“Adrian!” Rose calls, from outside the locker room, “Your phone is ringing!”
“Why does she even have it?” I wonder aloud to myself as I wrap my towel around my waist and pad over to her, “Who is it?” I ask.
“I dunno,” she shrugs, holding out my phone as it rings, “It’s an unknown number.”
I grab my phone from her and answer it as I walk back into the locker room.
“Is this Adrian, Adrian Sylvanus?” the voice on the other end of the phone asks.
“Yeah,” I answer putting the phone to my other ear, “Who is this?”
“Adrian, my name is Detective Amy Denver from the Lawrence Police department.”
Police? From Lawrence?
“Do you know of a one…” The detective is fumbling on the name, I immediately know who she means, “Rowlan Black?”
“It’s Rowaelin,” I correct, “What’s happened?”
“Mr Sylvanus you are listed as Miss Black’s emergency contact and there has been an incident. Miss Black is currently in Mercy State Hospital.”
My throat closes and my heart drums in my ears.
“What’s happened?” I ask, starting to rush to get my clothes on, “Is she alright?”
“She is alive,” the detective assures me, “She was attacked in her home and seriously injured. Mr Sylvanus, how quickly can you get to Mercy State?”
“I-I’m in Romania right now, on business,” I explain, “She should have another contact, Officer Thomas Jefferson?”
“Mr Sylvanus we regret to inform you that Officer Jefferson, as well as one Cynthia Jane, was murdered during the attack, you are the only other contact in Miss Black’s phone.”
My heart is going a mile a minute, she’s hurt, by the sound of the detective, I’d assume that she’s hurt pretty badly.
“How?” I find myself asking.
“Their throats were torn out,” the detective says, and that’s all I need to know.
“I can be at Mercy State in a day or so,” I say, walking out of the locker room, passing the not-so-subtle Rose who lingers by the door, “How bad is she?”
“Miss Black has sustained three cracked ribs and a broken arm during the assault,” the detective informs me, “She also has internal bleeding and she was also bitten on the neck by the perpetrator.”
“Shit,” I curse under my breath as I weave through the institute, “Where is the perpetrator now?”
“He was dead upon arrival,” the detective says and I pause but she doesn’t continue.
“Tell Rowaelin that I will be there soon,” I say, “Thank you, detective.”
The detective hangs up and I storm into Stella’s office.
“Rowy’s been attacked,” I say, Stella looks up to me and raises an eyebrow at me, “A vampire got to her in her home and now she’s in the hospital, barely alive.”
“And?” Stella asks.
“And I’m taking the jet and going back to America to get her,” I say, I’m not asking for permission.
“The jet is for emergencies only,” Stella says, looking back to her papers.
“This is an emergency,” I say before Stella can tell me ‘no’, “Stella, I’m all she has.”
Sella looks back up to me, she looks me up and down and then sighs.
“Fine,” she says, “But you get back here as soon as possible and you keep in contact, am I clear?”
I nod my head and then turn to leave but Stella slaps on another condition.
“And you take your partner,” she adds, halting me immediately and making me groan in frustration.
But I don’t have time to stop and argue, Rowaelin needs me and I can’t waste time arguing with Stella.
“Fine,” I say before continuing on my way out of her office.
I tell Rose that she needs to pack her things because we’re going back to America.
“Why?” she asks immediately.
“Rowaelin was attacked,” I say, not breaking my stride as I leave the institute to grab some things from my apartment, “Meet me back here in an hour, Stella says you have to come with me.”
“And if I refuse?” Rose asks, stopping outside the institute to fold her arms over her chest.
“No skin off my nose,” I shrug, walking over to my bike and speeding home.
An hour later I’m back at the institute in the aircraft hanger, Rose is waiting for me, but she doesn’t look happy about it.
“Didn’t think you’d be in a rush to go back,” the piolet chuckles as we walk onto the jet.
“Why are we going back?” Rose sighs, flopping down into her seat as the piolet returns to the cockpit and gets ready for departure.
“I told you,” I glower, putting Screamer in the overhead locker, “Rowaelin was attacked.”
“So?” Rose scoffs, “Let the American Hunters deal with it.”
I glare at Rose over my shoulder and then take my seat as the engines turn on.
“Why are you so attached to her?” Rose asks, crossing her legs and pursing her lips, “How is she different from all the other… victims we’ve saved.”
“Because she is,” I say, hoping that it would be the end of it.
“Why?” Rose probes, “Because she was your first lay?”
“Careful,” I warn, my hands flexing as the plane starts its ascent, “You’re crossing a line.”
“Oh, please,” she scoffs, “She’s been with hundreds of men, and women, from what I’ve heard, she probably hasn’t thought twice about you.”
“Rose, over the past month I’ve been working with you and we get along pretty well, but if you don’t shut up, I will request a new partner, I will get my way, and you will be left in America.” I threaten, Rose folds her arms over her chest and pouts like a child, but she remains quiet, which is all I care about.
Every second that ticks past is pure agony, the wait is unbearable, as the jet finally lands in America a lump forms in my throat, unfortunately, the jet has to refuel in New York before we can reach Kansas, but as soon as we land in Kansas my chest tightens and I take the curtesy car and speed to the hospital.
Rose, to her credit, has kept her mouth shut for most of the flight, and I’m thankful; if she had continued to nag me who knows what might have happened.
When I reach the hospital I race into the building and speak to the front desk while Rose lingers in the car.
After a few documents are signed a nurse shows me to Rowaelin’s room.
Rowaelin is sleeping when I arrive, she is laying on her side with a familiar creature curled up at the end of her bed.
“Max,” I breathe, realising that I haven’t even thought of my old partner since hearing of Rowaelin’s attack.
“He kicked up a fight when he was at the vet's,” the nurse says, whispering as she stands next to me, “He escaped and ran all the way here, he wouldn’t let anyone stop him.”
I stand at the end of the bed and Max looks up to me, he just watches me and in his eyes I can see his distrust.
‘You should have been here,’ they seem to say.
“You did good, buddy,” I say, rubbing his head before sitting next to the bed.
Now that I’m closer, I can see her, I can see her face, I can see her body, framed by the sheet that covers her.
“She’s been through a lot,” the nurse whispers, looking at Rowaelin with sympathetic eyes, the nurse leaves and I fall to the seat behind me.
Rowaelin looks bad, she’s pale and so thin, I can see her cheekbones, even though some of her face is swollen and coloured a dark purple.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper, looking to her hand that sticks out of her blanket, “I’m so sorry.”
Rowaelin shifts in her sleep, her hair falls further over her shoulder, exposing her neck and the bandage that covers the bite marks.
Max shifts and Rowaelin stirs, her eyes cracking open, immediately her eyes find me and I’m frozen under her gaze.
“Adrian?” she asks, her hand reaches for me.
I take her hand in mine and am surprised by how cold her touch it.
“I’m here,” I soothe, squeezing her gently, “I’m here.”
Rowaelin starts to cry, tears just well in her eyes and begin to spill.
“Hey, it’s going to be ok,” I say, I get out of the hard plastic chair and sit on the edge of the bed.
I pull Rowaelin closer to me and she sobs and wraps her arms around me, I can only assume that she is crying because she finally feels safe, Rowaelin is crying because she knows that I’ll protect her.
Two detectives walk into the room after knocking and they flash their badges as I untangle myself from Rowaelin.
“Mr Sylvanus, I presume?” one of the detectives says as I stand next to the bed.
“Detective,” I greet, fixing my shirt as he stands aside.
“Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?” the detective gestures to the door and I look to Rowaelin.
“I’ll be back,” I promise squeezing Rowaelin’s hand before following the detective outside.
The detectives stand with me in the hall and begin to ask me questions, apparently Rowaelin hasn’t been cooperating, she hasn’t said a word to the detectives, so now they want the answers from me.
“Rowlan’s parents, what do you know of them?”
“It’s Rowaelin,” I correct.
“Right,” The detective nods, “But her parents, we’ve been unable to find anything about them.”
“Her mother is dead,” I say, “Murdered a month or so ago, and her father isn’t on record, we’ve tried to track him down but all leads have gone cold.”
“Any other relatives on record?” the detective asks.
“No,” I answer, “Not that I’m aware of.”