"For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home."
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss
The minute Annie steps through the door she's surround by jazz. It's a sweet sound, the saxophone playing a gentle tune. The sky is a clear blue, with a few clouds and the grass is greener than she's ever seen and it's tall, so tall that her finger brush right over the tips of the blades. A soft breeze drifts through her curls, rustling them to which she laughs and begins running.
Of course a brief cry is heard and she looks into her arm where Eve lays, slowly awakening to her new home. And it's then that she sees it, a neighbourhood alive with colour, with the traditional picket white fences and the sun shining down on one pink place in particular and she knows, she just knows that's where George and Nina and Mitchell are, living a life and waiting for her and Eve.
So she sets off, out of the field towards the warm community with the baby smiling for she knows too, knows that this is heaven, and she'll be reunited with her family.
Mitchell groans as he lifts himself up. He feels like he's been stabbed with a million stakes, each one taking a new turn to which he collapses again.
"Tough go mate?"
He's lying on his stomach as he turns his head, his vision groggy to which he sees a blond man, leaning against a set of bars, grey eyes illuminated into the torchlight.
"Where am I?"
"I'm not sure. I think it's hell, certainly sounds like it, but then again I haven't been out of this cage since I died so…who knows?"
He chuckles a bit, looking down onto his fingers before his eyes resume to Mitchell's.
"Name's Daniel. You?"
The vampire slowly rises up, finally gaining his bearing as he looks around. It certainly looks like hell if the painted pictures from society have anything to do with it. The walls are rock, but highlighted with a red glow. He begins to crawl to the end of the cage just to see what lies beneath him.
"I uh…wouldn't do that. Did it me'self, almost retched all over this cheery place."
Mitchell ignores Daniel and peers over the edge. Beneath him lays a massive pit of what seems to be lava or something similar. The cage hangs far above the pool, being held on by single chain. He can hear the screams of those beneath him being tortured and the blood smeared on the ground by freaks. The bars are bone as he looks closer so he scrambles back, right beside Daniel at the other end of their prison.
"Like I said…cheery place."
She's greeted with hugs and tears of joy. Annie has never felt more at peace, sad as she hands Eve back to her mother but happy as she hugs George and Nina, the pair all too glad to see her as well.
The ghost currently sits at the kitchen table watching George make tea. She smiles at how domestic this life is for him, and how he seems to be much more at amity with himself. Nina's upstairs putting Eve to sleep so she can have a bit of time catching up with her dear friend.
Of course though…Mitchell's missing which gives her an incredibly big uneasy feeling that something's wrong but she avoids it. Maybe he's just out for a walk and will be back later. At least, that's what she hopes.
George sets a cup of tea before her as he sits down across from her. He takes a sip of his own while adjusting his glasses. She of course doesn't sip it, merely wondering why he'd give her something when he very well knows she can't taste it. As if he senses her distress he looks up and smiles.
"Go on, try it."
Annie gives him a curious look. "Alright."
She takes a sip and it's divine. The tea is so warm against her throat and the feeling is like being reunited with her family. She can taste all the flavour in it, the honey, the raspberry all of it. Her eyes open in excitement and her mouth forms and 'O'.
"I can taste it!"
George smiles as he takes a sip of his own. "I knew when you came you'd like it."
Annie smiles and takes another sip, breathing out a sigh of relief. Her eyes meet his and she's ecstatic at the simplicity of them at the table.
"I missed this."
George smiles and reaches across the table, grasping her hand.
Mitchell doesn't know how long he's been in this cage with Daniel, but every day the prison lowers itself, closer to the death trap below, closer to his demise.
He supposes he deserves this, after all of the shit he's pulled, after all he's done. He deserves this. He's earned it. Daniel recognized his need for silence a long time ago and stopped tried to initiate conversation. The pair simply sits at the end of the bars, looking at the cage across from them, at the sorry saps that fight nonstop and attack one another.
Their cage drops significantly more every day.
Today, whatever day it is, hasn't changed from before. That is, until Daniel breaks whatever silence the pair is sharing. The duo across from them is fighting again, the burly man winning this time against the mustached one.
"How much you want to bet? I think moustache is going to win."
Mitchell tosses Daniel a look, one clearing stating how unimpressed he is. The blond ignores it though, content on making light of the dismal situation. So the vampire decides to humor him.
"Muscles is clearly winning. I pick him."
"What are we betting?"
"The only thing we can. Stories."
Annie enjoys her time in the warm neighbourhood. Everyone here is friendly, all welcoming her with open arms. Nina and George are happy but Annie…
She's not. Mitchell isn't here; neither of her friends will speak of him as if he's a bad omen which in a way is a bit funny since he technically is one.
But she doesn't feel at home here like they do in this little neighbourhood. She feels out of place. The ghost tends to be more silent at meal times, faking her smiles with pearly whites and dimples.
Watching Eve when Nina and George go out is the only thing she really enjoys. But sometimes…that even isn't enough. She feels restless, like this place isn't where she's supposed to be.
So with new determination she packs her bag. She doesn't have much, just some spare necessities. Apparently clothes aren't a thing you need in heaven, she, George and Nina have been wearing the same outfits the whole time. But she grabs other things, requirements really and begins to head out the front door in the early morning. The werewolves are still in bed, sound asleep so Annie can make a clean escape. Of course though, nothing goes to plan.
"I figured you'd be leaving, just never thought you'd go without saying goodbye."
She winces and turns around to see George leaning against the frame, arms crossed and a looks of disappointment etched on his face.
"I'm sorry but…"
"I know. This place, it's for you to visit, not stay."
Annie sends him a bitter smile. As usual, he understands her perfectly well.
"I just don't belong here George. You and I know that."
"You going to look for him then?"
The ghost tilts her head as she leans against the frame opposing his.
"Why don't you speak of him in this house? I thought…"
"A lot of people here don't like him. They've heard of his doings Annie, and they hate him for it. And Nina and I…we're just not willing to risk our paradise for him."
Annie knows she's disappointed in George but understands at the same time. She hugs him then, embracing his warmth fiercely, as if letting go means she'll lose the memory of him.
"We'll see you again yeah?"
She pulls back and nods, curls bouncing. "Yeah. And George?"
"I don't think you can get kicked out of heaven for mentioning a dear friend."
With that she closes the door, moving on to find Mitchell.
The muscular man wins. Daniel purses his lips, looking over to Mitchel who's playing with his fingerless gloves.
"Well, what do ye want to know?"
"How'd you get here?"
"Ah. Murdered me wife. Bit 'er neck as she stabbed me in the heart. Quite a pair we are."
"A vampire? Yeah. Convenient for you eh?"
"I don't understand."
"Did cha ever hear of the Madigan Massacre?"
"Yeah. In Canada right?"
"Yeah. You're looking at the killer."
"Bloody hell. You did that?"
"Yeah. My final piece of destruction. That's how my wife died. Never told her what I was and yet she managed to get me anyway."
"You never told her?"
"No. She was human ye know? Beautiful woman, I was lucky to have 'er. Ah was so high on bloodlust ah couldn't think straight. Ah see her, this gorgeous woman and next thing ye know ah'm on her neck, devouring her like she's nothing but a piece of meat. And then she stabs me with a stake, pushes me off of 'er and collapses on the ground as ah blow away. Kind of poetic actually."
Mitchell let's out a breath. "Wow."
"Yeah. What about you then? How'd ye get here?"
"Fraid you'll have to make a bet again to hear that."
Daniel grins, accepting the challenge.
"Again? You'll be telling me stories for a long time." says Mitchell, chuckling as he looks once more at his fingerless gloves.
Annie's not sure where she's going exactly. Her end game is Mitchell, that's for sure but where to begin…
Well that's a whole other story.
So she makes her way to the hill where she first arrived. Might as well retrace her steps if she'll ever find the love of her long life. The words make her smile and her heart ache.
"Where are you Mitchell?" she whispers to the wind as walks through the large field. She looks back though only to see that the neighbourhood is gone, replaced by an ongoing field. She looks in front of her to see a house on a beach, resting before her. She picks up her pace, clearly this is where she's supposed to be, and soon she finds herself slowing down her speed once she's on the sand and the house is only a few minutes away.
It's then that she sees a woman on the porch with a mug in her hand, leaning against the railing that faces Annie. Soon the ghost arrives and walks up the steps to the stranger.
"I'm Erin Armstrong. I've been expecting you."
The moustache man wins.
Mitchell leans his head against the bones. They no longer make him shudder, he's after all seen much worse, but he's not sure if he's ready to talk… but a bet's a bet.
"So, Mitchell, why ye here?"
"My best friend killed me."
Daniel nods. "Been there mate."
"No you don't understand. I asked him to. I needed him to."
"I took responsibility for my actions and to prevent further harm from coming to those I care about."
Silence reigns supreme between the two of them, sitting, waiting.
"You remind me of me wife."
"Yeah? What was she like?"
"Like I said, an absolutely beautiful woman. Hair that fell in long, brown waves making it look like chocolate mousse. Eyes as blue as the sea. Skin as pale as snow."
"Snow White then?"
"Not even close. She was a sadistic, cynical person. Always dressed like she was going to business. In way she was I suppose, she was a publicist. But she could kiss like there was no tomorrow. She made me heart flutter. She never believed in fate, said it was overrated and she'd be damned if she let someone or something rule her life. But ah knew deep down she loved it when ah told her it was fate to which we met. She was all talk that one."
Daniel speaks which such a great fondness that it makes Mitchell's own dead heart ache. What it would be like to feel Annie's warm arms around him, just one more time. The minute her name floats into his mind the ache increases till it consumes him and he gets up from the side of Daniel, walking over to the end of the cage to look down once more.
Silent tears fall down his cheeks, the pain so incredibly unbearable, weighing down on him heavily. He shakes the bones, listening to the rattle against his ferocious grip. He can hear Daniel get up but his mind is consumed with Annie. Her voice, her looks, her taste…cold and yet the warmest thing on the shitty planet. If there was anything good in his world, it was her and her only.
"You know…I've got an idea but everyone who's been in this hellhole with me is to afraid…but you…I think you could do it."
Mitchell spares a look over to the blond who's leaning beside him, back against the cage facing the other side.
"We've got to get out of here Mitchell. My love…she won't wait forever and I've got a score to settle with 'er. And you? I think you've got a bonnie lass to find."
"Any poor sap such as yourself has a woman who'd he'd burn the world for."
"Was she…for you?"
Daniel nods bitterly. "Indeed she was. Hell, I'd still burn the world for her. Now what'd you say? Shall we set fire to the rain?"
"So…how does it work here? One minute I was with my friends and the next…"
"You were gone. Heaven changes to what you need. It's fascinating that way I find. You had your friends' baby with you correct?"
"So you arrived there, to the community, to see them again and know that they were okay but also…"
"To return their daughter to them. Oh my."
"Yes. It can be quite a difficult transition."
"But you knew I was coming."
"I've been here far longer than you though we're practically the same age. No, I've heard of you. After all you're one of the few who's rejected death's door."
"There's more than one?"
"Of course. You certainly didn't think you were the only one did you?"
"Well no…but I…"
"Relax. Besides, when I learned of what you'd done I filed a request to have you meet me as soon as possible."
"People here…don't like rejecting death. It's a bit terrifying for them. Most have either had no choice, such as us, or welcome it like an old friend. It's a…delicate topic with most. You never know how they'll react."
"Is that why you're here? Alone?"
Erin sips her tea quietly as she rocks back and forth in her chair. "Yeah. Like you I rejected the door, several times actually. Death thinks that once you've done what you needed to do you can go but most of the time, we're just not ready. I filed a complaint about that. Haven't heard back though. Bastards the lot of them."
Annie simply sips her tea quietly, taking it all in. She finds herself with a kindred spirit because for some reason she feels a deep kinship with Erin, even if she's only known her for a little bit.
"So…tell me about him."
"The man you're in love with. Vampire if I'm correct."
"Yes. He is. His name is Mitchell, and he's well…"
"Let me guess. It's complicated."
"Yeah. I'm afraid so."
Erin sighs. "And that's the way it always is."
"How in the blazing hell are we, two vampires, supposed to get out of a bloody cage into heaven, assuming that's where they are."
Daniel sighs. "See that side of the wall over there?"
The vampire looks to where the blond's pointing. "Yeah. What about it?"
"I've seen others; desperate souls really, do this. They swing when those below are asleep and dig."
"It's just dirt and stone Mitchell. There's quite a tunnel going that only those who see know about."
"So what we just swing the cage and dig then."
"Yeah. And then once we get out, we get to heaven."
"What about you? Who's your lost love, if you have one of course. I don't mean to pry but…"
"It's fine Annie. Actually we met in Canada, that's where I'm from, and he gave me the world. He challenged me and loved me and made me a better person. Then he bit my neck and murdered me with a feral grin. Luckily I got him back by stabbing his pitiful ass in the heart. Prick."
"Like your lover mine was a vampire. Only difference is the bloody bastard never told me about it until it was mowing down on my neck."
"Oh my god. I am so sorry."
"It's nothing. He went to hell and I became a ghost, just like you."
"What did you do?"
Erin shrugs. "Not much. Met a few other ghosts, had a few affairs with them though I suppose those were more of encounters, and just existed. Rather bleak it all was."
"When did you pass over?"
Annie's set her tea down, full attention onto Erin who simply stares out at the ocean.
"I'm not sure."
They've been working on the tunnel for forever but it just seems to keep going and going. It's never ending and soon they give up hope.
They lean against the cage, neither one speaking in fear of breaking the camaraderie they've established. It's heavy the air, thick with disappointment and despair.
Mitchell looks over then to Daniel's hands because he's fiddling with something, and it caught his eye.
"'er wedding ring."
"Expensive it was; she only takes the finer things in life. Watching her watch me open the box though, the emotions flickering through her face…made it all worth it. Suppose that's what love does, makes even the shit worth it."
Mitchell simply stares at the ring, thinking that it isn't Annie at all, she's more of a simple and refined look, and what it would be like to maybe…just maybe slip one onto her slim fingers and watch her face light up, the her eyes sparking with that fire he craves for his cold soul.
Like Daniel said, it'd be worth every shitty thing.
The ladies enjoy their time together. Erin shows Annie a room just for her, which is quaint and absolutely lovely. Every morning that the ghost wakes up she can look out her window onto the sea that laps against the shore, the sky always cloudy with the sun hidden away. It's never warm but rather cool, so a sweater is always needed.
Every time Annie does look out her window to smell the sea breeze she sees Erin walking back, wearing that thick blue sweater withy the buttons that goes to her knees with the high collar, walking back towards the house, her mind elsewhere.
She supposes their both quite lonely, even though anger simmers underneath Erin's surface, she's sure there's deep love beneath that too.
Her heart aches for Mitchell everyday though, especially in the morning when one half of the bed is cold, waiting for his body to come and warm it up. Annie's asked Erin about it, seeing if there was a way to get them back but the brunette simply shakes her head.
"If I could get him back I would. But I simply don't know how." is what she says.
So once again Annie looks out her window to the desolate sea, hoping that Mitchell will come to her…
Because she's not sure she wants to be in heaven if he isn't there with her.
She appears out of thin air with no warning but a high pitched giggle.
"So, Mitchell, how's the wolf shaped bullet?"
Mitchell stares at her, with eyes full of regret and fury. He wants to lunge, to attack her until panic seizes his heart, keeping him in place.
"What's wrong? Is it Annie?"
Daniel looks to him then since he's never truly heard about the woman until now, intrigued by how he knows Lia. She's been known to stir up trouble.
"Lia! What brings you here?"
She shrugs with a sneaky grin spreading across her face.
"I've been summoned. Suppose you could call me a guardian angel of sorts."
The men exchange a glance once again. Daniel's wary as is Mitchell, and both are afraid of their significant others being in danger. Besides, Lia's never been the type to be a guardian angel, unless she's one of theirs which is highly unlikely.
"Guardian angel my arse. What do ye want ye devil?"
The blond looks hard at Lia, refusing to back down his glare. Mitchell meanwhile keeps his eyes trained on her movements, to see if he can spot anything out of the ordinary.
"Well I'm not your guardian angels. Certainly not considering you've both done some pretty nasty things. Mr. Sullen over here killed me you know. Ironic, how I'm assigned to be the guardian over her soul."
It's then that Mitchell finally gets up, ramming Lia's tiny frame into the cage which drops a bit further. She laughs, manically of course, and quirks up her lips in secrecy.
"Relax big baddie. She's not here of course. A girl like here would never end up in a place like this. She's about as innocent as they come. However she's not moving on in heaven and that simply won't do."
"What do you mean moving on?"
"Simple. She left the baby with your friends and then wandered off. Heaven's a big place you know. If her heart isn't anchored to it then she'll disappear."
"What do you mean disappear?"
"She's got no purpose. So why should she stay?"
A flyer slips underneath the door. It's covered in frost, the tips wet. Annie has to take it into the kitchen, rub off the clinging cold and wait a bit for the corners to dry. It's an announcement of an event, one that doesn't really make sense to the ghost as she stands there by the table reading it.
Erin walks in then, her eyes furrowing at Annie till they zo9om in on the flyer.
"Not this again."
"What is it?"
"February 14 is coming up. Heaven holds dance for souls to find their true loves and that sort of nonsense."
Annie tilts her head. "It might do us some good to get out."
The brunette walks over, her blue eyes sparkling in the bright lights.
"Trust me. It's a terrible place. Too many rules, too many consequences, too many things that can go wrong…it's easier just to stay here."
Erin shrugs. "We're fools in love Annie, waiting for our men to come home from the battle. We could go out but we wouldn't find anyone. We're too stuck on the past to let it go."
With that the pale woman leaves, to which Annie collapses at the table, the flyer flickering in-between her fingers as she plays with it. She misses Mitchell, more than anything, but one night of fun can't hurt…
Disappear. No purpose.
The words echo in Mitchell's head driving him absolutely mental. Annie's the one person who should have a purpose, the one person who deserves heaven more than anyone else…and she simply can't have it? Won't have it?
What is going through her mind? She can't just…disappear.
"So I'm here to make sure it doesn't happen."
Mitchell looks to Lia again who's grinning ear to ear.
"Yeah. Seems the big guy's quite fond of her, wants her to have her happily ever after and all that jazz. Suppose you're the one to give it to her too. Of course, others are looking for her and your wife Danny boy. Seems neither woman wants to follow the rules."
"What do you mean others?"
"Well there both quite popular now aren't they? Refusing death's door more than once. Not to mention escaping the consequences. That's not supposed to happen you know. No one disobeys the rules and gets away with it."
Mitchell and Daniel exchange a glance before taking steps towards Lia.
"They better not lay a finger on her."
"Oi! Relax boys. It's why I'm here. I'm to help you get to your staring point. Then you're on your own from there to find them."
"What do you mean?"
"If you find your bonnie lasses, you can stay with them. If you don't however and the others do, then your punishment will be far worse."
"When do we start?"
Lia smirks. "Right now actually."
And with a loud pop the men are out of the cage and onto a red path that's incredibly thin, with the fire and lava beneath them. They're no longer in the blasted cage, free to run to their loved ones.
"I better warn you though, you're not human. Still have all that bloodlust inside of you. Well, good luck then."
Lia finally disappears leaving the vampire to their own devices. It's then that the smell of blood drifts in through their nostrils that they realize just how much more difficult this is going to be. Both can feel the fangs begin to sheath, the eyes turn to obsidian and they begin to run, faster than ever before, to simply escape the primal urge.
Annie is Mitchell's sole focus now. He needs to keep his mind on her to keep the beast at bay. He pictures her smile, her hands in his, her lips on his, and it's all that it takes for the urge to disappear.
He looks over to Daniel who seems to be focusing on his own woman and doing the same. They both share a nod and pick up their pace, wanting to find the women before the others do.
Loud music blares into Annie's ears as she enters the club. She had to do a lot of convincing to Erin, who was firmly against the idea until the ghost played on the idea of revenge against her husband. She then all too willingly complied.
The women make their way through the tight crowd, their outfits adjusting to the sound to become a tad bit more revealing than before. Heels soon replace the boots on Annie's feet and she stumbles. She certainly isn't used to the extra height and she wonders what Mitchell would think if he saw her now.
Her heart aches immediately at the thought of him but the strangest thing is everyone in the club has seemed to turn their heads towards her. Erin grabs her arm and quickly brings her mind away from the lost lover and the heads turn.
"Don't think of him here. That's one of the rules. You don't want to be noticed by everyone but one person, your true love of however the put it. Number two, don't kiss anyone."
"Why ever not?"
Erin looks around at the dancers, checking to see if any are listening. None are, so she continues.
"Because when you kiss someone in here, it's like sealing your fate. You stay with them, forever. That's why this place exists, to keep you anchored. It's not heaven but it's not hell either. It's some sort of impasse between the two. And I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly interested in being tethered to a complete stranger for the rest of eternity."
Annie gasps and looks around the club, shocked that this kind of place would even exist. It's horrid, but she supposes gives those the closure they need. It's then that she notices a strange man looking at her from the bar. He's a bit fuzzy, no, staticy, as if he's standing behind a TV screen. The ghost looks to Erin for help but the brunette seems him to.
"We need to go."
Erin grasps onto Annie's wrist and begins to drag the woman to the exit. The ghost glances behind only to see the man following them except now he's joined by two others.
"Erin…" she hisses and the brunette glances back.
She picks up the pace, letting go of Annie's wrist and the ghost speeds up her own movements to catch up. Soon the women are pushing people aside to get to the exit but it seems to drift farther away, almost as if it won't let them leave.
"We need to get out before they catch us."
Annie nods and the women run faster. They move through the crowd swiftly, as if no one is around them. Neither looks back, not willing to risk losing a moment or falling on that fateful step.
Soon they push through the doors and the world around them spins. Annie holds onto Erin for dear life, both women having their eyes trained on the door as the strange men go after them but the door shuts before they can leave and the pair let out a sigh of relief. The world stops, and they're once again on the beach near the house.
"Who were those guys?"
"Snatchers. They go after the ones who aren't anchored."
"Erin…we need to find Mitchell and your husband."
Erin spares a glance over to Annie and only nods, her eyes once again straying back to the ocean.
They run. Harder and faster, moving quickly towards the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels like they've been running for centuries, but the end goal is so real that it keeps them going.
He can feel the need for blood pulsating through his body. The smell of the crimson rivers drift in through his nose affecting his brain as his eyes begin to turn obsidian but then he hears her calling his name, her sweet voice drifting through his ears and it stops him in his tracks.
It's her scream, she's terrified and it break's the hold his instincts have on him.
"Are you coming mate?"
Mitchell looks to Daniel and nods, gathering his bearings.
And they continue to run.
"We need to get down there. Find a path. Bring them home."
Annie's walking back and forth like a mad man. She's worried, she's ancy, she wants to find Mitchell so she can simply hold him in her arms, and just love him. Love him the way he never has been, cherish him beyond all control.
"Annie, take a breath. We need to have a plan before running off into the sunset."
She pauses, turns to face the Canadian, looking at her with big eyes.
"I don't know if you noticed but we just had big scary men chasing after us, trying to kill us."
"I am well aware."
"And how much longer do you think they'll just sit idly by? They won't. They'll come for us, sooner rather than later."
Erin sighs. "I'm not disagreeing with you; I'm just saying we need to think before we do. We have no idea where they are let alone how to even get to them."
Annie crosses her arms, shutting her eyes and biting her lip. "I think I know how."
"And that would be what exactly."
"The same way I found you. You called me so we'll call them."
"I don't think that's how it works."
"No, Erin, think about it. When I was all alone on the cliff, wondering where to go next, all of the sudden the world changed and I found you. I think that, if we head to that cliff, where I first arrived and wonder where to go, the world will lead us."
Erin tilts her head. "It's so far-fetched Annie."
"This is heaven. We're supposed to get happily ever after."
"I've been here for a long time and nothing like that has ever happened."
"Maybe it's because you didn't have me to push you. Maybe this was supposed to happen."
"I don't believe in fate."
"Well I do. And I really do believe that this, you requesting me, isn't a coincidence. And I don't think those men chasing after us was either. We're supposed to find them Erin. We're supposed to get them out of wherever they are."
"The cliff then?"
Annie shoots Erin a blinding grin, and nods, grabbing the woman's hand and dragging her to her feet to which the pair begins to head off straight to the cliff where it all began.
Mitchell feels a shift in his chest. Something's different and as he exchanges a look with Daniel the other man senses it to.
As he begins to run faster he can remember all of his moments with her, each one flashing quickly. The one where he rescued her from purgatory, the one where she came home to the new house, her tea, the kisses, the hugs, the caresses, her dirty talk, her smile, her eyes, each curl on her head, the precious moments they spent together, her hellos, her goodbyes, her voice…
Bloody hell odes he miss her but he can't believe she's entered hell, or is at least close to it. God he hopes she hasn't entered. The stench reeks, and other cursed souls would be on her in a minute.
The mere thought makes him curse, and he runs a little faster.
He ignores Daniel, it's like he isn't even there anymore, it's just Mitchell against the clock, begging Annie to stay put. He's coming.
The women arrive on the cliff, holding each other's hands. Erin's clutching the neckline of her sweater, while Annie takes a step forward, looking around.
"We wait? I'm not sure."
"You said to think of where to go next right?"
"Okay. Grab my other hand. Yes. Now…think hard. Really hard."
She shuts her eyes, and thinks where could Mitchell be? Where is he? The words replay over and over into her head until Erin nudges her to open her eyes. She does and gasps. They're in another open field but before them lies a cave entrance and inside is a red glow. The women let go of each other but one hand again, walking towards the horrid light because it really is horrid with the smell attached to it, reeking of death and destruction.
"Hell? Yeah. Most definitely."
"So this is the edge of Heaven then?"
Erin's about to answer until they both sense something approaching them. It's a dark shadow, two of them and Annie knows that one of them is Mitchell. The rest of the world seems to fade away; she can't even see Erin anymore, her eyes solely focused on the figure approaching her.
Light shines into his pitiless orbs. There's no recognition of the voice that echoes into his mind. Only the smell of the most divine blood. It's sweet and rich, and he knows the moment he takes a bite it will taste just as glorious as it's smells. He'll have to go slow, take his time, enjoy the meal.
"Mitchell? Is that you?"
Nothing. No flicker in the eyes, no twitch in the hands. Her words bounce of a pale body that approaches her with fangs slowly unsheathing from their sockets. He knows it's her, knows of her but in this moment doesn't really know her.
She's just a girl named Annie. Nothing more, nothing less. An easy kill with no regrets.
He walks towards her, grinning but not showing the fangs…not yet. He can't have his prey running off now can he? Not that it'd matter, but he likes it when they don't suspect. The suspense makes it all the more worth it.
Her breath comes out in a gasp, her hands raised to her mouth but she doesn't run to him. Why isn't she running? Why isn't she trying to embrace him?
Lia's words vaguely come into his head, mentioning how he's still the monster he's always been but it doesn't bother him like normal. In fact, it makes him want to show he just how scary Big Bad John is.
She takes a step forward. So does he. Then her. Then him.
They do this until they're about one metre apart. He grasps her wrist then and pulls her to his chest, growling as he does so. He can see the fear in her eyes. They've always held so many emotions, open windows really. You could always tell what Annie was feeling.
It's then that she grasps his face in both hands. He blinks, how did she get out of his grasp? He tries to move his head but he fails. He lets his fangs out then, eyes perfectly black but she doesn't move, just closes her eyes and furrows her brow.
"What are you doing?" he utters out as the a memory begins to play in his mind and he cringes because it hurts. It hurts so much.
"Bringing you home."
"Mitchell? Mitchell? Can you hear me?"
"Help, Mitchell. I'm so scared."
"Don't go! Can you see me? Are you okay? Oh god, Annie."
Mitchell shakes his head. The memory hurt. What is she doing? Why doesn't she realize that he's about to kill her? He goes for a bite but another memory comes swooping in, knocking him off guard.
"You saved me."
"You saved me too."
He winces again, the memory not pleasant. Once more he tries to get away but her hands are like chains, locking his body to its position.
"In that case, you better build your strength up. I'll get start on the pancakes."
"Heya! I didn't drag you back from that place to make me breakfast, Annie."
"No. But, I do think I was brought back for a reason."
"I missed you…. We missed you. Every, every— We all missed you."
More memories came. Like a flood they rushed in.
"And how are you?"
"Me? Oh! You know me, always chipper. I never use the word "chipper". I don't know why I used it just then."
"Are you okay?"
"No. No, I'm not. Listen, I need to… I need to tell you something. I've done such things, Annie. I've done such terrible, unforgivable things. And I need to tell you."
"No you don't."
"I need to do this."
"No, you don't. Mitchell, listen. I know what you are. I've known since day one. All those things you've done, they're in your past right? It's who you are now that counts. And what you've done for me, for George, for all of us, that's the man I know. That's the man I trust. And… that's the man I want."
The memories stop and he opens his eyes after shutting them tight from the agony of those pieces of his past. And she's smiling, as bright as the sun and he realize that his desire for bloodlust is gone, no fangs to be found, not obsidian eyes.
Just him. Mitchell.
He looks at her then, really looks at her as she's in his arms and all he can do his pull her into his embrace, hold onto her tight and breathe in her scent. Tears fall down his cheeks, staining her clothes and he holds onto her even tighter, as if the minute he lets go she'll be torn out of his grasp. Forever.
Just like the memory and she pulls back, stroking his tears away and giving him that glorious smile.
"I already have."
And then she kisses him and it's like coming home, once and for all. She tastes of tea and smells like flowers and it's the greatest thing in his shitty existence. The kiss is delicate, tender. Sometimes it's brief and other times it's deep. She's warm and it's incredibly, her skin not leaving a bit of frost, him not shivering under her touch. Well he does, but it's not because she's cold. It's because she turns him on and he can feel the vampire slipping away from him, leaving his body to go back to the depths of darkness. He's found light, he's in the light.
He's left hell and found his home.
She brought him home. She'll always bring him home because she is his home.
The world spins and the couple find themselves on a cliff, Annie's cliff, and near the edge awaits a home for them. It isn't giant but not small, and there's no other places around it. It overlooks to ocean, which one Annie's not sure but she doesn't mind. There's other things that are far more important. Maybe one day she'll figure it out but for now not knowing is enough.
She takes Mitchell's hand, leads him to the porch where he sits down to overlook the waters as she goes inside to make tea. As she does so she notices a note, none other than from Erin who's long gone she's sure.
It speaks of fighting and tears, of rejection and reconciliation. Her husband, Daniel, found her and it was touch and go for a bit but they're okay. They'll work through their problems because this is heaven and they belong together. She speaks of getting together for tea every once in a while because the world can simply spin their way now.
Annie smiles, sets down the letter and finishes making the tea to which she brings it back to the porch. She stops in her tracks though because she sees the men from the club across the way. They're not close but close enough that Mitchell feels threatened and protective because he's standing up on two feet, glaring at them, daring to take another step.
Their eyes are on her though and she raises her chin, confidence rising through her and gives Mitchell his tea, distracting him so he sits on the chair and she places herself on his lap, kissing his lips briefly as she snuggles in. She can hear him let out a sigh of relief and as his eyes are shut she strays a look over to the men.
She swears one of them smiles at her before they disappear into a puff of smoke. She wonders if they did the same thing to Erin.
Her eyes stray back to Mitchell who's looking at her fondly. He's playing with her curls, he loves to do that, his mind far away.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
He smiles at her, kissing her lips like it'll be the last time he'll get to do it. She loves it.
"I just…I never thought…"
"You never thought you'd get to be here with me."
Her eyes stray to the see with his and she snuggles further in, setting her tea to the side.
"You're the love of my long life. If you weren't here, I wouldn't be."
He doesn't ask any questions, just continues to play with her curls. It's then that a voice echoes in Annie's mind, a deep voice sounding an awful lot like that American actor she very much enjoys.
And her eyes look to Mitchell, kissing his lips once more as she entwines her fingers with his.
"Welcome home Mitchell."