THE CRIMSON FLOW

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Chapter 4.3 - BECAUSE HE'D LOVED HER

Becky sat twiddling her thumbs, lost in thought. She felt numb, not quite knowing what to do, trying to be rational and reaching no real conclusion.

It seemed time spent with Cain was becoming more hurried with each visit. A fact she had been trying to avoid acknowledging. Initially, Becky considered it was his ‘work’ which drew him away; the endless crusade he had set himself. Or rather, the one the vengeful deity to whom he swore allegiance had.

Although he had not spoken of any misgivings, she knew Cain’s faith was bordering tenuous - imbued by the cruel revelations of Samael and his troop. Their deeds resulted in his solitary existence, the brutal path he was forced to walk. But, oh how he desperately clung to his love for God. Insubstantial or not, his faith would never die; it ran through his veins as surely as the blood he gathered. It was an adoration she could not understand; never would.

Her belief consisted only of what Man could do for himself, or indeed to others. Her life was not foretold in an ancient book nor determined by some ethereal being; it was through her own choices, be they spurred by circumstance or other people’s influence. But she was the one who made her life what it was. And right now, it was pretty miserable.

She didn’t think she could feel any lower than when she’d walked in on Michael all those months ago. Granted, it was no real surprise. He’d cheated before, only then she hadn’t witnessed the act. After several weeks of self-analysis, she finally accepted it was her failings which had driven her so low. Her gullible nature plus an inability to keep him interested in her - although she still had no idea what she did that was so wrong.

Then, along came the charismatic vampire. Here was a creature, supposedly contained within the boundaries of stories, films and nightmares, moving among the human race just as any other man. He carried scars - emotional ones, so deep, so ancient they somehow made him more human than monster.

When he had reached the point of giving up during his battle with Lahash, it was then Becky found a strength to fight for him. Not physically, even though she bit the Fallen’s leg, but by bolstering Cain’s psyche. He rallied at that point. And when she needed him, he was there for her too, watching over her while she recovered from the Samael’s attack.

She thought she saw something meaningful in those dark, exotic eyes. Cain seemed to enjoy her company on the occasions they met again. For a doomed creature, he laughed and smiled when they were together and always wanted to know more about her. Her heart had opened to him.

But, of late, there had been a change. Perhaps his hunt for other vampires played a part in it, but she suspected it was now more to do with his long, lost love. Melantha.

He had hinted before there had been a special someone in his life. Even preternatural beings had to have a past, Becky supposed. That in itself was not a problem, but, she had assumed the woman in question was from before his penance had begun. Now she knew different. And it had resulted in a deep sense of loss.

Try as she might, Becky could not convince herself that this was not a turning point in the ‘relationship’ she had with Cain. She resented the woman. He’d given Melantha what she’d asked of him. Because he’d loved her - still did, in Becky’s opinion. A fragile love of his God was one thing, but an enduring one for this woman was an entirely different matter.

She turned tear-filled eyes to the window, taking in the moonlit view over the sea. She had to let go; there was no point in trying to reach out any more. Hard though it would be, she had to make this choice - and stick to it!

His words from all those months ago filtered through, telling her how beautiful life was, and she should embrace all, stop trying to run from it. She understood the meaning behind those words now, and although they contained wisdom, they also hurt, deeply. At least he doesn’t loathe me, she mused, the thought tainted with a little bitterness. Tears spilt, tracing single tracks over her cheeks.

No doubt Cain would be departing tonight or tomorrow at the latest, there was something in his demeanour which had indicated an urgency to leave.

She, on the other hand, had no choice but to wait until morning when she would make her way to the airport and revert to doing things the old-fashioned way - pay!

With a shuddering sigh, she pulled open the wardrobe and started to fold her clothing ready for packing. She pondered on going to the living room for her laptop but decided against it. That could wait until morning.

It was a given that either Nick or Craig would have escorted her home, but she didn’t need them.

Cain did.

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