I awoke to Vincent standing over the bed. He was watching me; pacing as I rested. “Zo?” he said rushing over as my eyes adjusted to the light. “Hey, how are you feeling?”
“Sick. Vincent did I do what I think I did? Did I kill three innocent people?”
“Why did Zavier have me do that?”
I jumped up from the bed and rushed into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. The guilt was killing me. I hovered over the toilet dry heaving until finally the contents of my stomach released into the porcelain bowl.
“Zo? Baby open the door, please.” Vincent said knocking impatiently. I flushed the toilet and took a seat staring blankly at the wall in front of me as tears ran down my cheeks.
“I killed them, Vincent! Three lives are lost because of me!”
“Zo it wasn’t your fault! We had no choice. Let me in please. I want to be there with you.”
I dropped my head into my hands. I couldn’t believe what I’d become. I am the monster Vincent called me.
“Open the door or I’ll break it down, I swear! Please baby.”
I walked over and unlocked the door. Vincent smiled faintly at me as he entered into the bathroom.
I resumed my position on the toilet.
“Baby, it’s not your fault,” Vincent said standing in front of me. “Zavier would have hurt you, killed us both had you not done as he asked.”
I couldn’t get the smell of their torched flesh out of my nose. It was far worse than the dark recesses of Zavier’s other rooms. My head found the inside of the toilet bowl again as more of my insides made its way to the water tank.
Vincent watched me in pain as I washed my hands and face.
I walked into the bedroom unable to forgive myself; unsure of why, how I could let someone hold me like Zavier had.
“I don’t get it. I wasn’t in control of my actions. I cast the spell, I entered my trance, I reached my source, but from that point forth, Zavier took over. I was his conduit to my source! How was he able to control me like that? There is no way for him to have that type of power over me, is there?”
Vincent thought for a moment. “Fuck! I’m so fucking stupid! I couldn’t see it before. This was Zavier’s plan from the start! He used me. He played me like a fucking fiddle and I fed from his hand the entire time!”
“Vincent what are you talking about?”
“He used me Zo. He used my love for you against me; dangled life with you in my face like Tantalus and his fruit. And I didn’t see it. He never intended to make good on my deal, he just couldn’t get close to the others without me and I walked right into it.”
“Vincent I don’t understand!”
“Jasmine’s necklace; he used that to gain control of you. He said it worked on all Vale witches. He manipulated me…he never wanted the witch; he wanted her key to the Vale coven. And like a fucking moron I delivered it to him with a smile.”
“Jasmine’s necklace? How did you get her necklace? When?”
“That doesn’t matter, what matters is the fact that he can control you whenever you tap into your source, whenever he wants basically because he has that necklace! The key to the coven you gave to Jasmine.”
“I’m bound to her. I connected us because she was still learning. I didn’t want her to have to deal with the magical consequences on her own.”
“And he saw…he saw it all. He knew she was the key to you; to controlling your source once I delivered you to him. I was distracted with my own greed; the lust that drove me to have you is the same that has condemned us both.”
“He’s been having me collect more magic from the witches he finds and add it to my source because he knew once I called on it, it would be his to use!”
Vincent broke down. “Zo I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.”
I grabbed him in my arms. “Vincent you didn’t know.”
“That doesn’t make this better! Nothing will unless I can get you out from under him! He’ll use you for unspeakable acts of terror and I can’t watch that happen!”
“I have to fix this,” he said pulling away.
He looked me in my eyes and I saw a look of fear in his. “I can’t do this. I can’t have you like this.”
“You aren’t mine, you never were. You were never meant to be. These are the consequences of blind love. I should have never taken you the way I did. FUCK! This is what Drake was trying to protect you from. Leave it to me to make matters worse.”
“I promise I’ll make this right. You’re going to hate me for what I’ve done, but I’d rather you hate me and know the truth than to let you live this way. We have to get all of your memories back, you need to know everything.”
“I have to go to him, make him reverse whatever he’s done.” He pulled me into his arms and kissed me before heading to the door.
“Vincent wait! There’s no way he’d do that!”
“I have to try.”
He pulled up to Zavier’s penthouse and ran inside. “I’m done, Zavier. I can’t do this anymore. You are using her to a degree beyond death or torture and I can’t stand to look at her and pretend as though she’s always been mine while you drain her as you did Agnes.”
“But she thinks she has, Vincent. Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”
“What I want is the real Zo back. The one with all the memories, feelings and emotions for the man you’ve erased from her mind and her life. I want her to go back to loving me for who I am not because I was her only choice.”
“I can’t do that, Vincent.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Both. You see this new Zoe does what I want when I want with no questions asked. She thinks she’s pure evil like you, she never questions why I have her cast spells on innocent witches, nor does she care about the blood loss of those around her. I like this Zoe. She has a rage like yours; it was an untapped raw source of power in that girl that was kept hidden because of Drake. He kept her from attaining her true potential. He kept her out of the center of her power source and you wanna know why? Because she got a fucking nose bleed. Have you ever heard of such a thing?”
“Yes, I have. He protected her because he loved her which is what I’m trying to do now. You said you changed nothing about her, yet she seems far less disagreeable as though many of her decisions are being made for her; and this sick friendship with you? She’s blind to what you are really doing to her! She thinks she’s protecting us!”
“Well she is in a way. As long as she does as I say, you’ll remain alive and so will that precious offspring of yours. And I may have tweaked her attitude just a little. But trust me I barely touched that dial; she’s always been a killer. Don’t tell me you never saw it, I know you. You’ve always had an eye for those things. Zoe needs to be able to trust in our friendship, that way I don’t have to control her mind too much; she’ll be willing to do as I ask.”
“You used me Zavier. You tricked me into this fucking thing and now the girl I love is paying for my bad judgment!”
“Vincent, had I told you what I was planning you’d have never helped. So yes, I enticed you with Zoe because I knew you’d never be able to resist the thought of her in your bed. I manipulated your thoughts; made you crave her more and more until your passion overwhelmed you to the point of doing whatever I needed.”
“You son of a bitch! I told you to stay out of my head.”
“I know what you told me. But that first night you had her, tell me you didn’t enjoy watching her scream your name in pleasure. You continued to go along with everything!”
“Until I figured out your true intentions; I want no part of this Zavier! Give her back her memories!”
“Now if I were to give her back all of those memories and send her back to where Drake is still dead, what do you think her first step would be? To eliminate me and Lily after tapping into the source Drake kept her from. Do you really think I’ve lived 600 years only to be squashed like a bug underfoot for some girl you fell in love with?”
“Think about it Vincent, make the right decision because the wrong one could cost you your life; and wouldn’t it be poetic to have Zoe herself take you out? Because having her do that would be so easy,” he said brandishing Jasmines’ cameo; a smug grin on his face.
Without a word, Vincent backed up and headed back to the house. I was pacing in the foyer waiting for him.
“Vincent! You’re back! Are you…is everything ok?”
“We have to get out of here, Zo.”
“Get out? And go where?”
“Listen to me Zo. You and I are going on a trip. It may turn into a long vacation, but we have to do this. I know what we can do to make you understand. You just have to trust me, ok?”
“I trust you, Vinny.”
“Go pack and meet me at the car, and please hurry.”
I ran upstairs and packed a large bag for myself, Vanessa and Vincent and hurried down to join him. He strapped Vanessa into her car seat and grabbed the luggage and tossed them in the trunk.
“Are you going somewhere, Vincent?” Zavier said behind him.
He slowly turned to face him. “I’m taking Zo to my home in France. She’s been asking me to for a while now.”
“Is that a fact?” Zavier neared me and ran his fingers along my cheek. “Zoe, do you want to go on vacation with Vincent? I don’t think he is feeling well. He seems to be acting really strange lately. I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing you are out there with him being this unstable.”
“Vincent’s fine, Zavier, he’s like this sometimes,” I quickly lied. I didn’t know what had gotten into him, but I trusted him.
“Call me if his attitude changes, Zoe. I need to ensure your safety, understand?”
I nodded. I felt strange the longer he stared in my eyes.
He left and Vincent opened the car door for me. “Are you ok, Zo?”
“I’m fine I think.”
Vincent drove quickly to the airport. He bought three first class tickets on a Red Eye to Champs Le Sim and we boarded the flight.
“So what’s going on Vinny?”
“I just wanted you to myself,” he smiled. He took my hand in his and the plane took off.
Once we were elevated to 35,000 feet, he turned to me, “Meet me in the restroom in two minutes.” He walked down the row, passing a curious flight attendant on the way.
I waited before following him. “Are we joining the mile high club?”
He smiled. “Zo, as much as I’d like to take advantage of that offer, that’s not why I asked you in here. We can talk without Zavier hearing, hence the flight. I’m not sure but he may have placed ears and eyes in our home. Anything is possible.”
“Why do you hate Zavier so much? Though I don’t agree with the last thing he had me do, he’s been a really great friend to both of us. I know lately he’s been really weird, but I think he is just determined to eliminate threats to our family!”
“See, that right there, Zo. He’s done something to your head and made you forget who you really are and what happened to Drake. I need you to try and contact Teresa or someone else in your coven to help us.”
“Zo, please, trust me. We have to do this.”
“No I mean I really can’t. Zavier will know. He knows every time I cast a spell. Vincent sweetie, I do trust you and I’m really scared. If Zavier has done the things you said…he’s capable of anything! His having Jasmine’s necklace only empowers him more!”
The plane hit a spot of turbulence and sent me falling forward into him. I felt an immediate response from his body. “We should get to our seats,” he said quickly pushing me away.
“Are we just going to keep flying from one country to the next?” I asked after taking my seat by Vanessa.
“Until I can figure something out, yes.”
He tapped his cell phone deciding whether to contact Teresa or not. Zavier said he’d take care of her, what does that mean? Did he kill her? Why did I let this happen?
I rubbed his arm hearing his thought; he looked at me and smiled. “Tell me about Drake. Did Zavier kill him?”
He nodded. “He had Lily kill him and then erased your memories about what happened.”
I toyed with the necklace around my neck. “I saw him give this to me.”
“Try and rest baby, we have a long flight ahead of us.”
I reclined my chair and held Vanessa and we both nodded off.
I awoke a few hours later to the feeling of hunger. Vanessa had taken what she’d wanted while I slept and my neck had the proof of her tiny teeth marks.
“She was nibbling in her sleep,” Vincent remarked. “It was cute so I let her. I didn’t think you’d mind.”
“Thanks!” I smiled. “You let me become your daughters’ meal.”
I sat her in her own seat and strapped her in and rubbed my neck, cleaning the dried blood from my skin.
“Tell me more about Drake.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Was he cute?”
I giggled at his discomfort. “Honest question. I can’t really see his face in my memories. But what’s he like? Did I love him?”
“He was…I don’t know. He worried about you a lot; he cared deeply for you, Zo. He’d known you your whole life and then some and yes, unfortunately for me, you loved him very much.”
The plane hit turbulence again and rocked me in my seat. I grabbed the arm rest and held it tight.
Vincent laughed, “Zo, you’re already dead,” he whispered. “Why are you scared? If this plane crashes in the watery abyss below, you, Vanessa and I will be the only three walking away unscathed.”
He took my hand in his, “Try and relax, ok?”
I smiled. I glanced over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of a man seated near the back row; I got an uneasy feeling as I tried to focus on his face.
“Would you like chicken or beef?” the flight attendant asked distracting me.
“Beef for me, chicken for her please,” Vincent laughed. I slapped his arm.
“Oh you are so funny, Vinny.”
We ate the meals, but neither of us was satisfied.
“Wait here, I’ll get us some real food,” he said walking behind the curtain with a stewardess.
When he returned, he was holding his cheeks out. He pulled me into him and kissed me. There was a rush of blood filling my mouth as his embrace continued.
“Mmm, she was yummy!” I wiped the excess blood from his lips and sat back again, my stomach happy for the time being.
As much as I tried, I couldn’t relax. I felt eyes watching me. I turned back to where I saw the man. Something about his presence felt familiar to me, and it wasn’t the type of familiarity that brought about pleasant and happy thoughts.
“What do you keep looking at back there?” Vincent asked noticing my gaze.
“There’s a guy on this plane with us, I think I know him. He was sitting near the back window, but I don’t see him now.”
“You know him? What are the memories of?”
“I don’t know, but I have the feeling it’s not good.”
Vincent stood up and walked towards the area I’d mentioned. He started sniffing around until he had his scent, Vampire.
He rushed towards the back to coach, keeping the scent as he did. He was determined to find the bastard causing my uneasy feelings.
The scent was strongest on the staff elevator; he called for it and waited for the level.
He exited into the luggage hold. “Where are you?!” he yelled.
“Right behind you!” the man growled kicking Vincent forward.
Vincent charged at him knocking him against the wall. His hands quickly found his throat. “What do you want with her?”
“Nothing! I’m doing my job!” he yelled throwing Vincent off.
“Your job? Who asked you to follow her?” his question was met with hesitation and Vincent moved back towards him, shoving his fist into his face. He continued with a series of jabs to his chest and rib cage, listening to the man grunt in pain.
He followed up with a kick to his midsection before plowing him with more punches to his upper body and face. “I can do this all day,” he said twisting the man’s arm behind him.
“I have nothing but time!” He gripped him in a choke and began twisting his head in an awkward position.
“Zavier! Zavier Kayne! He wanted me to keep an eye on the girl whenever she left town.”
“Why?” he asked cinching in the hold tighter.
“He wanted to make sure she wasn’t tapping into her source for anyone but him. He’s had me follow her for a while now.”
I found them in the bottom of the plane. A sickly, sweet smell filled the room and made me cringe.
“He’s been following you for a while Zo. Zavier sent him after you.” His arm was wrapped tightly around his neck and he was wrenching his head from his shoulders nearly twisting his spine out of place.
“Zavier?” I got a flash of something. I touched my face, “You hit me! With a board!”
“You were getting too close to me. I was scared you’d find out. Zavier threatened to kill me if you discovered me.”
“You mean like this?” Vincent asked as he ripped the head from his shoulders. He instantly became soaked in blood as the lifeless vampire fell at his feet.
He looked at me, and I stared as he wiped his face. “What else do you remember?”
“Drake. He cared for my injuries that day.”
Vincent sighed. “That’s Drake.”
“Yeah, and he was sweet,” I smiled.
Vincent frowned at me and made me giggle. “Aww don’t mope! You’re all the vampire I need,” I kissed him and directed his hands to my waist.
“Wait Zo, don’t. We shouldn’t.”
I pulled back. “You look horrific!”
“Yeah I know.”
He walked over and found our luggage and quickly changed.
“What about him?”
“What about him? It’s dangerous roaming around the luggage hold. He should have stayed in his seat. Let’s get back.”
He grabbed my arm and ushered me up to our seats.