I didn’t even know that Adrian would come for me, he’s been avoiding my calls for over a month. When I saw him, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t think he was real.
‘If you don’t know what to do, cry.’
It was advice Alec gave me before he left this morning, I was nervous and worried about what to say to Adrian when he showed up. He hasn’t called me or answered my calls for a while now and I didn’t know how to address that, Alec told me not to worry, and he told me that men never know what to do when a woman cries, it’s the easiest way to avoid hard questions.
The detectives asked hard questions, questions I didn’t know how to answer, so I didn’t answer, I just clenched my jaw and ignored all the questions. Alec applauded me for staying silent, he gave me the advice so that I could skip the questions altogether.
I don’t know why I trust Alec, I know he’s a vampire, I know that he is dangerous, I know he could kill me at any moment. But I trust that he won’t, something inside of me knows that Alec is going to help me; when I see Zakai or Ren, then I’m afraid, but when Alec is around, I feel safer.
But Alec is gone now, he left in the early hours of the morning, he told me that Adrian would be coming today and that I’d be ok.
I didn’t like the way that Adrian pulled me to him, I didn’t like how he got into bed without asking. I know he was trying to comfort me, but it just reminded me of when I was Thana’s.
Now Adrian is outside, talking to detectives, telling them about me, answering the questions I didn’t want to answer.
Max lays at the end of my bed, he looks towards the door and then back to me, he watches and I feel even safer. Max didn’t bother to even growl at Alec when he was here, he just huffed and laid still. Don’t get me wrong, Max watched Alec closely and growled once when Alec moved too fast, but Max didn’t attack or snap at him. Which assures me that perhaps Alec is not like the other vampires I’ve met.
“Hey,” Adrian says, walking into the room and closing the door behind him.
His voice snaps me out of my thoughts, the sound of the door clinking into place snaps me into another one, one more brutal and blood-soaked. I want to curl in on myself and I want to die, the memories eat at me, I’ve never been able to escape them, not fully.
“They keep calling you Rowlan,” Adrian says, finally gaining my attention again.
“What?” I ask, unsure of what he’s talking about.
“The detectives, they keep calling you Rowlan,” Adrian chuckles, “I don’t know why they can’t get it.”
I don’t see how that has any relevance to the situation.
“When can I go home?” I ask, silently resenting the hospital and everything around me.
Adrian gets this look on his face and it tells me all that I need to know.
“You need to stay on bed rest, you’ve got a broken arm and cracked ribs,” Adrian says, “And going home probably isn’t the best option right now.”
“I don’t want to be here anymore,” I say, trying to convince Adrian to take me home.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he sighs, he takes my hand and my stomach launches into my throat, “But I want to talk to you about something.”
Max shifts in bed and then crawls up between me and Adrian, in doing so, Adrian lets go of my hand and I am grateful to the dog.
“Rowy,” Adrian sighs, sitting back in the chair, “My boss only gave me a short leave to come here, but when I do get called back to Romania, I want you to come with me.”
“Adrian, we talked about this,” I stammer, “Thana...”
“She isn’t in Romania,” Adrian says, “We tracked her for months and she left a lot of bodies behind, but she’s disappeared. They’ve found bodies in Italy that match Thana’s killing patterns. I can protect you, Rowaelin, I promise that you’ll be safe with me.”
“You don’t have anything here for you, there is nothing but pain,” Adrian says, cutting off my protest, “Come with me.”
Romania is where my father is, Alec told me that’s where he is, but I didn’t need him to tell me, I’ve always known that’s where he is. Alec was going to take me, he said that he could take me to my father, Alec wants to keep me safe too.
I want to go to Romania, I want to know my father, I want to know who he is. I want to know how and why he is sending so much money.
If I go to Romania with Alec, I stay in the dark, I’ll be moved around in the dark. But with Adrian, Adrian is light, Adrian will keep me safe and keep me in the light, he can keep me away from vampires.
So I take Adrian’s hand, I swallow my fear and squeeze his hand.
“I want to come with you,” I tell him.
Adrian’s face lights up, I can see a spark in his eyes as he squeezes my hand back.
“Good,” he smiles, “Good, I can arrange for things to be finalised and we can arrange for a passport.”
“I want to go home,” I say, pulling my hand from Adrian’s so that I can sit up in the bed, “I don’t want to be here anymore, I don’t care if it’s in my best interest to stay.”
My body aches as I move, I pull the wires off my chest and throw them away as Max moves out of the way.
“Rowy,” Adrian sighs, he watches as I get out of bed and wince as I stand, “Come on, just get back into bed.”
He has no idea how many times I’ve heard that before.
I grab clothes out of the drawer to my left, clothes that Alec brought this morning. I want to feel normal again, I ignore Adrian’s request and then hobble into the bathroom and change out of the scratchy hospital gown, it difficult to change with only one good arm, but I manage just fine.
Adrian stands outside of the bathroom door, he takes my hand and steadies me when I wobble.
Adrian bends to my persistent pushing, he takes me home, promising the doctors that he will make sure that I am resting and careful.
Adrian takes me down to the garage, once he finds the car anger begins to broil in my stomach; Rose sits in the front seat, her head nodding along to whatever song she listens to.
Adrian helps me into the back, and Rose doesn’t acknowledge me, she just continues to nod along to the song that fills the car.
“What now?” she asks Adrian as he slides into the driver’s seat.
“We are going to take Rowy home,” Adrian says as he pulls the car out of the park, “Then she is coming back to Romania with us.”
“Um... why?” Rose asks, casting a glare over her shoulder at me.
Rose and Adrian continue to talk as if I wasn’t there, as if I couldn’t hear the backhanded comments from Rose or the possessive ones from Adrian.
We arrive back at my home, I have to wait for Adrian to let me out of the car, he tries to handle me and put me in a wheelchair that he deems is for ‘my safety’ due to my cracked ribs and pulled muscles.
I hobble away from Adrian and Rose, walking through the front door to see the chaos that has struck my living room.
But there is nothing there anymore, the police have made quick work of the crime scene and have cleaned up almost everything. The only thing left of the crime scene is dried blood that is pushed too deep into the fabric of the carpet to clean.
“I want to sell this place,” I breathe as I feel Adrian comes in behind me, “I can’t stand it anymore.”
So things move quickly, I sell the house and everything in it, a private investor buys it pretty much as soon as the house is put on the market.
I pack what little belongings I have and then Adrian, Rose, and I are boarded on a private jet, headed to Romania.
“Don’t be nervous,” Adrian says, taking my hand as he sits next to me, “I swear, I won’t let anything happen to you.”
On one hand, it was comforting to know that I’d have Adrian by my side, he is a good fighter and has killed many vampires before, however, on the other hand...
“Why didn’t you call?” I ask, looking to him with wide eyes.
“...I did?” he answers, “You never answered.”
“When I called you never answered either,” I say with a frown.
“If you called I would’ve answered,” Adrian says, he pulls out his phone and then dials my number.
But my phone doesn’t ring, and when I call his phone, it doesn’t ring either.
“Maybe your phone is broken?” Adrian says, “When we reach Romania we can get a new one.”
I sit back in my chair and from the corner of my eye I see Rose fidgeting nervously. I don’t think of it too much, chalking it up to her being a nervous flyer.
I’ve been on a plane before, the feeling of flying is so familiar but I cannot remember when or why I was on a plane.
The flight is awkward, I don’t know how to feel about Adrian, he saved my life many times now, but he is possessive of me, and when he looks at me, I can see the same look that men used to give me in the club.
We arrive in Romania and Adrian leaves Rose to take me back to his apartment.
“If you wish you can find a place of your own,” Adrian says, “But my apartment is yours for as long as you wish, and I’d feel better if you’d stay with me.”
“Why do you care about me so much?” I ask, turning to watch him as he drives.
Adrian shrugs his shoulder and then looks over to me for a split second.
“I care about you,” he says, his voice soft and kind, “Like I said in the hospital months ago. The thought of you getting hurt... the thought makes me feel sick. I want to protect you, Rowy.”
Adrian offers me his hand and I take it, his hand is warm and calloused his presence makes me feel safe, and now that the phone debacle is behind us, I feel the connection between me and Adrian spark again.
“I’ve missed you,” I hear myself say as I stare at the hand embracing mine.
“I’ve missed you too,” Adrian says with a gentle squeeze.
She’s back by my side and I’ve never felt stronger. Her hand is in mine and it makes my heart race with excitement.
I take Rowaelin back to my penthouse apartment and when her eyes widen at the luxury of my place it makes me feel proud.
My penthouse apartment is very spacious, there are two levels, with the living and entertaining areas downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs with their own bathrooms.
Rowaelin makes her way out onto the balcony, she passes the private pool and walks to the edge where she looks ut over the bustling city.
“It’s beautiful,” she breathes, turning back to me with sparkling eyes.
“Come, I’ll show you to your room,” I say, taking her hand in mine and leading her upstairs to the spare room.
After Rowy is settled into her new room, she curls up on the large bed and falls asleep, jet-lagged and undoubtedly aching.
As she sleeps, I am called back to the institute by Stella. I check on Rowaelin before I leave, she is sleeping with Max hugged to her chest and I wish that I too could be held to her chest as we sleep.
I quietly call the dog away and he crawls out of Rowy's hold to heel at my side, now that he is back in Romania he will be put back to work, Rowaelin doesn't need him anymore now that she's with me.
When I walk into the institute, I hand Max's leash to the trainer and he is taken back to the kennels to be put back to work.
“How was your trip?” She asks as we walk through the institute together.
“Rowaelin came back with us,” I say as Rose joins us, “She’s back at my apartment.”
Stella just hums to herself and then takes Rose and me to an interrogation room, where a man sits with a deep scowl on his face.
“Who’s this then?” I ask as I look through the window.
“This is Zach, rescued from a vampiress just last night,” Stella says as she folds her arms over her chest, “he seems hateful towards us for saving him. There’s some information about the vampiress that we need but he refuses to give.”
“Say no more,” I say with a smile, “We’ll find out what he knows.”
Stella allows Rose and me into the room, Zach looks up to us and his lips tense, showing that he will not be easy to crack.
“So, you were attached to your captor?” I sigh as Rose sits and I stand back towards the two-way mirror, “do you know what Stockholm syndrome is?”
Zach doesn’t speak, his eyes are set hard and glare at me.
“The vampiress kept you alive, feeding on you for decades,” Rose says reading the file in front of her, “it was feeding on you, torturing you.”
“She was my friend,” the man snaps finally, “she didn’t keep me against my will, she didn’t hurt anyone and you killed her. She was innocent.”
“She was a monster,” Rose snarls, “an unnatural creature who has roamed this earth for decades. You were just another meal to her.”
“I was not!” he says, slamming his fists on the table.
“Regardless, she’s dead now,” I say with a shrug as I step forward and sit at the table, “being a vampire sympathiser here will get you in a lot of trouble, just tell us what we need to know and we’ll let you go.”
The man still refuses so both Rose and I have to take another approach to get answers out of him.
When I return home, my knuckles are sore and my back is aching. It’s the middle of the day and Rowy is wandering aimlessly around the apartment.
“Where’d you go?” She asks, once she’s noticed that I’ve come home.
“Had to deal with some stuff at the institute,” I explain, “I wasn’t gone that long.”
“Where’s Max?” she asks.
“Max has gone back to the institute,” I explain as I shuck off my coat, “he’s been assigned to another handler.”
Rowaelin’s face falls and I notice how her eyes shine at the threat of tears.
“He’s just a dog,” I say, confused at her attachment, “I’m here to protect you now, you don’t need him.”
Rowaelin just nods her head sombrely and wanders out onto the balcony to sit in the sun while I shed the rest of my clothes to shower.
Once I come out of the shower, I find Rowaelin still sitting out on the balcony, looking miserable.
“Go get dressed,” I say, leaning on the balcony door frame, “I’m going to take you shopping.”
“Shopping?” Rowaelin echoes, turning to face me with a keen interest that all women carry for spending money.
I take Rowaelin to the closest mall and immediately take her to a phone store, where she looks at the latest phones.
“What about this one?” Rowaelin says, looking at an older model.
“No, that won’t do,” I say with a shake of my head, “You need this one.”
When Rowaelin looks to the price tag attached to the phone, she screws up her nose.
“You are literally rich,” I laugh, “This wouldn’t even cause a tiny dent in your bank account.”
Rowaelin shuffles on her feet and then agrees to buy the phone. I take her through the shopping centre, leading her through other shops where she buys some clothes and other
Just as we are heading back to my apartment, my phone rings and Stella’s number flashes on my display.
“I need you to come back,” she says as soon as I answer, “there’s something you need to see.”
“I’ll drop Rowy back at the apartment and then be in,” I say.
“No, now,” Stella says, and by the tone of her voice, I can tell that there is no arguing.
I turn the car around and head for the institute.