A New Chapter
I woke up to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ blaring in my ears. I sat up dazed and disorientated-- traffic zoomed all around us-- horns blaring, people everywhere… and rain pelting from the sky.
“Good morning little bird.” Vincent whispered in my ear, as our taxi driver laid another honk on the horn and turned the corner.
Our plane had been scheduled to land in Heathrow-- but we were staying in Chelmsford, and apparently, our driver thought it was a great idea to take us through downtown London, instead of avoiding the heart of the city. Excitement washed over me as I stared out the windows at the brick buildings, the double-decker busses and the people! It was hard to tell what street we were on-- all the street signs were on buildings and the streets crisscrossed every which way, curving and twisting like a giant maze. If I was to pick a place that I was to call my favorite city-- I think London takes the cake, followed very closely by my own hometown… Vancouver. I know I’d been here before-- but I couldn’t remember any of it-- it was as if everything was brand new in my eyes and just as exciting, if not more! There was an air on the humid rain that smelt of deep rich history-- I opened the window a crack and breathed in the freshness of pavement, brick, and dew. I had no idea how long I had been asleep but in forty odd minutes we were leaving London city behind us as our driver followed the M11 roadway through Chigwell, and onto Canes Lane-- each road narrower than at last, until we hit the A414 which took us almost the whole way to Chelmsford. I was surprised how easily our driver navigated the narrowing roads; he didn’t seem stressed at all! If I had been driving and trying to navigate and trying to make sure I was on the right side of the road… my head might have exploded. We’d reached Chelmsford in just under two hours-- and the estate we headed to once we were in Chelmsford was another half an hour drive, eventually we turned off the main road and drove for a while down a smaller lane that kept narrowing and becoming less pavement and more dirt, and then it was gravel we were rolling along on top of and we were now surrounded by trees- it reminded me of when Sebastian had taken me to visit his family.
“You guys really like being secluded.” I mumbled.
We stopped at a huge iron gate, and the taxi driver looked over his shoulder. “This is as far as I go mate.”
Vincent nodded and handed him the appropriate pounds, then we climbed out of the car.
It was still raining out-- but much less here, falling down as a watery mist which added to the morning chill; so chilly in fact my breath was fogging up out of me as I sighed, wisping into a little cloud. I noticed that Vincent’s breath was invisible; perhaps it is because his breath is already cold. Vincent pulled both pieces of luggage from the boot of the car, giving it a little tap when he was finished, and then taxi driver took off quickly down the gravel lane.
“Vincent, I’m freezing…”
Vincent passed me his jacket. “Sorry about that. Taxi drivers seem to get spooked when driving to places like this-- so they will only go to the gates and no further. We’ll have to walk unless I leave our bags here and run you to the house and then come back for them.” He looked at me wondering I suppose if that was what I wanted him to do.
I shook my head; I didn’t want to be left with a group of strangers while he came back to get the suitcases. The driveway was long-- and cobble stoned. It took us precisely ten minutes to walk up and by then the misting rain had ceased and the sun had finally made its appearance. I walked down the middle of the cobbled drive so that the sun would hit me fully in the face instead of walking in the shadow of the trees. I was damp and teeth-chatteringly cold by the time we reached the roundabout where there was a fountain spraying water up into the sky and falling like miniature water crystals in the sunlight back into the pool below; I stared in awe at the marble of the fountain as the front door to the mansion behind the fountain flew open.
“Genevieve?” Came a squeal from a girl as she flew out the door and ran like a bullet at me. I was nearly knocked over and then squeezed tightly in a hug; then held back for observation. “So it is true.” She mumbled and glanced at Vincent. “You have married my cousin.”
I stared back at the girl, not recognizing her for the life of me. Her skin was extremely pale; she had huge blue eyes and bright blond hair which was in ringlets at the moment held in place with one big metal clip in the shape of a butterfly. It all meant very little to me. I looked over at Vincent.
“So we meet again Claire.”
I looked back at the girl-- so apparently we had been friends at one point; Marissa had told me I had been friends with her cousin, this must be her.
“I am sure Marissa informed you Genevieve has suffered a memory loss.”
Claire looked at me and blinked her bright blue eyes. “Yes, I can see it when I look into her eyes, it’s like nothing is there; which is such a shame-- I mean we were such chums! Oh, the times we had! To not be able to remember those adventures… how awful. Is it reversible?”
Vincent frowned. “Perhaps.” He muttered as my mind went to-- ‘Nope.’
Claire nodded, taking my hand and pulling me towards the house. “Well then, let’s get acquainted! Come in, come in! We’ve all been waiting! No more dawdling-- I want to you meet the family!” She practically jumped up and down as she dragged me towards the house.
If only I had a memory of this girl; she was so full of life and energy-- I am sure we had amazing times together! Claire was the opposite of the girl-- Annabelle; my sister, and yet her exact twin in every way. As Claire and I entered the house hand in hand, I heard Vincent dragging suitcases up the few steps behind me, I found myself face to face with a gigantic crowd of people… Claire squealed, let go of my hand and went to join the gathered crowd. “Welcome.” They said in unison.
Vincent bowed his head and I copied him. One by one they then stepped forward and gave us each a hug, some whispering their names-- others ribbing Vincent and asking him when he was going to turn me, or winking and asking on when we were going to start having babies; by the time the crowd thinned and the majority of them had left the Hall we found ourselves with Claire again.
“Wasn’t that spectacular! Oh-- there are some rules and traditions we have let slip for the sake of survival-- but that is one tradition I truly love! Every time I am away and come home, to be welcomed by the whole family… it is so--honoring.” Claire’s petite frame bobbed as she walked, guiding us down a set of hallways to the left; she almost looked like she never touched the ground, or that she was dancing… “Don’t you agree dearest Vincent? Or do you recall what that feels like?”
Was that something Vincent understood? Did his family do the same thing?
“It’s been a long time since I was home Claire.”
“Ahhhh yes-- forgive me; a momentary slip of my mind.” She led us out of the hall and down another and up some stairs and around a few bends and turns-- I was never going to figure out how to get out of this building… “You will, of course, need to tell me the whole story someday.”
“The whole story?”
“Genevieve darling-- when you got on that forsaken plane and left me-- you hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do if a boy approached you… so there has to be some sort of story on how the two of you ended up being-- together.”
“Claire. Her memories are gone. I told you that already.”
“Yes, silly me. Vincent-- you’ll have to tell me.”
I suddenly found a dislike for this girl; her tone was so rude to me and was she being flirtatious towards my Vincent? How dare she!
Claire grinned at Vincent and then stopped before a door, and pushed it open dramatically. “These will be your rooms while you stay with us. I do so hope to spend some quality time with each of you.”
Vincent nudged me from where I stood fuming wishing I could frame a cutting remark toward Claire and I entered the room instead of saying something I would probably regret later. I saw what Claire meant by rooms once we were inside; it was a suite very similar to the ones that Marissa had at Worthington Manor. This first room we were standing in was a sitting room, and on either side of the room was a doorway leading off into other rooms.
Claire spun around and grinned. “Well, that’s that. I’ll leave you to rest-- Oh.” She frowned. “But Vincent your father is due to stop by here shortly so please don’t hold off turning her… because even if you have to hide when he is here he will be able to smell and hear Genevieve if she is still a human.”
Vincent was scowling. “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”
Claire shrugged. “We didn’t know until early this morning. You know how he is. He is desperate to regain control of the European Coven. My father will not hear of it-- I wish I had been given more notice. Trust me none of my family will say a word of your presence-- however--” Her nose crinkled as she took a deep breath. “If I can smell her sweet blood than you know your father will be able to as well.” She giggled. “Oh Gen! I am so glad to see you! I only wish you were already one of us. I truly had forgotten how sweet your scent is!”
Vincent sighed as Claire hugged me, against my will I might add-- and skipped from the room shutting the door behind her.
I chose to ignore what I had just heard and instead made my way through the room and looked around at everything, I peeked in the room off on the left side; it was a library-- then I meandered to the right side of the room, Vincent trailing along behind me with the luggage. It was a beautiful bedroom. I sighed and turned to leave the room but Vincent was standing in my way with his arms crossed over his chest.
“You heard what Claire said?”
I nodded, watching him. “Yes-- and I also saw how she looked at you.”
“Oh-- don’t be absurd.” Vincent shot back.
Was he really that blind? Or was he just choosing to ignore what he knew to be true?
“Claire is your friend Gen and my distant cousin.”
“So like, how distant?”
“Irrelevant? How is it irrelevant? Look Vince--”
“No-- you listen. My Father is coming here; this changes everything.”
“How does it change everything?”
“Because you can’t remember-- you have no memories!”
“So? I was going to wait until they hopefully started to come back before I rushed into turning you.”
“They aren’t coming back.”
“But they can.” Vincent hissed.
“No-- they won’t. I didn’t want to tell you this… but the whole mind wipe thing? Regardless of how it happened or who did this to me-- it was inevitable.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean-- I am becoming less and less human every day. Father Ezekiel told me that once my Fae side was triggered my human memories would disappear and my mind would be reset-- rebooted.”
“But why? That’s so dangerous!”
“They didn’t think it would be because it wasn’t supposed to happen here; it was supposed to happen in the Fairlands-- and I was never supposed to come back here. I would simply have awoken in my bed, surrounded by my family-- and I would never have known any different.”
“That’s a myth.”
“You’re a myth.”
“I’m not broken Vincent-- so stop looking at me like I am! I am not afraid of you turning me.”
“But you are broken. You barely remember me, what happens if your brain resets again?”
“I found you once-- I’ll find you again!”
Vincent sighed. “I don’t want to fight with you anymore.”
“I don’t either.”
“Look Gen. I don’t know how long the transition will take or what will happen to you, not because of your memory loss, but also because you are Fae and I have never heard of a Fae being turned successfully... And I’ll have to see my Father when he comes, and there will be questions I will be forced to answer-- questions I’m not sure how to answer.” I looked up at Vincent and saw a single tear escape the corner of his eye-- wow he was capable of tears? “I can’t lose you yet.”
“And you won’t.” I whispered more bravely than I felt. I was just beginning to grasp the danger of this transition-- no wonder why Marissa refused to change me and said it had to be Vincent…
“I don’t deserve someone like you.” He whispered.
I shook my head. “Of course you do.” I replied and walking over to him I placed my arms around him and just held him, willing myself to not be afraid…
“I haven’t fed on you in over a month; before you would only have had to have some of my blood and you would turn.” He whispered into my hair. “This will take longer… and be more painful. I don’t even know how much more so-- but it will be. I feel so selfish even asking this of you.”
“I don’t care. If you are selfish then I am so much more so. I want you. Nothing else understand-- just you. Damned, be everyone and anything else.” I tried to say it with more conviction than I felt because a part of me wondered if I was walking into my own funeral… would I wake up? If I did-- would I remember any of this?
“He is your Savior and your slaughterer…”
What was this?
“You are to marry him-- a Vampire.”
“No! She is MINE!”
I shivered-- too many voices.
“My scarlet woman…”
“My little bird…”
Did I have to belong to someone? I mean, I chose Vincent-- but I hoped he didn’t view me as property… I was a warrior, and there was so much to be done… if only I knew what.
Vincent turned me to face him in his arms and kissed me gently, biting down on his lip his sweet blood lingered on my tongue; he tipped up my chin kissing my cheek and jaw his lips lingering on my neck. I waited, my pulse gathering in quick pulses; Vincent wasn’t a gentle guy and I knew this was going to be messy and not a bit sexy at all.
“Whatever happens. I love you. I’d follow you into hell itself if I had to- to get you back.”
I swallowed-- what if he really did have to follow me to hell? Would he find me? I would always fight to find him… I didn’t have much time to contemplate the thought as something sharp grazed my neck; his lips kissed the curve of my neck again.
“Remember that my little bird, and not what is about to happen…”
I opened my mouth wanting to reply but then he bit down hard. I closed my eyes and reveled in the feeling. All thoughts of words gone. Twin stings as his fangs entered my skin; I floated for a moment on the high of my blood being sucked. Vincent’s arms wrapped around me like a cobra’s vicious embrace of its prey-- I felt the bones in my body tremble under the pressure… I closed my eyes-- shuddering; my head spun, lighter than air and as Vincent released me-- I fell bloodless, lifeless backward onto the bed. Fire laced its way through my veins toward my heart, and this world began to fade to darkness and fire and lava and ash seared through my throat.
“He’s here.” My lips pushed out the words. I could see him in my head-- though everything else was gone; the man with black wings and red eyes… he was waiting for me on a sea of heat and ash.
I couldn’t see Vincent anymore but he gasped-- and I don’t know if it was because he understood me or if he thought I was talking about his father-- but I heard him screaming Claire’s name and a door slamming in the distance-- that was the last I heard his voice, the roaring of the fire and the searing pain of the lava overcame all and I was in hell.