, even Marian.

“Fine,” I say again. “But I need all of you to keep this to yourselves. I’ll tell Sarah, and Duke, but no one can tell Chase. He can’t know I’m leaving until I’m gone.”

Chapter Thirty-One

Chase

She didn’t call. Two whole days and she didn’t call.

After I got home on Friday night, I spent most of my time consoling my sister and my angry father. Well, he was angry in the beginning, but after the initial shock wore off I think he understood. The love of his life had died and I know for a fact he would do anything to get her back.

The three of us sat together, trying to get Jules to stop crying and when she finally did it was only because she’d fallen asleep. I carried her to bed, helped dad to his room, and then went to my own.

I laid on my bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the phone to ring but it never did. Saturday and Sunday were spent the same, spending as much time with my family as possible. Alec and Duke came over on Saturday, bringing a ton of food with them, and we had a big family dinner. It was missing some people, but it was still great, especially because they all – even Jules – made it like a normal night. No impending doom, or deathly decisions to be thought about.

But now it’s Sunday night, and I’m staring at my phone, hoping that it rings. When the time on my phone says that it’s past ten, I put the item on my nightstand and roll over, burying my face in the pillow.

And then I hear it. The familiar sound of someone scaling the side of the house up to my window. I roll over, sitting up, and watch as the window slides open, and a figure crawls through. Bianca stands, dusting off her pants, and then she straightens and lifts her head, her eyes meeting mine.

“What are you doing here?” I ask, my voice barely above a whisper.

“I miss you,” she replies simply and bites at her bottom lip. There’s something she’s not saying, but she doesn’t need to voice it. I already know. It’s my last night before I’m turned into a vampire. That’s why she’s here.

“Whenever something bad happens, you’re the person I want to talk to,” she continues, coming over to sit next to me on the bed. She looks down at the bed sheets, curling her fingers in the material. “Even with everything that’s going on, you’re still the person I want to be with. So… let’s just be, okay?”

She looks up meeting my eyes, and I can’t help but flinch at all the pain that I see there.

“We can’t just pretend that tomorrow isn’t happening,” I tell her, my voice rough with emotion.

She smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes. “We can. We can pretend that when we wake up we’re going to go school and it’s a normal day. We can pretend that we – ” she cuts off and looks away.

“We don’t have to think about anything we don’t want too,” she says after clearing her throat.

“Bianca.”

She turns back to me, placing a hand over my mouth.

“Please?” She asks, her eyes watering, and I can tell that like me, she is trying hard to reign in her emotions. I sit still, not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to help her, to take away her pain.

“Don’t cry,” I plead, placing a hand at the back of her head and pulling her to me. I rest my forehead against hers. “I hate it when you cry.”

She leans in, placing her lips against mine. I kiss her back gently, trying to keep it that way. But she wraps her arms around my neck, and takes it deeper. I pull back, severing contact.

“I – ” I start, but she cuts me off once more.

“Please?” She calls again, pleading.

I try to fight it, but the look in her eyes, the pain… I find myself leaning in and giving her what she’s asking for.

The end, for now.

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