I lazily rolled out of bed and glanced at the clock. I would miss the joys of sleeping until one o'clock everyday once college started. As the new comforter, shower caddy and clothes started to take over my room, college was becoming more real everyday. I was ready to get far away though. Chicago has always been my dream ever since my brother began looking for colleges. There was just something about the how I felt when I stepped on the campus during our tour that I knew this was the one. When I got my acceptance letter, it was one of the best days of my life, until I realized what that would mean for Henry and I's relationship. I wanted to be glad that I now had nothing holding me back, but there would always be a part of my that knew that I would have picked him instead. I've always wanted to get out of this town though. Now more than ever as everywhere I go I am so paranoid that he is right behind me. I stare at every person to make sure those sharp emerald eyes are not shyly glancing my way. I shook him from my head, as I put on my robe over my pajamas.
Walking down the hallway to the staircase, I heard singing coming from my brother's room. I hadn't been in there since the day I had come back Henry's house, and my parents punished me. We just kept his door closed like when he was away at college. I would glance at it everyday when I went by, but it was easier to believe he was attending formals, keg parties and classes than wherever his body truly was located. I peeked inside to find that it was the maid clearing everything out of his room. It was almost empty besides his mess of a desk.
"What are you doing?" My voice sounded weak as I had just woken up.
It took a second for Marie to look up and noticed that I was standing in the doorway. She took off her head phones, and I could hear the music from where I was standing. It was upbeat and happy. "Your mother asked me to clean the room. Everything needs to go to her toy collection banquet."
This was a new low for my mother. Giving away all of her dead son's things just to look like a good person in front of her friends. "Leave." I could already feel the tears burning my eyes. Marie looked as unsympathetic as ever.
"Alright, but then it is your problem when your mother comes home, and this room is not empty. Movers are supposed to be coming with the new exercise equipment at 4." Marie put her headphones back on, and dropped a box into my hands. I made a space on the floor since the bed was already removed. The box Marie handed me was full of all of William's high school memories. There were many old pictures, his graduation tassel, a prom ticket, a few football tickets, and a jacket that one of his girlfriends had given him. I pulled out one picture of me and him. It was on the day when he had gotten his license and his old luck charm. Our similes were so huge that they took up our entire faces. His because he now had freedom, and me because I would blackmail him to take me places. He might have later used it to stalk me and Henry, but at the time we were finally free of the boredom we experienced sitting alone at the house all day long.
How could we ever throw any of this out? Memories fade, and this will help us remember the little things about William. His bed, clothes and bookshelf were already taken, but at least Marie had saved the most important things for last. I swore to keep the box and anything else I found forever and placed the box aside. I stood up and looked around his room to observe how empty it was. Thankfully the desk was still there, and I sat down in his chair. His iPod was untouched. I slowly placed on his over-sized headphones that seemed to be glued to his ears. I unlocked his iPod and scrolled through his playlists. My heart stopped. There was one with my name on it. I was afraid to click it, but I knew I had to.
There was only one song on the playlist called "Listen." I pressed the center button, and it began.
"Hopefully this is recording," my brother said followed by muffling in the background. I had to pause it as my heart started beating incredibly fast. I didn't even realize how much I missed his voice. I pressed play again. "Ella, baby sis," his voice cracked. "If you are listening to this, you either stole my iPod, which I will have to beat you up for, or.." his voice trailed off. "There is a lot that you don't know about our family. They have told you the basics, but there are a lot of secrets that they believe they can forgo telling you. I'll apologize in advance that I'm not going to be there for you when everything happens, and especially that you will have to take on all my burdens and responsibilities if I am truly gone. There is not much you can do to stop it. It has been this way for centuries. There is only one thing that you can do before I get into all the details of the truth of what mom and dad will tell you, stop letting Dad force you to date Ethan if you already have met him." I paused it again.
How would he know about Ethan? I was confused. I clicked once more, and William's voice flowed into my ear. "Dad did some shady things in the past and was only able to get out of the mess by making a deal. They are trying to set you two up. He may seem like a nice guy, but his family and purpose are not so nice. It wasn't supposed to be you in an arranged marriage. I was supposed to marry Kaylee, Ethan's sister. I don't know if you remember her or not, but I had been talking to her more recently. She is truly great, and when things didn't work out with Audrey, after she had used me, Kaylee was such a support system for me. If you do love Ethan like I believed to be falling in love with his sister than you should forgive him for not telling you everything. I feel that may not be the case though. I always discouraged you, but follow your heart. I used to go with what Dad was telling me to do and push you away from him, but I've seen you two together. I've never seen anything like it before, and don't let Ethan get in between you two if you don't want it. If you do you love Ethan than be with him. Please, for me, just follow your heart. I understand now how wrong I was before about everything. I wish I could guide you." I had to pause it as I couldn't hear him speak over my bawling.
I had been sitting across from Sean for over an hour since I told him that Estelle's dad knew about what we were doing. He surprisingly didn't kill me like I had thought. I entered through the double doors today honestly unsure if I would ever leave out them. However, he just stared at me while he sat deep in thought. I was afraid to get up or speak. I had learned that it was better for him just to soak it in.
"Nothing, I can't think of anything to do." Sean finally spoke. "I've wanted this my whole life, and I worked so hard on you to make something work." His hands messaged his temples as he tried to sort everything out. Then his eyes got bright. "We got this. We just have to win her heart through you. She loves you so much more than she ever would Ethan. I think we have done enough damage. I mean it would have been easier if you just stuck to the plan and didn't screw everything up. It just can't be over yet. She loves you, no matter how much her father may want otherwise. In the end, it will all be hers not his." Sean's plans were so rushed and jumbled; I'm not surprised that the last one didn't work out.
"I didn't screw anything up. You told me not to see her." I was more confident in front of Sean now that I saw how much he needed me. I couldn't directly disobey him without him torturing me, but I believe that I'm smarter than him. "I can't go over to her house again. I'm pretty sure that her dad wants to kill me even more than he did before, and that was before he believed me to be the imposter his favorite 'son' Ethan.."
Sean got up from his seat and walked in front of me. "We are going to do what I say."
I shook my head. "No, I can't do it anymore. I really can't!" I stood up to reach Sean's eye level. "I can't do it to her. I already broke her heart once." I quickly started toward the door. I was surprised when Sean didn't stop me. I opened the door and there he was in front of me as he used one of my old powers to get ahead of me. I continued walking to my truck, which I now had to use once more, and he followed right behind me.
"You still love her. Now is your chance to get her back. If you continue to take the pills like you should be, then you won't even have to worry about transforming. You would almost be normal. You could live the life with her that you have always wanted!" Sean seemed to be trying to work a different angle, but I wasn't buying it. I had already worked out that plan in my head and saw how much it failed. The pills weren't just an escape; they made me become someone else. I shut the car door in his face and started the engine. "You'll come back, or I'll make you," Sean taunted. I didn't even feel like responding and drove off back to my apartment.
Once I arrived I was glad to see Kearn was there reading a book in our living room. This had to stop, and I knew I couldn't do it on my own. Kearn was truly the only person that I could turn to. As usual, he did not even noticed when I walked into the room. I took a seat in a chair beside him. "Kearn," I said to get his attention.
"Hmm.." he replied without even glancing up from his book. When I didn't reply, he seemed to speed read through the page before closing it. "Henry."
There was little interest in his cold eyes. "I-I can't do this anymore," I flat out said. "How did you even meet Sean for this to even happen?"
Kearn took a deep breath, almost as if he suspected that this would happen eventually. "Brother," I was instantly taken back by him calling me that but didn't let it show. I had to hear what else he had to say. "I always told you to get that girl off your mind." Kearn could spot the obvious confusion in my eyes. "Even though you have been with our clan for about five years now, you are still an outsider, an orphan and some thought that you never belonged in the first place. Of course I never thought so. We usually don't change people like I did with you." Kearn placed a hand on my knee. He was being the most endearing that I had ever seen him. I could tell this was a talk he had prepared in his head a long time ago.
"When a problem arose, I was instantly forced to put you up for the task. As the newest member, and one that was not truly related to anyone, you were seen as the perfect option. An attractive person, just the right age, and great potential, who knew it would work out so perfectly. You attending high school, you meeting Estelle, you being enrolled in that English class with her was not chance. Before your parent's death, you had almost finished high school, I believe almost ready to graduate that following spring. Most vampires would never even imagine attending regular high school; it would be so dull and tedious. However, they placed you there for a reason, and I had to lead you to believe that it was the same for all vampires. They had your new life all planned out, and I had no control over it. I knew it was wrong, but honestly I have matured almost as much as you over these few years since you have entered my life." Kearn paused to let me take all the information in, and he seemed to only have more.
"It just worked out so well how quickly you two fell in love. At the beginning, I encouraged it because I saw how happy she made you. Everyone in the clan was congratulating me that I had found such a great new vampire. That what Sean and his followers had planned for so long was coming into play; now our clan would be the one to have the power. I was against it though because I knew it would lead to heartbreak in the end. We had to keep you naive in the whole situation, knowing you would behave differently if you knew the truth. The whole clan asked for constant updates, and it was even more perfect that you choose to avoid everyone. You are such a great man, and I knew that from the day that I saved you. Sean also saw the same thing and was there to take advantage of it. However you are smarter than he expected; outsmarted him a couple of times throughout this process especially when he had to get rid of Audrey. He expected you to be more gullible, and not as quick of a learner."
I stopped Kearn at the mention of her name. I hadn't seen her since the day she kissed me. "He killed her, didn't he?" A grimace appeared on Kearn's face, and that was all I needed to know. How could that thought not even crossed my mind before? Sure, I didn't like her very much, but he murdered her for that exact reason. I would have to mourn her later; I needed more answers now. "Why is he even allowed in the clan? All he does is spread hate and cause trouble."
From Kearn's facial expression, I could tell he felt the same. "He gets done what needs to happen, and he has a very strong family relations."
"What needed for me to happen that includes me meeting Estelle? Me breaking her heart?" I couldn't believe that such a thing could even be a plan of an entire clan of vampires. It seems so mean girls of high school.
"Well, that was one step. First, for you to make her fall in love with you, which happened quicker than anyone was ready for. They allotted plenty of time because the next step had to occur this summer, breaking up with her. Step three was to let Ethan get close enough so everyone in her family thinks that they have won. Then, only to make her fall in love with you again so you could be the one to gain control of a great deal of power after you..." Kearn stopped. He avoided eye contact with me, clasping his hands and glancing around the room.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to know. It must be the very horrible, if even though Kearn was being so honest he couldn't even bring himself to say it. "After I did what?" Kearn just shook his head.
"I don't care what they say or what happens to me. I realize now that I can't let the last step occur. Sean has supposed custody of you, and he will get all the power that he wanted if everything works out. At the beginning, I wanted the same thing as they all do, but I don't anymore. Your happiness means too much to me now, as it should have always been. I will help protect you Henry. You deserve this after being treated unfairly without your knowledge all of this time. I wanted to wait until you were uncomfortable with the situation as I figured you would be before it got too far. I'm serious though, if you want to protect Estelle, just stay away from her. Stop thinking about her for good. If you have no contact with her, neither does Sean. She has enough people protecting her. Being around you is more dangerous than just you wanting to kill her." Kearn stood up, and I followed suit. For the first time since I had lived with Kearn, he gave me a hug. Proof that he still feels emotions, and he still has some humanity left in him.