Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(10)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(10)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Tegan,” he breathes, his expression pained. “I don’t want you to hate me.”

“I don’t hate you,” I say feeling bad for being mean, even if he is a vampire. “I’m just having trouble getting my head around all of this.”

“That’s only to be expected. You can ask me whatever you want, I promise to answer truthfully.”

I think for a minute, trying to recall all of the things I know about vampires that may or may not be true. “Can you go out during the day?” I ask, beginning with the obvious.

“No, sunlight is extremely uncomfortable for us and our skin is highly sensitive to its rays. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t burst into flames or anything quite so dramatic, but we are nocturnal by nature.”

“Do you eat regular food or just blood?”

Ethan laughs, “Don’t you remember you’ve seen me eat? We are alive after all, and the living need food to survive. But we do need to supplement our diet with blood or we will die.”

“How often do you need it?”

“Once every four or five days normally, depending on the individual.”

“Do you sleep in a coffin?” Okay, I admit that one was a little out of line, not to mention corny.

“Of course not,” he laughs loudly. “I sleep in a bed.” A pause. “Would you like to see it?”

“No thank you,” I reply, he’s flirting with me again and when he does I find it difficult not to succumb to his charms. “You said that Delilah is half human, does that mean that vampires and humans can reproduce?”

He shoots me a lazy grin. “Yes we can reproduce together, although the infant mortality rate for vampire/human pregnancies is extremely high, very few of the infants survive past their first year, even when they do make it to being born. Delilah is a rare and lucky case.”

“Are you immortal?”

“No, but we vampires can live very long lives, sometimes up to a thousand years.”

“Wow, that’s - incredible, how old are you?”

“Old enough,” he answers, evading my question.

“Ethan, you promised to answer me.”

He sighs. “I’ll be two hundred and seventy-seven this year.”

“Seriously?” That’s old. Too old.

“No joke.”

“So when you told me that your ancestors moved to America from Romania that was really you?”

“Correct.”

“You’re old enough to be my grandfather several times over.”

“Do I look like your grandfather Tegan?”

“No, I guess you don’t.”

A moment of silence ensues and my head fills with questions. Imagine living that long, through all of that history, the world must seem so different from his perspective.

“So when you throw in the odd bit of Romanian here and there, it’s because that’s what you started out speaking?”

“Romanian is my mother tongue yes.”

“And those fangs of Lucas’ that I thought were fake, those are real?”

“Yes.”

“Can I see yours?”

When I ask this I hear him growl low in his throat. “It is a very intimate thing for us to reveal our fangs to a woman, it’s a sign that we are attracted.”

I’m embarrassed when he tells me this. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know.” Is that why Lucas’ were out when he was around me? Ugh.

He doesn’t respond, instead he leaves his chair and comes to sit beside me. “You may see them, if you wish…”

I can’t help but to look at his mouth where two white fangs elongate down and over his lips. I want to touch them, but I resist.

“Okay you can put them away now,” I say nervously. Slowly they retreat back inside his mouth.

“I am no danger to you Tegan, you don’t need to be afraid of me.”

“I’m not afraid,” I manage.

“I can smell that you are.”

“Is that another of your unique abilities, you can smell how a person feels?”

“Yes, right now you smell like pine, that’s what fear smells like.”

“Well can you blame me? This is all a lot to take in.”

“Will you promise one thing?”

“Depends on what it is.”

“Will you promise to keep this to yourself, to not tell anyone of what we are?” By his words you’d think he was giving me a choice. Like I could say, no deal, honey bunch, I’m off to shout your secret from the rooftops, and he’d be like, oh no please don’t do that. In reality, he’d have to kill me.

“Who would I tell? Anybody I know would say I’m crazy and have me sectioned. And my recent behaviour would make it all seem like perfect sense. As far as my friends are concerned, I’m overdue for a psychotic break.”

“So you’ll keep this a secret,” he finishes.

“Yes.” I gulp. My throat dry with fear.

“I’m putting my faith in you Tegan, don’t let me down.”

“I won’t, I keep my promises, even to vampires.”

“Okay, I’m going to call Lucas and tell him to bring your friend home.”

Ethan goes to his desk to make the call. I’m still not sure if this is reality or some surreal dream, and I can’t wipe the image of Lucas biting into Amanda’s neck from my head. I mean, if vampires are as safe and non-violent as Ethan would have me believe, then why did Lucas look like something out of a horror movie with those red eyes and black veins? Maybe it’s got something to do with the hunt for blood, with their appearance being altered when they go into predator mode.

But this whole revelation also has me wondering about Marcel and Gabriel too, if vampires are real then what if their theories about me are true as well? Did somebody really cast a spell on me when I was a child without my knowing it? Was that somebody my mother? Are there such things as witches too? This is enough to drive me to drugs. If I ever survive this I’m going to end up some old bag lady wandering the city streets rambling on to people about how monsters aren’t just the stuff of fiction.

At this I hear my phone vibrating in my bag, I retrieve it to find several missed calls from Nicky and a text message that reads:

Where are u? Is Amanda with you? Txt back ASAP.

I write back straight away telling her that Amanda has gone home already, because technically she has. I can hear Ethan talking in hushed tones to Lucas in the background telling him to drive Amanda to her place. I also tell her that she can leave and that I’ll make my own way back tonight. I want to tell her what’s really going on, but not in a million years would she believe me. Nicky is already worried about my mental health since I have only just started leaving my apartment after nearly three months of living like I’ve got agoraphobia.

Ethan puts down the phone and is by my side a fraction of a second later, using his vampire speed, and I have to admit it is sort of impressive.

I watch him and remark shakily. “Show off.” My nerves are still at me.

He just grins and tells me politely, “I’ll take you home now, if you would like me to.”

“Yes. Thanks,” I say, though I’m unsure if I can trust him.

He unlocks the door and I follow behind him as he leads me out to the car park. He opens the door of his Cadillac for me, just like the perfect gentleman, and even helps me in. As we pull out of the nightclub we get stuck amid a sea of taxis taking people home. It takes almost a quarter of an hour before we escape the traffic and are on the road in the direction of my apartment. I notice Ethan keeps glancing suspiciously in his rear view mirror.

“Is everything all right?” I ask, wondering what has him on edge.

He hesitates a moment before saying, “Do you see that green van behind us?”

“I do. What about it?” I reply.

“We’re being followed.”

“Huh? Followed by who?”

“Not sure, probably slayers.”

I stifle a laugh. “What like Buffy?”

“No, not at all so palatable I’m afraid. I haven’t had the chance to explain to you yet, but there are groups of humans aware of our existence, hostile groups whose sole purpose it is to bring about our extinction.”

“Are you serious?”

“Deadly.”

“And we’re being followed by slayers right now?” I ask with a certain level of giddiness.

“I suspect we are. I’m sorry but we’re going to have to make a detour, I can’t have them knowing where you live.”

“Have I mentioned that this night keeps getting weirder and weirder?”

Ethan smiles ruefully. “Not in so many words,” he replies before making a sharp and speedy turn around the next corner. Followed by another and then another. All the while I watch our supposed stalkers and notice that they too have made the exact same swift turns on the road.

So we are being followed then.

Chapter Six

What Would Buffy Do?

Ethan drives to the outskirts of Tribane, it takes about twenty minutes, and still that green van is blatantly following us. I know I found it hilarious when Ethan first mentioned that they might be slayers, but now, as I’ve had time to wonder about them, I’m beginning to get nervous. There could be ten or more men huddled into that van, and there’s only one of Ethan. I doubt I’d be of much use in a fight. And what if they mistake me for a vampire? Will I die with a wooden stake to my broken heart?

Thinking this I turn to Ethan and ask, “Are stakes as lethal to you as the myths say they are?”

“Yes, that one is true. Although the problem for slayers is that we can move so much faster than the average human. So it is a momentous feat if they get to us in time. They might be aiming directly for our hearts one second, but in less than that time we could already have gotten five feet away.”

“Yeah, that super speed could definitely come in handy,” I admit, my voice a little shaky.

“Are you worried?” Ethan asks, turning his focus from the road.

“No.” I lie, and the clot of fear in my throat can easily be heard in my words.

His lips turn up into a half smile. “There is absolutely no need to worry my darling, I won’t let anybody get to you.” He tells me, his voice is steel and undiluted power. I suppose a vampire could get fairly good at fighting off slayers with two hundred and seventy odd years of practice.

“You see the licence plate?” he asks, his voice giving me a fright as I was lost in thought for a moment.

“Huh?” I say, eloquent as always, blinking back to the present situation.

“The licence plate on the van contains the letters DOH, that’s how I know they’re slayers. They call themselves the Defenders of Humanity, DOH for short.”

“Well there must be a lot of money in the slaying business,” I joke. “Because it’s only the big shots who can afford snazzy personalised licence plates.”

Ethan smiles but doesn’t seem to quite get the joke. “Lucas likes to call them Dickhead Onanistic Humans,” he says, smiling as if he’s just told me the funniest thing imaginable.

“I’m sorry to say I don’t get that one.”

“Onanistic means to be fond of touching oneself,” he replies and then raises an eyebrow as if to say “Get it now?”

“Oh so you’re basically calling them Dickhead Wanker Humans, jeez you and Lucas can be such nerds.”

“I find it amusing.”

“Maybe that’s because you developed your sense of humour back in the eighteenth century.” I tend to get antagonistic when I’m scared.

Ethan has a massive grin on his face. “I like when you fight with me, it’s fun.”

“I’m glad I’ve kept you entertained.” I mumble.

Ethan swerves the car around a corner, we’re in an abandoned looking industrial estate now, it appears as though the place hasn’t seen any activity whatsoever since the eighties. Everything is soulless and grey. The night is pitch black and the only way I can see anything at all is because of the shining headlights streaming from the front of Ethan’s car. But a moment later I don’t even have that benefit anymore because Ethan switches them off, probably in a last ditch attempt to lose the van of slayers.

“I’m going to have to fight them,” he tells me. “You must promise me that you will remain inside the car until it’s finished. I’ll make sure to keep them as far away from you as possible.”

I gulp, my mouth suddenly sandpapery dry. “Do you have to fight them? I mean, do you even know how many there are?”

“They usually hunt in groups of five or six. Don’t worry, I could handle twice that.”

“If you say so,” I reply, wondering if that’s true.

Ethan turns into an open space that probably used to be a car park. The green van follows. He pulls the car around in a circle and then stops so that we are facing the slayers, then he places his hand on the door handle. He pauses a moment and turns to me. “How about a kiss for good luck?” he’s smiling all the while, despite the fact that he’s about to take on several slayers intent on his demise.

“Does nothing deter you?” I ask, not knowing how he can be so calm about all of this. Then I have to remind myself, he’s almost two hundred and seventy-seven years old, of course he’s calm, he’s probably taken on thousands of slayers in his lifetime.

“Nothing has yet,” is all he says before hopping out of the car and running toward his opponents.

Ethan slows his pace and then stops smack bang in the middle of the distance between his Cadillac and the slayers’ van. They’ve turned their headlights off as well, the only light shining is the full moon in the night sky. Without realising it I’ve wrapped my arms around myself, my left hand clutching on tightly to the seat belt that I have strapped across my body.

   
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