We look over at Johnathan sleeping. Claudia wipes away some sweat from his forehead and I stand at the end of the bed, watching her lovingly tuck in the sheets a little tighter around him.
“He sleeps nearly all the time now,” Claudia says quietly before turning to face me, “Did you find a cure?” Oh, crap.
“I didn’t,” I say and all hope from her face immediately vanishes, “But I know what the poison is.” She gives me a raised brow and motions over to some seats around the fireplace. I sit down in a comfortable green chair and she sits opposite to me.
“Well?” She asks.
“It’s to do with that note you gave me,” I whisper, “From my mum.”
“Just so you know,” she says, also quietly, “I was just the messenger. I owed your mum a favour for the one time she had spared my life in a fight. However it still pains me your parents invented the poison that is killing my mate.” I lean back in the chair and rub one hand nervously up and down my other arm.
“So my parents are alive?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” she says, “Maybe. They were both taken in for questioning,” I try not to think too much about what that really means. I want to ask more about my parents but she looked eager to talk about Johnathan.
“The poison,” I begin, hoping her reaction will not be too great, “Is my blood.” For a while she just stares at me, not comprehending.
“I don’t understand,” she says.
“Did you read the note?” I ask.
“Yes, but I didn’t understand it.”
“The part where it says I don’t have the genes of a vampire hunter. That is true. Do you know the prophecy that came about at the start of the supernatural world? Darrius showed it to me,” She leans her chin on one hand while her elbow rests on her knee and she gives me a small smile.
“I don’t believe in silly prophecies,” she says, “I read it a long time ago, I know the King fusses about the prophecy every now and then. I only half-remember it.”
“I’m the special human mentioned in it,” I say, “The one with natural genetic barriers of protection against all supernatural creatures. So far I know vampires can’t use compulsion on me, or their pheromones or whatever it is you use to persuade people to do what you want. Also, my blood is toxic to all supernatural creatures. My parents had taken some of my blood and used it as a weapon to kill vampires. My blood is killing Johnathan and I don’t know how to reverse it. There is only one person my toxic blood isn’t affecting,” I say the last part more quietly, “It’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Darrius,” She guesses straight away, “I haven’t seen him look at a girl with that much passion for a long time,” she says, smiling at me, “So he drank your blood?”
“Well… he didn’t really drink it. He tasted it. He was kissing me and accidentally bit my lip –”
“One thing’s for sure, he didn’t do it by accident. He has enough experience to know how much pressure will break the barrier of skin on a human. He did it on purpose,” she explains with a knowing look in her eye, like it was no surprise.
“I don’t know why he did it. It was stupid, my blood could have killed him,” I say, annoyed.
“He just really likes you and must have known deep inside that you were the one for him,” she says, grinning, “Although I’m glad I’m not in your position. When I first came here, both brothers paid attention to me in the beginning. However, Darrius was far too irritating and arrogant to handle. I told him where to go and stayed by John’s side more often. I fell for John and John fell for me. Darrius and I have never gotten along.”
“I don’t think I get along with him either!” I say, exasperated. She puts her finger to her lips and nods towards John, “Sorry,” I whisper, softening my voice.
“If it’s Darrius you wanted to talk about I only have one piece of advice. Don’t give into him,” she says, “Well, sometimes you can, but don’t completely surrender. You’ll be a fool if you do that. He’ll have you doing all sorts of things you don’t want to do before you can say let me think about it.”
“Does he have a temper?” I ask. She sighs and stays silent for a moment.
“Jennifer, let’s not go there today,” she smiles and asks, “Do you have any other questions about Darrius?”
“I just… I don’t know. I think he is just hard to handle,” I explain. She stands up and grabs my hand, pulling me up with her.
“Just watch what I say to him, you might learn some tricks. I know how to get under his skin,” She lets go of my hand and nods to the door, “Would you like to help me research what type of cures might work for your blood? I only have a few days left to figure out a way to save John.”
“Ok, I’ll be happy to help,” I say.
“If you ever wander around the palace you should stay with Darrius or me. Once Darrius tells his father what you are, some vampires won’t be too happy about your presence. You’re a danger to all of us here.”
“Except Darrius,” I remind her.
“Yes, well, isn’t that a shame. You’ll never hear the end of it from him, that you can’t harm him,” she says as we exit Johnathan’s room and she closes the door.
“Trust me, Claudia, I know.”