“You’re a what?!" Zack roared as his eyes burned with fury as he rose from his chair. “They did what?!"
“Zach, please, I haven’t finished.” I sighed, pleading him.
I knew he’d blow up, he was always hot-headed, even as a child, but I was hoping he’d give me a chance.
I watched as his teal eyes darkened with rage, staring at me in a way that caused fear to begin scratching at me.
Zach turned a little and pointed the finger at Masato, “You stay out of this.”
“Don’t you talk to him like that! He’s much of a part of this as we are. He is a Pope, and he is one of us.”
“No, he’s one of me, you are a Hybrid!” The words were laced with venom, and I felt the poison bleed into my skin and burn.
“Zach, if Emmett hadn’t saved her, it would appear you’d both be dead.” Masato spat, his coffee-colored eyes equally as dark as Zach’s as he too stood, squaring up to Zach.
“I’d have rather died than know my sister is one of them."
Zach’s harsh and bitter words cut through me like a razor-sharp knife slicing through my heart. I felt the pain of his words and the contempt he spat at me deep in my core, and I had to fight the tears that threatened.
“You’d have rather your sister died?! Emmett did what he did because he loved her so much he couldn’t bear to lose her. But you’d have sooner had her die?” Masato erupted like a volcano spitting hot lava.
He was always so soft and calm, I’d never seen him so angry, and the fear scratched at me further as I watched them fight.
“How the hell can you say that to her?! So what she’s half Vampire? She’s alive. I’d sooner take her alive and drinking animal blood than dead! Would you have rather found her dead?! How could you say that to your sister?!”
Zach stopped and looked past Masato’s shoulder at me, his face softening, regret for his words evident, “I didn’t mean-. Oh god, Hallie, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. Just Hallie, you didn’t see the things they’re capable of. You didn’t have to watch what they did to our parents.”
“We’re not like that, Zach.” I choked, biting back the tears. “Emmett and Alicia, they survive on animal blood. They would never hurt a human. They were against the attack; they betrayed their clan and have been on the run since. They put their lives on the line because they refused to attack our people. I’m not like that. I’m still half-human. I’m just like you; only I’m faster, more agile, stronger physically, and well, I’m more or less unkillable. You know, unless you stake me, maybe, we’re not certain.”
“She also has supersonic hearing, which is equally cool and annoying.” Masato’s tone softened as he chuckled in an attempt to defuse the tension, “I tried to surprise her for her birthday the first year we met, failed. She’d heard me talking to Elise about it, and I’d assumed Elise had spilled the beans.”
“We drink animal blood, Zach. If we need humans, it’s from a blood bag, not through attacking or biting humans. Hell, I even insist on stunning the animals once we’ve hunted them because I don’t want to hurt them.”
“Look, Zach, give me your hand.” I interrupted as I held my hand out to him, and he looked at me dubiously. “Please.”
Slowly he brought his hand to mine, and I pressed it against my chest.
“See. I know it’s weak, but it still beats. I still do all the ordinary human things, except need the toilet. I also don’t need to sleep as much, and my skin is a little cooler than normal. Oh, and while I can eat human food, it doesn’t taste all that nice. But, my heart still beats, I still bleed, cry, and blush. I’m still me, Zach.”
“Oh, Hale.” Zach relaxed his hand before he pulled me close to him. “I’m sorry for what I said. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, I understand.”
“Why did Emmett call you his daughter, though?” Zach questioned as he pulled away.
“Well given they can’t pass for much younger than mid-thirties, and I usually start a town at sixteen, we make it, so they’re my adoptive parents. It was for the sake of cover at first, but while they can never replace Mom and Dad, they’re my parents for all other reasons. I’d of died a million times over if not for them.”
“They’re good people...Vampires. They’ve done so much of her, for me too. They’ve taken care of her and kept her safe, so one day, you two might find each other again.”
Zach sighed, and his body slackened, “Maybe I should thank them then. I promise I won’t hurt them if you’d like to tell them to come home.”
“We took the car. I’ll go and pick them up, and let you two have a few minutes alone.” Masato pressed a kiss to my cheek before he gave Zach a small smile and left.
“Hale, I’m sorry that I blew up like that. I just- my emotions are everywhere right now. I never wanted you dead, and I never will.” Zach sighed sadly as he rested his head on my shoulder.
“It’s okay.” I soothed as I wrapped my arms around him. I never thought I’d be able to see him again, let alone hug him, and I didn’t want to let go.
“No, it’s not. I saw how much what I said hurt you. I’m surprised Masato didn’t sock me one. Although, I have to say he gives a good tongue lashing. Fucking felt like it was Dad telling me off for a minute.” Zach chuckled momentarily, “he loves you a lot.”
I snickered as I shrugged my shoulders softly, “He’s not one for socking people. He’ll defend us with his life, but he’s not generally one of just lamping someone even if he wants too. And he probably knew I’d make him suffer for hitting you, even if I did want to hit you myself.”
“I’m glad you’ve had Emmett and Alicia, even if they are Vampires. I’ll deal with my distaste towards them. I’m happy you’ve had him too.”
“What about you, Zach? Have you been alone this whole time?”
“More or less. I’ve made a few friends along the way, a fling or two, but yeah. All I’ve cared about is finding you, and I couldn’t do that by lingering in one place too long.”
My heart broke for Zach. For eighty-something years he’s been out on his own, looking for me. I could never have survived on my own, but he had. I felt selfish for not doing as he had done, for giving up for so long until I found Masato and Thomas.
“Well, you have us now. As you can see, the house is big enough so not like there isn’t room. Although we are supposed to go to Canada in just over a week.”
“Well, when they found your half of the heart you made, I was so convinced that meant you were dead for sure. I couldn’t stay here, the memories of you haunted me even if this is nothing like the place we grew up in. It wasn’t home anymore.”
“Stay. Hale, please. I know this isn’t what our home was, but this is our home. I’ll go to Canada with you if that’s what you want, but let’s take our home back. Not in a, we’re going to rule it way, just metaphorically. It can be our home again.” Zach’s hand softly brushed over my cheek as he looked at me pleadingly. “This place, it belongs to us, and Masato too.”
“I’ll talk to Emmett and Alicia, as long as we’re together, anywhere is home. But Zach, how are we going to explain how you come in? While we’re twins, I can just about pass for sixteen with the right make up. You, however, not so much.”
Zach chuckled, “Oh, trust me, as I’ve been informed before if I shave and cut my hair a little, I look like a twelve-year-old. My rugged, devilishly attractive looks become, well, more like prepubescent handsome.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. He was still Zach without a shadow of a doubt, “You haven’t changed. It’s going to be a hard one to wriggle around. I haven’t told anyone anything other than my family died in a fire. Now my twin brother suddenly pops up after two months.”
“We’ll figure something out.”
“Yeah, Emmett’s the guy who figures all those things out. He’s got such a wild imagination, and a knack for adventure, he’s pretty good at it.”
“So, you’ll stay?” He looked at me with eyes full of hope.
“I suppose, besides the fact this is a world away from the village, it is beautiful here. However, because we don’t age, we’ll have to move eventually. We move every six to eight years, depending on when people start asking questions.”
“I can live with that. Right now, I want to spend a little time in our home with my sister...and her Vampire parents. And her boyfriend, who’s a damn Pope!”
“I can live with that.” I smiled as he leaned forward to press a kiss to my forehead and held me close.
“I’m so glad I found you. I missed you so much.”
“And I, you, Zach. More than anything.”