I couldn’t believe I’d just allowed Emmett to do as fear and anxiety of the unknown took me in a vice grip.
I didn’t want to watch her die, and I loved her as much as he did; however, I never desired the Vampire life for her.
If she turned and her powers disappeared with the transition, she’d never be able to step into the sunlight again. Our rings would wear out in a few short weeks, too, and we’d be banished to the darkness again. As we discovered, the spell only lasted a few months without her to recast it; it was back to the shadows for us.
I didn’t care about myself returning to a life in the shadows, but I cared that Hallie would be exiled. She didn’t deserve to live a life in the dark, never seeing the sun or knowing how its rays felt beating softly against her pale skin; she belonged in the light.
I loved her more than I felt possible to love a girl like her, let alone one who came from the Willow Lake coven. Hallie was the daughter I’d never got to have in my human life, and I loved her as much as I’d adored the son I had to leave behind when I turned.
I couldn’t stand to lose her. But equally, what life was it to live in the shadows? It was okay for me; I’d lived a young life. I’d grown to be thirty-six before I succumbed to influenza and was found by the Vampire who sired me. But she was just twenty-one, and in her brief life, she’s already known more hell and trauma than any one person should have to shoulder.
She’d been exiled from her coven for the first ten years of her life. Then she watched as her home and family were brutally taken from her by the very thing she was at risk of becoming. She’d spent two years alone and killed the only person who’d given her company in a freak occurrence.
She’d already lived a life knowing what darkness was. She may have been in the sun, but Hallie never had time to relish in the warmth and love her life the way she should.
Emmett and I made a promise to each other when she’d asked us to stay with her. We swore to show her what life in the sun was.
An overwhelming weight crushed me as I realized that we’d failed her, we’d broken our promise, and I felt guilt flood my veins.
“The sun’s setting,” Emmett spoke quietly, breaking the unbearable silence, “we need to go. I’ll carry Hallie.”
“Wait,” I looked around the surrounding space, looking for something to write on, “she was...she was supposed to go on her first date. Jake will be here any minute.”
I quickly scribbled a note as if written by her. Apologizing to Jacob, explaining we had to leave suddenly at the news of her grandmother falling ill. I hated having to do it, and I hated the lie, but I couldn’t allow him to think she’d just up and left for no reason. I did not wish for a single soul to think badly of her.
I took the small bags and the cash we’d stored in a lockbox before I attached the note with masking tape to the front door and shut it behind us.
“Where are we going?” I asked Emmett as we looked around the outside, making sure the coast was clear.
“Back to the cabin. If we can keep going, only stopping to feed once, we can get there within a day and a half.”
I nodded, knowing the cabin was the safest place, and I knew she’d be okay in the sunlight for now. It took between a day and three for someone to turn; we just had to hope her process wasn’t as quick as some.
A little over a day later, we arrived at the cabin. We had foregone feeding and kept going, figuring it was best to get here sooner rather than later. It exhausted us beyond compare, but at least she was now safe.
“So, what do you think will happen?” I asked as I laid Hallie down on her old bed.
Emmett sighed as he ran his large hand through his unkempt hair, “I don’t know. I’ve never known of a Warlock being turned, and there is nothing about it in the books; I’m certain they have never done it before. So, we have to beg she heals, and her powers override my blood and keep her just as she was.”
“What if she turns? She’ll be relegated to the shadows forever, and we’ll end up there with her too within weeks. She already spent her first ten years in exile, Emmett.”
Emmett stepped in front of me, placing one hand on my hip as his other cupped my chin. “Shadows or light, we’re a family. We’ll figure it out.”
“I’m so scared for her, Emmett. I don’t want her to live the life we have too.”
“I know, I don’t either, but I couldn’t bear to lose her altogether. Don’t forget; she has a choice. If she turns, she has to drink human blood to complete the transition. She has forty-eight hours to drink, and we’ll leave the choice to her.”
I closed the small gap between Emmett and me, allowing myself to sink into his muscular arms, “She’ll need something for the immediate hunger she feels. Animal blood doesn’t complete the transition, but it should recede it enough to give us a chance to explain.”
Emmett’s lips came against my forehead as he let out a long sigh, “I’ll go. You need to rest. You’re still recovering from the attack yourself.”
Although my wounds had healed, after running for thirty-something hours straight to get Hallie here, my body hadn’t recuperated. I couldn’t recall a time I felt so sluggish or defeated.
“I’ll stay close, I promise.” He pressed a soft kiss to my lips before taking a step back. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Try to get some sleep. I won’t be gone long.”
Before I could blink or say anything else, Emmett was out of the door.
I sighed to myself, moving over to the bed beside Hallie’s, curling up and watching her. I knew I should sleep, but I was too anxious. The girl who laid there right now was dead, and she had only thirty-five hours to wake, or she wouldn’t be waking up at all.
Thirty-five hours, that’s all she had. Before we got here, a part of me didn’t want her to wake, to turn. However, I now silently begged that she would, as Emmett’s words rang in my mind. Darkness or light, we were family, and that was more important than anything to me.
Even if she decided not to become a Vampire, at least I’d be able to tell her how sorry I was. I could tell her how much I love her and hold her one last time before Hallie joined her real family. It would be a chance for me to say goodbye to her, the way I could not say goodbye to my family before.
I brought my knees to my chest as my arms locked them in place, and my eyes fixated on her unmoving body, “Please, Hallie. Wake up.”