Pain, torment, anguish, misery, torture, helpless, paralyzed, debilitated, terrified, numb; they’re all words that are supposed to describe how I was feeling when I saw Pedro walk through the door without Rose at his side, but yet all of them fall short of grasping the exact emotion that converged
on me in that instant. My skin crawled with spiking chills over every inch of
me and my heart felt like it had departed completely from my body as my
eyes met with Pedro’s, both of them filled with hot tears. I knew it without
even having to think it. Not seeing her, but him being here, meant she was
My only daughter. My beautiful, smart, innocent, sweet little girl. It was all coming full circle, my life repeating itself in hers. I hadn’t been much older the day I’d been ripped away from my life, and the indescribable pain that overtook my body in this moment, I realized, was probably the same pain my mother felt. The worry, the nausea, the shaking and chill that can’t be warmed away.
I could hear everyone else crying too, and I vaguely felt Octavia’s strong grasp around me where we were sprawled on the floor. Calvin’s screams were the only things that seemed to cut through the fog I felt I could almost physically see moving towards me, ready to take me over and pull me into the darkness of a depression that couldn’t be remedied by anything but my daughter’s hand in mine, her smiling face peering up at me.
“Where is she?” I choked out, staring down at the floor.
Pedro cried harder, making my pain even worse. “Rachel, I’m so sorry.” He told me through his tears. I couldn’t look up at him for fear that I would manage to feel lower than I already did.
“Everything was fine.” He muttered. “She was laughing about something that Prince had done earlier, and I was watching her while she walked across the fresh snow…” His voice was heavy and I could picture her in my mind. She loved the snow, and she always wanted to walk in the untouched
snow so that she could see her trail of footprints behind her. “They came out of nowhere, three of them, and I was fighting them off, and I managed to kill one, but the other two disappeared. I followed the scent as far as I could find it, but I couldn’t find her…I looked everywhere…”
I heard footfall on the hardwood floors and I glanced up through my drenched eyelashes and my eyes burned slightly at the light, as Patrick walked quickly to Pedro, putting his arms around his neck and kissing his cheek. “I’m sure you did your best.” He assured him. “We’re going to get her back.” He said and Pedro crumpled into his arms, his blue suit a mess and he cried loudly into Patrick’s neck while Patrick held him and rubbed his back.
I let out another wailing cry when I saw the little puppy come into the room from the porch. Rose’s little Prince. He still had a bright pink ribbon tied around his neck that I’m positive she had insisted on doing. His big brown eyes looked warily around the room and then he padded his furry little paws right over to me and nudged me with his little wet nose.
Logan was suddenly beside me too, picking Prince up carefully and cradling him to his chest while he cried, rocking back and forth. “What do we do?” He asked as helplessly as I felt. “She’s got to be so scared.”
More sick crying convulsions ripped through me and I looked up to the bed where Calvin was thrashing back and forth, his eyes squeezed shut but tears streaming both of his cheeks.
I found the strength to wobble to my feet and go to his side.
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“Calvin,” I whispered because that’s the loudest my voice would allow. “Help.” I cried. “Where is she? Are they going to…?” I couldn’t finish the question.
“No!” He shouted, and Pedro was behind me, his hands on my shoulder.
“How long has he been like this?” He sniffled.
“A week or so.” Octavia told him from where she was still sitting on the floor beside Logan and Prince. “He’s on the edge of coma…He can’t be any help like this.”
The man I didn’t recognize who was still lingering in the doorway looked around at us, then landed on me. “Why hasn’t he fed?” He asked me and I could hear the confusion in his voice. Of course he wondered why the king’s human wife wasn’t keeping the king fed and strong.
“He won’t.” I told him, still wondering who the heck this person was and
whether or not he was a threat. I was about to ask, when Calvin snapped his
eyes open and narrowed in on me.
“Ok.” He said suddenly.
I shook my head, trying to read his pained expression and to fight back the urge to wipe the tears away from his face. “What, baby?” I whispered, getting closer as he closed his eyes back.
“I need….” He gasped. “Help you…” He coughed. “Blood.” He said suddenly
and his eyes were open but they were the blackest of black.
Cromley jumped between us and looked down at Calvin, making sure he wasn’t about to try to get up.
“You want my blood?” I asked him.
“Blood!” He yelled again. “I…help you.” He got out before he began to convulse in pain again.
“Ok.” I said, pushing by Cromley, but Logan yanked my arm to the side.
“No, Rachel.” He said seriously. “Calvin didn’t want this, and neither did you.” He reminded me.
“He needs his strength if there is any hope that Rose isn’t already…” I dropped my eyes and wrapped my arms back around myself, keeping myself together.
“They won’t hurt her.” Pedro said, coming towards me. “They won’t.”
“Blood!” Calvin screamed again, jolting up on the bed before Cromley shoved him back down and held him in place.
I tried again to push over to Calvin, but I was stopped again.
“Rach, let me.” Logan said as soon as I looked him in the eye.
“Do what?” I asked, confused.
Logan rubbed his bloodshot eyes and looked down at me. “I’ll give him my blood.” He told me. “That way he has his strength and can help us, and you stay true to what he wanted.”
I looked at Logan and waited for him to say he was just kidding, or anything that made more sense than him trying to give his blood to my husband, but then I realized it actually did make sense. Logan loves Rose, and he knows to get her, we need Calvin, and Calvin needs blood.
“I can’t let you do that.” I said in a daze.
Logan shook his head. “I’m not asking.” He said firmly. “Plus, you’ve been drinking those drinks from the fridge.” He pointed out. “Who is to say that you aren’t infected and you don’t even know it.”
“Those are really old.” I fired back.
“You feel safe enough on that to risk his life?” Logan countered. “I’ve hardly eaten anything, and the things I have, I’ve made for myself entirely. I know my blood is clean.”
“You can’t be sure.” I shook my head, but then I saw something in his eyes. “You’ve already…?” I asked, then looked over at Octavia who was avoiding my gaze.
“It’s clean.” Logan reiterated. “And he needs it.”
I looked into Logan’s eyes, and then back to the bed at Calvin. “Calvin, are you o-.”
“Blood! Need!” He choked out again.
“Fine.” I snapped at Logan and he turned back to Octavia and the two of them went out side with a big cup from the kitchen.
I scooped up Prince from the floor and as I snuggled him to me, I almost felt like I could smell Rose on him. His little puppy eyes met mine again and he licked at my hand. I clung to his tiny body as Logan came back into the room, his cheeks a little red, as he pulled the sleeve to his dark green sweater down and carried the cup over to me. Calvin started jerking around the second the cup was near him.
Cromley held him by the shoulders as he sat him up and held him in his grip while I sat beside him on the bed and brought the cup up to Calvin’s lips. I found myself glad that the cup was a dark blue so that I couldn’t see the heavy liquid in it as Calvin drained it quickly, then fell back on the bed as Cromley released him.
I passed Prince off to Logan and gave him a silent thank you before I leaned down over Calvin, holding his face in my hands while his breathing slowed and he fluttered his eyes opened. I sighed when I saw the nice smoky blue with a shiny layer of tears. “Rachel.” He said after we looked at each other as we both cried for a minute. He sat up slowly and lifted his hands up from my shoulders to the sides of my face and he leaned forward to kiss my forehead before he pulled me into him, holding me tightly as I cried with him. His arms around me held me in one piece instead of the thousands of broken and shattered pieces I felt like I was.
“Rose?” I muttered her name. “What do we do?” I begged into his chest. “My baby.”
Octavia and Logan sat behind me on the bed, and Patrick, Pedro, and Cromley circled around us while the other man stepped further into the room and closed the door behind him.
“What are they going to do to her?” Logan asked through his gritted teeth.
Calvin and Pedro shared a glance as I leaned back to look at them. “What?” I asked and Pedro sighed.
“You’re dream.” He said lowly.
I furrowed my brows and shook my head. “My dreams about the roses?” I asked, my voice raising an octave. “They’re going to kill her?” I whispered in horror.
Calvin rubbed his hands across my legs slowly as Pedro shook his head. “The dream you told me the man that was one of the rebels held out a rose that turned black.” He said.
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.” I told him. “Just spit it out.” I snapped.
Pedro ducked his eyes, ashamed, and Calvin shushed me to pull me back to him.
“They don’t want to kill her, Rachel.” Calvin told me gently. “Do you remember I told you before that the rebels that attacked us when my father was still ruling were rebelling because they wanted me to be king and to advance the vampire nation?” I nodded and he sighed. “Well, they want a harsh and heavy handed ruler, and they thought they’d get that with me, but it didn’t work out that way for them.” He explained. “Pedro and I have suspected for a while now that this new threat might actually be an old threat that has returned. Someone within Castrum gave the information out, and we think that the reason that they never told about there being an heir was because they plan to keep her for themselves, and use her to get what they want.”
“What do they want?” Logan snapped. “And how does it go with Rose?”
“The rebels want a ruthless ruler who won’t have such a good relationship with the humans.” Pedro tried to explain. “For ages there have been small factions who demand that the king overthrow the humans and we take over both worlds.” He told him. “No king has agreed because, well, frankly,
it is an idiotic idea.” Pedro sighed. “However, now there is a very young, and very impressionable heir to the throne.”
I shivered. “They want to keep her a secret, and raise her to be the type of ruler they want?” I asked.
“But we aren’t going to let that happen.” Calvin said firmly. “We are getting her back.”
“Yes,” Pedro nodded. “We are, and I am going to kill them and use their damned skulls as flower pots for my bedroom.”
I shook my head to keep out thoughts of what she might be going through right now.
“How do we even get her back?” I asked. “Do we even know where they are?”
The man at the end of the room cleared his throat and looked over at me. “That’s why I’m here.” He informed me. “I’m Major Renard,” He introduced himself. “I was the leader of the mission in Britain.” He told everyone. “The panic of the Lamia Mortem messed with things, but they knew we were coming anyway.” He shook his head, his red hair falling in his eyes. “They were ready for us when we attacked, and I fled, knowing that we weren’t going to make it. I heard them talking about Cambridge before we attacked.” He explained. “I would bet that’s where they plan on taking her.”
“Cambridge?” Logan repeated, and Renard nodded courtly. “Well then we need to get our asses there and get my baby girl back.”
ANYTHING FOR RACHEL