Chapter 16: There's always a silver lining
“Alexis” her name was mumbled under someone’s breath, it was low, deep but she was sure she recognized it. Her sleepy brain couldn’t grip who it was though. “Mmhhh?” she grumbled out trying to come to grips with reality. What time was it? Was it time for school?
Her alarm hadn’t woken her up. She was sure she would have heard its loud beeping. She was actually surprised that she didn’t wake up the full household with its noise. But then again it seemed lately the household family just ignored what they wanted to hear. Alexis was beginning to believe that Vladimir and Louie’s erratic behavior was due to Caleb’s timely arrival.
Not that she knew how to bring up the situation or even how to stop it.
“Get up” the voice was still hushed but this time it was closer. Alexis felt like rolling over and doing a very rude gesture towards the owner of that voice but held herself back knowing most vampires wouldn’t even flinch at the gesture she was thinking of.
And Alexis knew this was a vampire. In fact the closer the vampire was, the more she was beginning to understand exactly which vampire it was. She groaned at the thought of it. “I can get a pale of water over you in five seconds flat if that would help you up” the voice continued on with a slight amused sound towards it. Alexis wanted to do that gesture just a little bit more now.
She grunted and rolled over, pulling her hair away from her eyes to stare directly into Caleb’s blue ones. “What do you want?” she didn’t care that she sounded rude towards him, he was in her room, for the second time tonight and not only that she was pretty sure it was in the middle of the night. She had to be up for school in the morning and she didn’t think that any good could come from Caleb waking her up in the middle of the night. The vampire in front of her chuckled.
He threw a large clothed objected at her head and as she entangled it from her head she realized it was her dressing gown. “Put it on and follow me” the words were even more ominous that she expected them to be. She didn’t think twice about it, her arms folded over her chest and she lifted her head defiantly towards him. “And if I don’t?”
He didn’t even flinch, his stride never faulted and he didn’t turn back as he moved towards her door. “Then you miss out on it” was the last thing she heard as he walked out her bedroom door. Dang! He had hit her where it hurt – her curiosity. Now she was going to have to go out and see what it was.
What a jackass!
Alexis pushed herself out of her bed, pulled on her dressing gown with more effort than she needed; she grabbed her slippers and brushed down her hair before striding out of her door. She turned her head left and then right…there was no sign of him. “Caleb” she inquired hesitantly.
“Polo…” came his distant reply to the right. A smile crossed her lips at the stupid game he was playing before she turned and followed his reply. When she came to the end of the corridor there was two ways to go. Up or down.
This time she knew the game. “Marco?” she called out and let her ears open hoping to hear his voice closer this time. “..Polo...” It seemed the same distance away. She shook her head and turned to go up the stairs. When she got to the next level she paused for a moment, taking a look down the corridor. It was cold up here. She knew one of Vladimir’s offices were up – although she knew it wasn’t one he often used. There were piles of bedrooms which mostly stored nothing. What possible need could Caleb have for taking her up here?
“Marco?” she called out again staying at the top of the corridor. To her surprise the response didn’t come from the floor. “Polo” it came from upstairs.
Alexis was pretty sure there was nothing more upstairs. Apart from a locked door but still she ascended them and when it was clear Caleb was through the door, she pushed against it and it gave way. Slightly surprised that the door to the roof was unlocked she hesitated a moment before going through.
Caleb was standing on the roof. He was completely dressed in black, his low hanging jeans were held up by a black belt and his long sleeved shirt was opened slightly down his chest as he gazed up at the stars. “Aren’t they beautiful?” he questioned after a long moment of silence. Alexis shook her mind free of the statement about how he was beautiful before following his gaze upwards.
What was he talking about? She wondered for a moment before she inquired out loud. “The Stars?” she asked without taking her eyes away from them. That was the only thing she could possible think he was talking about.
They were beautiful. She had never much spent much time looking up at the stars for all her years living in the night. She rushed about all night with Louie or played games with herself, or read a book but she had never just sat back and watched the stars. They really were beautiful. As if Caleb understood what she was talking about he didn’t answer the question.
In an instant he was at her side and her attention was back on him. He didn’t say anything; he merely pushed her back further across the room until she was stood on top of a blanket. Which he lay down on. His ocean blue eyes stared up at her from their position “Lay with me?” the question hung on in the silence and his lips pursed as he waited for her answer.
He was serious, there was no playfulness in his tone like when they were training, and there were no secret cunning, dangerous eyes he normally stared at her with. He was being serious. After a moment of debating what he had planned she sat down beside him before laying back, her head beside his and her eyes cast up towards the heavens.
“I don’t get you” She finally said, turning her head towards him. His eyes watched her closely and she could see his chest rumble with the chuckle that came out his mouth. “You’re not supposed to get me” his answer held none of the answer she was looking for. Which she was sure, was very intentional. She narrowed her eyes towards him.
He had wanted her to come out here. Perhaps if she threatened to leave he would finally tell her something. She doubted that would happen. “Why am I here?” she asked after a moments debate in her brain, which had started at standing up and marching away and finished with asking small questions to gain some insight into her new bipolar vampire’s life. Her? Now she was the one talking crazy.
He rolled on to his side watching her for a moment. Contemplating something that Alexis couldn’t quite understand entirely. “You’re too curious for your own good” he replied his eyes never leaving hers.
She wanted to punch him.
In fact she wanted to do a whole lot more to him but punching him was one of the good ones. Of course she was curious. He had left her in her room, after waking her up with a really cryptic message about following him.
Any human, vampire or werewolf would have done the same.
She hoped they would have. Caleb had commented that her curiosity was one of her more human traits but Caleb’s curious nature had him following her around all the time and the werewolves at school were still stalking her so that seemed like it was also curiosity.
“You know curiosity killed the cat” he added in as an afterthought as his hand snaked its way over to stroke her hair. Alexis’s eyes watched his hand and her heart rate picked up when he touched her hair. What was he doing? What was she doing? Alexis knew that he could hear her heart beat and yet she still allowed it to speed up. She wanted to curse herself but instead found herself biting her lip.
His eyes followed that moment, his eyes darkening. “I’m pretty sure it’s Louie who killed my cat but then again Vladimir never liked it either” Alexis tried to lighten the mood slightly; she didn’t like it when his eyes were black. Good things never happened when Caleb’s eyes went black. He became moody and withdrawn. That was the last thing she wanted.
It seemed to work.
They were slowly returning to the blue and his lips quirked in a smile. “You had a cat?” her head nodded as she turned to look back towards the stars. “I asked them for a dog. Louie joked about wanting to be with my own ‘kind’ and I hit him repeatedly for it. So instead I asked Vladimir for a cat before I bought one next time Louie took me shopping” She turned her head back towards him as she watched his reaction.
He seemed amused by her story. “Vladimir blamed Louie. He kept repeating to him that he should never have let me near the pet shop and that Louie was the bane of his existence. Louie said that I pulled out the puppy dog eyes on him and that he couldn’t say no to me” A smile moved across Alexis’s face as she remembered exactly what had happened. “I told him I was going to teach the cat how to scratch him every time he made dog jokes. I managed to make it hiss at Louie every time he walked into a room” Caleb seemed to find this funny as well, his chuckle was warm against her ear, she hadn’t realized how close he was.
“Louie used to pick it up and take it to the trash can. I used to fish her out at least once a month and then suddenly she disappeared. Louie said he had nothing to do with it and Vladimir said it was probably just hiding from Louie somewhere in the house but I never saw it again after that. We only had it a couple of months. Although I’m pretty sure Louie did something to her, or at least made her run away” Alexis shrugged her shoulders, she had speculated a lot about her cat but nothing had ever come from it. Louie hadn’t talked about it – which to Alexis made him guiltier.
Caleb continued stroking her hair as if in a daze. “What was her name?” Alexis smiled. “Gem” she did actually miss Gem sometimes. The cat had stuck to her like glue the few months it was with her and she had enjoyed the company of someone other than the vampires in the house. She had talked to the cat, told it her secrets. It had been like a best friend.
Caleb’s look was dazed. “My sister was called Gem” he said almost distracted, Alexis had never heard him talk about his family, she never heard any vampire talk about their family actually, she wanted to know. She needed to know. Something about Caleb having a family just made him more human to her.
She knew he definitely wasn’t human.
But his family had been. “What was she like?” Alexis inquired with a soft voice, she felt like she was talking to her cat again. She didn’t want to scare him off; she didn’t want him closing up on her so she was trying to be as gentle and as soft as possible. “Childish, quiet and stubborn. She would always dress up and put on our mother’s make up. She would try to act as old as her as well. She pretended she was in charge whenever they went out. My older sister hated it but me and my brothers enjoyed it” Caleb spoke with a small smile on his face, one that Alexis had never seen before.
She found herself shifting on to her hip, so that she faced him completely, she placed her arm under her head as she got into a comfortable position.
“You had a big family” Alexis smiled slightly; she had never imagined Caleb having a big family. He seemed like the spoiled child sometimes which normally suggested someone was an only child. She had only made guesses of course about his life. That had been one of them. “Hmm” he answered her, his hand still stroking her hair ever so gentle.
He was lost in his thoughts, Alexis could see that. She wanted to know what he was thinking; she would have given anything to be in his head in those moments. “What were your brothers like?” she asked hoping to learn something else about him that she didn’t know.
His shoulders shrugged slightly “Normal boys. We wrestled all the time. I was the oldest. The other two were twins. Christopher and Liam. They used to drag me around and ask me to play games with them. They always tried to ask me questions. “Who’s tallest Caleb?”, “Who’s feet are biggest Caleb?” and “Who’s the oldest Caleb?” I remember I always had to tell them they were exactly the same. My father constantly reminded me that. He told me that I had to always make sure I never favored one over the other” He laughed at something and Alexis smiled towards him. He looked beautiful when he smiled but he looked gorgeous when he laughed. His blue eyes danced with mischief.
“When I started dating girls they always pretended to ask them questions. It was silly childish things but the girls ate it up. “Do you love my big brother?”, “Are you going to marry him?” I remember one time this girl mixed up their names repeatedly, and Christopher point blank turned around to me and said. “I don’t like her. Liam show her the door” and then Liam began to push her out of the door. I didn’t know what to do so I just waved and told her I would see her later” His eyes crinkled at the side and for a moment he stared at Alexis.
He was watching her reaction, she actually felt jealous. How could she feel jealous? And what exactly was she jealous of? Part of her wanted to believe it was because of the family life that Caleb had lived. The brothers and the sisters who he had grown up with. Alexis had none of that, she had often had to make up games by herself or play with items not people. Or Louie. But never had she had family like he had.
Another part of her believed that she was jealous because he was talking about other girls.
But that was a very small part of her. “Do you miss them?” her voice was soft, whisper like and she thought she saw his head nod but other than that he gave no other answer.
“I really don’t get you” Alexis said after another long silence, which made Caleb chuckle. Caleb leaned closer his lips gently brushed against Alexis’s cheek although not quiet in a kiss manner.
His breath was warm and she was sure she held her breath for the few seconds while he was there. “I have another story for you. My mother used to tell me it when I started leaving the house a lot” Caleb was close and Alexis had to fight the urge to touch him. She hadn’t moved from her turned position but in her view she could see Caleb’s chest and his arm which was holding him up just beside her cheek, close to her ear. “One time an Angel seduced a Demon and it didn’t end well for either of them. She always reminded me to be careful. She always thought of me to be the Angel of the story, not the Demon” Alexis could feel his smile against her face. Her heart rate only increased and she felt flushed, her body heating up and she reached out to touch him. Her hand was against his arm.
“She always thought that I would end up seducing someone who would destroy me as I destroyed them. I always laughed at it. Especially the part about me being an Angel. But in reality I think it’s a very accurate description” Of what? She had thought she had asked the question out loud but her mouth was dry and although she could have mouthed the words she couldn’t find the words to speak.
He sat back beside her, his smile was darkened, and his eyes had changed as well. Alexis was sure that had happened when he was sitting back. She steeled herself for the darker Caleb.
She wouldn’t let him annoy her.
His smile never faulted. “You should probably get back to bed before school starts. Wouldn’t want you falling asleep up here” Alexis nodded her head and after a moment she left Caleb on the roof alone.
She really didn’t want to leave him up there.
But it was clear she had been left with no other option. Caleb was a force to be reckoned with and when his eyes were black, Alexis didn’t want to be anywhere near him.