Chapter 32: Asking for forgiveness
“I just need to be away from you for a little while, Alexander. I promise it won’t be forever.” I told him, trying to free my hand from his without success.
“But I don’t understand why I can’t go with you.” He complained and if possible his grip on my hand tightened even further. “And I promised to never leave you side again, so please.”
I rolled my eyes at him and sighed, “I didn’t mean that you should literally never leave my side again you know. I just meant that I need you to always be there for me and since I know you are that’s good enough. Please, just go back to your brothers because I’m sure they’re worried about you.” I patted his cheek gently and frowned, “Speaking of which, shouldn’t they have gone home already?”
“They were worried about you,” Alexander said proudly like he was glad his family liked me, “They couldn’t just leave after what you went through. They’ll still be there if I went home tomorrow… can’t I just come with you?”
I laughed, “Nice try buddy, but no.” I poked him in the chest and freed my captured hand, “I promise you’ll see me again. I just need some time.”
He looked at me sadly, “Away from me?”
“That too since I need some time to think and that’s impossible when you’re so close to me, but I just don’t want my friends to feel even more threatened than they are already going to feel when I tell them… that I …” I couldn’t even say it to Alexander, “What I’ve done. If I bring you there is more of a chance that they might not forgive me.”
Without another word he pulled me into his chest and rubbed his hand in comforting circles on my back, making me realised I’d won him over, “When will I see you again?”
“In a week.” I told him, “Maximum, maybe shorter, I don’t know… it depends on… things.” I pushed him away because I knew he would never let me go if I didn’t force him. I looked at him intently and stared into his eyes shamelessly, “I will come back to you, I promise. Goodbye Alexander.”
He slowly bent down and kissed my mouth gently, lingeringly and then rested his forehead against mine with closed eyes. He sighed, “Goodbye Ashira.” His fingers trailed down my neck, “I love you.”
We pulled away from one another and I smiled a sad smile as I started to walk away, “I love you too.”
And I couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of dread settle in the pit of my stomach.
We wouldn’t be seeing each other again.
The run to the little town where my friends lived took about an hour since I wasn’t at full speed just yet- Alexander had said that even though I was a vampire my body still needed time to change and adjust. He given me rough instructions to ‘head in that direction’ he’d pointed vaguely with his hand ‘and then follow your nose and come find me if you get lost’. So that was what I was doing. Finding him would be easy since I could literally feel him in the air everywhere I went, no matter how far he was, I would always be able to find him.
I found the town easily enough, I just had to follow the scent of the blood that was pumping trough every single human’s veins, no biggie.
The first thing I did when I arrived in town was speed into the nearest clothing store to get decent clothing since mine were sort of… non-existent. When I was dressed I headed out. Heads of vampires turned towards me everywhere I went, they smiled at me and bowed their heads slightly in submission, their eyes filled with respect. I found it creepy at first, but eventually I realised they were aware that I was with Alexander and that made me his equal.
I was seen as a royal because I was with Alexander.
My eyes widened a bit, that was why Zaiden had been so eager to help me on my first day as a vampire. I was his master. Did that mean I could boss all the other vampires around?
I grinned, maybe being a vampire wasn’t going to be all that bad.
My feeling of light-heartedness was short lived when I realised that I was standing in front of the door where my friends lived. My human friends. I wasn’t the same species as they were anymore.
A shiver ran down my spine and I looked around, every muscle in my body ready for the threat I sensed in the air. Someone was watching me, I could feel their eyes burning through my skin. It was someone even my vampire half found unsettling. Who was it? No normal vampire would make me feel this way.
My eyes slid over my surroundings. The trees were silent, the birds on the telephone wire calmly looking around and a single woman walking down the street was the only other being in my sights.
Maybe I had been imagining things. Who would be looking at me anyway?
I walked up to the door and lifted my hand to the door, holding it there for a moment. I couldn’t do it. I just- I-
I’d killed Rustin, I couldn’t just knock on the door and pretend that everything was alright. My body started to shake violently and I slowly lowered my hand back to my side. I couldn’t face them.
Taking in a sharp breath I turned around abruptly, walking away from the door. My bottom lip trembled and my arms tingled, it felt like I needed to punch something.
Before I knew it I was down the path that led to the house and out the garden gate. I’d barely had time to pull my thoughts together when I walked right into a certain tanned individual.
Troy’s eyes brightened when he recognised me, “Ash! Everyone was so worried about you, they’ll be so glad to see that you’ve recovered.” He pulled me in for a hug and desperately held my breath, the last thing I needed was killing another person. He hurriedly let me go when I didn’t respond to his hug and looked at me seriously, “Are you alright? You’re very cold. Are you still ill?”
With effort I finally managed to shake my head, “No, I’m fine. I just… I just came to see all of you, to talk to you.”
Troy grinned again, “I really am glad you’re better and I’m sure the rest will be thrilled as well. Let’s go inside.” He gently gave me a little push towards the front door and I reluctantly let myself be guided there. I could just see he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
It seemed like the door took forever to open after we finally arrived on the porch and I watched it with dread filling me. Troy looked at me questioningly when I didn’t enter immediately, “Go on.” He urged me with a little gesture of his hand.
Supressing a terrified shiver I took a whiff of him and of everyone in the house. I wasn’t going in there if I craved any of their blood. After a moment I offered Troy a weak smile and stepped over the threshold. It was alright. I didn’t hunger for them as much as I had for Rustin… not to even mention Alexander.
A wave of smells hit me the moment I stepped inside the house. I couldn’t place the smell, it smelled good but not like flowers or perfume or food, what was it then? “What is that?” The words fell out of my mouth before I could stop them.
“Nadine is baking cookies.” Troy informed me happily, “Come on.” He walked towards the kitchen and I followed him.
I couldn’t even identify the scent of cookies anymore… I tried to ignore that disturbing fact and not let it bother me.
Rose was sitting at the island lying with her head on her arms and complaining about how hot it was and Nadine didn’t look like she was listening to her friend, but rather stealing glances in Kevin’s direction. He was trying to hit the spoon at just the right angle to make it flip over.
When they saw me the reunion was much like it had been a little more than a week ago except for the fact that a certain person was missing.
Oh goodness I couldn’t do this.
Just being in the house where he’d lived for almost a month nearly had me in a sobbing little heap on the floor. How was I going to tell them that I was a vampire?
Needless to say I grew very tense when the cheerful reunion came to an end when Rose asked, “Where’s Rustin? Your master said he’d take him to see you and we haven’t seen them since they sped off. Have you seen him recently? Does he know you’re alright?”
I swallowed hard, “That’s… that’s why I’m here.” I hung my head, “Let’s go sit in the living room.”
They all exchanged a nervous glance but granted me my request and we all moved to the living room. When they were all seated and I had taken the furthest chair from them to give them enough space so they wouldn’t freak out when I told them what I was, I took an unneeded breath, a habit I still struggled to stop. “When I was last here, you all saw how I looked. I was ill, terribly ill. When that vampire had kidnapped me when we were still on the ship, he’d poisoned me and it had taken effect slowly. That’s why I was dying.” I didn’t need to tell them with what I had been poisoned, surely that would only make things worse. “And… and Alexander he-” I sighed, “It’s hard to explain… but he knew there was no cure for me, he knew that I was going to die because of that certain poison. He knew there was nothing he could do and… I asked him to kill me to just stop the pain…”
Rose shot out of her chair, a look of outrage on her face, “What? Why on earth would you do that?”
“I just wanted the pain to stop…” I trailed off and she sat down again with an apprehensive expression on her face, “Anyway, Alexander didn’t want to kill me so he…” I closed my eyes and said the words as fast as I could, “He turned me into a vampire.”
There was a few seconds of silence before I decided to open my eyes. They were all staring at me in disbelief and horror. “W-what?” Kevin spluttered.
“Alexander turned me.” I repeated calmly, “I’m a vampire.”
“A vampire!?” the loud exclamation came from Rose’s mouth, “What the hell?!”
“You have to be joking.” Nadine said cautiously and Kevin nodded, “Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am being serious, you guys, I’m a vampire and even though I don’t want to be like this, Alexander saved me from dying.” I told them. “So I’m just glad to be alive at the moment.”
“That’s why you came here?” Troy questioned coldly, pushing Rose behind him, “To tell us that you’re a bloodsucker now?”
“Troy!” Rose scolded him trying to get to me, “Just because Ash is a vampire now doesn’t mean she isn’t our friend anymore. Right Ash?” she looked at me with big eyes filled with hope… and fear.
“Of course we’re still friends.” I gave her a little smile, “Nothing could ever change that.” I glanced at Nadine who was still watching me with no emotion displayed on her face. “Right Nadine?”
“I have yet to decide how to react.”
My heart fell, I hadn’t even told them about the worst part yet and even Nadine was already unsure about whether or not she still wanted to be friends with me. “I understand.” I finally managed to croak out.
“Where is Alex anyway?” Rose questioned curiously, “I mean, the two of you are still together, right?”
“Yes, certain… things happened… but yes…” I answered hesitantly since she as getting a little off topic.
“How exactly did Rose’s question about Rustin lead to this?” Troy asked.
Because I killed him. A surge of emotions hit me like a sledge hammer. How could I tell them? My eyes began to fill with liquid, blinding me with red for a few moments but I didn’t miss how they all flew out of their chairs and grouped together in fear, “Before I tell you… I just want you all to know… that I… I didn’t… I never…”
“Where is Rustin?” Rose asked in a small voice as she clung to Troy. It seemed like she was grasping for the first time what me being a vampire meant. It meant I needed blood.
It meant I needed to kill.
“I… I didn’t mean to, but I couldn’t stop myself I – I drank his blood.” I looked up to meet their questioning eyes, “He’s dead.”
“You killed him?” Rose’s voice trembled in fear, disbelief and sadness.
“Yes.” I answered truthfully, “But I didn’t mean to. I just… I’m so sorry.”
“You killed him?!” Kevin’s hysterical voice made me edge away from them. “How could you do that?! He was your friend! He trusted you! Why would you kill him?!”
“I didn’t mean to…” I choked out in a shaking voice, “I didn’t even realise what I was doing until it was too late I-“
“Don’t try to make excuses,” Troy hissed at me, “You killed your friend. You killed our friend.” A moment of tense silence passed. “Leave.”
Time slowed, “W-what?” I stuttered.
“I told you to leave.” Troy repeated coldly, “You aren’t welcome here anymore.”
I pleadingly looked at Rose who was turned away from me and crying in Troy’s arms. “Rose? Please, Nadine…” They both turned their heads away from me.
“Troy’s right Ashira,” Nadine said softly with a slight quiver in her voice, “If you’d killed a mere stranger that would have been bad in itself, but to think that you killed Rustin… someone who you actually fancied for a little while… I’m sorry… you’re a vampire now and humans hate vampires. That how it has always been and how it should be. It isn’t safe for us to be around you.” A cold shiver pulled through me when I saw her tear brimmed eyes. Nadine was crying.
My hands shook and I clenched my fists to try and gain control of myself again. They were shunning me. They were saying goodbye because they couldn’t bear to look at me any longer. I was no more than a killer vampire to them now. They hated vampires.
They hated me.
I stood up. They all moved closer together at my sudden movement, the guys’ arms protectively around the girls. “Do think I don’t hate myself for what I did?” I questioned without any emotion in my voice.
When they didn’t speak I took the tense silence as their answer.
I wasn’t one of their friends anymore.
I wasn’t welcome anymore.
I was a vampire.
“I’m sorry.” I tried to say again but the words got caught up in my throat. “Please, you guys, don’t- don’t hate me for this. Forgive me.” I begged. “Please.”
They all glanced at me but quickly looked away again.
“I’m sorry.” I said again, “I can never forgive myself for what I did but hope that maybe someday we can… that we can be frie-“
“That won’t happen.” Nadine cut in, “Rustin was one of us and you killed him.”
I hung my head. So that was it. They were abandoning me for good. “I understand. Goodbye.” I manged shakily before I sped for the door.
I threw open the door and ran. I’d only made it a few blocks before I found myself in an alley on the ground. Sobbing. Heartbroken.
I didn’t have anyone except Alexander left for me here anymore.
My bloody tears pooled on the dusty ground beneath me as I cried and when I finally managed to pull myself together again I sat against the wall of the building closest to me.
I’d lost nearly everyone I held dear in less than a week.
But I had Alexander.
I would always have Alexander.