Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(15)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(15)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“We will,” says Amanda, grinning at Lucas as she hops off the barstool and saunters in the direction of the night club entrance.

Lucas moves to follow her, but I grab him by the wrist as he passes me. “What do you think you’re doing?” I hiss, as his eyes burn down on me and I notice the tips of his fangs extending out from beneath his upper lip.

“I decided your little friend has some redeeming qualities after all. I’d like to spend some more time with her,” he whispers, and then slips out of my grasp and leaves the club.

I sigh in exasperation and peer around the empty room. I stretch my arms up above my head, in an effort to release the tension and stiffness in my muscles.

“What a splendid view,” I hear Ethan announce from behind me.

I drop my arms and spin around. “Spying on me?” I ask, annoyed.

“This is my property, darling, and no, I was merely appreciating.”

“Oh.” I reply, not knowing what to say to that. I get back to business. “Well, do you know that Lucas has just whisked Amanda away for a nice intimate cup of coffee, and it didn’t sound like a break up sort of coffee date, it sounded like a “let’s get to know each other better” sort of coffee date.”

“You should not have instructed him to finish with her,” Ethan tells me “Lucas will only ever want that which is unavailable to him. You telling him to breaks things off has only incited him to do the opposite.”

I take a couple steps in his direction so that I’m standing directly in front of him. “Can’t you tell him to leave her alone?” I ask, my forehead hurting, frustration bringing on a headache.

Ethan laughs gently. “I may be his employer and superior but I hold no sway over his personal life. Who he decides to court is his own affair.”

“But what if he tries to feed from her again, can’t you do something about it then? You did say that it’s the policy of vampires not to feed from the same person twice. And what if something goes wrong and he ends up killing her?” I ask rapidly, fear for my friend building in my gut.

“Lucas has not taken the life of an innocent civilian in more than ten years…”

“Oh how magnanimous of him,” I spit, cutting him off.

Ethan half smiles. “And in response to your other question, it is frowned upon to feed from the same human twice yes, though not forbidden. There is no way of regulating that kind of activity, besides, once many of us get a taste for the blood of a particular human it is difficult not to return to that human again and again.”

“Ugh, please, spare me the details,” I tell him, not enjoying the visual.

“The idea may strike you as repulsive now, but believe me, if you were to experience it for yourself your thoughts on the matter would not be so abhorrent. Don’t you wonder why humans would volunteer themselves as blood donors, our bite is like a drug. Addictive.”

“I would never do that!” I say defensively.

“Yes. A pity,” says Ethan with a slightly hooded gaze. He’s staring at me and for some reason I can tell that he’s imagining what it would be like to feed from me.

“I know what you’re thinking and you can stop it right this instant.” I tell him firmly.

He doesn’t reply, but merely continues to gaze at me. Suddenly, and I know this sounds strange, but I get a ticklish feeling in my head, like fingers running gently over my brain. A moment later an image enters my mind, of me with nothing more than my underwear on, sitting astride Ethan on my bed. He’s topless and his golden blond hair hangs over his face. His hand brushes over my thigh and his lips press against my neck, then his fangs extend and softly graze my skin. I feel a shameful heat rush over me, and I blush, embarrassed for having thought of such a thing. But when I look at Ethan again he has a satisfied grin on his face, and immediately I know that he somehow planted the image in my head.

“How did you do that?” I demand.

“It’s a special talent of mine,” he replies, not even bothering to deny it.

“But…” I say, flustered. “I thought you couldn’t use your abilities on me, I thought I was immune.”

“You are. But very few vampires can do this. It’s a strength of mine, and it seems that with a little extra concentration, I can make you see things too.”

“That’s not very nice Ethan. It was horrible in fact, I could feel you in there, as though your fingers were trying to pry their way inside.”

“You could only feel my efforts to enter because your mind is so much more difficult to crack than a normal human’s. It wasn’t all so horrid was it? You liked what you saw, enjoyed what you felt…”

I’m still blushing. “Please just stop.” I almost beg. I hate to admit it, and it just goes to show that I have not been with many men in my time, because that image of me and Ethan together is probably one of the most erotic moments of my life, and it wasn’t even real. How pathetic.

I take a few steps backward and sit down on a barstool. Ethan is by my side in no more than a second.

“You have not been touched like that in a long time, have you?” he strokes my arm gently.

I yank it out of his reach. “That is absolutely none of your business.” I snap at him.

“Yes. I apologise. I should not have spoken to you in that way, and I should not have violated the privacy of your mind,” says Ethan, with all the chivalry of a medieval knight in armour. I’m having a difficult time trying to keep up with his ever changing personalities. Although, I suppose a man could develop quite a few in a life as long as Ethan’s has been.

“Just don’t do it again,” I say on a sigh.

“Your wish is my command,” he replies, though I scarcely believe him since he did promise to quit the efforts at seduction before and he didn’t.

“Now, may I have the pleasure of driving you home?”

“I think I’d prefer to walk,” I tell him, feeling the need for some time alone to process things in my mind.

“Then I will walk with you.”

“I want to be alone, but thank you for the offer.”

At that, Ethan studies me for a moment, then replies, “Of course,” and he walks me to the door.

“I’ll be seeing you Tegan,” he calls as I walk away from Crimson.

Full dark descends on the city as I walk in the direction of my apartment. The journey will take a while by foot, but I’m in the mood for the exercise and the air. As I turn the corner at the end of the street the oddest thing occurs. I hear some kind of off-beat piano playing an unfamiliar and antiquated tune. The sort of number you’d see a flapper girl dancing the Charleston to in old black and white footage from the twenties.

The melody is faint and all too soon it disappears. A shiver runs over me but I shake it off. I look about but there aren’t any buildings nearby from which the music might have drifted, only shops that have closed up for the evening. Under any other circumstances I might have immediately forgotten about the strange piano music, but there is something about its presence that chills me to my very core.

My subconscious is screaming at me to get moving quickly, that this music is a sign of danger. So I walk along swiftly and soon traffic sounds pollute my ears and my feelings of unease slip away. But then I find myself studying the characters that pass me by and speculating as to whether they might be vampires.

A group of men and women standing outside a run down building eye me up and down as I pass. Yeah, maybe I should have taken Ethan up on his offer of a lift. The problem with walking home in this city, particularly at night, is that no matter how cleverly you plan your route, you’re always a couple minutes away from a shithole. Glitzy five star hotels are soon succeeded by dismal grey blocks of council flats.

This makes me think about Matthew, and whether or not this city that is so full of grey made him feel depressed. And now that I’m thinking of him, the man I lost, it is difficult to stop. The air feels as though it’s been sucked from my lungs with a hoover, and there’s pins and needles stuck in my heart. I feel a powerful need to take the box of Matthew’s things out from their hiding place at the bottom of my wardrobe and look at them again. It’s not a very healthy habit, but I can’t seem to find the strength to stop. Or to get rid of these remnants of the short time I had with him.

Every time I miss him I shut myself away in my bedroom and lose myself in the only things I have left of him. A scarf. His book of poems and song lyrics. A packet of unused guitar strings. A broken guitar string. The plectrum he caught at a Metallica concert. A battered copy of Animal Farm. A plain silver ring. And lastly, his suicide note. These things all seem so trivial and unimportant when listed like that. The random pieces of his broken life.

Matthew’s mum came and took everything else soon after he died, we didn’t say much to each other. The look on her face, though, it spoke volumes. A thousand words were communicated in one single glance. She truly believed that somehow I was the one who drove him to do it. I’ll never be able to wash that look from my memory, it drives me to re-live every moment we spent together, questioning my actions, wondering if I incited his self-destruction.

When I get home my inner scrutiny is stopped dead in its tracks, because there is clearly a strange man sitting in my apartment. Well, maybe not so strange, because although I don’t know him personally, I recognise him immediately. It’s the slayer I convinced Ethan to leave alive on Friday night. It was only yesterday, and yet, it seems like it happened a long, long time ago. He’s sitting casually at my kitchen table peeling the skin off an apple with a pocket knife, a red apple that he has quite obviously appropriated from my fruit bowl, might I add.

The slayer’s demeanour is laid back, he appears as comfortable as he would be sitting in the kitchen of his own home. His body language and countenance informs me that he feels he has every right in the world to be in my apartment. He actually has the gall to take his time popping a neatly cut slice of apple into his mouth before deigning to turn around and look at me.

“I’m calling the police.” I say sharply, slipping my hand inside of my coat pocket and retrieving my phone.

“I wouldn’t do that,” he says, in an accent I don’t immediately recognise.

“Oh yeah? Well you just try and f**king stop me.” I proceed to dial the numbers, nine – nine – but just before I get to the final nine something knocks the phone straight out of my hand, and it flies to the other side of the room landing on my couch. The slayer had flung something at me to prevent me from making the call, and I have to admit that his shot was spot on. I look down to see what it was he’d thrown and I almost laugh - a banana? How on earth do you knock a phone from a person’s hand with a banana?

I stand there for a minute, phone-less, as he enjoys another slice of apple.

“Are you going to explain why you’ve broken into my apartment?” I ask. “Or have you just come to steal my fruit?” I finish in a stony voice.

“Good apples these,” he replies, wiping the excess fruit juice from his lips onto his sleeve. “And I think you know why I’m here, Missy.” Aha, now that he’s spoken more I recognise his accent, it’s Irish.

“Honestly I don’t,” I tell him, and then a sort of realisation hits me. “Wait a minute, you don’t think I’m a vampire do you? Because believe me, I’m one hundred per cent human.”

He laughs, a deep, throaty sound. “No I don’t think you’re a vampire, what do you take me for? I’m here because you saved my life last night, and I’d like to thank you for that.”

“Oh,” I say, not knowing how to reply. “But weren’t you unconscious when all that was happening? You certainly looked it.”

“Nah, I was kinda half way in half way out. I was clear headed enough to hear your little speech to the bloodsucker. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a vamp look guilty.”

“Yeah well, I was only speaking the truth. It would have been wrong for Ethan to kill you while you weren’t capable of defending yourself.” I say, still wary of this intruder in my home, and not wholly convinced that his need to thank me is the only reason he’s come here.

“How did you find out where I live by the way?”

“I followed you two home last night but kept well behind so the vamp wouldn’t cotton on to being followed again.”

“Okay, well you’ve thanked me, so you can go now. Or I really will call the police this time.”

“I’m not ready to leave yet,” he replies, and there is the faintest threat in his voice. He’s finished off the apple now, he takes the core and tosses it in my rubbish bin. Then he looks me over closely.

“So, what’s a nice girl like yourself doing driving in cars with vampires, huh? Albeit,” he says, glancing up at a painting of Nicky’s hanging on the wall over my television set, “slightly morbid, you seem like a decent person.”

Nicky’s painting depicts a woman’s blue eye surrounded by endless other tiny eyes that seem to watch you from within the frame.

“My friend made that,” I tell him, “and it isn’t morbid, it’s art. But I wouldn’t expect someone who breaks into other peoples’ apartments to have any culture.”

“Whatever you say,” says the slayer, grinning to himself. “But I prefer women who don’t hang freaky pictures like that up in their living rooms.” He shoots a puzzled and disliking glance back at the aforementioned painting.

I grit my teeth and forget for a second that I should be trying to get this stranger to leave. I’m a dedicated fan of Nicky’s art, and it irks me to have a person so carelessly assign it to a category. I myself actually find the painting to be quite comforting, like the eyes are watching out for me in a way.

   
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