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| Six | True Feelings

| Tyler R. Lemmings |

I sat there in the cafeteria, pain, anger, sadness, and rage ripping through my body. My body shook and I looked up to see Cassandra smirking at me. She stood up and then had the nerve to place her hand on my shoulder.

“It’s ok Tyler.” She said and I tried to resist the urge to rip her apart until her blood flowed like a river. “I have done you a favor actually. Now you cannot hurt another soul. You will not hurt anyone anymore. Not like you hurt Dana or me. You know it and I know it. You would have killed her, in the end, Tyler.”

I growled and pushed her hand off of my shoulder. Standing up I looked down at her. I felt my fangs begin to push out of my gums but tried my hardest to keep them in. She chuckled.

“Yes, Tyler. Do it. Kill me in front of all of these people. So that they can see who you are. So that they will know that you are not one of them. That you are one to be feared.” She wanted me to kill her. She wanted me to destroy myself and the image that I had set up for myself and for George. I straightened my back and looked down at her.

“When I find Zoey, you will fix this problem that you have created. And then...then I will kill you.” I growled and made my way to the doors. I resisted the urge to rip the door off of its hinges and stake Cassandra through the heart with a plank.

How could she have done this? I cannot lose Zoey. I can’t. She is everything to me. She is nothing like Dana or Cassandra. She is different. She is the queen that I had longed for and dreamed about for half a century.

I walked out the front doors and stopped, looking left to right. I could not smell her scent.

She must have gotten a head start. A long head start. But I will find her. I took off running, gauging my speed as I did so that the humans around me would not get suspicious. As soon as I was out of the human eye, I sped up until I was a blur. I stopped once and sniffed the air.

After a minute of running, I sniffed again and froze. My body convulsed and I fell on a tree. Something was terribly wrong. Zoey was in trouble. I could not feel her heartbeat as strong as it before. It was weaker and diminishing by the second. I pushed myself off of the tree and took a step forward. But even that caused me pain and I fell onto the ground. My body dented the earth and I tried not to panic as I struggled to lift myself up. I had never felt this pain since they told me about my mother.

Gritting my teeth, I began to run again until I stumbled into a clearing in the woods. I smelled blood and recognized it to be Zoey’s own.

“No,” I whispered and ran some more. I bounded across a river until the scent was stronger. Then I stopped.

In the middle of the clearing, lay Zoey. Her clothes were soaked and her hair was in wet strings around her face. Her hands were bleeding and there was blood on her head. I moaned and ran over to her body. Kneeling down into the wet ground, I brushed her hair away from her face. She was so pale. Her once blood red lips were now a lifeless pink and her lovely tanned skin was now as pale as ivory.

“Zo. Oh, Zoey. My love Zoey.” I grabbed her into my arms and rocked back and forth. And I cried. I had not cried since Mother died. Why did this happen to me?

Getting up, I cradled her Into me and wished with all my heart that she would open her eyes. I knew that Zoe did not want to see me at this moment, but I had to save her. I began to run, tears running down my face. I ran all the way to the house at amazing speed and burst through the front door.

George was in the living room, watching television. He turned around at the sound of the run down the door and leaped to his feet.

“What happened?” he said and ran from the couch to me. I shook my head, tears running down my face.

“I don’t know. All I know is that she is hurt and I need you to save her. Please, George. I love her.” George nodded and grabbed Zoey from my arms. He walked up the steps to her bedroom and I followed. I knocked down the door and watched as he laid her on the bed and then began to apply CPR. I watched with my breath held, as he pumped and breathed into her mouth. I crumpled to my knees and for the first time in my life, I prayed. I prayed to any god I had ever heard of, to save Zo. My Zo.

George continued to apply CPR and I continued to cry and Pray. After a while, he stopped and turned to look at me.

“Tyler. I’m sorry.” His eyes were full of remorse and pain. I raised myself off of the floor and stumbled to the bed. Zoey’s hand was almost ice cold. I shook her hand vigorously and rubbed her head.

“Zoey. Zoey! Open your eyes. Please. I need you. I love you. Cassandra lied to Zoe. She lied to you about me. She is jealous of you, and I swear on my mother’s grave that I did not tell her that I loved her, that she was to be my queen. I have only told you that. And I do love you, Zoey. I love you, with every beat of my heart. Please. It has taken me forever to find you. And I cannot lose you. I will not find anyone as wonderful or as beautiful as you. Please, Zoey. I promise I will tell you everything, answer any and all questions you may have about me.”

Zoey’s hand was still limp and I collapsed on the bed next to her lukewarm body. I cried. I cried more than I had ever cried before and squeezed her hand. I did not realize that I was squeezing so hard until I heard her bones crack and she let out a little groan. I froze and looked at her. She groaned again then her head rolled to the side. She began to mumble something and I looked at her face.

“Zoey?” I whispered and then touched the side of her face. She coughed and I jumped up. “George,” I said. “We need to get her out of these wet clothes. I don’t want her to get pneumonia. She has already gone through enough.” George jumped up and ran to her drawers.

“No. I will get them and dress her. Please just stand her with her and try to rouse her. She is still in slumber.”

He nodded again and ran to her side, trying to wake Zoey fully. I turned my attention to her dresser and began to look into her drawers. I finally found the drawer with her underclothes and I picked out some. Then I went to her closet. I picked out a short-sleeved black shirt and then retrieved her gray sweats from the chair by the door.

“Come on Zo. Wake up. Open your eyes.” George coaxed, and she began to blink. Her eyes seemed to be a sea of swirling emotions, and I felt that sea flows over me through the bond. George nodded at me and I walked over to her.

“George. Could you please warm up some water for her? I will make her some tea. And could you also set a warm bath? She needs to be warmed from the outside in.” I said as I began to strip her. George nodded and then he ran to her bathroom, setting the bath.

“Cassie.....Palace......queen.....Tyler.....Tyler....” Zoe groaned and murmured as I pulled off the last article of clothing. George emerged from the bathroom.

“Her bath is set. I put in bubbles so that she would be relaxed.” He said and then looked away from Zoe’s naked body.

“Thank you, George. We have to order some food. Or maybe you should cook? Zoe is certainly in no shape to do it.” Again, George nodded and ran out of the room. I picked Zoey up off of the bed and carried her to the bathroom. She was so cold.

Zoey continued to mumble the same words she had before.

I tested the water to make sure it was the right temperature and then lowered her in. Her head rolled to the side again and she groaned.

“Zo? Open your eyes.” I said, adding a little compulsion to my voice. She groaned again and then opened her eyes. At first, she looked confused, but then I felt her memory coming back. Zoey’s eyes turned from love to hatred.

“What...Why are you here?” she asked. It was obvious that her speaking was painful and it was hurting me as well.

“I found you in the forest clearing. I could not just leave you there Zoey. I love you.” I pleaded and turned on the hot water.

“Yeah,” She said sarcastically, “did you also find Cassandra in a clearing? Or was that part of our relationship now?”

Her eyes pierced into my soul. This was funny because my kind did not have souls.

“I swear to you Zoey on the grave of my mother whom I loved with all of my heart, I swear on every type of riches I had ever had, ever have, and ever will have, I swear on my life that I have never ever told her that I loved her. Or that she was to be my queen. I understand she is your best friend Zoey. But you and I have a bond. You feel everything that I feel and vice versa. I love respect and cherish everything about you and I love you with all my heart. You know that. So please do not make us go through this.”

I looked into her eyes and she looked into mine. Neither of us said anything, only the water falling from the faucet was audible. My heart was breaking. I cannot lose her. Zoey tore her eyes away from mine and sunk lower into the water. I sighed and turned the faucet off.

Getting up I retrieved her towel and dry clothes. Placing them down on the toilet which was within her reach, I said.

“Here are your clothes. If you need help I will come to your aid. I made George heat up some water so that you can have some tea. When you are done I will bring it upstairs for you.” I then turned and walked away before either of us could say anything else.

I closed her bedroom door and heard her sob.

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