Home > Loved (The Vampire Journals #2)

Loved (The Vampire Journals #2)
Author: Morgan Rice

ONE

The Hudson Valley, New York

(Present Day)

For the first time in weeks, Caitlin Paine felt relaxed. Sitting comfortably on the floor of the small barn, she leaned back against a bale of hay, and exhaled. A small fire raged in the stone fireplace about ten feet away; she had just added a log, and felt reassured by the sound of cracking wood. March wasn’t over yet, and tonight had been especially cold. The window on the far wall afforded a view of the night sky, and she could see the snow was still falling.

The barn was unheated, but she sat close enough to the fire for its warmth to take the edge off. She felt very comfortable, and felt her eyes getting heavy. The smell of the fire dominated the barn, and as she reclined a little bit further, she could feel the tension starting to leave her shoulders and legs.

Of course, the real reason for her sense of peace, she knew, was not the fire, or hay, or even the shelter of the barn. It was due to him. Caleb. She sat and stared at him.

He reclined across from her, about fifteen feet away, so perfectly still. He was sleeping, and she took the opportunity to study his face, his perfect features, his pale, translucent skin. She had never seen features so perfectly chiseled. It was surreal, like staring at a sculpture. She couldn’t fathom how he had been alive for 3,000 years. She, at 18, already looked older than he did.

But it was more than his features. There was an air about him, a subtle energy that he exuded. A great sense of peace. When she was around him, she knew that everything would be all right.

She was just happy that he was still there, still with her. And she allowed herself to hope that they would stay together. But even as she thought it, she chided herself, knowing that she was setting herself up for trouble. Guys like this, she knew, just didn’t stick around. It just wasn’t how they were built.

Caleb slept so perfectly, taking such small breaths, that it was hard for her to tell if he was even asleep. He had left earlier, he’d said, to feed. He’d returned more relaxed, carrying a stack of logs, and he’d figured a way to seal the barn door to keep out the snowy draft. He had started the fire, and now that he was asleep, she kept it going.

She reached up and took another sip of her glass of red wine, and felt the warm liquid slowly relax her. She had found the bottle in a hidden chest, under a stack of hay; she’d remembered when her little brother, Sam, stashed it there, months ago, and on a whim. She never drank, but she didn’t see the harm in a few sips, especially after what she’d been through.

She held her journal on her lap, page open, a pen in one hand and the glass in the other. She had been holding it for 20 minutes now. She had no idea where to begin. She’d never had trouble writing before, but this time was different. The events of the last several days had been too dramatic, too hard to process. This was the first time she sat still and relaxed. The first time she had felt even remotely safe.

She decided it was best to begin at the beginning. What had happened. Why she was here. Who she even was. She needed to process it. She wasn’t even sure if she knew the answers herself anymore.

*

Up until last week, life was normal. I was actually beginning to like Oakville. Then Mom marched in one day and announced we were moving. Again. Life turned upside down, like it always did with her.

This time, it was worse. It wasn’t another suburb. It was New York. As in city. Public school and a life of concrete. And a dangerous neighborhood.

Sam was pissed, too. We talked about not going, about taking off. But the truth was, we had nowhere else to go.

So we went along. We both secretly vowed that if we didn’t like it, we’d leave. Find someplace. Anywhere. Maybe even try to track down Dad again, though we both knew that wouldn’t happen.

And then everything happened. So fast. My body. Turning. Changing. I still don’t know what happened, or who I’ve become. But I know I’m not the same person anymore.

I remember that fateful night when it all began. Carnegie Hall. My date with Jonah. And then…intermission. My….feeding? Killing someone? I still can’t remember. I only know what they told me. I know that I did something that night, but it’s all a blur. Whatever I did, it still sits like a pit in my stomach. I’d never want to harm anyone.

The next day, I felt the change in myself. I was definitely becoming stronger, faster, more sensitive to light. I smelled things, too. Animals were acting strangely around me, and I felt myself acting strangely around them.

And then there was mom. Telling me she’s not my real mom, and then getting killed by those vampires, the ones who’d been after me. I never would’ve wanted to see her hurt like that. I still feel like it’s my fault. But with everything else, I just can’t let myself go there. I’ve got to focus on what’s before me, what I can control.

There was my getting caught. Those awful vampires. And then, my escape. Caleb. Without him, I’m sure they would have killed me. Or worse.

Caleb’s coven. His people. So different. But vampires, all the same. Territorial. Jealous. Suspicious. They cast me out, and they gave him no choice.

But he chose. Despite everything, he chose me. Again, he saved me. He risked it all for me. I love him for that. More than he’ll ever know.

I have to help him back. He thinks I’m the one, some kind of vampire messiah or something. He’s convinced I’ll lead him to some kind of lost sword, that will stop a vampire war and save everybody. Personally, I don’t believe it. His own people don’t believe it. But I know that’s all he has, and that it means the world to him. And he risked everything for me, and it’s the least I can do. For me, it’s not even about the sword. I just don’t want to see him go.

So I’ll do whatever I can. I’ve always wanted to try to find my dad, anyway. I want to know who he really is. Who I really am. If I’m really half vampire, or half human, or whatever. I need answers. If nothing else, I need to know what I’m becoming…

*

“Caitlin?”

She woke in a daze. She looked up to see Caleb standing over her, hands resting gently on her shoulder. He smiled.

“I think you fell asleep,” he said.

She looked around, saw her open journal on her lap and snapped it closed. She felt her cheeks flush, hoping he hadn’t read any of it. Especially the part about her feelings for him.

She sat up and rubbed her eyes. It was still night, and the fire was still going, although it was down to embers. He must have just woken, too. She wondered how long she had been asleep.

   
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