Chapter 1 – SAVE ME
Scarlet watched as the water rose to meet her. The ocean that she once danced in for Stephan, the waters that she had come to love just as he did was going to cause her death. Envelope her and drown her. Scarlet tried to pull the seat belt free but it was stuck. Her palms hit against the glass, but it wouldn’t even crack. Her arms circled her unborn child, protecting him the only way she knew how. The car hit the water and the pressure pushed her against the car, and then forced her head down, hitting the steering wheel.
“Stephan you have to save us. Save our baby.” Scarlet was whimpering as she watched the water fill the black Mustang. Soon she wouldn’t have any air to breathe. She was slipping into unconsciousness. She tried to fight it but soon she was engulfed by darkness.
Stephan dove deeper into the ocean, Solara by his side. Solara caught the Mustang by the exhaust and pulled it behind him as he swam. Stephan pulled the door open and cut the seat belt that held her to the seat.
Solara let go of the car that sank into the water. He went to Stephan and helped him pull her to the peer.
“Scarlet, breathe.” Stephan pumped his palms against her frail body. Solara blew air into her mouth trying to breathe air into her lungs.
“You are going to kill her Stephan. You can’t use that kind of force on her,” Nikki stepped next to where Stephan knelt beside Scarlet’s lifeless body.
Kayla sat on the ground on the other side. She held on to Scarlet’s hand and watched Stephan tirelessly try to pump life into her friend. The others stood around them watching silently. They couldn’t hide the grief and terror on their faces. Scarlet hadn’t shown any sign of life for the past five minutes. Stephan’s hands moved from her chest and his fingers locked behind his head. Tears streamed down his face as he watched Scarlet’s body willing her chest to move.
“Scarlet,” Kayla whispered her name as tearless sobs erupted from her chest.
Nikki took his previous position and did both pumping and blowing into her mouth.
Scarlet was back at the beach. She was playing in the water as she did before. She looked towards the shore and the sight of the two people she loved the most playing in the sand warmed her heart.
Stephan and SJ were building a sand fortress. He was a normal little boy and he was a normal father and companion. She saw them as humans and they were living ordinary lives like everyone else, Away from the danger and the pain of the unnatural world.
Scarlet held her arms out to the little boy who bore the exact resemblance of his father. He ran to her and leaped into her arms. She cradled him close to her chest. Stephan walked into the water and danced with them under the moon. He took the giggling boy from her arms and carried him on the nook of his left arm, while his right arm circled his waist. She admired the sight of both of them, so happy together under the moon. She stroked the boy’s black hair and tiptoed to kiss Stephan. She was about to lean into his chest when she felt pressure against her chest. When she looked up to the both of them, they seemed to be fading away. Something was pulling her away from them.
“No, No.” Her arms stretched out towards them as they faded into a cloud of smoke.
Scarlet was choking on water, she coughed it out. She slowly opened her eyes and let them adjust to the darkness.
“She’s fine. Stephan, she is fine.” Scarlet could hear Nikki’s voice. She didn’t understand what was going on. Why wouldn’t she be fine?
She could feel a cold hand on hers, it was Kayla. She sat up and Kayla held her tightly against her chest. Scarlet was still confused, Vincent, Victor, Eric, and Solara were standing around them. Nikki was kneeling by her side and Stephan sat on the floor his head between his knees.
“Stephan.” Scarlet managed to croak out his name.
Stephan looked up at her, grief and fear in his eyes. He crawled towards her, he didn’t attempt to hold her or even touch her. He just stared at her.
Scarlet saw the look in his eyes and immediately recognized it. All the memories of the past hour flooded into her head. Zen was throwing her into the ocean, the mustang filling up with water and her not being able to breathe.
Her hand dropped to her belly, the baby was fine, and she could feel him move around. Scarlet scrambled to her feet, her breaths were shallow and quick. She was afraid, she looked around the peer but there was no sight of Zen. The only odd thing she saw was a little fire burning out at the far end.
“Zen is gone. He isn’t here anymore.” Kayla volunteered the information.
“Is he dead?”
“No, but Xavier and Sam went after him.”
Scarlet steadied herself on Kayla’s arm. The threat was still out there. She had to leave San Francisco. She had to leave Stephan.
Stephan had stood up but he stayed away from her. She didn’t understand his reaction to her but didn’t try to approach him either.
Xavier and Sam returned seconds later. By the looks on their faces, it was evident that Zen had escaped yet again. Scarlet could feel a wave of fear tighten in her chest.
“We lost him a mile down the road.” Xavier was looking from Scarlet to Stephan.
“We are going to find him sooner or later. And I am going to kill him.” Stephan’s voice was low and it made him sound all the more lethal. His fists clenched at his sides, his gaze on the ground, he wanted to hide his eyes from Scarlet. He didn’t want to scare her.
Scarlet walked to him, she stood next to him. Her height allowed her to look straight up into his eyes. His red eyes took her by surprise as they did before. She tried to hide the fear but he caught it before she could.
Stephan closed his eyes, a tear streaming down the corner of his left eye. He felt her cold arms wrapping around his body. Her clothes were wet and so were his. He held her as tight as he could, the realization of almost losing her setting in. She almost died and it was his fault. His love almost killed her, unlike Sotera he had the strength to save her.
“I am so sorry, Scarlet. I promised to protect you...” Stephan choked on the lump that formed in his throat.
“Shh!” she stroked his cheeks, wiping away the tears rolling down from his red eyes. “I am fine. You need to relax.”
She leaned into his chest, feeling the warmth his body radiated. Her wet clothes were chilling her to the bone. She shivered once and Stephan tightened his arms around her.
“You are cold. Let’s get you home first then to the hospital.” He whispered into her damp hair.
Scarlet knew what going to the hospital would mean. She didn’t want to run into Dr. Murphy, she was sure he was going to bring the pregnancy up.
“No. No hospitals, not now maybe in the morning. I just want to get home and get into some dry clothes.” Scarlet looked around, there was no other way for them to get home. The car was at the bottom of the ocean and the others had run there.
“How are we going to get home?” she shivered in his arms, his warm body wasn’t doing much good.
“I’ll go hail down a taxi.” Vincent and Victor disappeared into the alley. They were inseparable since they met earlier that day.
Kayla rubbed her hand up and down Scarlet’s back. She wanted to feel her heartbeat, the warmth coming back to her body. She was glad that she was on her feet and talking again.
“You scared me Scar.”
“Am sorry, I guess I should have driven off when you told me the first time.” she didn’t move from Stephan’s arms but turned her head towards her. She forced a hard smile and her gaze rested on Kayla’s face. For an immortal, she looked exhausted and worn out.
They heard the engine of a car approach them. Victor and Vincent were in the yellow cab as it pulled over a few feet from them.
“Let’s go. I don’t want you to catch a cold.” Stephan walked with her to the car. He, Scarlet, Solara, and Kayla shared the cab, the others ran it was dark enough for them to run.
Kayla, Stephan, and Scarlet squeezed into the back seat while Solara sat upfront. Scarlet sat closer to Stephan, he was warmer than Kayla and every time their skin came into contact an electrifying cold shot through her spine.