Back in my room I found Dixon sprawled across the bed hugging Jake’s penguin. I couldn’t help but laugh a little and even snapped a picture so I could tease him about it later. I quietly went through the bags of stuff we bought and pulled out a pair of jeans and sweater to change into.
Fully clothed, I headed back to Tristan’s room. He had just gotten out of the shower and was standing in the bedroom when I arrived, wearing only a towel. I stopped, eyes wide, and stared at his beautiful dripping wet body. He looked like one of those models from a Calvin Klein ad. His body was lean and cut in all the right places. I knew Tristan never spent a day in the gym in his life. He was naturally molded to perfection.
It took everything I had not to rip off that towel and throw him down on the bed. I would have, too, if Gabe wasn’t right outside. Tristan’s cocky smile started to dance on his lips when he saw my face. He lied on the bed and put his arms behind his head motioning for me to join him. I just shook my head, told him to get dressed and then closed the door behind me.
While I waited I thought it be wise to order some breakfast. I even offered to get some for Gabe but he said no, not while on duty. I shrugged and ordered for Tristan and me. Tristan insisted on waiting to answer my questions until after we ate, so as soon as we were done I started right away. “Okay, so how does someone become half-human half-vampire?”
“A wanderer,” he corrected.
“We’re called wanderers. The name came from the original King. It states in the history books about how he wandered day and night in search of more of our kind hence coining the term ‘wanderer’. There are more rumors about how we got the name but I’ll get to that later.”
“Huh,” was all I said.
“Okay, so how about I start with the different kinds,” he pushed on.
I was still stuck on what he had just said. “Wait, when you say original king, do you mean like royalty as in the leader of all vampires?”
He sighed, letting me know that was a difficult subject and one he didn’t care to explain at the moment. “There is a royal court, but I think we should leave that for later. Let’s stick with the basics for now,” he said. I nodded and let him continue. “Now where was I,” he thought for a moment, “right, the different types. There are full vampires, half-breeds like us, and rogue vampires like Jack.”
“We’re considered a half-breed? That sounds kind of...mean.”
Tristan chuckled. “It’s not. We actually get the best of both worlds,” he smiled, flicking my chin. “Full vampires are made, not born. You get a half-breed when a full vampire and human shag.”
“Shag, who are you, Austin Powers?”
“Fine, procreate? Better?” It was stuff like that that made me regret calling him my boyfriend. I guess I should be thankful; it could had been worse. “Anyway, when a full vampire and human procreate,” he mocked and I narrowed my eyes at him, “You get a half-breed. Same thing happens if two half-breeds get together, another half-breed.”
“What about a human and a half-breed?”
“You just get a regular human baby then.” I looked at him confused. “The vampire part of you isn’t dominant enough to create another half-breed when combined with a human’s D.N.A. When two half-breeds mate they almost always create another half-breed, but in some cases that baby turns out to be 100% human.”
I nodded, trying to take everything in. “What about full vamps?”
“Full vampires can’t have children with another full vampire.” I opened my mouth ready for the next question but he stopped me, already knowing what I was going to ask. “Full vampires are made, not created. That’s only possible when someone is bit by a full vampire and then they drink that vampire’s blood.”
“Who would want to do that?” I shuddered at the thought, still not on board with this whole blood drinking thing.
“The power, you have ten times more power being a full vampire than you do a half-breed. You saw how strong Gabe is.”
“Gabe is a full vampire? So was he born human and chose to become this?”
“Not necessarily, see most guards like Gabe are born into our society, so it’s likely he was a half-breed and became a full vampire. I don’t know the whole logistics of it. You will have to ask him.” I didn’t see that happening anytime soon. “The most I know is they’re made to help protect the higher ups and the wealthy.”
I sighed, leaning back against the couch feeling over whelmed. “I know it’s a lot to take in,” he said, pulling me closer to him so he could wrap his arm around me. “Do you wanna take a break?”
“No,” I said, sitting back up. “So we can be turned into full vampires then?”
“Yes, but the process is very different and can be quite dangerous. Since we already have vampire blood running through our veins, being bit and then drinking the blood of a full vampire won’t do anything. We have to be completely drained of our blood, hence the dangerous part, then consume the blood of a full vampire.”
“Who would want to risk their life to do that? I mean is it that much better?” Tristan shrugged. To him it was the same. “Okay so what’s a rogue?”
“Most choose to become rogues. A rogue vampire is usually someone who just doesn’t want to live by our society’s rules. But then there are others who just want power. Some, when they get a taste of the power, crave more, and will go to any length to get it. See, you can take another vampire’s powers two different ways. You can choose to relinquish them on your own or be forced by a spell.”
“You think that’s why Jack is after me, for my powers?”
I felt Tristan tense up at the mention of his name. “I don’t know, maybe? But it doesn’t make sense. He should have known you didn’t have your powers yet...unless –”
“Unless what?” I asked worried.
“You see, another thing when we bite, we can feel every emotion the other person is experiencing and sometimes even see into their minds.”
“That’s a little invasive,” I said, feeling even more violated at what Jack did.
“You can control it. It only works if the person opens up and lets you inside. Sometimes people don’t even know they’re doing it. They’re in such a state of bliss; they just let themselves go completely.”
“So...if you...bite me, you could read my mind?” I asked, scared at the thought of Tristan really knowing what I was thinking and feeling.
“Only if you let me,” he smiled as if he already knew what I was thinking. “We possess the power to block it easier than humans.”
“Oh,” was my best response. “You think Jack was trying to read my mind?”
“Most likely, probably trying to see what you know and to get a feel for what your powers are if you had them.”
“Causing memory loss…is that your power?”
“No, we can all do that and it’s not really so much erasing the memory as it is manipulating the mind. It’s called compulsion.”
“But it’s only temporary?” I asked, recalling how I remembered not too long after the fact.
“No, it’s not supposed to be.” He gave me a perplexed look debating how he should explain. “Okay, see, drinking lessens our powers and when you don’t use them as much, they weaken.”
“Is that why it was easy for me to remember? Because you were drunk when you tried to erase my memory?” He gave me a look. “What, don’t act like you weren’t,” I said, eyeing him.
“Okay, that could be part of it,” he admitted. “But something triggered it too,” he said, rubbing his chin, thinking.
“Or maybe, my powers are just that great and I can’t be compelled,” I smiled cockily.
Tristan looked at me, smiled, and then pulled me on top of him. “I’ll show you great powers,” he said, tickling me.
“Ah!” I yelped. “Okay, okay, I give.”
Not a second later Josie came barging into the room. “Stay!” she said to her guard, annoyed and shut the door on him. “Ugh! Seriously Ella, your dad couldn’t have found less obnoxious guards?”
“They’re just doing their job,” I said, sitting up.
She stopped and looked between Tristan and me, a sly smile dancing on her lips. “I see you two made up.”
“Yes, and if you don’t mind my girlfriend and I are a little busy,” Tristan said, pulling me back down on top of him.
“Girlfriend?” she said, eyebrow raised.
“Yes, girlfriend,” Tristan said proudly.
I pushed him off of me and sat back up. Tristan slumped down on the couch, annoyed with the interruption. “What’s up, Josie?” I asked, not in the mood to explain my relationship status at the moment.
“Is it true? Are our parents coming?”
“How’d you hear about that?”
“I overheard muscles one and muscles two talking about it,” she said, throwing a thumb over her shoulder.
“Yes, they’ll be here tomorrow.”
“Great,” she moaned, throwing herself on the couch and helping herself to some leftover croissants. “Got any jam?”
Tristan gave her a look letting her know her company was not welcome and I elbowed him in the ribs mouthing the words ‘be nice’. He rolled his eyes and got up to turn the TV on. The local news was on and they were reporting from our campus. “Hey, turn that up,” I said.
“It has been confirmed as of this morning that all classes are postponed until further notice and officials are saying all dorms must be evacuated,” reported one of the news casters.
“Sweet, maybe we might get some use out of that hot tub after all,” Tristan smiled cockily. I just ignored him.
“I guess that means the Halloween party is canceled,” Josie pouted. “I was really looking forward to it, too. We worked so hard on our costumes.”
“It won’t be canceled,” Tristan said, surprising both Josie and I. “Now that those classes are canceled, that gives them an excuse to party. Plus Cadence doesn’t cancel social engagements for anything.” Josie perked up instantly. “Besides, with the dorms being evacuated, the house will be flooded with people who can’t, or just don’t want to go home.” Tristan leaned in closer to me. “So what does your costume look like?”
“You’re just going to have to wait and see,” I teased.
“You know, there are ways I can find out,” he said, flashing his fangs. I hit him and quickly looked over at Josie to make sure she hadn’t noticed. He just laughed and sat back.
“So what’s the plan today?” Josie asked.
“The plan is for you to go back and hang out in your own room,” Tristan said and Josie glared at him. “Don’t you have your own boy toy to play with?”
“He’s sleeping and yes, I already tried to wake him,” she whined.
“Well, if you insist on staying then you’re just going to have to sit there and watch, unless…if you want, you could always join us,” he said, smiling slyly and running a hand over Josie’s leg. Josie smacked his hand away and I picked up the nearest pillow and smacked him with it.
“Gross,” we both said.
“You’re a pig,” Josie sneered.
“Oink, oink, baby.”
“Alright, enough you two. And, really?” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. He just shrugged his shoulders and sat back. “I guess we should go to the dorms and get some of our stuff,” I suggested.
“Can’t we just have someone do that for us?” Josie whined.
“No, now come on,” I pulled her off the couch.
“You’re leaving now?” Tristan asked, clearly wanting us to wait till later.
“Yes, better to do it now and get it over with than wait till the last minute.” I preferred to get things done. “You coming?”
“In a minute. I’ll meet you down in the lobby.” I gave him a quick kiss making Josie giggle. I grabbed her and pulled her to the door before she could comment.
“Alright Bob, let’s go,” Josie said to her guard. Josie called everyone Bob, whether it was there name or not. She always said it was just easier than trying to remember their name. I informed Gabe that we were going to our dorms to collect a few items and filled him in on what we heard. Of course he already knew. Bob took the lead in front of us while Gabe followed not far behind.
“So did you guys do it?” Josie blurted out. Embarrassed I looked back and forth between the guards. “Oh, relax, they don’t care.”
“Well I do and no...we didn’t,” I tried to hush her.
“Awe, why not?” she sounded disappointed.
“Because I’m not like you.”
“You mean fun?” she laughed.
“No, I prefer to wait.” Although, if my memory wasn’t triggered, I don’t think I would had.
“You guys didn’t do anything?”
“I don’t really want to talk about this now,” I said, looking back over my shoulder.
“God Ella, you really are a prude.”
“Hey!” I said, pushing her playfully and she laughed.
The guards drove Josie and me to the dorms while Tristan, Dixon, and Billy followed. Nothing had changed. There were still reporters and police everywhere and it took us even longer to get clearance back into the building. A little finessing on Gabe’s behalf helped, but not much. Once inside, we were told that our rooms were already searched so we could take anything we needed. Dixon and Billy headed to the fraternity house while Josie, Tristan, and I headed into the dorms.
When we passed Jack’s old room, I shivered and grabbed Josie’s and Tristan’s hands. The door was covered in police tape and there were investigators inside taking pictures. I could still see the blood stained walls and floor. I turned away and leaned in closer to Tristan. When we reached our room, Tristan kissed my hand and told me he just had to get a few things and would be right back.
Gabe and Bob made us wait outside our room until they checked it out first. Josie, having no patience, pushed right passed them. “Oh my God, they destroyed our room,” she gasped.
I rolled my eyes. “No Josie, you did that.”
“Oh, yeah,” she giggled, slightly embarrassed.
I took a medium sized suitcase from my closet and looked around for what I would need to take with me. Josie just picked up all the clothes from the floor and stuffed them in her bag. “What? They have laundry service at the hotel,” she said, noticing my displeased look.
I pretended not to care and went back to packing my stuff. I reached for the picture frames on my nightstand and noticed the glass was cracked on one of them. It was the picture of Kyle and me. I held the picture up to Josie and asked, “You didn’t accidentally break this and forget to tell me, did you?”
“Ella, I wouldn’t break something and not tell you. You know I would just replace it first before you even noticed.”
“True,” I laughed. I turned the frame over, carefully removed the picture, and then dumped the broken frame into the trash can. I looked around the room again making sure I had everything I needed. That was when I caught sight of the masks sitting on the window sill. “Hey, we almost forgot these,” I said, handing Josie hers.
She took it and held it up to her face. “We’re going to make some hot angels.”
“You ready?” I asked, double checking to make sure I had everything. She nodded and handed her suitcase off to Bob. “Josie, that’s not his job.”
“Whatever,” she said, skipping down the hall to Tristan’s room. Two minutes later Josie came running out with two big bottles of liquor and Tristan chasing her. She ran and hid behind Gabe and Bob, and stuck her tongue out at Tristan knowing he wouldn’t have a chance in hell against the two of them.
I stifled an eye roll and walked down to the end of the hall where Tristan was standing. “You get everything you needed?” I asked.
“The important stuff,” he said, picking up a box filled with liquor bottles. I just sighed. “What?” he said innocently. “You really think I was going to leave this stuff here for someone to take. This here is a five year old bottle of Scotch and this…” he held up another bottle, “A thirty year old bottle of –”
I held up my hand. “I don’t care, let’s just go.”
It was close to dinner time by the time we got back to the hotel. We ordered room service again and Tristan suggested we try out the hot tub. I thought it sounded like a great idea and invited everyone to join us, even though I knew that was not what he had in mind. I felt the less time we spent alone the less chances we had to be intimate. Not that I didn’t want to be with Tristan. I did. I just wasn’t ready yet, not with everything that was going on. To me it just wouldn’t feel right, not now at least. So I decided to go with the whole theory of safety in numbers.
After we finished eating, I called everyone up to the room and changed into my bathing suit. One at a time I slowly dipped my feet into the hot water waiting for my body to acclimate to the heat. Tristan plopped right in not seeming to care. Getting impatient with how long I was taking, he grabbed me and pulled me in the rest of the way. I yelped and laughed as he tugged me close and kissed my lips.
“Hey guys,” Josie called, making Tristan groan.
“We’re outside,” I yelled to Josie, as Tristan got out. “Where are you going?” I asked.
“To get a drink.”
We spent most of the night in the hot tub hanging out. Tristan occupied his time by getting drunk. That was definitely something we were going to have to work on. If he was going to date me then this excessive drinking would have to stop. Near the end of the night Josie and Billy kept making out, oblivious to the other people in the hot tub. After twenty minutes of listening to them swap spit, I decided to call it a night. We said goodnight to Dixon, Billy, and Josie then I changed out of my bathing suit, took a quick shower, and changed into some pajamas. “What, no penguins?” Tristan asked when I joined him in the bedroom. He had a teasing smile on his face but I still felt embarrassed.
“Shut up,” I said, pushing him down on the bed.
“I do like it when you get rough with me,” he smiled.
“Goodnight, Tristan,” I said, crawling into bed and turning the light off.
“I’m not tired yet and it’s early,” he rolled over on top of me and started to kiss my neck, enticing me.
“Well I’m tired and you’re drunk,” I said, trying to push him away.
“I told you, that’s when I’m at my best,” he lightly flicked his tongue out with each kiss.
“Tristan, stop,” I giggled.
“I could always make you, you know.” His eyes went dark and he exposed his fangs.
“Stop,” I said, pushing him away. “You know I don’t like it when you do that.”
“Do what?” he asked seriously.
“That thing with your eyes, they get so dark and...I just don’t like it.”
He brushed a piece of hair off of my forehead and tucked it behind my ear. “You never have to worry about me doing that to you ever again. I want you to know I hated doing it, but I had –”
“I know,” I said, caressing his face. “So, how does this whole mind control thing work? Could you convince a girl to like you?”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “You really think I would have to brain wash you for you to go out with me?” I nodded. “I’m hurt, Ella. Honestly.”
I laughed. “Hey, it did take you a while to convince me.”
“No that was just you being stubborn.”
“I am very stubborn,” I agreed, giving him a kiss.
“Very,” he said, kissing me back. “Very,” another kiss. “Very stubborn.” I laughed as he dragged a finger down my jaw, along my neck and across my chest.
“Stop that, it tickles.” His smile grew and he pounced on me making me squeal. “Stop it!” I shouted, laughing.
All of a sudden, Gabe busted down the door. I quickly pushed Tristan off of me and sat up. “I heard a scream. Is everything okay?” he asked, surveying the room.
“Christ,” Tristan mumbled and fell back on the bed.
“Yes Gabe, everything’s fine.” He nodded and walked out. I laid back down and laughed. “Oops.”
“Maybe you should go sleep in your room tonight,” Tristan said.
“No, it’ll be fine. Just as long as you can keep your hands to yourself,” I teased. “How did he even hear me? I didn’t even think I yelled that loud?”
“Full vamps have superior hearing.”
“Another perk,” he just nodded. “You’d think he’d be able to tell the difference.”
“Maybe he’s just a perv.”
“Or maybe he’s just making sure you don’t defile his boss’s daughter.”
“Maybe we should test that theory,” he said, rolling back over on top of me. I tried pushing him away, laughing hysterically. We heard Gabe clear his throat from the other side of the door. Tristan groaned and fell down on top of me laying his head on my chest.
I ran my fingers through his soft, thick hair. “Come on, let’s get some rest.” He reluctantly got up and rolled all the way over to the other side of the bed. “Why are you so far away?”
“Cause you can’t keep your hands to yourself and you keep getting us in trouble.”
“Me?” I moved closer to him.
“Ella, I told you I don’t do that,” he yelled. “No Ella, stop it!”
“Tristan.” I hit him.
“You want me to do what?” he said, trying to sound shocked and doing his best not to laugh.
I heard Gabe clear his throat again, uncomfortably. “Tristan, stop it,” I warned. He turned around and faced me, a big smile on his face. “You’re not funny,” I said.
“I thought I was,” he said, sliding his hand behind my head and pulling me closer for a kiss. I loved when he kissed me. I could kiss those lips for hours but it would have to wait until another time. I pulled back sighing, laid my head on his chest, and closed my eyes. He kissed the top of my head and wrapped his arms around me until I fell asleep.