Chapter 37: Delusional
I sat on the couch with my legs crossed, comfortably leaning back as I held the television remote control in my hand. My brother, Kyle, sat next to me. He hadn’t given me much privacy since the little incident between Hunter and I.
It honestly sucked.
Everyone was expected to be coming home today, including my father. Yes, I managed to convince Kyle not to say anything, but I knew my father was bound to find out about Hunter and I. Truth is, I had no idea what I was going to do when he did, and as much as I tried to understand how letting go of Silver and loving someone else was a bad thing, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around it.
It was truly frustrating.
While I had really tried to keep my mind off of things by staring at the television for hours, I simply couldn’t.
A heavy sigh passed my lips as I leaned myself into my brother, sinking right into the side of his ribs. Though he is a lot like my father, being beside him made me feel warm. I imaged that my father would eventually be okay with Hunter and I, just as Kyle was.
“What’s wrong?” My brother calmly asked as he threw his arm around his shoulder and pulled me closer to him.
“This is so unfair...” I muttered.
He must’ve been thinking about the same thing that had been bothering me for I didn’t have to elaborate on what I thought was so unfair. In fact, he must have believed it was just as unfair as I did.
How could it be that out of all people, the person that I love also happened to be the same person that no one else liked?
“I’m sorry.” Kyle sincerely stated.
I shrugged, turning my head so that my voice was no longer muffled by his t-shirt. “It’s not your fault.” I responded.
There was silence between us for a while—a long while—and had it stayed that way, I would’ve fallen asleep.
“Out of all of us,” Kyle breathed, “why’d you pick him?”
I rolled my eyes, tilting my head up to look at his face. “You say that like I have control over my choice on who to love.” I argued.
“Dad’s not going to like this, Cel.” As those words left his mouth, I felt a sort of tug in my heart. It was nice to know that he was worried about me because it meant that he reacted the way that he reacted because I’m his sister and he cares about me, not because he merely didn’t like Hunter.
“He might go as far as killing him if he finds out…” His voice trailed off. He had briefly turned forward, shifting his eyes elsewhere before he turned back to look at me and planted a gentle kiss on my forehead.
“Then, please don’t tell him.” I begged. “He can’t find out the way that you did.”
“For your sake, and his,” he referred to Hunter, “I hope he doesn’t. I don’t think you’d be able to stop Dad from killing him.”
“I know…” My voice trailed off.
I didn’t want to think too much into how bad it would be if my dad did found out the way that Kyle did, but I couldn’t help it and it made me sick to my stomach. I had never seen my father lose control, but I heard that the few times that he did—long before I was born—it was terrifying. So much so that even Angela, the strongest among all of them, was afraid.
If she was too afraid of standing in his way, who would if he walked in on anything similar to what Kyle did and he broke away from control?
I fought very hard to keep the tears from building in my eyes, knowing that my parents would be walking in any minute now and would question me to no-end if they saw me crying.
In times like these, I felt like a child because my parents did a very good job of treating me as such. Though it’d been thirty-two years since my birth, they still had me on curfew and limited on the time I could spend with any friends that I had outside of this house.
Not that I had any friends to begin with. Being the daughter of my father was all fun and games until I realized that everyone was too afraid to so much as even look at me.
No wonder Silver left. She must’ve felt just as lonely with her being Angela’s and Andrew’s granddaughter and all…
I let out another deep sigh, further leaning against my brother—if possible—as he held me tighter with every passing minute. I believed that if he held me any tighter, he could actually make all of the worry go away. And, maybe, it would’ve worked had the door not swung open and revealed the one person that I was terrified of facing: my father.
Not a second went by before he stepped aside and allowed for my mother to come in, he then stepping in and followed by the rest of the Seekers.
I will never understand why we all live in this house, together. Sure, it’s huge...but still.
A few moments went by before my mother and father moved across the main entrance hall, coming into the living room a short second later. With this, I turned the television off and gave my complete attention to my mother as she approached us with furrowed eyebrows and a suspicious look on her face.
“Alright,” she breathed out, crossing her arms just beneath her chest as she came to a stop a couple of steps in front of where Kyle and I sat. “What did you two do now?”
Kyle furrowed his own eyebrows, slowly releasing me from his hold as he sat up. “What are you talking about?” He asked in his own confusion.
“You guys are always fighting.” My mother stated. “What did you do?”
Kyle and I briefly turned to look at each other, each of us just as confused as the other before we both turned back to my mother and found a playful smile on her face.
“Kitten…” My father called her, quickly joining her side before pulling her into his arms. “They’re finally getting along.” He teased. “Leave them alone.”
A light giggle emitted from the back of my mother’s throat as my father planted a gentle kiss on the top of her head. He then turned to a side, shooting Kyle a playful look before winking at me.
Who would believe that someone as strong and scary as he could be so gentle..?
“Yeah...I’m done.” Kyle chuckled, smacking me on the head before quickly getting up and running.
“Ah!” I yelled in frustration as I grabbed one of the pillows behind me and threw it at him.
Screw you, Kyle…
I walked quietly down the hall, enjoying the last hour of guaranteed silence and isolation I’d have until...who knows how long again.
After everyone had settled back into their bedrooms, my father called a meeting in the Seekers’ Conference room, or as I like to call “The Forbidden Room”. We all knew that though everyone that lived in this house was trustworthy, no one other than Seekers were allowed in there.
I assumed it was because if we weren’t Seekers, we really had no business in there. Whatever they discussed behind those walls, it must’ve been so important that only being one of them made you strong enough and smart enough to be trusted with that kind of information.
Whatever the case was, I didn’t think too much into it. The last time that I got a little too curious with what was behind those doors, Demetre, being as uptight as he is, told my father that I was trying to sneak in. And, that was the first and only time my father had ever been disappointed in me.
As I came to the end of the hall, stopping in the middle of the final hall that’d eventually lead me to my parents’ bedroom, I paused for a few minutes. I wanted someone to talk to and I knew that the only person I could possibly talk to and get comfort from would be my mother.
I knew that I could tell her exactly what was on my mind and she wouldn’t be angry at me or dismiss me. That is why everyone loved her. Though she was far from being the strongest vampire alive, she was wise and a genuine person. She tried to put herself in other people’s shoes so she could understand them a little bit better. She had an amazing heart. Sometimes I wished I was more like her.
I made a left turn, quickly coming to the end of the hall where I came to stand right outside of the doorway. The door had been left wide open, I clearly not being the only one who wanted my mother’s company. I saw her brother—my uncle—Elijah sitting at the edge of the bed, watching as my mother finished putting away the laundry.
I rapped my knuckles against the wall, leaning against the doorframe as I waited for my mother to allow me in.
“Come in, sweetie.” She commanded as she came out of the walk-in closet, swiftly closing the door behind her.
I gave her a small smile, reluctantly taking short steps into the room. My eyes were practically glued to the floor, my mind clearly elsewhere. It must’ve been obvious even to Elijah as he poked my ribs the moment that I sat beside him.
“Hey, Pumpkin.” He called to get my attention. He knew how much I hated it when he called me by that stupid pet name.
I gave him a long sideway glance, watching that annoying smirk on his face grow into a smile as he threw his arm around me and shook me with a tight hug.
“What’s wrong, Pumpkin!” He blurted in my ear.
“Leave me alone, weirdo!” I blurted back as I broke into laughter.
“Mwah!” He planted a kiss on my cheek, patting my head and shaking his hand to purposely mess up my hair. “See you later...Pumpkin.” He said, excusing himself a few minutes later.
Though I really did enjoy my uncle’s presence—he made it not so hard to not think about a lot of things—I really wanted to talk to my mom.
“What is it, sweetheart?” My mother asked, coming to sit beside me.
How do I even?
I didn’t want to make it sound corny or more dramatic than it really was, but there simply was no way around it. The story of a relationship between Hunter and I was just as cheesy as the next story of the good girl falling in love with the bad guy. Additionally, there was nothing more dramatic than wanting someone you couldn’t have because everything was against it.
“M-Mom,” I hesitated, “w-what would you say if I told you that I fell in love with a Seeker?”
“Hmm…” She hummed, thinking to herself for a moment. “I would say it’s great, but what about Silver?”
I quickly turned to look at her, letting out a soft sigh. “Silver left me, mom. She left me and she isn’t coming back.” I admitted, my thoughts shifting to that of the night of the ball at Erebus’ home.
And, trust me...you don’t want her to come back. Because if she ever does, when everyone finds out where she was...all hell is going to break loose…
“And you are sure that this isn’t your way of coping?” My mother gently asked. It was almost impossible not to notice that she was trying her very best not to upset me or offend me by asking me that question. Because in other words, she was asking me if I was sure of my feelings and they weren’t being clouded by my desire for Silver to come back and be mine.
“I’m sure.” I stated truthfully. “I still love Silver. I mean, she’s my best friend. But, I don’t think that I was ever in love with her. Not this way, at least.”
A small smile broke on her lips, shooting me a slight nod of approval as she admitted, “I like that answer.”
I had to let her go because I wasn’t given much of a choice. Although it greatly hurt me, I was glad that she didn’t give me any other choice but to let her go. Had it not been her facing the reality of us, I would’ve never realized just how blind I was to everything around me. I, out of all here, was by far the most naive.
Sometimes I wished I wasn’t so fragile and innocently wholehearted, because maybe if I wasn’t, I’d have the courage to go off on my own too. I didn’t want to be my parents’ child for all my life. Eventually, I knew that I’d want to be my own person too.
I’d want to be my own person too…
“Do you think dad would be mad?” I asked lowly.
“It depends.” My mother nudged. “Which one of the few available are we talking about?”
“Hunter..?” I stated in more of a questioning tone.
The smile on my mom’s face quickly faded, a look of terror instantly taking place. Her voice shook when she breathed out, “Oh, Honey…”
Even she’s afraid of how my father will react…
She took a second to recompose herself, letting out a soft sigh soon after before she added, “I was hoping you’d say someone else, though I sort of already knew it was him.”
My eyes shot up to hers. “You did?!” I exclaimed in my surprise.
She nodded slowly, almost apologetically. “It’s hard not to notice the smile he puts on your face; especially since you hardly said a word or made an effort to come out of your room when Silver left.”
I wanted to understand what my mother thought of us, but I wouldn’t dare ask. By frankly, I was too afraid that she’d tell me that I’d do Hunter and myself some good by letting him go and pretending that what we felt wasn’t real.
“I’ll speak to your father.” She hesitantly insisted, clearly unsure of how she’d go about dropping the anchor on his foot.
“No, mom.” I quickly refused. “Kyle already tried to kill him. I don’t want d—”
“You told Kyle?”
Mmm…. No. Not exactly.
“Well, I didn’t tell him.” I muttered between my teeth. “He just kinda walked in on us —”
“You had sex with him?!”
Oh. My. God.
“No! Mom, we were just kissing and Kyle walked in —”
“Who walked in on who doing what?” I was cut off by the strong voice echoing in the room.
My eyes shot up to the door, my father having emerged with a very curious look on his face. I had quickly rose up to my feet, my heart sinking to my stomach as a knot formed at the edge of my throat. I would’ve been sure that he heard every word that I exchanged with my mother had I not seen how calmly curious he was still looking at me.
“Nothing!” I exclaimed with as much innocence in my voice as I could muster.
Not wanting to be stuck in the room with both of them—the parent that knew something very important that the other should too but didn’t and the curious one that I’m sure could talk me into spilling what he should know—I didn’t bother so much as looking back at my mom. It was as if I was in a very intense race of speed-walking as I swiftly moved to the exit of the room, where my father still stood.
I only quickly halted on my tracks to plant a kiss on his cheek and squeak, “Love ya, dad.” Not more than a second after, though he purposely refused to move, I slipped out between the small space I had been left with swiftly enough to only hear him chuckle from afar, “I love you too, sweetie.”
Nope. Nope. Nope.
I felt as if I was running for my life, going down the hall and zooming by the rest of the Seekers that were just barely coming out of the conference room.
I ran face-front into a very strong chest, the impact somehow blinding me for a moment. A loud ringing pierced my ears, my face falling numb as my knees buckled and sent me crashing onto the carpeted floor.
I felt a pair of strong arms wrap around me, catching me before I’d be faced with another hard impact that’d more than likely be just enough to put me to sleep after the first.
At first, I couldn’t see, hear or smell a thing. In fact, all that was left was the feeling of being held and the warmth of what I knew was blood running down my nose and lips.
The voice sounded from a distance and very lowly over the ringing in my ears that slowly faded.
“Hey.” He called again, but this time, I recognized his voice.
My eyelids flickered, my vision slowly clearing up from the foggy blur that had been blinding me for the past couple of minutes.
“Are you alright?” Hunter’s voice came clear. My eyes bored into his worried ones, clearly concerned for me. I wished I could say that it lasted longer because not more than a second later, a chuckle erupted from the back of his throat.
“What the hell were you doing?” He asked between his chuckles.
“Ugh…” I groaned, bringing my hand up to my bleeding lip. As my fingertips graced my bottom lip, I could feel the bite wound begin to heal quickly. I must have bitten my own lip when I slammed into him.
What is his chest made of..? Geez…
Just as I was to bring the back of my hand up to my nose, my intentions being to wipe the blood from my face, he slid one arm away from my back. He used his unoccupied hand to push my own away and took the sleeve from his long-sleeve t-shirt to clean my face up.
“I’m sorry…” I muttered as he finally drew his hand away. I straightened on my feet shortly after, trying to gather some sort of composure after having embarrassed myself.
“Didn’t your parents ever tell you not to run inside the house?” He sarcastically asked.
I glowered at him, narrowing my eyes on him. After what felt like a couple of minutes, he shot me a smirk and nudged at me.
“Come on,” Hunter urged as he took my hand in his. “I want to take you somewhere.”
It’d been a couple days since Genesee confronted me about who I really was and I didn’t know how to feel about it. I wanted to believe that she really would keep her word, but with every passing hour, I feared that maybe all of the years of loyal friendship and service that she gave to Erebus would eventually catch up to her and make her feel guilty enough to spill the truth to him.
Nonetheless, a part of me was almost certain that she wouldn’t tell. Even if it meant betraying her King.
She wouldn’t tell not only because she knew how much was at stake if she exposed me, but because I had very valuable information that could save the entire vampire race. Truthfully, in the end, I played an almost irrelevant role in the whole thing. Well, maybe not I, but what I wanted to get out of this was really not important compared to the big mess that I was involved in.
In the end, I was the bad person. I began what could be the end of a strong reign over something so...childish.
“I don’t understand why you won’t just explain this to Erebus. He’ll let you go. You won’t have to go through this any longer and you can do exactly what you just said without risking our lives for another minute.”
The more I thought about what Genesee said to me the more that I seemed to feel guilty about my actions. I knew that if I told Erebus the whole truth, he’d let me go in a heartbeat. He’d beg me for forgiveness and would beg me over and over to try to reason with my father or simply not to tell him at all, because in the end, the possibility of my father killing Erebus was slim.
In the end...the possibility of my father killing Erebus was...slim because he’d go after the one who would hurt him the most: Kevin.
I didn’t want that.
I knew my father and death would offer more mercy than Erebus deserved for embarrassing me and my family the way that he did.
Still, I was the bad person. I was the bad person because Kevin was the last thing that I thought about. At first, the reason why I fought against Genesee was because I wanted to earn my freedom. I didn’t want my name to get me out of the mess that I got myself into.
However, there were bigger things than my freedom. There were more important things than my pride. So, though I initially said it out of desperation, I really would be going back home after Erebus decides to let me go. I would be asking my father to allow me to work for my freedom and prove to him that I could be alone.
I don’t want any blood on my hands…
So, for the past couple of days, I thought about what I’d have to do go get out of here. I thought about the possibility of having to tell Erebus the truth, and I knew that once he gave me the “okay” to leave, I’d have to confess. I’d have to confess in the case that we ever ran into each other again and my parents just so happened to be beside me.
He’d get himself killed if he came up to me and tried to talk to me the way any slave’s former owner would. And, that was by far the last of my problems.
Genesee was right. Every pureblood vampire saw me, and I got far too close to too many of them for them not to have not picked up on my scent. I am not a twin, and it would be far too coincidental if someone not related to me looked, sounded, and smelled exactly like me without being me.
That is just it. I can’t leave.
After I thought about everything carefully, the best thing for anyone right now would be for me to sit quietly and hide until I could come up with something that could save everyone. And, if I never could come up with anything, it’d only mean that I’d have to stay here and hide forever. Or...at least...I’d have to stay here and hide until they found me or someone killed me.
I should’ve stayed home…
A heavy sigh passed my lips, a burden restricting the heaviness in my chest from lifting. I had just finished placing Erebus’ clean t-shirts in the dresser and all that was left for me to complete my task was to dust-off the already spotless mirrors and furniture in the bedroom.
Apparently, that was all that Erebus wanted me to do since I was up on my feet again. Before, I was told to clean the bigger rooms all in one day, but for the past couple of days, my orders have been to only clean his bedroom.
It made me nervous.
It made me nervous to know that Erebus ordered that I clean only his bedroom because we both knew that most of the times that I was told to do it, I always seemed to be caught with him here, alone. And, somehow, we’d always end up dangerously too close to each other.
I drew my bottom lip between my teeth, gently nibbling as I pushed the drawer shut.
I turned back to look at the bed, thinking back to how it felt to wake up beside him. I didn’t understand how I could sleep so comfortably next to someone who did me so wrong, and I hated myself for admitting that I wanted to sleep beside him again. I blamed instinct, because when my King wasn’t standing and ruling over me or threatening me and demanding submission...I wanted to be protected by him. And, in his arms, his body told my own that he’d protect me.
“No, no, no…” I cried as I brought my hands up to the sides of my head. “This is all wrong…”
I felt a knot form at the edge of my throat, tears building at the brim of my eyes. I felt overwhelmed by the entire situation, and what bothered me even more was knowing that it was all my fault.
It really was all my fault.
I took a deep breath as my eyelids fell shut. I stood quietly on my two feet, debating whether I should call on my other sight and ask for help from someone looking through the other side. I could’ve stood there for hours, never having decided, but I wasn’t given that much time to waste as only minutes had gone by before I heard the door open and quickly shut.
“You’ve been avoiding me.” Erebus’ voice echoed from behind me.
Somehow, I didn’t feel the intense fear, anxiety, desperation, distress. Somehow, I felt nothing. My eyelids rose ever so slowly, the deep breath that I had been holding in slowly slipping from my lungs as I stepped out of my mind and back into the world I was damned in.
Suddenly, it came to me. It was all paranoia. Everything would go as planned and I had it in my grasp:
I’d behave the way that I always would. I’d aim for the same goal that I originally had because that is what made sense before and that is all that I had right now. Right now, all that I had and all that I was was being Erebus’ Hope and fighting to earn the respect that I deserved until I could figure out a way to get the hell out of here.
That...that is what I’d continue to do because that is what I came here for.
“You’ve been an asshole to me.” I stated as I turned on my heels to look at him.
It must’ve stung because he stood there with that you really think you’re going to beat me look. He glared at me, growling. His nostrils flared, his hands balling into fists. He was containing himself, doing his best not to snap over something as small as the insulting truth.
“Hardly.” He finally hissed. “Although I didn’t have to, I allowed you to feed until your strength was fully resorted.”
I scoffed. “Yeah, because if you hadn’t, I’d be dead. Then, you’d have no one to beat on and belittle to help keep that ego of yours —”
“That’s not why I saved you, Hope!” He snarled.
“Now you’re referring to me as ‘Hope’ again? What happened to ‘Slave’?”
I shouldn’t have said that.
Before I could so much as blink, Erebus had moved to stand just inches away from my face. There was plenty of room behind me for me to step back, but he had anticipated my movements, holding onto me and dragging me across the room to pin my back against the wall and hold me as a helpless hostage.
He stared down at me, eyeing me as any animal does their prey. He was the hawk and I was the mouse—the helpless little mouse. His breath fanned my nose, his mouth so close to mine that I pushed against the hands that hold me, his soft lips would touch my own.
“I should’ve known better than to lay off on you…” He muttered. “Now, you stand here thinking that you can talk to me however you please.”
I thought that he’d held me this way forever and a part of me didn’t mind. I wasn’t afraid of him. I wasn’t afraid of him because I didn’t see any reason to fear him. But, like everything else that was something at one point and something else another, I didn’t see a reason to fear him until I did. I didn’t see a reason to fear him until I saw him slowly backing away and the corners of my eyes caught the movements of his hand.
“E-Erebus..?” I whispered.
I waited, watching the anger flash in his darkening eyes. But, he never said a word. Instead, a terrifying growl emitted from the back of his throat and not a second later, his hand swung forward.
“Erebus!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
The back of his hand brushed against my cheek, his movements pausing just before he could deliver the hard, bruising impact that I knew was coming.
My breathing was heavy and oddly, so was his. I had flinched, turning my head to a side to try to avoid what I knew that I couldn’t if he had gone through with what I knew he intended to do.
“I can’t do it…” I heard say in frustration. “As much as I want to…”
He can’t do it..?
Hesitantly, I turned to look at him. My lips had parted in a mix of curiosity and disbelief as I stared at him in what seemed to be a state of desperation.
He can’t do what?
At first, he wouldn’t look at me. He kept his eyes on the floor and he shook his head as if he were trying to physically draw something out of his mind. Something was really bothering him, and whatever it was, it had just saved me from a painful beating.
After a long moment of silence, Erebus drew another shaky breath and he paused. Slowly, he rose his head to look at me and for the first time, I could see sincere, deep regret in them. Yes, it was not the first time that I had seen guilt in his eyes, but this time, it was different. I could feel how hopelessly regretful he was.
“I liked sleeping next to you…” His voice trailed off.
I didn’t know what to say. Had anyone else said the words that he had, I would’ve taken it just as it came. Somehow, however, I knew that he didn’t mean that he simply enjoyed sleeping next to me. There was something more behind his words and it frightened me just about as much as it gave me curiosity.
“Why are you acting this way?” I cautiously asked.
His eyes bored into mine as if he was desperately trying to find something that maybe not even I knew existed. Whatever it was, whether he found it or not, I’d never know for he broke his gaze away from my own and slowly released my hands from his grip.
“It’s those damn eyes of yours…” He spat under his breath. With that, he turned on his heels and headed for the door. I was almost certain that he was pissed off now, but even as I yelled at myself not to provoke him any further and let the man be, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
“W-What? What about my eyes?” I asked semi-regretfully, with the courage of one who knew they had the power to demand answers. Though, I knew I had far from the power and right to demand of anything from that man.
He halted in his tracks. I could see his muscles tense, rippling under his t-shirt. I could tell that he had every intention of turning back to look at me, but somewhere in the middle, he decided not to and merely turned his head to a side to just barely look at me out of the corner of his eye.
“Make yourself comfortable. You’ll be sleeping with me from now on.”