He’s not answering!” I said trying a third time. “Drake where are you?”
“Right behind you,” he said.
I jumped into his arms. “You made it!”
“I’m sorry Sweetheart, but I couldn’t answer with the possibility that Zavier was in earshot.” He turned to Mom. “He wasn’t where you sent me by the way. I never found him. Are we ready?”
“We are,” Mom said. “What we can try is to call on Jasmine’s charm and return it to her. It may not work depending on where he has it stored, but if it does, we should be able to get to him.”
Joyce took the lead and began the cast. Teresa, Ruth and Mom continued holding their trance as Joyce called for Jasmine’s necklace.
I stood between Drake and Vincent and saw them eye each other every now and again. I knew once everything was over, Vincent would be done for; if not by Drake’s hand then by Mom’s. I suddenly felt myself very afraid for Vanessa’s future.
“Drake? We have to find Sarah. She hasn’t been around Vanessa in close to two months. Vincent wouldn’t allow her to.”
He scowled once more in Vincent’s direction. “Why did he keep them apart?”
“He thinks she drugged Vanessa.”
Vincent turned an ear to the conversation.
“I’ll find her. Don’t worry, Sweetie.”
I felt his hand brush mine and he laced our fingers together and smiled at me. “I’ll have you back soon as well.”
Hearing that Vincent turned his head back to the action in the center of the room, the same morose expression on his face.
Joyce screamed and drew the attention of the room. Her body slumped over and she gasped for air. “Joyce release, I’ll take over,” Ruth instructed.
From that point, Ruth took the lead and continued the cast. She stood and started channeling Joyce to pick up where she left off.
10 minutes into her cast, she too collapsed in pain.
Teresa was her relief. She immediately left her trance and grabbed the last chant Ruth had.
Maggie watched fearfully now. She’d seen the safety of a simple summoning spell, but now she had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing once again how bad simple spells could be.
I approached her. “It’s not always so bad. I can understand you want to protect Daniel from all of this. If I had it my way I’d protect you completely as well.”
“I’ve actually decided to tell him. He’s wanted to become more serious. I really think he’s hinting about marriage and if that’s the case, I’ll want him to know everything about me, including the hobgoblins and newts eyes in the basement,” she joked.
“So Mom said Drake died?”
“How did he come back?”
I glanced over at him. “I honestly have no idea. I don’t really know anything about him.”
“Zoe I can’t imagine what you’re going through. To lose out and not remember how much you love that man over there…that’s heartbreaking. You glow; you float when you’re around him.”
“I’d like to have that back. With hope, Mom will be able to reverse what’s happened.”
Vanessa started crying and Vincent excused himself to check on her.
“I can’t believe this whole time you’ve been under this spell. We made promises to stay in better touch; we really need to honor that. I’m sorry I did not reach out to you, Zoe.”
“Life gets complicated. I can understand. I’ve not been the best at maintaining contact either.”
“I see it!” Teresa exclaimed. At that point all of them stood and began channeling one another; feeding off of each other’s energy and trying to bring Jasmine’s necklace forward from Zavier’s grasp.
The orb in front of them began to glow and a small image appeared within it. Vincent came back and resumed his position in the corner.
The longer they channeled the clearer the image became until it was sitting inside the orb.
Mom grabbed the orb and smashed it and hurriedly placed the pendant on her neck and gave me back our family’s ring.
“Get ready because I’m sure he’s on the way,” she warned.
The room began shaking shortly after that. The hanging lights began to sway and bottles of potions came crashing to the floor.
“Drake!” Mom called for him. Before she said a word he rushed Maggie out of the room to safety.
“There’s a protection on you Maggie, just stay here, you’ll be ok.”
Vincent ran by them and up the stairs to make sure Ness was fine.”
Drake returned to the room and pulled me away from their summoning. “Stay back, we’re not sure what’s about to happen.”
Vincent came back and noticed Drake’s hands wrapped around mine and dropped his eyes as he walked by.
The room stopped shaking and everything became completely still.
Mom smirked as she watched the action unfold. “He’s running. He and that female vampire Lily; they won’t get far, I’ll see to it.”
“Good, they better run. When you find them Laurie, let me know. I have a little business to resolve with them,” Drake said.
“Of course Drake, you can handle it.”
“Now about Zoe’s memories? I want my wife back,” he smiled at me.
The ladies opened the source. Sparks began engulfing me and I could feel myself becoming energized. “Mom?”
“You’ll be ok,” she assured me.
Light blue beams circled around my head and I felt lightheaded. My body became elevated and I floated a few inches off the ground and into the middle of the summoning circle.
When my feet touched the floor once more, I was overwhelmed with emotions and began crying. Drake rushed over and held me.
It was as though I was mourning, laughing, loving and depressed all at the same time. I caught Vincent’s gaze. He looked at me remorsefully. “Why Vincent?”
Drake grabbed me as I was about to charge him. “No. He’s mine too. The things he put you through, allowed you to do…no, I’m going to take care of him.”
He wrapped himself around me again and brought my gaze to his, “Welcome back,” he said before devouring my lips.
I closed my eyes and drowned myself in him; clinging tightly to his form and feeling his grip tighten around me as well.
I felt the soft trickle of tears form in my eyes and slide down my cheeks. “Welcome back yourself,” I said.
I snuggled deeper into his arms. He pulled away under my bemoaning and wailing and moved towards Vincent. Vanessa started crying again. It was as though she sensed the change in moods.
“Drake…,” he knew what my words would be. “You’re last Vincent, I’ll deal with Lily and Zavier first, but you and I are going to finally have it out. Go get Ness and leave. Run; because when I finally get to you…”
Vincent went and grabbed Vanessa and drove her home.
“Drake, don’t forget what I told you. Don’t make me come back for you,” Mom said. “I have to get going now.” Maggie came back in and said her goodbyes and the room quickly cleared of witches.
“So Maggie you get a choice: fly home, teleport or drive,” I offered.
“Teleport? That thing everyone keeps doing?”
“Yes. You’ll get there in one piece. I can show you how to do it and send you home.”
She nodded, “Let’s do it. It’s time I embrace my magical side.”
She hugged me and I sent her back home.
Drake turned to me, “I think we’re alone now.”
I smiled, “What are you getting at?”
He grabbed me and rushed me upstairs. His lips delivered slow and sensuous kisses to every inch of my face, neck and chest.
Without a word he laid me onto the bed and made love to me until the late hours of the next morning.
He held me and looked deep into my eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I’m sorry for everything you’ve gone through over the course of the last few months. I promise I’ll never again doubt you.”
He gripped my waist and kissed me. “I love you Zoe.”
“I love you too, Drake. I’m so happy to be back in your arms,” I nestled into his chest.
His phone rang and he leaned over to check it, “Teresa.”
He stood to answer it, pulling on a pair of jeans.
…“Still no word on Zavier or Lily’s whereabouts. Those witches he had must have cloaked them both. How is Zoe holding up…?”
“She’s fine considering.” He turned and smiled at me.
“Have you been able to reach Jasmine?”
…“I did. She and Tabitha are doing well. Her training is coming along great. Drake, the reason I called was to ask you to make sure that Zoe exercises her source enough to maintain its control and hope that you start as soon as possible. I know how cautious you are about the whole thing, but it’s important she establishes herself within the core…”
“I understand. I can handle it. I promised Laurie I’d loosen up,” he smiled again thinking about the way my Mom scolded him. “I don’t want her to come after me. She’s pretty scary!”
I laughed listening to him.
They talked a little longer before hanging up.
“Are you laughing at me?” he asked diving into the bed and tickling me.
“YES!” I screamed through fits of laughter.
“Drake! Haha, PLEASE! Stop it!” I begged as the glee ripped through my lungs.
“Beg for mercy! Cry uncle!” he said as his fingers continued dancing across my belly.
“Haha, ok, ok, I submit! UNCLE!” I yelled as I wrestled to get away from him. “Please,” I giggled. “My cheeks are burning!”
He finally relented and rested on top of me. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Yeah. I have to go get it though.” He kissed my nose.
“No! No deal!”
“Zoe! I’ll hurry, I promise.”
He climbed up from the bed and pulled on a shirt. “I’ll be back soon.”
I got up and got dressed shortly after he left and walked to the backyard. It wasn’t long before I felt him embrace me. I turned to hold him.
“You know I really do love this house,” he said. “It has so much to offer and screams serenity!”
“And in speaking of which,” he said brandishing a pair of tickets. “I took the liberty of purchasing our escape; two tickets to the exotic reaches of Paradise Cove,” he smiled. “I’m making good on the promise I made the day everything started.”
I watched him as he excitedly explained what the trip encompassed. “And it’s for as long as you want!”
“A cruise? Wow, I’ve never done that before! But Drake there is still so much here we have to take care of. Are you sure you want to go on vacation now?”
He smiled, “It’s because of everything that’s going on here that I want to go on vacation now. Yes, I am positive. I think you deserve a rest from everything and I too ache to have you all to myself without the pressure of what’s happening in the magical world. So what do you say?”
“That I should go upstairs and pack.”
“Hey, do you remember everything? Including the last few months?” he asked bringing me into his arms.
“Did you like that look?”
“The long hair was sexy, the scruffy face, not so much, Emmanuel.”
He laughed. “So you wouldn’t hate it if I grew it out?”
“Absolutely not! That was hot! But what was with the birds?”
“You mean them?” he asked pointing behind me. Two crows sat in the tree glaring down at us.
“Yes…what is that about?”
“I don’t know. They were at my grave when I resurrected and they’ve been following me ever since.”
“You have control over them?”
“Watch this,” he let out a sharp whistle and simultaneously both birds left their place in the tree. One took a spot on his outstretched arm, the other landed on his shoulder. “They understand me.”
He grinned and released the birds. They flew back above us and rested.
I ran upstairs and started packing.
“Be sure to bring your swimsuit,” Drake said behind me before walking out of the room.
“Oh and that sexy lingerie you enticed me with for Valentine’s,” he said popping back into the room.
“Better still, just go nude.”
“Sorry,” he said laughing. “Finish packing, I’m just going to check over possible itineraries.”
It was cute, he was so excited and it was rubbing off on me. I couldn’t wait to get to the beach and feel those…deadly sun rays fry me to a pulp. Ok maybe not so much for the sun, but the exclusion of being with my husband was the only selling point I needed.
“Drake honey?” I entered into the small downstairs office. “When are we leaving?”
“As soon as possible. The tickets are for any time. I didn’t want to schedule anything.”
“Really? Wow that’s not like you. What did my Mom say to you?”
He stood from the computer and held me.
“She said basically that if I didn’t lighten up she’d kick my ass,”
“You’re scared of my Mom!” I teased.
“Anyone in their right mind would be. She’s pretty…”
“And I’m in love with her daughter; I’ll do whatever she asks of me.”
“Well I’m fully packed and ready to go.”
We drove to the seaport and he parked in the extended stay garage.
The closer we got to the gate the more excited I became.
“You’re squealing,” Drake said laughing.
“I am not!”
“Ok well someone that looks like you is squealing!”
“I’m happy, let me have my moment.”
He laughed, put his arm around me and escorted me inside.
We found our cabin and started to relax.
“Hey want to head up to the deck for a little while?” Drake asked.
“Yes! I’d like to watch what’s happening outside!”
I changed into a bikini top and shorts, slipped on some flip flops and ran after him.
The ocean breeze was nice. The smell of the water was refreshing and I couldn’t believe I didn’t let him talk me into this sooner.
“This is absolutely wonderful, Drake,” I smiled.
He watched me as I stared into the water looking at the sea life that floated by. “Oh my God Drake! Look!” I said pointing to the dolphins swimming in time with the boat. Large groups of them were jumping up out of the water and it was such a beautiful sight to see.
He laughed as he rested his body against mine. “I love you Zoe.”
“I love you too, Drake.”
We arrived in Paradise Cove and quickly checked in. Our suite was overlooking the beach and the entire place was absolutely beautiful.
“I love it here!”
Drake pulled me into a kiss as we stood on the balcony.
He held me in the embrace longer. He was determined to make up for lost time and I gave him complete control over me.
“I can’t believe we did this. There are still so many things to take care of back home.”
“And those problems will still be there when we get back. I just needed to have you to myself, someplace we can relax and enjoy one another; the honeymoon we never had.”
My phone beeped, Drake grabbed it and tossed it on the bed. “No, no phone calls, no internet, no other form of communication, telepathy or what have you. You’re mine! All mine for as long as I determine.”
I laughed. “Fine, what’s on the itinerary you created for us?”
“Well first, let’s check out the beach.”
“The sun’s out,” I cautioned.
“Then we’ll be quick.”
We redressed and walked out to the shoreline.
There was a cool breeze of air that sent the golden sand swirling around our feet.
“Your bikini is really sexy,” Drake said eyeing me up and down.
He took my hands in his, “I want you to really try and relax while we’re here, Zoe. No worrying about anything back at home.”
I nodded my agreement and he ran me down to the water.
The sun was beaming bright as we splashed one another in the waves of ocean blue.
Our laughter rolled over the almost secluded beach and I got lost in the fun and pleasure of being with my husband.
I pinched my nose and dove under the waves. Drake joined me under the deep blue. Wave after wave crashed above us sending bits of corals and shells splashing against our bodies.
There were schools of brilliantly colored fishes everywhere and an amazing Reef nearby.
We stayed enjoying the sun, oddly enough and ran along the coast hand in hand picking up seashells. “Let’s get going,” Drake said. “I don’t want to drain you completely. You’ll need your energy for later.” He kissed me and we headed back to the hotel.
That night he treated me to a romantic candlelit dinner. He ordered a large plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans for both of us. I laughed at him.
“Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually had ‘food’?”
I smiled to myself as I played along. He’d also requested an expensive bottle of champagne and we cheered and toasted to our romance.
We left the restaurant and actually fed to satisfy our rumblings. After dinner he carried me back to our suite and again covered me in his passionate kisses. My body was on fire and I’d never wanted him more than this moment in time.
He took me to the bed and satisfied my every need; having his way with my body and every inch of my being screamed in pleasure and craved more.
The next morning I snuck out of the bed and left him snoring. My head was heavy and I felt very ill.
I made my way to the bathroom and stared in shock at what I saw in the mirror.
“DRAKE! DRAKE!!!” I yelled nearly doubling over at the sight. I was shocked, no panicked is more accurate. “DRAKE!!?”
“Zoe, what is it? Why are you…?”
“You’re pregnant?” Drake said staring at the same thing that caught my eye. “Since when?”
“I don’t know!”
Drake ran towards me. “Your stomach.”
“Zoe you’re pregnant! And you ballooned overnight!”
“I’m sorry but this…how does that happen?”
“I don’t know!”
He rubbed my stomach as if touching it would confirm what his eyes were seeing.
“There’s a baby in there!” he said with the same disbelief and wonder.
“We have to get home. You have to get to a doctor.”
“I guess this means the honeymoon is over,” I replied.
He rushed back to the bedroom and threw the clothes hastily into the suitcases and rushed them downstairs.
I was still standing in the bathroom door in bewilderment when he came back up to the room.
He ran for his keys and was back in front of me within seconds. “You’re not dressed? Zoe are you ok?”
“Ok? No I’m not ok! I’m pregnant!”
I walked into the bedroom and changed clothes while Drake tapped his foot impatiently behind me.
We got to the airport and flew back home. As soon as the plane landed, Drake rushed the luggage to the rental car before running back to me double time and carrying me to the rental.
“Was I moving too slow for you?” I asked.
He smiled for the first time since the discovery. “Just a little.”
We arrived at the hospital and Drake again carried me inside. He brought a doctor into the exam room and waited impatiently for her response.
“So? How far along is she? Is it a boy or a girl? Is the baby healthy?”
“First time Father?” she smiled at him but was met with a look of anxiety and desperation.
“Well congratulations.” She began the examination to get the answers to his numerous questions.
She pulled out a digital heart reader and Drake began to panic. He moved towards her and convinced her that what she was seeing was a heartbeat of both Mother and child and there was no concern for the pulse.
Dr. Raymond had me lie on the examination table and she pulled the sonography machine closer to the bed. “She is around 4 months pregnant and the baby is growing well. One moment and I’ll have an image for you.”
She moved the paddle around my belly until we could see the baby growing inside of me. “Did you want to know the sex?’
“Yes!” Drake replied.
“No. I don’t want to know.”
She stopped and looked at me before continuing the exam. “You can tell him, but I don’t want to know.”
“No. I can wait with you Zoe.”
He was pacing near the bed, a large grin enveloping his face as he watched the child on the screen.
“We can start your prenatal care today; I want to see you back here in 2 weeks Mrs. Steele.” She handed me a giant pill and I swallowed it down.
“Is there anything else I can answer for you, Mr. Steele?” He shook his head no. “Well again, congratulations and you’re free to go.”
The doctor exited the room and Drake ran over and hugged me. “In 5 months I’m going to be a Dad!”
He kissed me hard, the smile never faded from his face.
He drove me home and forced me on the couch. “Can I get you anything? Blood? Fruit? Pickles?”
“Drake sweetie I love your enthusiasm, but I have no cravings and I’m not hungry. Just come and sit with me, please.”
He dove onto the spot next to me, his foot tapping like a mad man, he was too anxious to stay seated. He stood up and walked around.
I approached him, “Drake, I think we need to talk about this.”
He sighed knowing what was coming. “You slept with Vincent.”
I nodded slowly. “It happened after…”
“This isn’t his kid, Zoe,” he yelled. He spoke those words with such determination as if he were trying to convince himself of that fact more than me.
His phone rang and he noticed the call came from an unrecognizable number. “Hello?” he answered.
…“Drake! It’s Sarah! I need you, please!…”