The trip thus far was nice. France was just as I’d remembered and his home was even more beautiful than the last time.
After arriving, he’d made contact with a friend of his in town. He was looking for someone but he wouldn’t tell me who. It’d had been the same for the last 3 days, he comes home, eats, plays with Vanessa and then enters his office for the rest of the night. Surprisingly it took convincing for him to make love to me before diving back into work. He seemed so reserved in that office day in and day out.
Vanessa and I enjoyed the serenity of the backyard.
She was still learning how to balance herself on those wobbly wheels of hers, but I loved watching her chase after the butterflies in the garden.
Before long I started feeling a bit tired. I collected Vanessa’s toys and walked her upstairs to her room and laid her down for a nap before I myself retired to the masters’.
I lay on the bed and started falling asleep. I heard Vincent knock on the door. “Zo? Are you hungry? Can I get anything for you?” he stood perfectly still near the frame as if he were afraid to move closer.
I pat a spot near me on the bed. “Why are you so far away?”
“I don’t…I can’t be near you right now. I hate what I did to you and I don’t want to enjoy myself with you right now.”
“Vincent there’s no need to punish yourself.”
“Zo that’s easy for you to say. You have no idea what I’ve done to you.”
“No. I told you everything; my entire involvement. I can’t see you forgiving me though. I can’t forgive myself.”
“You don’t understand what unconditional love is do you? We’re working on fixing it, right? Come talk to me about Drake.”
He smiled, approached the bed and hopped in. “No one’s ever loved me unconditionally, Zo.”
“I do. I’ve overlooked your past, I’ve fought with you, fed with you, killed with you and I still love you. I understand why you did what you did. That’s a very powerful thing; love is, so that I can forgive.”
He smiled. “What did you want to know about Drake?”
“What was the extent of my relationship with him?”
“You were wed.”
“He was my husband?”
“And this all happened about four months ago?”
“I had a husband four months ago?”
Again he nodded. “Yes. You were together for a while. I can’t say really how long because to be honest I don’t know. But I’d met you over a year ago and the two of you were in a relationship then. You were married close to a month before he died. And trust me, that nearly killed me. I’d felt a bit depressed and that’s when Zavier manipulated me into believing I could have you.”
“You pursued me even though I was married?”
“Zo…I’m scum. I can admit that. But I wanted you. I needed you in my life.”
“I’ve been denying it; telling you, telling myself that it was Zavier that killed Drake and it was Zavier that took your memories but the truth is, had I not been so consumed by you, none of this would have happened. I did this to you and I’m sorry.”
“You know what really bothers me?”
He wrapped his arm around my waist. “What’s that?”
“The fact that this man that I’ve been dreaming about and having visions about I have no emotions for. You tell me that I was married to some guy I’ve no recollection of ever meeting and I can’t mourn him properly. I mean I mourn the loss of his life but I don’t grieve over the loss of a loved one because I can’t remember how much I loved him or that I ever did. So you brought me here. You said you had a fix. What’s this great plan of yours?”
“I don’t really have a plan, just a sort of an idea. Plus I wanted to get you away from Zavier. I needed room for us to think. He is constantly watching you, placing sentries everywhere or people on you…the only solution I could think of would have been Teresa. But he’s done something to her, I fret contacting her because it might get back to him.”
“Is there nothing you can cast? No small spell or incantation that would help restore just a small portion of your memories?”
“There are truth spells that I could cast but again, Zavier would know. Anything I do will trigger a warning flag, Vincent.”
“There’s a last ditch effort, one of the reasons I wanted to get back to France. I wasn’t really sold on the idea myself, so I’ve been hesitant about it.”
“What? What is it?”
“I have a friend that deals in black magic. It’s a possibility it would help restore your memories, but…”
“Let me guess, she hates you?”
“What makes you think it’s a she?”
I smiled. “That answers that. Vincent you brought me here for a resolution, please, let’s try everything we can.”
He kissed my forehead before standing from the bed. He pulled out his cell and thumbed through the phonebook before stopping on a name and pressing the send button.
…“Hello…?” the voice answered on the other end.
“Bastian! Guess who’s back in town.”
…“Vincenzo? When did you get in…?”
“A couple of nights ago. I brought my girl and daughter on a vacation.”
…“Daughter? You have a kid…?”
“A beautiful baby girl. Listen, I need to make contact with Elise, do you know where I can find her?”
…“Vincenzo what’s zhis all about? What are you looking for…?”
“I need her help on a little situation.”
…“Elise told you zhat if you came back she’d kill you…”
Vincent laughed. “Do you know how often I hear that?”
…“Fine, it’s your funeral…”
Vincent jotted down a note before hanging up.
“What’s going on? Who was that?” I asked approaching him.
“An old friend. He’s someone I used to hunt with back when I was first turned.”
“And who is Elise?”
“Uh she’s a…”
“Someone you slept with?”
“How many ex-girlfriends are there?”
“This month I’ll be 328 years old. Do you really want to know the answer to that question?”
“I guess not. So now what?”
“Now we contact Elise and see about getting your memories back.”
“And do you really think she’ll be able to help?”
“I hope so. Otherwise we’re back to square one.”
He hung his head. My stomach started growling.
“Wow, that was loud,” he laughed. “I’ll go and find you something to eat.”
“No, don’t. I feel like I could eat a horse right now and I don’t want any more blood on my hands; I still see those people melting into large piles of goo.”
“There’s always fruit.”
“That won’t be enough.”
“Then I’ll raid a local blood bank or hospital, Zo you have to eat. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He turned to exit the room.
I awoke late the next morning to a feeling of complete nausea. My chest was sore and every muscle in my body was screaming at me.
I dragged myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. Vincent came in smiling behind me.
“Why are you so happy?” I snapped.
“What’s the matter with you? You look like death.”
“And I feel like it too. Where did you get that blood?”
“The local hospital; I debated on whether to bring a vein back or not, but it didn’t seem as though you were into a fresh meal, so I opted for the packs. You know you’ve been sleeping later and later everyday now.”
“Yeah, I’ve just been so tired lately.” I rubbed my neck and felt a small bump on the spot Vanessa fed from. I smiled to myself thinking about her blood lust while I slept. “It hurts where she bit me.”
Vincent came over and took a look. “There’s a small bruise in the area, it’s fine though. I think she was learning on you. You were the first she actually bit and fed from. It’s been strictly bottles.”
He held my gaze a little longer. “I love you Zo.”
I smiled. “I’m not playing your game.”
I pulled away and walked back towards the bedroom.
“Nope, not happening.”
“What did you just call me?”
“Say it or I’ll make you say it.”
“I think I’m going to go check on Vanessa.”
He grabbed me before I could leave the room and pushed me against the door. “Zo.”
“I love you too, Vincent,” I giggled.
“That’s what I thought.” He smiled before wrapping his arms around my back and kissing me. I playfully bit his bottom lip.
“I love when you wear that shirt.”
“This old thing? I got it from this gorgeous girl with fantastic taste. Which reminds me, where’s your bracelet?”
“In the jewelry box at home.”
“You should put it on when we get back. I like seeing it on you.”
“Why don’t you grab Ness and get her ready to go. We’ll stop and get a bite to eat before heading out to see Elise.”
After feeding, Vincent drove Ness and me to the location he’d jotted on the paper.
He walked up to a large home, almost as grand a spectacle as his, and knocked on the door.
A beautiful blonde answered. “You son of a bitch!” she yelled before slapping him.
He rubbed his jaw and smirked. “It’s nice to see you again too.”
She looked at me holding Ness. “And you had the nerve to bring your new fling? You are definitely swinging some brass ones, Vincenzo.”
“Don’t call me that. And Zo’s not a fling.”
She scoffed. “Right.” She turned her attention to me. “Vincent’s a playboy. Trust me. When he gets what he wants from you he’ll drop you faster than you can blink for the next pretty little vampire that twitches in his direction,” she glared at him. “I told you not to come back here.”
“I know Elise, but I need your help.”
“HELP!? Did you seriously think I’d do anything to help you?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I know you will.”
“You know you’ve always been so cocky! What makes you think I would ever consider helping you?”
“Zavier Kayne. Remember him? I know you hate me because of the way our relationship ended, but I know you hate him even more.”
“And what? I suppose you know where he is?”
“Yes. I do. Now are you going to let us in so we can talk? Or are you going to keep pretending as though you hate me?”
She smirked. “Come in.”
She led us to her living room and I took a seat on the couch with Vanessa.
“So whatever happened to what’s her name? That Romanian skank you left me for?”
“And you killed her I bet?”
“No, but I watched her die just the same.”
“Typical. What do you want from me, Vincent?”
“I don’t really want you per se, I want your Mom. She still dabbles in dark arts?”
As if answering his question, Elise’s mother came from the back room and threw Vincent to the ground effortlessly waving her hand at him.
“I guess that’s a yes,” he said picking himself up. “Hello Deborah.”
“What’s he doing here, El?”
“He came to offer us Zavier Kayne.”
“Zavier? In exchange for what?”
“Memory restoration, he’s wiped her clean of her memories,” he said nodding in my direction. “I’ll tell you where you can find him IF you can get her back what she’s lost.”
“And what makes you think we’re interested?”
“You’re still talking.”
Deborah approached me. “She’s a witch! A Vale! My, my you’re hanging with a higher quality crowd nowadays, Vincenzo!”
“Can you help or not?” he asked impatiently.
“We can give it a try.”
“Stand girl,” Deborah ordered.
“I stood in front of her and she placed her hands on my face. Her eyes went dark; black pits of emptiness and she began humming.
“Hmm…” she stopped her chanting, her jet black eyes still looming over me. She held my head tighter, her cold hands pressed firmly against my face. Vincent and Elise looked on as Deborah tried to remove the barricade on my memories.
“What is it Mom?” Elise frowned. Normally it doesn’t take this long. She was growing impatient the longer Vincent stood beside her. How dare he come into her home smelling as great as he always does and looking just as handsome as the day she met him? And he brought a new love? Her anger boiled to the top but she remained calm, though her face told a much different story.
Deborah smiled evilly as she pulled away. “I can’t help her. Whoever cast that spell has to be the one to reverse it, the magics are too strong.”
“I figured as much. He used a link in her source to strengthen it,” Vincent confirmed.
“Now Vincenzo…where can we find Kayne?”
He sighed hearing her use that name again. Though he didn’t get what he was after he dared not test her. “Bridgeport. He resides in a penthouse in the center of downtown.”
“Great. Now if there’s nothing else, please leave,” Elise barked.
Vincent drove us back to the house. “What a complete waste of time.”
“You tried Vincent.”
My phone beeped and I pulled it out to view the text:
Where are you Zoe? I haven’t heard anything; don’t make me find you because you won’t enjoy the results!
“It’s Zavier,” I said showing Vincent. “What should I do?”
He took my phone and placed the call. “What is it, Zavier?”
…“Where’s my witch…?”
“What do you want with her now, Zavier? We’re on vacation.”
…“Your vacation can wait! I need her back here now. Make me get her myself Vincent and your heart will bleed for centuries after what I do to her…!”
Vincent turned and looked at me. “We’ll catch a plane soon.” He hung up and dropped my phone in his pocket.
“Wait, we’re leaving? We’re going back home already? It’s only been a few days! You said indefinitely.”
“And I’d stay here with you if that were an option, but there’s no need Zo, everything proved to be a dead end. And if we stay, he’ll hunt you down and he’ll hurt you. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t tried that thing with your head.”
He looked around the room. “I’ll get the bags to the car.”
We drove to the airport and started the long flight home.
The dirt that had amassed on top of the shallow grave had hardened into a thick shell, though the rain from previous days had loosened the earth enough. Bits of rock and debris began breaking apart as the undisturbed ground shook and cracked off.
There was a hand at first piercing the surface of the sandy pit. Then a head emerged from the grave. Drake pulled himself from the ground and shook off the mounds of dirt. He looked around trying to figure out where he was. There were scattered bones all around his plot. How often had they used this place?
He grabbed at his chest and rubbed the spot Lily had punched him. Why Lily? He thought as he collected his bearings. Nearby two crows appeared to be watching over him, cawing in his direction and waiting to see what he was planning…or maybe that was his imagination.
It was dark out, he was far from the city and he knew it. There were no lights anywhere and he had no idea how long he’d been in the earth. He started making his way home on foot.
His body was frail and weak; his skin was paler than normal and he felt his muscles fighting him with every step he took. His stomach was thundering with a hunger he’s never felt before, churning and roaring; he had to satisfy the beast. He collapsed to the ground. A car horn blew at him as the driver sped by.
Thanks for the help. He pulled himself up again and started the trek towards the city, smelling the wind and hoping it was carrying him in the right direction. Vincent, Zavier, Lily…when I find you!
Another car passed by, but this time the driver stopped and got out.
“Hey Buddy, are you ok? Do you need a doctor?”
“I’m lost. I don’t know how I got here,” he answered.
The driver approached Drake and wrapped his arm around his back to try and help him to the car.
“Let’s get you to a hospital. Were you mugged? You’re cold!”
“I’m sorry,” Drake said sincerely.
“It’s no trouble at all, Pal, I’d hope someone would stop for me if I were in this kind of condition,” he replied.
“Not about that.” Drake’s eyes shined with fury and he snapped his fangs into the driver’s neck and fed.
The driver’s dead body slumped to the ground and Drake walked off to his car.
“I’m coming Zoe.”