“You think another bloodline survived?” Emmett looked at me in astonishment. “Besides you and Thomas?”
“I don’t know, but I thought they were all dead until a couple of weeks ago.” I resolved, “Either way, I think Thomas and I deserve to know what happened that night. I know you already tried to look, but that was you alone. Maybe if all four of us looked, we might find something.”
“So, where do we start then?” Alicia sat, placing two cups of coffee in front of Masato and me.
“Home. Willow Lake. I know it’s nothing like it was eighty years ago, but it’s the best start point I got. I don’t even know if the cabin would even still be there.”
“Well, I guess we’re going to find out,” Alicia spoke as she studied me, looking for any signs of uncertainty. “You’re one hundred percent sure about this?”
“I need to try, Mom.”
“Well, it’s done then. I’ll make plans, sort our documents, and whatnot.” Emmett glanced over to Masato with an expectant look. “Masato, you’re certain about coming with us?”
“I am if that’s okay with you.”
“Of course it is, son. We’re happy to add you to the family.” Emmett smiled as he stood up, patting Masato on the shoulder. “I’m glad Hallie found you.”
“I’m glad I found her too.” Masato looked at me with a wide smile which caused my cheeks to turn a soft pink as the blush crept over them.
“We’ll move in two weeks.” Alicia nodded with confidence.
“I will miss you so much.” Elise held me tight as she cried into my shoulder.
“I’m going to miss you too.” I choked as tears of my own threatened to spill as I held my best friend for the last time.
The day I’d dreaded finally came all too quickly and my heart hurt for all the things I was about to leave behind. Leaving some towns was easy, some were hard, but this time was by far the hardest. Although I’d made friends in past towns, none of them had been to me what the two girls here were.
They were true friends, honest, loyal, understanding and even on your darkest days, they shed the smallest light which gave you hope for a better tomorrow.
“You better look after her.” Daisy commanded as she squared up to Masato with her eyes narrowed and arms folded across her chest, “If you don’t, I will find you, and I will kick your ass until you beg me to finish you, you hear?”
“Loud and clear.” Masato chuckled nervously under her piercing gaze as his hand scratched the back of his head.
Daisy’s tall stance relaxed along with her expression, “I’m going to miss you, you’re so lucky you’re getting to go with her.”
“I’ll miss you, too.”
“Elise, off now my turn,” Daisy ordered as she let go of Masato and turned to face Elise and me who were still wrapped in our embrace.
“No! I don’t want too.” Elise objected as she held onto me tighter. She was small, but the girl had a vice grip that made me thankful I was sturdier than the average human, otherwise she may have crushed my small frame.
“Bitch, I said off, or I’ll throw my water bottle at you.”
Elise groaned and finally let go, “All right, no need for that. I don’t want another bruise, thanks.”
Daisy immediately wrapped me in her arms without letting me get a breath in, “Look after yourself. You better call and text all the time, and when you two get married, we expect to be invited.”
I couldn’t suppress the laugh that bubbled up and over spilled, “Of course. I’m going to miss you. Thank you both for being the best kind of friends a girl could ask for.”
“The best kind of friends, to the best kind of gal. We love you, Hallie.” Elise flashed a smile as she wiped tears from her eyes with the sleeve of her light gray jumper.
“I love you too, Elise. And I love you, Daisy.”
“Come on, we better go, or we’re going to miss our flight.” Emmett placed his hand on my shoulder softly and gave me a look of sympathy.
“Bye Mr. and Mrs. Paxton.” Daisy gave him a small, sad smile.
“Goodbye, girls, be good and stay out of trouble.”
“Always, Mrs. Paxton.” Elise nodded.
We said our last goodbye before Masato held out his hand to me as I gripped onto both of the girls one last time before taking my hand in his and heading towards the car.
With a final wave out of the rare window of the car as Emmett roared the engine to life, tears formed, and a lump appeared in my throat as if I’d just swallowed a golf ball. Tears for friends I’d never be able to see again, for a town that would be entirely different by the time it was safe to come back, and for my old best friend Thomas, who I was leaving so soon after finding him once more.
“You okay, baby?” Masato pulled me close to him as we sat in the airplane which was now halfway to our destination of Arizona, USA.
It was the closest we could get to Willow Lake on a direct flight. From there, it was about a six-hour drive west before we hit the main track that would lead straight to Willow Lake. We could have gotten a connecting flight to one of the small airports, but with the lay-over and cost, it made more sense to drive it instead.
“I don’t know.” I sighed, curling myself into his side and resting my head on his chest. “I don’t know what I feel right now.”
“Get some sleep, baby. We still have a good four hours before we land and you’re exhausted.”
“What if we do all this looking and find nothing, Masato? No answers, no clues? It’s been eighty-five odd years, and I’ve seen the pictures. It’s a concrete jungle now. They took all the burned land, cut down miles of forest around it, and made it a town. There’s probably not a trace left.”
“Maybe so, but what if we don’t look when there’s something to find?” Masato contended, “Dad saw Olivia escaping with Jonathan. He didn’t know what happened to them once they passed the village marker, but there’s a chance they got out and ended up as Dad did.”
“I suppose if it’s possible to meet you and find Thomas again, in London of all places, we might find something.”
“Exactly. And if we come up short, then at least we tried. Equally, if it turns out we’re all that’s left then, at least we know. But, you deserve to know what happened to your family. Maybe Zach escaped the Vampires, from what you and Dad have said, he was strong and capable.”
“Please don’t get my hopes up like that.” I pleaded, “I couldn’t handle it if I let myself think that only to find out otherwise. My emotions are such a mess right now.”
Ever since the plane took off, I’d been feeling so mixed. I was anxious, nervous, scared, homesick, and worried. But I was also happy and excited. This time I wasn’t just starting a new life with Emmett and Alicia; I had Masato too, but it didn’t ease the weight of what I was leaving behind.
I found Thomas and spent a lot of time with him in our last month in London. I got to say goodbye to the one person in the coven who was never afraid of me and was always so kind. I discovered that there was a chance other members could be alive too.
All the emotions crashed around inside me like stormy ocean waves.
Everything was so unknown, and I didn’t know what to expect, or what would happen once we got to Willow Lake. The only thing that comforted me was the fact Masato, Emmett, and Alicia were here with me.
Four hours and we’d land in Arizona. Ten hours and we’d arrive in Willow Lake. What would happen after we got there, that was the great and terrifying unknown.