Chapter 39: Little Dove
The sound of the water crashing into the lake filled our minds with ease. The sight of the waterfall brought a sense of peace as light water drops kissed our skin. We stood in the middle of the woods, far from what would be the disturbing presence of anyone else.
“It’s beautiful...” Celic’s voice trailed off.
It really is…
It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and I was lucky that no one had ever taken the time to go this far into the woods. I brought her here not just because I wanted to spend some time with her alone, but because I had to talk to her. I didn’t to keep us a secret from everyone. I wanted to make her mine, and while she was too busy staring at the sight before us to notice the desperation in my eyes, I could do nothing else but stare at her.
I was amazed at how such a simple bond with her that could have been made so long ago changed me in merely a couple of months. I became this way in a matter of weeks: ruthless. And, I spent centuries being this...monster. Then, I became friends with her and everything changed.
Now, she’s the woman that I love, and because of the horrible thing that I became, I could never be with her the way that I wanted to without having to put my life on the line for it. The thing is: I’d die a painful death a thousand times over just to be by her side. Because in this long miserable life that I’ve been living, she’s by far the greatest thing in it.
In this long and miserable life that I’ve been living, she’s the only thing that ever made me happy.
I took her hand in mine and guided her down, just beside the lake where the largest and oldest tree stood. On the ground, I had place a blanket and prepared a small picnic for us to enjoy.
It’s just you and me…
“I didn’t know you could be so romantic.” Celic stated with a gentleness in her tone.
I smirked, turning to glance at her as she lowered herself onto her knees.
“There’s a lot of things you don’t know about me, little dove.” I teased.
I sat beside her and looked at her for a bit. She had shifted her body to completely be faced with me and she too looked at me with those beautiful crystal blue eyes of hers. Her soft, pink lips had curled into a small smile, tempting me to kiss her.
“Can I call you that? Little dove?” I asked as I gently pushed the loose hair strands hanging beside her cheek and settling them behind her ear.
“Of course…” She murmured when I brushed my thumb against her temple.
The small smile on her lips grew just a bit more, and I’d have believed that at this moment, she couldn’t be happier. However, as I looked deeper into her eyes, I realized that that wasn’t at all what this moment was. She looked at me with so much sadness that eventually, whatever she was feeling couldn’t be hidden with the fake smile on her lips.
Her eyebrows furrowed at me and a soft sigh passed her lips. She lowered her gaze from my own, thinking to herself whatever it was that she wouldn’t tell me. The thing was...she didn’t have to tell me, because the longer I sat there looking at her, wondering what it was that was bothering her, the more I came to realize that she shared the same concern that I did.
Unlike my; however, she was convinced that we could never be together. Her and I could never claim each other because we’d never be given the chance to. The day that her father finds out that I hold her heart, he’ll kill me because he knows that that is the only way I’d ever let it go.
“I’m sorry.” My voice was low.
She took my hand in hers and gently squeezed until I reverted my eyes to her and she gave me a soft smile.
“You’re okay.” She said in a reassuring voice.
And, just like that, I knew that everything would be okay. She’d make everything okay—like she always did.
We spent hours talking, mostly about the things she liked. I loved hearing her speak. It was why I didn’t mind listening to her. She could talk forever and I’d still adore the sound of her voice. The thing I loved most? The way that she could talk about the things she liked with so much passion. Her eyes lit up so bright that they soon became the sun in my world. And her laugh? My god, her laugh killed me.
“Okay! Enough about me. Tell me something about you.” She cheerfully said as she nudged at me.
“Like what?” I asked.
She hummed, briefly thinking to herself until finally, she said, “What do you like?”
“I like you.” I smirked. When I tried to wrap my arm around her shoulder, she rejected me and shook her head.
“Besides me.” She urged.
A soft sigh passed my lips. I really didn’t know what to say, so I looked around.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. I had been staring to her hands for a bit and I tried to think of something, anything. But, for the life of mine, I couldn’t think about anything but her. She was the only thing I’d ever truly liked.
“I like water, I guess.” I stated as I glanced at the waterfall but a few feet away from where we sat.
For a moment, I felt utterly stupid for saying that. However, when I turned to look at her, I forgot about how insecure I felt when I saw how interested she looked in what I had to say. She’d gone as far as scooting closer to me with her hands and mine on her lap, waiting for me to say something else.
Then, she asked, “Have you ever been to the beach?”
A light chuckle emitted from the back of my throat. I assumed that it was some sort of trick question until I noticed that the interested look in her face never vanished nor diminished.
“You’ve never been to the beach before?” I sincerely asked.
The way that she shifted uncomfortably and lowered her gaze to her hands—she didn’t have to answer.
“It’s beautiful.” I said.
A smile instantly spread across her face and she squeezed my hand. “Will you take me?” She asked with eagerness in her voice.
“Of course.” I replied softly.
It seemed that she had misunderstood me, because as soon as those words left my mouth, she sprung onto her feet, pulling me onto my own.
“Well, let’s go then!” She cheered.
With this, she practically dragged me out of the woods behind her. She rushed us to the car with a smile on her face, urging me to hurry as her cheerful giggles filled the air.
“Celic, wait.” I said as we stopped beside the car. “Celic, I can’t take you right now.”
She turned to look at me with a disappointment in her face. It was almost as if I had told her that her dog had just died.
“Why not?” She said, sorrowfully.
I looked at the watch on my wrist then shifted it toward her.
“I have to get you home.” I sighed.
“Oh…” her voice trailed off. “Right.”
“I’m sorry…” I sincerely apologized.
I could see the embarrassment wash over her. She must’ve felt just about as dumb as I did when I responded to her question about what I liked.
“Hey, it’s okay.” I reassured her. I cupped the sides of her face with my hands, looking into her soft, blue eyes. “I’ll take you one day. I promise. Hell, I’ll take you to the Bahamas if you want.”
A small smile broke upon her lips. She knew that I meant every word that I said and that I’d never break a promise to her. She planted a soft kiss on my lips and stood as I opened the door for her.
In merely a couple of seconds, we had both settled into the car and I drove off. I wouldn’t say it was a long way back home, but the conversation that I knew was bound to happen made it seem very much so.
“Earlier you said that there were a lot of things about you that I didn’t know.” Celic began. “What were you talking about, exactly?”
My grip tightened on the steering wheel. I parted my lips to speak, but as I was going to try to, I realized that there was no way that I could ever explain to her what I was without her maybe being afraid of me.
Because before she was even born, her father, Andrew, Kenneth, and every other Seeker had put their conscience to sleep and buried their soul from the truth, I tore apart vampires like her because I could.
I helped drive the Pureblood Vampire race near extinction because I had the power to do it.
“This is getting old.” Tarlac says with annoyance in his voice.
He and the others stand in the middle of the street, watching as the helpless woman runs away. Or so, at least she tries. Though she is a Pureblood Vampire, she is no match for us, much less for them.
“What do you mean? This is my favorite part.” Kenneth chuckles as he crosses his arms just beneath his chest.
He, out of all, is the monster most proud of what he and the rest of us are. He too is the Seeker that often persuaded us to go out and behave this way in the open, for all to see. This is how we make sure they all fear us. This is how we make sure they all know that we are still and will always very much be here to rule over all of them however we please.
We have no rules.
For ourselves, at least.
As for the woman…
Andrew sighs with contentment. “I agree. I love it when they try to run.” He states.
With annoyance, Dyan scoffs as he shot Tarlac a sideway glance. “You take the fun out of this.” He mumbles.
“You really do.” Matthew agrees.
Demetre, standing just behind Andrew, Tarlac, and Kenneth, steps forward with his arms crosses in front of him and hums. “Mmm...yes. You guys always take the kill.”
They do have a point. If it ever came down to one single prey and the rest of us chasing it, the Big Three always beat us to it. They are the cruelest and most ruthless of us all. They are the reason why others are not just afraid of us, but they are ultimately terrified of what we are capable of.
“Well…” Tyler’s voice trails off as his eyes narrow on me. “I guess not this time.”
As those words passed his lips, I found myself standing before the horrified vampire running for her life. But one more step and she crashes into me, and in one swift movement, I turn her to face them, her back presses against my chest.
With a hunger in my eyes, I smirk at the devils before me. A ravenousness come over me, an anger towards those who trained me to be this way erupts. But I know better than to go after those who I grew to hate, so I take it out on the only thing I can: the helpless woman I hold captive in my arms.
My fangs elongate, my hand finds her hair and pulls, snapping her head to a side. A growl emits from the back of my throat and before I can process what I am about to do, I find myself chewing at her neck, ripping her throat out as blood gushes into my mouth and runs down my chin.
In this moment, I know what it was like to take another’s life. I had fed before and though they had advised me to kill my prey, I never had it in me to take a life. But today, as the corpse collapses beneath me and her severed head remains at my grip, I felt little remorse for the horror that I committed.
Even more so when I hear Kenneth chuckle. “I knew we did right by taking you in young.” He says with a sinister smile on his face.
Andrew claps, nodding his head in approval.
“Welcome to the club,” Tarlac remarks with open arms. “Hunter Synn.”
“You weren’t yourself.” Celic tried to defend me.
I could see it in her eyes: she believed that I was good. She truly believed that in the times when I had little regards for anyone else’s life but my own, I was still a good person.
I may have been shaped into being this way, but everything that I did and everything that I was after Tarlac decided that we had to change and decided to awaken their soul, had nothing to do with them. Because after everyone else embraced their conscience, I realized that I had never let go of mine.
I was the way that I was because I wanted to be that way.
“I was always myself, Celic.” I sighed. “I never buried my soul under my blood lust. I never let go of the part of me that made me feel because I was afraid that I’d be so far gone that I hurt my family.”
I paused momentarily, turning my attention away from the road to look at her. “Everything that I did...I did it with my conscience as awake as yours.” I admitted.
With a blank look on her face, she swallowed hard and asked, “How did you live with yourself?”
I couldn’t tell whether she was afraid of me, but I hoped to whatever god may or may not have been out there to not let her hate me for what I was.
“I told myself that I was only doing it to protect my family.” I stated softly as I reverted my attention to the road. “At least, I did until I began to enjoy doing the things that I did.”
She let out a shaky breath. “That’s why my family…” Her voice trailed off.
Hates me. That’s why your family hates me.
“I never had to lock my soul away.” I mumbled. “So, when everyone else unlocked theirs, they changed and I stayed the same.”
“But you stopped hurting people.” Celic protested.
“Because I had to, and I had no one to join me.” I confessed. “It became boring. Nonetheless, I killed a lot of people, Celic…”
She remained silent for a while. I wasn’t sure what was going through her mind until she dared asked, or at least tried to, “Did you ra—”
“No.” I cut her off immediately. “I did a lot of bad things, but I never forced myself onto or into anyone. I never intended on killing anyone either. I lost control most of the time.”
I could tell that she felt guilty for even thinking that, and a part of me resented her for it. I hoped that she knew that it didn’t matter what state I was in, I would never do what some of the others did time and time again without remorse.
Still, I couldn’t blame her. If we were these monsters incapable of sympathizing those who we knew stood no chance against us, what couldn’t or wouldn’t we do?
“Are you afraid of me now?” I asked.
“No.” She never gave me the chance to be afraid of her response; she answered so quickly. “If anything, I’m more afraid of my father, Kenneth, and Andrew.”
No… Don’t say that…
“If they could make you do things like that and change you into someone else, I can only imagine what they could do to someone like me.”
“Your father would never hurt you, and he would never let anyone hurt you.” I argued.
“I know that,” she whispered, “but if he ever decided to stop being my dad, I’d be a Seeker’s slave.”
I couldn’t tell her whether she was wrong or not. I couldn’t imagine Tarlac ever going back to what or who he was long before he had a family, much less could I imagine what he’d be like towards those he loves now.
He would hurt everyone who cares about him if he ever did go back to being who he was. Truth be told, I didn’t think I’d ever have to worry about anything like that ever happening again. Angela, my Queen, would never allow it. It didn’t matter how far gone that man was, she’d never give up on him.
And...if him being gone meant he’d destroy the one that I love...
“I would never let that happen.” I said, loudly. To reassure her, I took her hand in mine and held it tightly. I held it as tightly as I would if we stood in danger and I stood in front of her to protect her.
I’d always protect her.
It wasn’t long till we got home. I was quick to park my car in the garage and lead her to the front door where I planted a kiss on her cheek. The lights on the porch kept the darkness of the night from hugging us and hiding Celic’s eyes from me.
“I’ll talk to my father,” she whispered, “I promise.”
She wrapped her arms around my neck, pulling herself closer to me. When her lips met my own, I wrapped mine around around her waist and accepted her completely.
This way...all was bliss.
I didn’t want that moment to end, but she too knew that if we stayed out any longer, it wouldn’t be long before her father bursted outside to go looking for her and found her in a way worse than harmed: kissing me.
Her touch left my own just as her lips did. With this, she gave me one last long look before she turned and opened the door.
I watched as she stepped inside, and as she walked off without me, I sighed and bowed my head. My hands tucked away in my jean pockets, I walked inside, behind her.
I never got the chance to pull my hand out of my pocket once again to close the door, because in a split second, my back had done it for me as Tarlac’s hand grasped my neck tightly and slammed me against the door.
“What the hell were you doing with my daughter?!” He snarled.