The Wanderers

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chapter 20

Tristan took me to the penthouse suite. I shouldn’t have expected anything less, of course. The room was massive. It had a full size living room, with three private bedrooms, and an enormous Jacuzzi. Once inside I led Tristan to one of the bedrooms that had a king size bed. He took off his coat and tie and draped them over the chair. I sat down at the table and he surprised me by kneeling down to take off my shoes for me. I gave him a thankful smile as he stood back up and stared at me.

“What?” I asked bashfully. The way he was looking at me, the look in his eyes, made me blush.

“You look absolutely amazing in that dress, as I knew you would,” he smiled. It wasn’t his normal cocky smile that I grew to love. This was a smile that said, ’I’m the luckiest guy in the world and don’t deserve you’. I turned my head away feeling my cheeks get hot. He walked over to the stereo and pressed play. Then walked back over and held out his hand to help me up and proceeded to dance with me again.

Finally alone with him and not able to hold back anymore, I grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled his lips to mine. My hands started to slowly move down his chest. I untucked his shirt and he tried to pull back but I wouldn’t let him. I started to unbutton his shirt, one button at a time. Then I slid my hands over his chest and up his shoulders removing his shirt and letting it drop to the floor.

He grabbed my hands to stop me from proceeding any further. “Ella,” he said, his voice pained. He held my hands close to his chest. He dropped his forehead down to mine and closed his eyes. “We need to stop.”

“Why?”

“Because if we go any further I won’t be able to stop myself,” he said afraid.

“I don’t want you to.”

“You say that now, but I’ve been down this road before. No offense, but how do I know you won’t turn into the Ella who hates me tomorrow?”

“Tristan, I don’t hate you. I never did. I just never cared about someone the way I do you. I didn’t understand it. The way I feel when I’m around you. The things you make me feel when you touch me.” I put his hand on my cheek. “It’s like nothing I can describe. I was scared and you were right. I was hiding from the truth and I don’t want to anymore. I want you Tristan and only you,” I said, standing on my tiptoes. I kissed his lips.

“Ella,” he said a little breathless.

“Shh,” I said, pressing my finger to his lips. I drew him to the bed and he sat down in front of me. I could feel his hands start to tremble. I pulled my hair to the side and untied my dress letting it fall to the floor. I directed his shaky hands to my hips inviting him to touch me. He placed soft kisses across my stomach sending tiny shivers up and down my body. I tilted my head back basking in the pleasure of his lips on me. He slid his hands up my sides, his lips trailing in the wake of his touch. I grabbed the sides of his face and pulled him up to me wanting to taste those wonderful lips. He pulled me closer to him and picked me up. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he turned me around and lowered me onto the bed.

I ran my hand up his back and behind his neck, tugging him closer, wanting to feel his body against mine. I parted my lips, inviting him to kiss me deeper. He obeyed, thrusting himself down on top of me making me want to crumble under his incredible touch. He took a moment to catch his breath and pulled back to look into my eyes. I lifted my hand to graze his cheek. He placed his hand on top of mine, holding it there. He closed eyes taking in the moment as if it were a dream. Afraid that when he opened them he would wake up and this would all be over.

He let out a breath and opened his eyes, peering into mine. It was like I could see into his soul. I could feel how much he wanted me, how much he loved me, and how much it pained him to be away from me. I pulled him down on top of me, devouring those luscious lips. I slid my hands down his chest and started to unbutton his pants, sliding them down as far as I could.

His hips pushed into mine.

My heart started to race with anticipation.

Both of us were panting from the intensity of longing to be together.

I parted my lips and welcomed his kiss. He moaned at the gesture and reached up to tangle his hand in my hair. Our bodies were now intertwined. Our skin melting into each other’s, burning at the touch. With his other hand he pulled my knee up, rolled over, and lifted me on top of him. I tore his pants off the rest of the way and covered his chest with my kisses coming back up to meet his lips again just before he rolled back over on top of me.

His hands were roaming every inch of my body making me quiver.

His lips trail down my jaw, chin and neck, nibbling lightly. I had a sudden flash, a memory. My head started to hurt and then I got another flash. I tensed up and closed my eyes tight trying to get a better view of the visions that were flashing in my head.

Tristan noticed my tension and stopped. “Ella, what is it?”

I didn’t answer him. Instead I concentrated harder until I saw it, all of it.

I gasped and opened my eyes in shock. I looked at Tristan, and he knew. The look on his face said it all. “You remember,” he sighed.

I pulled myself back. “Tristan...what the hell is going on?”

“I can explain,” he said, trying to calm me down.

“I saw you...and Jack...Jack was trying to kill me?” I shook my head not understanding any of it. “This doesn’t make any sense.”

“I know it doesn’t but Ella, you have to listen to me.”

“You did something so I’d forget...you gave me something and it erased my memory. Why?”

“I didn’t give you anything,” he said, sitting back.

“Yes you did. I remember I woke up the next morning with a headache because of what you gave me.”

“No, Ella. I didn’t give you anything to erase your memory. I did it...myself.”

I looked at him like this was some kind of joke, but the hard lines on his face and rigid jaw said he was dead serious. “No,” I shook my head. “This is crazy... this isn’t possible.” I stood up from the bed. “Do you understand what you’re telling me? That you have some kind of weird mind control over me?”

“Ella, please listen to me.”

“No, I think I heard enough,” I said, searching for my dress.

He was off the bed and in front of me within seconds. I stared at him in disbelief. “Ella, you don’t understand.”

“You’re right, I don’t. Are you on drugs?” I asked, thinking of the only other possible explanation for his behavior. He laughed. “This isn’t funny, Tristan.”

“You’re right it’s not, but just please hear me out for a second, please.” I stood and crossed my arms waiting for his next crazy excuse. “I never said anything before because I knew you weren’t ready and that’s why I had to erase your memory, so you would forget. You’re not ready.”

“Ready for what?” I asked annoyed.

“To understand what’s happening,” he said, dropping his hands by his side.

“You’re right I don’t understand. None of this makes sense,” I said, picking up my dress from the floor and putting it back on. I searched the room for my shoes and when I found them I picked them up and took off for the door.

“Ella, wait!” Tristan called. “You said you would hear me out so please let me explain.”

I spun around angrily. “Yes, please explain to me how you somehow magically erased my memory,” I mocked, not believing his insane explanation.

“Huh, you know I’d thought you’d be more pissed at the fact that Jack tried to kill you then me erasing your memory.” I crossed my arms and huffed, letting him know I wasn’t in the mood. “Okay...okay...maybe if I show you, you’ll believe me.”

I was ready to walk out when he took a step back and closed his eyes. I had no idea why I decided to stay this long, but I figured I might as well see it through. I couldn’t imagine it could get any worse than it was. Well, that was what I thought, until Tristan opened his eyes. I dropped my shoes and took a step back. He moved closer and exposed two sharp, razor point teeth. I bolted for the door, but he was behind me within seconds. “This is a joke, right? This can’t be real. You can’t be real.”

“Ella,” he said softly. “Look at me.” I shook my head no. “Look at me.” He gently turned me around to face him. I stood there staring into a pair of glowing, dark, iridescent blue eyes. I was mesmerized by them, unable to look away. They were more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before. “Ella, this is not a joke. This is real, and so is the danger you’re in if don’t listen to me.”

“How do I know you’re not the one who’s dangerous,” I said a little breathless, still not able to take my eyes away from his.

“Ella, look at me. I mean really look at me.” I couldn’t stop looking. I slowly reached up with my hand and gently touched his face. I dragged my thumb down over his lip exposing his teeth. I was amazed at how unafraid of him I was. I knew everything about this was unnatural, unheard of, but I couldn’t seem to pull myself away. I was intrigued by him. “We’re no different.”

I pulled back, slightly spooked by his words. “You and I are the same,” he said, reaching up to caress my face and giving me the same shiver he always did when he touched me. “I know you know I won’t hurt you...I can feel it.”

“Oh yeah, can you feel this?” I said, smacking him across the face.

“Ow! What the hell was that for?” he complained, rubbing his cheek.

“That was for lying to me and erasing my memory,” I said, crossing my arms again.

“I’m sorry, but it was for your own protection.”

“What really annoys me is that people think I can’t take care of myself.”

“Look Ella, this is so much bigger than you know.”

“I need some air,” I said, feeling cramped with him so close to me. He didn’t move. “Are you going to move or do you want to get hit again?” I said, raising my hand.

He grabbed my wrist stopping me mid swing even though I wasn’t really going to hit him. “No,” he said. “I’ll move.” He backed up, giving me space.

I walked out into the living room and ran my hands through my hair trying to organize my thoughts. “Okay, so let me get this straight. What you’re telling me is that you’re a...vampire?”

“Yes...and so are you,” he replied calmly.

“You know how crazy that sounds,” I said, completely oblivious to the fact that he just said I was a vampire.

“Yes, but if you please come and sit down, I promise I will explain everything.”

I let out a long breath. “Okay, but I think I could really use a drink right now.”

Tristan chuckled and gestured for me to take a seat on the couch. “Okay, let’s see, where should I start?”

He looked at me and then made a beeline for the bar. He made himself a drink and then one for me. He handed me the drink and then sat down on the coffee table in front of me. “Okay, your family and my family come from a long line of vampires.”

There it was again, Tristan including me in this little demented story of things that were impossible. “Wait a minute. What are you talking about, my family?”

“Ella, your entire family are vampires.”

“Then that would mean...”

“That you are a vampire, too. Half-vampire, like me.”

“This is crazy.”

I stood up to leave but he pulled me back down. “You wanted me to explain and I am, so please listen.” I let him continue. “You and I are both half-vampire half-human and so are your brothers and mom. Josie might be too but I’m not sure yet.”

Oh this just gets better and better - so much for cushioning the blow. “If that’s true, then why didn’t I already know this?”

“That, I was wondering myself. There has to be some reason your parents kept it from you, but why, I don’t know.”

“And how do you know? How are you so sure I’m one of you?”

“Because of Dean and the slip up I made at lunch with your mom. I had a feeling she knew about me and that’s why I made the mistake about my great grandfather.”

“Wait, what mistake?”

“He’s not dead.”

“Okay, what would be so suspicious of that?”

“Because he’s over two hundred years old.”

“Oh,” I said, not able to come up with anything better. “So you purposely set up my mom?”

“Yes, I had to know for sure. I was almost positive after that night Dean pulled me off of Jack, but something still bothered me. I thought I smelled it on him but I needed to be one hundred percent certain.”

“What do you mean you smelled it on him?”

“Vampires, half-breeds, witches, we all have a distinct smell.”

“Witches?”

“We’ll come back to that later.” I sighed, throwing my head in my lap. “I know it’s a lot to take in. Trust me, I know, but I also know you can handle it,” he said, placing his hand on my knee for encouragement. I lifted my head, resting it on my hands and gesturing for him to finish.

“Okay, we all have a distinct smell. Some are harder to recognize than others. It’s easier after we come into our powers.”

“Powers?” I sat up, suddenly interested in knowing more.

“Yes. We all possess a different power. Usually your power comes from your family line. So whatever powers your brothers, mom or dad possess, those will be the powers you most likely will have.”

“Huh, so when can I use these so-called powers?”

Tristan chuckled at my sudden interest. “Everyone’s different. After we turn eighteen is when we start to come into our powers, but don’t get full use of them until we’re ready.”

“And who or what exactly determines whether you’re ready or not?”

“You,” he said, simply.

“Me? So I can just be like ‘okay I’m ready’ and I have my powers?”

“No,” he smiled, amused. “It doesn’t work that way. Your body knows when you’re ready and in time you’ll get them. Be patient.”

“You just told me I’m half-vampire, half-human, and possess some type of magical powers and you expect me to wait?”

“I know,” he said, taking my hands in his. “This is a lot and I really think your parents should be talking to you about this.”

“Well, they’re not here and from what I’ve gathered this is something they don’t want me to know about.”

Tristan got up and sat next to me on the couch. “If you want we can take a break?”

“No, better to just do it all at once, just like a band aid, rip it right off.” He smiled, kissed my temple, and got up to make himself another drink. “So...do we like...eat people?” I asked, scared to know the answer.

“Like zombies?” He asked, brow quirked.

“There are zombies too?”

“Only in the movies...well, as far as I know.” I looked at him thinking he was kidding. He just smiled. “We don’t eat people.”

“What about the whole blood thing?”

From the look on his face I knew this was one question he wanted to avoid. “We’re not completely dependent on it, but over time we do need it to survive. It’s not a lot and most of the time it’s more for pleasure than it is for survival. We don’t kill people Ella and we never take without someone’s permission. Most of the time it comes from a blood bank.”

My head was swimming with all this new information. My family drinks blood, which means I will soon be drinking blood. My entire family was a bunch of bloodsuckers. I shuddered at the thought. That was not something I was ready for, but I wanted to know more. I had to know more. “People ask to be bitten?” I asked, trying to stick with the subject and keep my dinner down at the same time.

“Sort of. See, a bite from one of us is very sensual, almost like a sexual desire. It’s the endorphins we give off. It helps create a very pleasurable experience.”

I blushed, remembering the way I felt when Jack bit me. “Do we feel it too, when we bite?”

“Yes,” he said. I could tell he was ready to move on to the next lesson of the night. I wanted to know how many people he had bitten, but then quickly changed my mind.

He came back over to me and placed his hand under my chin forcing me to look at him. “Ella, those other girls, they don’t matter,” he said, sensing my doubt. “You’re the only one who matters to me now.”

“I know,” I said, closing my eyes, kissing the palm of his hand, and holding it in my lap.

“I have to admit, you’re taking this a lot better than I expected.”

“I don’t think the reality of it has actually hit me yet.”

“You’re tired, why don’t we call it a night,” he suggested. I had a feeling there were things he wasn’t quite ready to tell me yet.

“But I have so many questions,” I said, trying to get him to continue.

“I know you do, but for now I think it’s enough. I’ll tell you everything and anything you want to know in the morning,” he promised.

I didn’t argue. I was pretty tired and overwhelmed with everything I had just learned. He offered me a T-shirt and shorts to sleep in. I changed and laid down next to him on the bed. I rested my head on his chest and he wrapped his arms tightly around me. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I actually lied down. I slowly started to drift off while Tristan caressed my back lightly with his fingertips. “Ella?” I looked up at him sleepily. “There’s one last thing,” he adjusted himself so I could get his full attention. “Jack, he’s dangerous, very dangerous.”

“I know that now,” I said, shivering at the memory.

“I want you to know that no matter what, I will protect you. I will never let anything happen to you...I love you,” he said, kissing me.

“I know,” I said. “Which reminds me,” I dragged out the last three words causing him to raise a brow at me. “You’ll have some help with that. My dad hired a guard for Josie and me. He’ll be here in the morning.” I looked up at him and he just nodded. “You think he’ll be a vampire, the guard?”

“Probably,” he said, snuggling closer to me.

“What does Jack want from me? I mean, why me?”

“I don’t know yet, but I will find out,” he said, tensing up. I placed my hand on his cheek. He closed his eyes and covered my hand with his and I felt him relax a little. We fell asleep like that, in each other’s arms.

I was aroused by a heavy knock on the door. I turned to look at the clock to discover it was five in the morning. Who the hell was bugging me this early I thought as I stumbled out of bed to answer the door. I tried shaking Tristan to get up and get it, but he was out cold.

I swung the door open ready to bitch up a storm when I found Josie standing on the other side. Her hair was all disheveled. She was still in her pajamas and not a very happy camper. Next to her stood a man about seven feet tall, dark brown hair, teal green eyes, and muscles as big as a body builder’s. He was wearing a dark gray suit and an earpiece. He looked like a secret service agent.

“This is Gabe,” Josie said, looking annoyed.

“Good morning, Miss McCallister. I was sent here on behalf of your father.”

At five in the morning, geez. Figures, I knew my dad did this on purpose. “He’s all yours,” Josie said, taking off.

“But –”

“No worries, I have my own. They sent two,” she said, holding up two fingers, not even bothering to look back.

“Great,” I thought. I looked back at Gabe. “Well, I guess, come in.” I gestured for him to enter.

“I won’t disturb you. I just need to check the room. Then I’m going to do a perimeter check and stand post outside your room. You can just go about your day as normal,” he said, proceeding to investigate the room.

Normal. Yeah right. Because having a seven foot guard follow you around would be anything but normal.

After checking out the living room, bathroom, and other bedrooms, he had one last place to check. The master bedroom.

Crap.

I stood up when I heard a crash from inside the bedroom. I rushed in and found Gabe with his hands around Tristan’s throat, his feet dangling in the air. “Gabe, no!” I cried. I had forgotten to warn Gabe about Tristan.

“He is a threat to you,” he snarled.

“No he’s not,” I said, running to Tristan’s side. “Gabe, put him down now!”

“Miss McCallister, he’s a –”

“A vampire…half, and yes, I know.”

“You know? I was informed that you were not aware of us,” he said, as if it was some top secret knowledge.

“Yeah, well, I do. Now put him down.” He hesitated, still not wanting to let go. “Gabe...put. My boyfriend. Down. Now,” I growled, having enough. He dropped Tristan, who fell to the floor like a rag doll. I bent down to help him up. He stood and rubbed his throat. “Are you okay? I’m so sorry I forgot to tell him you were in here.”

He looked at me and smiled, still trying to catch his breath. I pushed his hair out of his face and he took my hand and held it in his. “You called me your boyfriend,” he grinned.

“Um...yeah,” I blushed.

He wrapped his arms around my waist. “I liked it. It sounded really nice,” he said, bending down to kiss me. Gabe cleared his throat and I pulled away from Tristan blushing even more.

“Sorry, Gabe. This is Tristan. Tristan, this is one of the guards my father hired.”

“One?” he raised a brow.

“Another one is guarding Josie.”

“I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, Miss McCallister.” He stood with his hands crossed in front of him.

“It’s fine,” I said. Tristan gave me a hard look clearly thinking it wasn’t but I ignored him. “And please, call me Ella.”

“Yes, Miss Ella,” I rolled my eyes. “May I ask you a question?”

“Ask away.” I flicked my wrist.

“I was given strict orders to be very discreet about my duties and under the impression you did not know about,” he paused. “Us.” I assumed he was referring to vampires as the ‘us’ part.

“I didn’t...at first, but I do now. I just found out recently and my father doesn’t know that I know so that is probably why he asked you to be inconspicuous.”

“Understood,” he nodded and stood there, stiff as a statue.

“Anything else?”

“No, Miss Ella. Now I know this room is secure I will check the perimeter.”

“Okay, thanks Gabe.” He nodded again and left the room. I turned back to Tristan to examine his neck. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

He waved it off. “Eh, it was nothing. Just a pinch.”

“Tristan, he had you dangling from your neck.”

“I’m tough,” he said, acting like it was insignificant. “Besides, I’m a fast healer,” he winked.

I rolled my eyes, “men.”

“Healing fast, is that another perk?”

He just smiled wide and pulled me back into his arms. “Say it again,” he said, flashing me his cocky smile that I loved and missed.

“Say what?”

“Call me your boyfriend again.”

“Tristan, stop,” I said, hitting him playfully.

“Come on, Ella.”

“Boyfriend. There…happy?”

I wiggled out of his arms, but he pulled me back, holding on tighter. His chin was resting on my shoulder, his arms wrapped around my waist. I put my arms over top of his, loving the feeling of them around me. “Ella, say it. I want to hear you say it.”

“Fine Tristan, you’re my boyfriend and I’m your girlfriend. Happy now?”

“Very,” he said, nuzzling my neck. “You know, we have a few minutes before the beast comes back, we could...” he started to run his hands up under my shirt but I stopped him.

“Tempting as that sounds, a few minutes isn’t enough for me.”

“I can be quick.”

“Uh-no.”

“Alright,” he whined, letting me go.

I turned around and wrapped my arms around his neck. “We can still play...for a little,” I smiled coyly, bringing his lips down to mine. He swept me off my feet and carried me over to the bed. All too soon Gabe was back.

Tristan exhaled, frustrated. “This guy is really going to put a damper on my sex life.”

“What sex life?” I teased, getting up off the bed. He put his hand over his heart and fell back dramatically on the bed. I just shook my head at him as I left to let Gabe in.

“Miss Ella,” he said, addressing me and coming back into the room. “I have reported with your father upon my arrival, and just a moment ago, with the recent news.”

“What recent news?” I didn’t like the sound of that.

“It is my job to report everything. Your father will be arriving tomorrow morning and will meet you here promptly at eight a.m.”

“You told him?” I asked, stunned.

“Yes, that is my job.”

“Great, just fucking great.”

“This can’t be good,” Tristan said, stepping out of the bedroom and pulling a shirt on over his head. “I don’t think I ever heard you swear before.”

I rolled my eyes at him. “This idiot told my dad that I know about us...vampires,” I said, waving my hands in between us.

“Ella, he was bound to find out sooner or later,” Tristan said, trying to calm me.

“I rather later ’cause now he’s coming here. And you thought my mom was intimidating. Wait till you meet my father. Better yet, you’re not going to meet him.”

“Ella come on, he can’t be that bad?”

“Ha! It was fun while it lasted.” Even Gabe confirmed it by giving Tristan a look that said good luck.

Tristan just looked at me confused but said nothing. Gabe simply stood there as if waiting for a command or something. I wanted to tell him to go jump off a roof, but that wouldn’t stop my father from coming. “I wonder if Josie knows.”

“Best if we don’t say anything, just until we’re sure.” I looked at Tristan confused. “If she doesn’t know about this, us, it’s better we keep it that way.”

“But I thought you said she was one of us?”

“I’m not sure, and until I am, it’s better if she stays in the dark.”

“Can’t you smell it on her?” I said, scrunching my nose.

Tristan smiled. I even got one from Gabe, but he quickly slipped back into commando mode. “If Josie hasn’t come into her powers yet, than no, she would still appear human.” I sighed and fell back on the couch. There was so much stuff I didn’t know. Tristan came over and sat next to me on the couch. “Hey, don’t worry my love. It’s you and me now. Whatever problems we come across we’ll face them together,” he smiled, taking my hand in his and giving it a light kiss.

I looked over at Gabe who was still standing there like a statue. “You can go now,” I said, waving him away. He nodded and took his post outside the door. “Okay, I want you to tell me everything you know. Now,” I said, getting serious.

“Ella, you should wait until your father gets here.”

“No. He felt the need to hide the truth from me and you were the only one honest enough to tell me. So I want to know anything and everything you can tell me now.”

“I’m sure he did it for your own protection.”

“Well, it’s too late now, so start.”

“Ella, it’s six o’clock in the morning. Can’t we go back to bed and talk about this later?” He pleaded, giving me a puppy dog face.

“No, now. But first I need to get out of these clothes.”

“You read my mind,” he said with his cocky smile and reached for me.

I pushed him back. “You go take a cold shower. I’m going to my room to change.”

He sighed and threw himself back against the couch. “Wake me up when you get back,” he said. I stifled an eye roll and stepped outside. I took one look at Gabe and signaled for him to follow me to my room downstairs.

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