I didn’t know where I was heading, but I continued on the path, the hallway nothing but a long stretch before it curved, I could feel a presence lingering behind me, matching my steps and keeping distance. I look over my shoulder, my eyes quickly catching sight of red tresses before flickering down; Kyri smiled, not saying a thing and sped up her pace to walk beside me.
I didn’t speak either, continuing on our way, walking with no desired destination, shortly she offers to hold the girl twin to give my arms a rest but I decline; I need to feel their warmth burning into mine with the reassurance that I’m still grounded and here rather than floating in a pool of misery because of a simple mistake. I pick up a familiar scent the same moment we enter the kitchen area, its large space making me feel out of place— like I have been feeling since day one.
A figure sits at the island counter, legs crossed over one another as she sips at the plain white cup held in her hands, at the sound of our footfalls Maddie turns around and stares, her gaze gliding over Kyri and then me where they stay and take in everything. This was the first time she was seeing me. . . not human anymore, I could hear her heart rate pick up and the shift in her breathing change yet I didn’t sense any fear coming from her which was a relief.
Kyri steps in front of me, eyes gentle as she takes the twins from my arms.
“I’ll leave you two. I won’t be far,” she says, nodding towards the archway that leads to a big open space that was the living room.
I nod and stare after her as she moves to pass the arch and towards the ‘L’ shaped sofa, whispering and cooing at the twins that start to fidget. Once she was settled, I turn my gaze back to Maddie and step in her direction, slowly but surely until I was a couple of feet away from her.
My hands rest on the counter, tapping an un-rhythmic beat, the nerves getting the best of me, we both don’t speak for a couple of minutes and just sit in each other’s presence before I turn to face her.
Her smile was light and the same as always as she sets her cup down. “Hey, Kaitlyn, how you been?”
Just hearing her speak so casually was like a sledgehammer to the walls in my mind, they crumble and release all that I held in, neither her or I expected me to move quickly and wrap my arms around her. A small squeak was the only noise she let out before she hugged me back, her arms a bit hesitant then tightens.
“I hate him,” I grit out vaguely, my eyes burning. “I hate him so much.”
Her hand rubs up and down my back in a soothing manner that has me squeezing my eyes shut.
“No, you don’t. You’re just saying that,” she replies.
And she was right. I was saying this in the heat of the moment, I don’t know what to feel at all. It was unexplainable, yes, there was anger within me— hatred that burned at my veins but it wasn’t aimed towards him, something much hotter ran deeper and just for him. That feeling has been with me since day one.
“You sure you don’t want me to chop his dìck off? I’m always ready.”
I laugh, shaking my, finally relaxing and being “normal” with someone I can trust. Every so often I would cast a glance towards the living room, the twins were sound asleep after playing with Kyri as she now rested herself; reading a book.
“On second thought, never mind, you’ll be needing it soon when you guys have make-up sëx,” Maddie adds, sipping her tea she reheated.
She snorts, coughing aggressively before taking short sips from her tea— hand resting in her chest— not too long after she pulls the glass away from her lips: her smile gone. Her eyes dart over towards mine before looking away again.
“Are you really okay? After. . .”
My mood darkens but not completely as I look towards the twins, observing as they slept, their little chest rose and fell in sync.
“I’m okay. I didn’t bother to check if she was alive or not.” I reply, resting my cheek on my palm while scratching the side of my nose.
The girl twin accidentally kicks her brother with a force that causes him to tumble to the edge of the couch, my heart thuds erratically, my limbs ready to act but Kyri was there and catch him in time, moving them farther back against the cushions and lying opposite of each other. A small breath exits my body, Kyri connecting gazes with me, holding up an okay sign.
Maddie goes into a coughing fit beside me, hopping from her seat and moving across the kitchen to grab paper towels as she coughs and wheezes into them. I stand from my chair in worry, brows creased, taking a step forward when she suddenly waves her free hand.
“I’m fine,” she assures me, “Just a cold.”
A smell tickles my nostrils, my gums aching and responding to the smell before I could realize what it is. My fangs extend, the delicious smell coming from Maddie which I soon realize is blood.
“Why do I smell blood, Maddie?” I question, holding my breath.
Her entire form freezes, her back still towards me. “It’s nothing—”
Her sigh was heard loud and clear, muttering something under her breath, slowly turning around. She wipes the blood from beneath her nose and gazes at me with slight dull eyes. I look at her, really look at her and notice her state; she looked sick, her skin too pale to where her veins were becoming visible. I could tell she lost a lot of weight, she didn’t exactly look like herself, someone from afar could tell she was sick.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you,” she starts, standing across from me.
“I have leukemia.”
My mind goes blank and I just stare. She bites her lip and picks at the paper towels.
“I found out a few days after you took the test; before all this happened, at first, I thought I was pregnant, that’s why I had a pregnancy stick the time you needed it,” she explains.
“The reason I acted the way I reacted when you found out you were because I thought I would have to go through the same thing, killing a child I thought was growing in of me.”
My eyes start searching her face, everything that comes from her mouth nothing but the truth.
“I didn’t want you to make a mistake.”
I breathe in, not knowing I was still holding my breath from the moment I smelled blood. The inhale didn’t because I was breathless once more.
“Ho. . . can’t you. . .” my words were jumbled and I didn’t know what to say.
She stares at me with soft eyes, rimmed with dark circles.
“When I came back to discuss it with you, you were gone, taken.”