Chase sleeps soundly next to me, snoring softly. His arm is wrapped around my waist, as I lay on my back looking up at the ceiling. The seconds are ticking by. I know I should leave. I have things that still need to be done. But, I don’t want to leave his side.
My phone buzzes on the nightstand. Slowly, so I don’t wake Chase, I reach over him and grab my phone. It’s Hayden. She’s all packed. Crap, I’m not even close to packed. I spent most of the weekend convincing Sarah that this was a good idea, that I’m going to make it back. It took a lot of talking, and to be honest, Sarah isn’t one hundred percent on board, but I think she realizes she’s not going to stop me.
I put my phone down on the bed next to me, and I glance at Chase once more. Slowly, I try to slide out from under Chase’s arm without waking him. I do it successfully and sit at the edge of the bed, reaching for my clothes.
As I’m putting my arms through my shirt, I feel the bed shift, and then,
“So, what then? You just came to have sex with me and then leave?” Is voice is roughened by sleep, but I can hear the anger in his tone.
I freeze, holding the shirt over my head, and wince. I was hoping he wasn’t going to wake up.
“I have to go,” I tell him quietly as I pull my shirt down.
“What do you have to do at two am that’s so important?” He asks, the doubt clear.
I shrug as I pull on my pants. “You’re not my boyfriend anymore. I don’t owe you an explanation.”
I stand up and reach for my shoes.
“So, that’s it?” He asks softly. I glance back at him, his eyes are on the ceiling.
“For now,” I tell him honestly. I turn to him and shove my phone into the back of my pocket. “But I’ll see you at graduation.”
I go to his window and lift it open. I duck my head just as he says, “I don’t want you to go.”
He says it so quietly that at first I think I imagined it.
I stare at the ledge of the windowsill. I take a deep breath.
“I know,” I tell him. “But just remember that I love you.”
Without waiting for a response, I duck out of the window and climb down the side of the house. I jump down the last few feet, and take off running through his yard. I cut down the few streets until I get to my house, and sneak in through the back door as quietly as I can.
Creeping through the house, I make it to my room, and push through the door, closing it softly behind me. I lean back against the door and let out a sigh. I don’t need another lecture from Sarah which is what I would have gotten had she caught me sneaking into the house.
“Hey,” a quiet voice says.
I jerk my eyes open and look into my room. I find Remi sitting comfortably on the bed.
“Hey,” I reply, surprised. “What are you doing here?”
She shrugs. “Duke said you were going over to Chase’s, and I thought you might need an alibi. Since Sarah knew I was up here, she hasn’t once come up.”
“Ah. Thanks for looking out.”
Nodding, she sits up while setting her phone next to her.
“I also wanted to talk to you.”
“About what?” I ask, stepping closer into the room.
“I just.. I feel like something’s changed between us. We’re not… we’re not what we used to be. And now you’re running off with Hayden and I just feel… I don’t know, like I’m being left behind.”
I frown, jerking back.
“You and I are fine. And I’m not ‘running off with Hayden.’ She and I are on a mission.”
“It’s not just that,” Remi insists. “I just can’t help feel like you’re… replacing me with Hayden.”
Moving forward, I take a seat next to her on my bed. “I’m not replacing anyone. But maybe, you’re right and we are drifting a part. That happens, though. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or we’re not friends… just that right now we’re not as close as we’ve been. And Hayden… Hayden just gets what I’m going through.”
“And I want to get it,” Rem asserts. “But you’re not telling me anything.”
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I understand her frustration, but right now I have a lot to deal with and I can’t even begin to try and explain it to her.
“I don’t even know how to explain what is happening or how I feel about it. But, I do have to pack. Want to help me with that?”
Remi meets my eyes and gives a small nod. I get up and go to my closet, pulling down a duffle bag and setting it on my bed. She goes to my closet while I go to my dresser pulling out items to decide if I should take them with or not. For a moment, everything seems normal. Not like I’m leaving for a road trip with a half-ling vampire and a full blood vampire tomorrow night. No, not like that at all.
There’s a pounding on the door, and I roll over to face it.
“What?” I yell. The sun has been up for a few hours and I know it’s near noon.
The door creaks open and my sister pokes her head through the doorway.
“It’s time to get up, little bro. Todays a big day,” she says sounding oddly chipper.
“Alright,” I say. “I’ll be downstairs in a little bit.”
She nods, and then the door closes.
My head falls into my pillow, and then let out a deep sigh. I’m still pissed that Bianca left last night. And I know I shouldn’t be surprised, after all, she did break up with me. It still just… it was the last night she had with me and she didn’t even stay the night. Talk about feeling used.
I let myself wallow for five minutes. Five more minutes and then I force myself to get up and change. I come down the stairs to find Jules and Dad sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of breakfast food on top of it.
“Woah, went a little crazy did ya?” I chuckle as I take the seat in front of Jules. She blushes as she looks among the stacks of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. I doubt the three of us are even going to finish it all.
“I wanted this morning to be special is all,” Jules replies as she reaches for a cup of coffee. “A nice brunch to start things off.”
“Thanks,” I tell her, grabbing a stack of pancakes and placing them on my plate.
We eat and make small talk like the day doesn’t have a bitter end and then I’m getting up and getting dressed in the dress pants and button-down shirt that Jules picked out for me.
As I’m buttoning up the dark blue shirt, I glance at the picture of me and Bianca that sits on top of my dresser. Another course of anger rolls through me. She tells me she loves me but runs out of here like she’s on fire? Yeah, that’s nice. It proves to a person how much they care. And then there’s graduation. Does it even really matter if I go? It’s not like I’m going to make anything of my diploma when I’m a vampire.
Suddenly withdrawn and agitated, I go into my Dads room in search of the bottle of Jack that usually rests on the nightstand. I frown when I don’t find it. I leave the room and pound down the stairs. Dad and Jules are dressed and ready to go.
“Alec and Duke are picking you up, right?” Jules asks.
“We’ll see you there,” she says, patting my arm as she walks past to the front door. Dad places his hand on my shoulder.
“I’m proud of you, son.”
I meet his eyes and mutter a thanks. Then he follows my sister and they’re both walking out the door. Once it’s closed behind them I go into the kitchen in search of the alcohol. I don’t find the Jack but I do find an old bottle of Vodka in the freezer. Without even thinking, I unscrew the cap and take a large swig. It burns as it goes down, but it’s the good kind of burn. The fire slowly builds as it burns its way through my body.
“Yo, Chase, let’s go!” I hear Duke yell from outside just as his fist hits the door.
“I’m coming!” I yell back. I take another shot reveling in the feel of it.
I put the cap back on the bottle, and grab my jacket from behind the door. Once it’s on I stuff the bottle into the inside pocket. I swing the front door open. Duke takes me in and frowns. He looks to the object protruding from my jacket and reaches out to pull my jacket back.
“Seriously?” He asks when he spots the bottle. Isn’t it a little early for that?”
I grin at him. “It’s never too early.”
He seems to contemplate my words for a second before he shrugs and smiles at me. He grabs the bottle from my pocket and puts it to his lips, taking a deep long swig.
“Gross, dude, I don’t want your germs,” I say jokingly, as I grab the bottle from him once he comes up for air.
“That’s what they all say at first, bro.”
We both laugh at that. We each take another shot, then I grab my knock-off ray bans from my outer jacket pocket, putting them over my eyes.
“Let’s go, bro,” I say.
I punch him in the shoulder as I walk past him, closing the door behind me. He follows me down the walkway to where his car is parked at the curb. Alec is waiting in the passenger seat. I climb in behind Alec as Duke rounds the car to the driver’s seat.
“So is there a special reason why you guys are driving me?” I ask as I strap in.
“Yupp, we’re keeping an eye on you,” Duke replies while starting the car.
I scoff. “I don’t need babysitters.”
“Not according to Deklan,” Alec laughs.
Raising my hand, I flip him off in the rearview mirror. He just chuckles in response.
“Calm down, Chase. Dek just wants to make sure that you make it to tonight. You’ve got to say your goodbyes.”
“I’m still going to be around,” I mutter. Everyone’s acting like I’m dying for real.
“It’s just… It’s just going to be different. It’s going to be an adjustment for everyone.”
After a moment of silence, Alec asks, “Why does it smell like Vodka?”
In front of me, Duke and Alec share a look.
“Seriously? It’s graduation, bro. Damn, why didn’t you let me have some?” He asks.
I clap him on the shoulder. “Well someone needs to play bitch, and drive us home.”
Duke lets out a roar of laughter. Alec just flips me off. I laugh in response, leaning back against my seat. I lay my head against the window, staring at the sun. I let it flow over me, warming my skin. It’s mid afternoon and soon the sun is going to set. Today is going to be the last day I’ll be able to feel the sun on my face.
“This is the last time I’m going to see the sun.”
I didn’t mean to say it out loud. Neither of the guys reply for a second. Instead, Alek turns around and grabs the bottle from my jacket pocket and holds it out to me.
“Here take a shot.”
I raise my eyebrows at him.
He shakes it, and I reach out to take it. I unscrew the cap and put it to my lips. I guzzle a good portion of the bottle down.
“Slow down, dude. Bianca’s gonna kill me if you show up drunk.” Duke says as he reaches back to grab the bottle, all the while keeping his eyes on the road.”
“Hey, she has nothing to do with this. Give me the bottle back,” I reply when he snatches it from my hands.
“What do you mean? She has everything to do with this,” Alec says, looking confused. I feel like I’ve heard someone say that before.
“Stay out of this, asshole. She drove me to drink. She broke my heart. She left me,” I mumble.
“Oh, lord. Look what we did. He’s drunk,” Duke cries.
“We? I had nothing to do with this,” Alec laughs. “Plus, we can’t help it if he’s a lightweight.”
They bicker back at forth as we pull up to the school. Alec parks in the lot next to the gym.
“Be cool, Chase,” Duke says as we get out of the car.
I snort. Be cool? Who does he think he’s talking to? I’ve got this.
We join the rest of the senior class as they wait in line to get their gowns. Inside the gym there are blue and gold streamers and balloons hung throughout the room to represent the school colors. There are over one hundred chairs lined up facing the stage for the students to sit. There is a break of about five feet, and then there are about another hundred chairs for the family members of the graduates. Along the wall to the side, there are two tables with two people at each table handing out gowns.
While we wait in line, I notice that I’m standing in between Duke and Alec. I snort. Babysitters. Duke looks over at me, and gives me an odd look. I shove my hands into my pockets and huff impatiently. I’m acting like a twelve-year-old girl, and I have no idea why.
“Hey,” a voice says hesitantly, and my heart lurches. I don’t look at her, I just stare at the wall in front of me.
“Yanca, you look gorgeous,” Duke says, and walks past me to pull Rose, who stand on the other side of Alec, into his arms.
I narrow my eyes at him. Traitor.
“Thanks, Cuz,” she mumbles into his shoulder.
She looks at me and out of the corner of my eye, I see her assess me.
“What’s going on?” She asks, looking between the three of us.
Alec shrugs innocently, and Duke grins at her.
“Nothing,” he tells her, soothingly. “Nothing’s wrong.”
Bianca purses her lips and steps in front of me, allowing me to look at her. She’s wearing a light blue strapless dress, with a black cardigan over it. Her beautiful long blonde hair flows straight. Around her neck is the chain that I gave her when I gave her the ring with our names carved into it.
She reaches up, placing a hand at my cheek.
“You’re acting strange,” she states.
For a moment I revel in the sweet painful pleasure that I feel at the touch of her fingertips on my skin. And then I shrug away from her touch. “I’m fine,” I say.
She raises her eyebrows questioning, and then reaches up and pulls up my sunglasses.
“Are you drunk?” She asks.
“I’m fine,” I say again and pull away so that the glasses fall back onto my nose. She turns and looks at Duke.
“You let him get drunk?”
“I can do what I want,” I say, annoyed.
“It’s graduation.” She says, turning back to me.
“It’s my last night,” I hiss, and her eyes drop to the ground. “Since when do you care about school functions anyways? And since when have you forgotten about the timeline of things?”
Her head jerks back and I can see the hurt in her eyes. I’m being mean now.
“Chase,” Duke growls.
I ignore him. I ignore all of them and face the people handing out gowns.
“I haven’t forgotten,” she says in a small voice.
“Good, then we’re on the same page.”
“What’s wrong with you?” She asks.
“You left me.”
“What?” She nearly yells this.
“Shhh,” Alec hushes, but I ignore him.
“You. Left. Me,” I say, making sure to a-nnun-ci-ate.
“Are you – are you talking about last night? Chase, I had to go.”
Duke leans into Rose and whispers something in her ear. “He’s drunk, so he’s emotional too. He was drinking in the car.”
I roll my eyes. I am not drunk. Nor emotional.
She looks up at me, and then she grabs my right hand.
“What are you doing, Bianca?” I ask.
She looks over her shoulder with anger in her eyes. “Don’t call me that, and just come with me.”
“Call you what – your name?” I ask, sarcastically.
She rolls her eyes at me. Turning to Alec, she asks, “You drove here?”
He shakes his head and points at Duke.
Bianca turns to her cousin and holds her hand out.
TThey are deposited into her hand, and then she drags me out of the gym. I decide to let her. Let’s see where this is going. We walk in the parking lot, and I see that the sun is beginning to set. In front of me, Bianca looks for Duke’s car. It doesn’t take long for her to find it.
She unlocks the car and opens the door to the backseat, then she sticks her hand under the seat, and grabs the bottle of Vodka.
“How’d you know where it would be?” I ask.
Rose rolls her eyes for like the hundredth time tonight. “Took a guess.”
She unscrews the cap of the bottle.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
She looks over at me with a devilish grin and I know she’s up to something.
“Just making sure we’re on the same page,” she says, throwing my words back at me. She winks at me before raising the bottle to her lips.
My type of girl.
I pull him with me into the parking lot, looking for Duke’s car. The sun’s already begun to set, the sky darkening by the minute.
Chase was right, today is his last night, and if this is what he wants to do, then this is what we’ll do. He was wrong about me forgetting what tonight is because I could never forget. I’ve been counting down since I found out.
It doesn’t take me long to find Duke’s car. His big SUV stands higher than most of the cars in the parking lot.
I use the key fob to unlock the car. I figure that the bottle will probably be underneath the seat in the back. I open the door, and stick my hand under the seat, and grab the bottle when I feel it.
“How’d you know where it would be?” He asks.
I roll my eyes again. “I took a guess.”
Taking the bottle in both hands, I unscrew the bottle of Vodka.
“What are you doing?”
“Just making sure we’re on the same page,” I say, repeating his words with a grin on my face. I bring the bottle to my lips, and his smile begins to match my own.
I take a gulp, the alcohol burning my throat, and I cough a few times pulling the bottle away from me. Chase takes it out of my hands, bringing it to his lips.
“Our families are going to kill us,” he says when he comes back for air and puts the cap back on the bottle. He steps past me, sliding the bottle inside the car.
“Well, at least we’ll die feeling,” I say, a bitter taste to my words, that falls to the pit of my stomach. It was meant to be a joke, but its not funny because he’s going to die tonight.
Chase grabs my hand, pulling me flush against his chest. “Let’s just be, okay? I need you with me,” he says, another pang hits me. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.
He puts his hands on my cheeks and forces my head up so that I look at him.
“Stop thinking,” he says, before he presses his lips against mine. It’s not a soft kiss, it’s filled with anger and pain. I’m so shocked by it, that I gasp. He takes it further by moving his tongue into my open mouth. I automatically respond, and when his tongue touches mine I moan. His hands slide down to my hips, pulling me even closer to him. I can feel all of him against me, my hands go up to his hair, tangling in his short curls. I pull, and he moans. He moves me, my feet moving backwards and then I feel the side of a car against my back.
I break away for breath, and his mouth goes to my neck. He gently nips at the skin, and I let out a breathy moan. “Chase…”
He drags his hands slowly up my body, fingertips grazing my stomach, my breast, before sliding into my hair at the nape of my neck. He pulls my head to the side so he has better access to my neck. I can’t believe we’re doing this in the school parking lot, right before graduation. This is not at all how I thought this day would –
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t let Sarah or Jules come to find you,” a voice says, and the both of us automatically still. Deklan. Chase rests his forehead against my collarbone and sighs in defeat. I look up to see that the sun is no longer visible which means vampires can come out and play.
“Just a few minutes of privacy. That’s all I wanted,” Chase mutters into my skin.
“If you wanted privacy, I really don’t think the parking lot would’ve been the best choice,” Deklan replies sarcastically.
Chase pulls away, and I look at Deklan. I can feel my face burning red.
“I – we… I-” He holds up his hand to stop my stuttering.
“It’s fine. Really. But the ceremony is about to start, and neither of you has your gowns, so hurry up.”
Then he’s gone.
I put my face in my hands, but Chase pulls my hands away, and gently cups my cheeks once more.
“It’s okay. I love you,” he says.
“I love you, too.” I feel my eyes begin to burn. He notices it to but he doesn’t say anything. He just grabs my hand and pulls me to the gym. We find our friends, Duke, Remi, Hayden, and Alec by the doors. Hayden and Alec both gives us knowing looks, making everyone else laugh.
“Shut up,” Chase says to them while tossing his car keys to Duke. Together, we all walk into the gym and grab our gowns. Mostly everyone is sitting already. Chase gives me one last quick kiss before we go to our seats.
“Thank god,” Chase says when the ceremony is finally over. “I thought that guy was never going to shut up.”
“That guy? You mean, the principle?” Duke asks, laughing.
“Whatever,” Chase mumbles. “When I walked across the stage and shook his hand, he looked at me funny. I think he could smell the liquor.” He slings his arm over my shoulder as we follow our families out to the parking lot.
“Well, I wouldn’t be surprised. You smell like a bar,” Alec says.
Chase rolls his eyes. “Well, there’s nothing they can do about it now.”
“They could always arrest you. After all, you are under twenty-one.” Is Alec’s sarcastic response.
Duke looks at Alec. “Dude, shut up.”
I burst out laughing at that.
As a group, Sarah takes our picture, and the somberness of the whole thing dawns on me. Duke and I take pictures with Sarah while Chase takes some with his sister and father and then we’re all walking to Duke’s car, while the adults go separetely in their own cars.
Chase and I climb into the back seat of Duke’s car with Alec in front. Hayden is riding with Deklan and her sister, and Remi is with her parents.
Sarah’s set up a party at Deklan’s place, and that’s where we’re going now. I guess it’s a graduation party/going away party. Plus it gives Chase’s last night something to remember. I curl against Chase as Duke and Alec get into the front.
This is his last night, and my last night in town. What if I don’t see him again? What if I die before I get a chance to come back? What if he dies before – I need to stop thinking about it. I need to stop because nothing is going to change, no matter what I think. By this time tomorrow night, Chase will be a vampire and I will be long gone.
I grab his face in my hands and pull his lips against mine. He’s shocked at first, but it doesn’t take him long to respond. Neither Duke or Alec make a comment to Chase and I kissing behind them like they normally would. I think they realize that I’m just trying to memorize the feel of him, before its too late. Soon all I will have left are the memories of us. I want to make sure I remember them well.
When we walk out onto the top floor of Deklan’s building, we find the families are already there. There are five different pizza’s lining the kitchen counter along with pop and chips. I automatically dig in, while everyone talks and mingles.
Hayden comes up to me and grabs a piece of cheese from my plate.
“Are you all packed?” She asks me. I instantly look around for Chase. I see he’s with Sarah across the room. When I know that he can’t hear us, I nod.
“I’m all ready.”
“Good. I’ll pick you up at six in the morning.”
“B, are you sure about this? Like, for real? This doesn’t have to happen. You can stay here and be happy.”
“I won’t be happy as long as Aldinn is alive. He’s taken… too much from me. From us all.”
“I just… I don’t want you to be added to that list, too.”
I smile at her. “I won’t be.” Even I don’t believe those words.
After more talking, Hayden walks away and I wander to the window and stare out at the street, covered by nighttime. I glance back at all of my friends and family. I watch Chase as he now talks to his sister and father. The sad, forlorn look on Jules’ face as she gazes up at her little brother.
All of this… all of this sadness, it’s my fault. I’m the one that the Aldinn wants, I’m the one that started all of this. There has to be something that I can do to stop this.
Before I can stop myself, I walk over to Alec.
“Hey, Sarah needs me to run to the store to grab something, can I borrow your car?”
Alec nods. “Yeah, sure, B.”
Without thought, he pulls out his keys, placing them in my hand.
“Thanks,” I say, and slip out as quickly as I can without being detected. It won’t be long before they realize that I’m gone or where I’m going. I’ve got to make the most of this time.
“I don’t appreciate you getting my niece drunk on her graduation day,” Sarah says.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes, and I look over at Rose whose talking to Hayden and eating pizza.
“That was not my intention,” I tell Sarah honestly. My plan was to get me drunk, not Bianca.
Sarah’s never really liked me. She especially doesn’t like me now for making Rose cry so much in the past week. I admire how she feels. She just wants Rose to be happy like I do.
Sarah crosses her arms over her chest. “And the night in my May when Damen took me out for a romantic weekend? Was it your intention to get her drunk with the bottle of tequila I found in the trash?”
Hesitantly, I chuckle. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I didn’t know she knew about that.
Damen comes over and puts his arm over Sarah’s shoulders, and gives me a reassuring smile. “Sarah, give Chase a break.”
Sarah turns to Damen, and I take that as my cue to leave.
Stepping over to Jules, I wrap an arm around her shoulders. She smiles up at me but her eyes are filled with sadness.
“I’ll be okay,” I whisper to her. “I promise.”
She nods and wipes at her eyes.
Duke calls me over to him, and I give Jules another hug before sauntering over. I reach for a slice as Duke punches me in the arm.
“Yo, bro, you still feeling it?” Duke asks.
“Nah, man, I was good since before we left graduation. The speech sobered me up,” I reply dryly.
“When’s Remi getting here?” I question.
“She’s having dinner with her parents, but she’s coming right after that. She’ll probably be here in another hour or so. She’s gotta, um, talk to Yanca about something.”
“Yeah, tonight… it’s going to be hard for her,” I say. Having Remi here will definitely be better for her.
I need to spend more time with her. There’s only a little bit left. I look to the window, but Rose isn’t there. I look around the room. She’s not anywhere.
“Hey, where’s Bianca?” I call out to the whole room.
Everyone looks around.
“She said that Sarah needed her to run to the store. She left about ten minutes ago,” Alec says in confusion as he meets my eyes. “She’s got my car.”
It’s the next thing that’s said that makes my heart sink.
“I never asked her to run to the store,” Sarah said.
I look at Deklan. He groans. “Jesus, you two are too much alike.”
“Duke, we need to go now,” I say, already moving.
“What is it?” I hear Sarah ask.
I walk right up to Jules and pull her into a hug. “The next time you see me I might not be human. But I’ll still be me. I love you, Jules.”
She sobs into my shoulder and hugs me back. I have to force her to let me go, and then I move past her to pull dad into a hug.
“You’ve done good, son,” he whispers into my ear.
Pulling away, I wipe at my eyes and turn to Duke, Alec, and Deklan who are waiting impatiently.
“She went to the Aldinn,” I tell Sarah. “I’ll get her back.”
I nod to the other and then I turn and run to the door that leads to the stairwell in the corner near the weight room. I jump down the flights of stairs, hearing people coming behind me until I hit the ground floor, and run for the door.
As a group, we all run out of the building towards Duke’s SUV.
“You said she left ten minutes ago?” I ask Alec as the four of us climb in.
“Yeah, about,” Alec says.
Duke starts his car and pulls it away from the curb and pulls a U-turn. He speeds down the street.
“How the hell did she get out of there without us noticing?” Duke asks, hitting the steering wheel.
“She must’ve snuck down the stairs,” I respond through clenched teeth.
“She doesn’t have that much of a head start,” Alec insists.
I shake my head but don’t say anything. I hope he’s right. I hope we get there in time.
The bar is in full swing at this time of night. I force my way through the throngs of people to the bouncer at the back of the club. Honestly, I thought he was going to put up a fight. Instead, he takes one look at me, and swings the door open, gesturing for me to enter. That seems a little too easy.
Inside the hallway, there are three doors, one on each side and another at the end. A vampire stands at the end, blocking the middle door. He meets my eyes and nods to my right. Hesitantly, I step to the door. I push it open, peering inside.
The Aldinn sits at a desk, looking over paperwork. If it were any other time, I would snort. The Aldinn works?
He glances up at me and then back at his work. He doesn’t seem at all surprised that I’m here.
“To be honest,” he says to me. “I thought you’d be here a little sooner.”
“Sorry I took so long,” I reply sharply.
“You’re here now. That’s all that matters.” He smirks and leans back in his chair. “What can I do for you?”
“I think you know,” I say.
“Ah, yes. Your boy. What about that?” He asks.
I want to roll my eyes but I want to try and stay on his good side. I could automatically jump for rage and violence, but I don’t think that’s going to work right now. Instead, I try something out of my comfort zone. I decide to grovel.
Tears form in my eyes and my voice catches in my throat.
“Don’t turn him,” I breathe.
The Aldinn watches me but doesn’t say anything.
“Please,” I plead.
He purses his lips.
“No can do,” he answers before he leans back down to look at his paperwork.
“Please,” I try again. “I’ll do anything.”
“The two of you amaze me,” he scoffs, looking up. “Bargaining for each other. This is how we got into this situation in the first place. Him bargaining for your life.”
“And now I’m bargaining for his. It’s what people do for the ones they love.”
“No, its what people do when they’re stupid.”
This makes me angry.
“Drop the deal,” I growl.
He crosses his arms and smiles at me, amusement coloring his face. “There’s the little Huntress I know and hate. And what will I get out of it if I drop the deal?”
“I won’t kill you,” I tell him honestly.
The Aldinn lets out a loud, harsh laugh.
“You think you can kill me?” He asks bitterly.
He stands from his seat and walks around the table coming straight for me. I brace myself for whatever he’s going to do, but I remind myself that he can’t know that I have my powers back. If he knows, then it leaves my family even more vulnerable if I leave. He promised he’d kill them if I got my powers back, and I have to leave. He can’t know.
The Aldinn stops in front of me and grasps my face chin in his hand.
“This has played out before, hasn’t it? You died, and I won. Do we really want a repeat of that?”
My nostrils flare, and I look away.
“No, look at me,” he says, shaking me until I do. “I’m going to kill him. I’m going to turn him into the thing you hate the most and there is nothing you can do about. There is nothing I want from you. You’re no use to me anymore.”
He releases me.
“Run home little girl, before something bad happens to you. Again.”
The Aldinn turns his back on me, thinking that I’m just going to bow my head and go home, but he’s wrong. I grab the stake that I hid underneath my cardigan before I came in here. I grip it tightly, and then I run for him.
He spins, catching my arm under my wrist with one hand, the other going right to my throat. He shoves me backward until I hit the wall, and he lifts me off the ground, his grip tightening. I try to breathe, try to shove him away with my other hand. I feel all the air leaving my body. He leans in close, his eyes glowering and fangs bared.
“I told you to go home,” He breathes. “And now, you die.”
Someone comes into the room but I can’t look to see who it is.
“Stop!” Chase yells. “Let her go!”
The Aldinn glares from me to Chase.
“She came to me. She tried to kill me.”
“She’s just upset. Please, let her go,” Chase pleads.
The Aldinn lowers me to the ground and loosens his grip just enough that I can gasp in breaths. But, he doesn’t let me go.
“I’m thinking…” The Aldinn says, looking back to me. “It’s either you or her. I’m tired of playing games. First, you come to and now her. I want my end of the bargain or she dies.”
To emphasize his point, he tightens his grip on my neck once more.
Chase holds his hands up in surrender. “Fine. Now. Whatever you want.”
The Aldinn pulls me from the wall and shoves me towards the door. I stumble and arms come around me. I look up to see Duke holding me with Deklan and Alec behind him.
“Let me just say goodbye,” Chase insists.
The Aldinn growls. “You all seem to think I have human tendencies. But I don’t. Nor patience. Finish this. Now.”
With haste, Chase turns to me and pulls me to him, his hands around my forearms. “Why would you do this?” He asks.
I brush his arms off and wrap mine around him.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t? This is all my fault. I thought maybe if I could convince him…”
Chase chuckles sadly. “I love you. God, I love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” my words come out as a sob. “I really do, Chase. Never forget that, okay? I love you more than anything in the world.”
“Let’s go, Chase.” The Aldinn snaps.
Chase goes to pull away but I won’t let him.
“Bianca,” he says slowly.
“No,” I say, shaking my head. “No, I’m not going. I’m not letting go.”
“Bianca,” Chase tries again, but I shake my head holding onto him tightly.
I feel him nod, and then arms are wrapping around my arms and pulling me away from Chase.
“No!” I shout, kicking and scratching trying to get away from the people holding me.
Suddenly, the Aldinn is in my face, grasping my chin again, forcing me still.
“Enough, you foolish girl. Now, you get to watch.”
“No,” I hear Deklan and Chase object.
The Aldinn looks up with a dark grin across his mouth.
“Either she watches or she dies.”
Everyone freezes. No one makes another sound. The Aldinn steps to Chase and turns him so that I can see what’s about to happen. Tears form in my eyes and I close my eyes trying to hold them in.
“Look, girl,” The Aldinn growls.
I open my eyes, large rivets of water pouring down my cheeks. I look at the Aldinn, meeting his eyes. Once he’s sure I’m watching he looks at Chase, lifting a hand to the top of Chase’s head. He pulls it to the side, baring his neck. Without any hesitation, The Aldinn leans down sinking his teeth into Chase’s neck. My heart plummets to the ground, a scream rising from my throat.
Chase flinches from the pain but holds still. The Aldinn drinks from him, taking all that is in Chase until there is nothing left. Then he let’s go, Chase’s body sinking down to the ground, unmoving.
I scream then, falling to my knees. Deklan and Duke’s holds are gone, and I reach for the boy that I love. I look up with rage and hate, watching as The Aldinn bites into his wrist, and bends over Chase’s body.
Arms wrap around me again, pulling me up onto my feet.
“Duke, get her out of here,” I hear Deklan says, his voice grave.
“No!” I cry, fighting against my cousin as he wraps a tight arm around my stomach. He lifts me clear off my feet and carries me from the room. I scream and I shout, trying to get back to Chase. I want to go back to Chase.
“Bianca,” I hear a voice calling to me. “Bianca.”
When I finally open my eyes that I hadn’t realized I had closed, I see Alec’s face. We’re in the alley behind the club. Alec’s arms around me, holding me immobile.
“Deklan’s staying with him,” Alec says to me. “And Duke and I will come back to get him, okay? He’ll be alright.”
I shake my head, the tears in my eyes clouding my vision.
“He’s not going to be alright,” I mutter, brokenly. “Not anymore.”
All the fight has left my body. I lay my head on Alec’s shoulder, defeated.
A car comes down the alley, and I look up to see Duke’s truck stop before. Alec pulls the back door open, placing me on the seat. I watch through the windshield as he switches spots with Duke in the driver’s seat, and then Duke opens the door opposite me and slides in. His face is sad, and he doesn’t say anything as he pulls me into his arms. Another sob falls free of my throat.
“No!” I shout, running towards Chase’s body that now lies on the ground. Hands grab at me, preventing me from going to him. “No!” I cry, deep sobs ripping free of my throat.
Chase lifts his head, his eyes meeting mine.
“This is all your fault,” he says, his body pale.
“No,” I cry. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!”
“Hey, B,” a voice calls out, gently shaking me.
I blink my eyes open to see Hayden sitting on my bed, her eyes on me.
“You okay?” She asks.
Swallowing, I nod. “Yeah. What time is it?”
“It’s time to go.”
I clear my throat and throw the covers off my body.
Hayden leaves the room and I change into a pair of leggings and a hoodie before slipping on my converse. I pile my hair into a bun on top of my head, and I take a look in the mirror. I look a mess. My eyes are red and swollen, my hair dirty, my skin pale. Well, this is the best that’s going to happen today.
I grab my phone and then I slip out of the room.
The clock on the kitchen stove reads three am. It’s still dark out, and I can’t help but yawn. I continue through the house, and out the front door where I find everyone waiting. Sarah stands next to Damen with tears in her eyes. I step up to them holding out my phone.
Sarah looks at it and then back at me.
“Chase will try to find me. I don’t want to make it easy on him,” I say. “We’ll use burner phones to keep in contact.”
She takes the phone and then pulls me into a hug. Damen’s next.
“Be safe,” he says. “Call if you need anything.”
“I will,” I reply.
Duke and Remi are next, each of them hugging me hard.
Deklan steps up next.
“Be safe. Be smart. We’ll take care of him,” he tells me.
“Thank you,” I whisper before hugging him.
Jules and Mr. Halloway stand next to him.
Tears cloud my vision as I take in Chase’s family.
“I’m sorry,” I say, choking on the words.
Jules doesn’t say anything. Instead, she throws her arms around me, holding me close. I wrap my arms around her waist, putting my head on her shoulder.
“Just come back,” she tells me.
I nod, and then I hug Mr. Halloway.
“I’ve got a gift for you,” he says, once I’ve pulled back.
Looking up at him, I frown. “What?”
He nods to my right. I look over to see Hayden and Killian leaning against a car that is most certainly not Hayden’s tin wagon. It’s Mr. Halloway’s Impala. Chase once borrowed to drive me down to Chicago.
“What?” I ask again. “Mr. Halloway, I can’t take your car.”
He scoffs. “Of course you can. It’s just sitting in our garage. Plus, it’s probably more comfortable than that car Hayden’s got.”
Hayden shrugs. “He’s not wrong.”
I look to Mr. Halloway. “Are you sure?”
He nods, smiling warmly. “One hundred percent. On one condition. That you bring it back.”
I hug him once more.
Hayden holds out the keys, and Killian slides into the backseat, Hayen in front. I round the car stepping up to the driver’s side. I take one last look at my family. The people that I love. They look at me with sad faces and I know the reality of this situation. I might not make it back. But, I will try my hardest too.
“I’ll be back,” I promise them, even though we all know it might be one I break in the end.
I wave once more before climbing into the car and starting the ignition.
“You sure about this, B? No going back now,” Hayden says.
Looking across the seat at her. I nod.
“Let’s kill this motherfucker.”
End of part one.
This is the end of part one from An Empty Grave, but it is not the end! Next week, I will post the first few chapters of part two. Keep in mind, I’m posting more chapters and more often for the time being because of the quarantine that is happening. When the quarantine is over, I will resume post two chapters every two weeks. Until then, enjoy! Like and comment! Let me know if you have any questions.