Chapter 30: His Repentance
While I held Hope’s lifeless hand, I found myself in an inescapable state of frustration and utter desperation. She had been laying in my bed, for days now, and I wanted nothing more but for her to wake from the coma that her body had claimed since the incident with Kevin and…
...and whatever it was that had attacked her, almost taking her from me.
I wasn’t sure what it was, but I felt a burden in my chest. Perhaps it was guilt? Perhaps it was that I wished that I could imagine or believe that Hope had done this—risked her life—knowing she’d be okay; however, I knew that wasn’t the case.
She was weak, and she knew that she was.
None of her gifts worked. None of her gifts worked properly, no matter how much blood I had fed her prior to the incident because things take time…
Blood may have coursed her veins but that very same blood did not make up for months of starvation that I put her through. And, because of this, at first, I couldn’t understand so many things.
I couldn’t understand how it was that after I ripped the daggers from her body, slowly—but surely—she began to heal. I couldn’t understand how she continued to breathe and grew stronger with every passing day. At least, I couldn’t understand these things until I realized that the dagger was less than inch too far right from piercing her heart.
She got lucky.
I got lucky…
I had time to think about her and only her, and while my home silenced with anxiety and perhaps a hint of pity for me and for the woman that I had subconsciously grown to care for, I realized that if things had turned out differently...her hand would’ve been the perfect one to hold in marriage.
She is the only person that I had ever met whom never respected me because of the title my name carried but learned and understood her place when I stepped back far enough for her to have a floor to step on.
Regardless of how much or how hard I felt the need to punish her or beat her into submission in the beginning, things changed with time, and I found it hard to believe that it had anything to do with where we stood as individuals within the vampire race.
As I rose my head from the tucked position I was in, my eyes averted to Hope’s resting form. I had been sitting, quietly, beside my bed, in the same chair for days, waiting for her to give me a sign that she’d come back to me.
However, unfortunately, she never did.
I knew that it was normal for her body to have trapped her mind within and not allow her to regain consciousness because of the kind of damage that a hunter’s weapon may cause even a strong pureblood as herself. Nonetheless, it didn’t ease my mind in the slightest.
I could control many things, but it killed me not to be able to control or know when she’d look at me with those eyes of hers again.
My hand squeezed hers tightly, gently pulling it up to my lips where I planted a gentle kiss. It was warm, a comforting reminder that she wasn’t dead along with the steady rise and gentle fall of her chest.
I held her hand close to me, taking in the scent that I would forever recognize as the one that I owed most to. I wanted to thank her for saving my sister’s life, but I couldn’t do it without me knowing that she consciously heard me.
It was a cheesy cliche, but as I whispered, “please come back to me now…” I’d swear on my own life that her hand moved in mine. And in that instant, my eyes shot up to her face where my heart dropped as her own eyes slowly flickered open.
I breathed out in disbelief, “Hope?”
There was no response or any sign that she had heard me. She remained still, staring up at the ceiling of my bedroom and there was nothing either of us said until the blank look in her eyes suddenly shifted to one of pain and utter terror, and she shot up into a sitting position, screaming at the top of her lungs as tears slid down her cheeks.
She was in pain and it frightened me until I remembered the incident in which I had taken her life—the night of the gathering—and the result of her body and mind mending from it.
“Hey,” I stated, trying to calm her as I stood from my chair and sat beside her on the bed. Her screamed had muffled when I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her to me, holding her closely as I whispered in her ear, “It’s okay. You’re okay.”
Her arms wrapped around me, hugging me as tight as she possibly could until her body slowly released the tension it had built and the fists that clenched the back of my shirt relinquished their hold of me. Her breathing was hard and erratic, quickly calming and balancing as she took deep breaths.
Finally, her arms fell away from me and she sat silently, breathing in my own scent as she allowed herself to rest on my chest.
Though it pained me to have been given the privilege to hold her this way only because of what happened to her, I was glad that she didn’t fight my hand. I was glad that she found comfort in me though it was merely because of a desperate need of it.
The moment was almost and oddly euphoric for the both of us; however, it merely lasted for a few seconds for after she more than likely remembered exactly who was the person that was holding her, her body regained tension and she pressed her hands against my chest to push me away.
I didn’t resist her wishes; I had no right to. I backed off as she wished me to and returned to the chair in which I had been sitting before she awoke.
She never said a thing, and neither did I.
Deafening silence fell between us. And for a while, she wouldn’t look at me. In truth, even if she did, I didn’t think I could bring myself to look at her in the eyes either. I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve to have the pleasure of looking into those mesmerizing irises that had me constantly conflicting with myself for weeks now.
Though it stayed for several painful minutes, I wished for the noiseless space to return the minute that I decided to open my mouth to say, “it was the only way to get blood into your system.”
Hope’s eyes had wandered to the needle penetrating her skin, attached to a small tube that ran directly into a blood bag of which slowly filled her veins with the blood they needed to give her body the strength to continue to heal.
She lifted her left hand, moving it to touch her right arm where she gently ran her fingers over the small piece of tape holding the needle in place. With this, she exhaled a deep breath and ran her tongue between her dry and pale lips. For a moment, it seemed as if she was going to say something, but she never did.
At least, she never did say anything that did anything other than surprise me.
“How’s Kay?” she asked sincerely.
“Fine,” I replied softly and hesitantly.
I stared at her, waiting for her to look at me. Deep inside, I had hope that she would; especially in the moment when her eyes blinked away from her arm and looked straight before her. I would’ve believed that she would have taken the time to glance around the room—seeing as she was more than likely in a room where she least expected to wake in. Instead, the minute they averted up, they locked on the single out of place item sitting on top of the dresser: Kay’s teddy bear, Blue.
“Is that —”
“It was past her curfew,” I cut her off. “She was out of bed.”
Then, and only then, did she decide to look at me. There was a look of disappointment—anger—in her eyes. She felt as if I had done something unjust and it became very clear to me that she wanted more than an explanation when she stated, “what happened wasn’t her fault.”
She was challenging me, and perhaps she had no idea that she was doing it. Her hands had balled into fists, tightly clenching as she narrowed her eyes on me. She waited as patiently as she possibly could for me to say something, and I knew it would anger her if I reacted the way I normally did any and every time that she tried to stand up against me, her king: smirking.
But I couldn’t help it. I loved the fire that burned inside of her, even as she laid in what could’ve been her deathbed.
“I never said it was,” I acknowledged.
Weak and helpless, she didn’t care that the little bit of energy that she had was being wasted on what was a pointless argument on her behalf. Additionally and very much frustrating to me, she also didn’t care that she needed to rest.
She knew that I was not going to give into her wishes, no matter how much she glared at me. With that, she attempted to push herself to the edge of the bed to more than likely try to get back on her feet.
Of course, that wasn’t going to happen—at least not on my watch it wasn’t.
“You are not getting off of this bed until I say so,” I argued as I tightly grabbed her wrist, holding her back.
“Why?” she immediately snapped back.
“Because I said so,” I replied, and with a sigh, I stood from my chair. I had effortlessly and gently grabbed her by her shoulders and pushed her to lay down. Once her head was safely resting on the pillow beneath her, I added, “you need to rest.”
She didn’t appreciate it...at all. Instead, she glowered at me and scoffed.
“And all of a sudden you give a damn about my well being?” she sarcastically spat.
I clenched my jaw, and a growl erupted from the back of my throat.
I didn’t want to allow the frustration that I was feeling to surface, but at that point, I couldn’t help it. Not only was I trying to control my temper, but I was also trying very hard not to hurt her physically and emotionally...if I ever could, anyway.
“That mouth of yours…” I mumbled as I planted my hands beside her, leaning in on her.
“What about it?” she challenged.
I balled my hands into fists, tightly clenching the sheets of the bed. My eyes glared into hers, my nostrils flaring. I wanted to intimidate her though I planned to physically do nothing to her, but it simply didn’t work. Whether it was because my eyes faltered or because she was testing me, I couldn’t tell.
Ultimately, however, it didn’t matter. And, I was glad it didn’t—I was more afraid of what I’d have to do or would’ve done if a knock had not echoed through the room just seconds later.
My sight flickered away from her, shifting to that of the doorway as I stepped away and sat back down on my chair.
“Come in,” I commanded.
The door creaked open and in came the only person that I knew would dare come looking for me in the middle of this whole situation: Kevin.
“Big brother…” she called softly.
“What is it, Kay?” I sighed as I watched her nervously walk in. She shut the door behind her, her eyes glued to the floor as I knew what would soon be tears slipping down her cheeks began to build at the brim of her eyes.
When she took the final step to stand merely inches beside where I sat, a soft whimper emitted from the back of her throat. “C-Ca-an I ha-have hi-him b-b-back n-now, please?” her voice quivered.
She made me feel like a terrible person. And, truly, I had been a terrible person to her. I hadn’t really just punished her for being up past her bedtime.
No...the truth was far different.
I wasn’t sure how long I was lost in my thoughts, but by the time that I had drawn my attention back to my surroundings, I found that insubordinate woman standing by the dresser, taking the stuffed-animal into her hands.
“Hope…” I warned.
She didn’t care. She ignored me and slowly edged toward where I sat and Kevin stood. Then, she kneeled before Kevin. In the moment that she did, though she tried very hard to hide it, I could tell that she felt relieved to be off of her feet.
She was still very much in pain and very much tired.
“Hi beautiful,” she breathed out wearily.
“Y-You’re okay..?” Kevin replied in surprise.
With a sly smile, Hope nodded and whispered, “Yeah, I’m okay.”
“Hope...” I warned again.
She wouldn’t listen to me though. She wouldn’t so much as acknowledge my worry for her. Instead, she proceeded to hand the bear over to Kevin as she stated, “Here you go. Run along now. I’ll deal with the big bad vampire.”
Big bad vampire..? Is she mocking me?
In a matter of seconds, Kevin was out the door. Of course, I didn’t expect anything less. Knowing her, she was afraid that if she stuck around for a moment longer, I’d get up and take her happiness away from her.
“Why the hell did you do that?” I said soon after the sound of the door slamming shut silenced.
She scoffed. “Like you weren’t going to give it back to her after she cried to you like that,” she stated.
I narrowed my eyes on her, watching her as she pressed the palm of her hand against the bed to use it for support. Then, she hesitantly rose to her feet. The way that her legs shook as she desperately tried to stand strong made me worry for her much more than I had when she walked across the bedroom.
And with that very same concern, I quickly rose to my feet and moved to help her stay on her own two. My arm rested on her waist, holding her against my body. It was very frustrating to see her breathing grow so erratic from such a small movement.
“Are you alright?” I sincerely asked.
She didn’t say a thing, but when her eyes rose to look at me, it was enough to answer my question. I wanted to believe that she was glaring at me, but truly, she was pleading me not to let her go. Though she already felt embarrassed for having to lean on me after everything, she didn’t want me to let her go knowing that if I did she’d fall and embarrass herself even more.
“You’re okay…” I whispered. “I’m not going to let you fall again.”
Her hands rose to press against my chest and in the brief moment that I would’ve believed that she was going to fight my hand, I knew that she knew that I meant every word that I said. But it confused her, and that confusion oddly bothered me.
“Why are you being nice to me?” she questioned.
I knew exactly why, and it wasn’t because I felt guilty for the things that I did to her before, because that...that I could hide with my own discreet acts of kindness that I often caught myself committing towards her.
“Thank you,” I said, knowing she knew exactly what I was talking about. “Thank you for saving her. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t.”
She looked at my sympathetically, and for a moment, I liked it. I liked it because...I imagined that she was looking at me in a different way—a similar way. I imagined that she looked at me with love in her eyes. However, it wasn’t like that and it would never be like that. She made that very clear with the actions that quickly followed and struck me just as hard as it did when I believed that that dagger pierced her heart.
“Yes, you do…” her voice trailed off as the look in her eyes hardened. “You would’ve blamed me like you blamed her because you could never admit that maybe everything that goes wrong or against your wishes in your life is your fault. And, instead of taking my most prized possession, you would have killed me for it.”
She wasn’t wrong.
She wasn’t wrong at all.