The flight went by quickly as I listened to the chatter of my friends. I could tell we were all nervous, not knowing what we might be walking into and probably knowing in the back of our minds that we might all die trying to save Rose, but we were also very determined. It was a fire burning in our eyes, and deep within my belly. I wasn’t leaving England again. Not without my daughter.
We made it to our hotel in Milton, just outside of Cambridge with less than an hour to spare before sunrise. Mine and Calvin’s room was sparsely decorated, hardly fitting for a king, but Calvin didn’t seem bothered by the pealing wallpaper or the creaking bed. I made sure that the blinds and curtains were pulled tightly while we waited for the others to join us, and Calvin began his pacing in front of the old box TV.
I rushed to open the door when I heard a knock and Renard was the first to enter. I extended my hand to him and smiled. “We haven’t officially met,
but I’m Rachel.” I told him and he bowed his head to me. “I really appreciate you helping us.”
“Please, Majesty, don’t thank me.” He said shaking his head as he walked in and sat in the desk chair. “I’m happy to do anything I can to protect you and the princess.” It was weird hearing people keep calling my little Rose a princess, but I knew I’d probably end up having to get my mind wrapped around it sooner or later.
Calvin tilted his chin to Renard, then continued with his pacing.
There was another knock on the door and I pulled the door open again and let in Cromley, Octavia, Logan, and Pedro. I laughed when Pedro tapped my nose on his way over to sit on the foot of the bed and I went to sit beside him, taking Prince from him and petting him in my lap.
“Calvin, would you stop?” Octavia said to him and he stopped in his tracks and turned to face us all.
“My apologies.” He smiled. “Renard, have you and Cromley discussed a plan of action?”
Both men nodded their head. “Sir, with respect, I lied when I said I heard the rebels mention Cambridge.” Renard told us. “They mentioned a place near here, but I told you all Cambridge because I was afraid of the possibility that we were either being bugged back at Castrum, or that there is a traitor among us.”
“My hopes being that it was a bug planted to stay in on what our plans were.” Cromley added.
I furrowed my brows and shook my head. “Wait, so she isn’t even here?” I asked, my heart picking up speed.
Cromley shook his head and Pedro put his hand on my back, patting gently. “She’s close,” Renard assured me. “But we didn’t want to risk saying where we think she really is, because if we really were being watched, then we didn’t want anyone to get spooked and move her someplace else.”
“How close?” Pedro and I both asked.
Logan ran his hand through his hair and groaned. “I just want her back.”
“I understand.” Renard said quickly. “I have an idea.”
Calvin looked very tempted to fall back into his pacing. I know it helps him steady his mind, but it makes everyone else feel on edge to see him digging a track into the faded carpet. “The plan?” Calvin prompted him.
“Well,” Renard said, pulling his thick brows together and forming a thick wrinkle between them. “As I’m sure you know, there is a settlement here in Cambridge,” He nodded to himself. “Mostly lower classed vampires, but they have a decent sized holding here, which is why I said Cambridge, but if you’ll remember, the old settlement was about twenty miles from here years ago before they moved it to be closer to a populated city center for feeding purposes.” Renard turned to look at me, pursing his lips.
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“Before the feeding schools, the vampire settlements used to need to be near bigger populations so that they could come above ground at night to feed.” He explained to me, then turned back to Calvin. “The old settlement has been assumed abandoned for hundreds of years, so what better place would there be to hide a girl you don’t want the rest of the world to know about?” He prompted. “When they mentioned England and a hidden place, it was the first thing I thought of.”
My heart sank a little, and Logan echoed my thoughts. “So we’re going off of a hunch?” He asked. “There are plenty of places in England that they could be keeping her.”
Calvin glared at him for a minute, then gathered himself, taking a deep breath. “No.” He said. “It’s perfect.” He agreed. “If they’re staying there, they would be positioned just close enough to Britain, and the settlement in Cambridge to move around without being overly suspicious, and they would have had an easy time switching out the blood supply we got from here with the tainted ones.” He nodded. “It’s a perfect place.”
Hope crept up again. “You really think she’s here?” I asked him and he smiled at me, making my heart skip a beat.
“I do.” He whispered, then he closed his eyes. “I can feel it in my bones, Rachel.”
When I closed my eyes too, I almost felt like he was right; like I could feel her presence so close to me, just out of my reach.
“What’s the plan?” Pedro asked. “I want to be a part of it.” He added. “I’ve seen two of their faces, and I can’t wait to rip them limb from limb.” He spat.
Cromley and Renard exchanged a glance, then Renard sighed.
“We can’t just bust in not knowing what we’re looking at.” He said. “We need to find out how many people we’re against here, and to do that, someone will have to go and spend time at the Cambridge settlement to try to get some information and an idea of who our enemies are.” He told us. “They’ve seen me, and they’ve seen Pedro, and of course they know the king and queen.” He sighed, then looked over at Octavia.
“Me?” She asked, bringing a hand to her chest, then she looked around. “Of course I’ll go.” She nodded. “Just let me know what I need to do and be looking for.”
“You haven’t been on any broadcasts or anything, right?”
Cromley asked. “I’d go myself, but they’ll be more inclined to not find a new woman as strange as if I showed up.”
It didn’t take more than a glance at Cromley to know that the man was obviously a guard of some type. He’s huge, and it is in the way he carries himself. He’d definitely be suspicious.
“No, I’m usually behind the scenes.” Octavia nodded.
They went back and forth for a few more minutes on what she would need to do tomorrow night, and Pedro and Renard described to her what the men they’d seen looked like.
“So tomorrow?” I asked when they finally finished going over everything.
Calvin smiled over at me, then yawned. “Tomorrow.” He nodded. “She’ll get some intel and we’ll have a better idea of what we’re working against, then we go get our girl.”
I sighed around a smile, conflicting feelings pooling in me. On one hand I was terrified of what was going to happen, and then on the other hand I was sad that I still had a whole day to wait to find out anything else about Rose and her captors. A thought popped into my overcrowded mind. I wished I could rip apart the men who stole my daughter myself, but getting her back at all would just be enough for me.
I stood and hugged everyone as they left for their rooms.
“Try to get some sleep and not worry.” Octavia said as she brushed my loose hair over my shoulder.
Logan leaned around her to hug me too. “She’s right, Rach.” He said. “We all need to be resting up.” He nodded to himself and I stopped him as he went to walk away, catching his hand and he turned back to look at me.
“We’re getting her back.” I told him. “She’s going to be so excited to see you.” His smile was strained, but he was trying to put on a brave front. “I’m scared too.” I whispered and he squeezed my hand before he and Octavia disappeared into the hallway on their way to their room.
When I closed the door and turned around I found Calvin already sprawled out on his stomach on the bed. I shook my head at him and his annoyingly perfectness, and went to the bed, pulling his shoes off of both of his feet for him and letting them fall on the floor with loud thuds, then I nudged him to roll over. “I love you.” He whispered as he rolled onto his back on watched me crawl up onto the bed. I undid his belt and slid it off the bed, then did the same with his pants. He chuckled as I grabbed his hands and pulled him as hard as I could to sit him up and the bed creaked and groaned beneath us while I unbuttoned his shirt for him and pushed it off of his body and he dropped it on the floor beside the bed on his side before he rolled towards me, taking the hem of my dress and pulled it up my body and dropped it down onto his shirt before he pulled me into his chest and leaned back on the bed.
“I love you too, Calvin.” I whispered before I pressed my lips to his carefully.
The headboard knocked against the thin wall as we got fixed and I cuddled up to him beneath our threadbare blanket and he brushed my hair back. “Thank you.” He whispered after he reached over to turn off the lamp on
the bedside table and the room was bathed in almost total darkness, a little light managing to creep out from behind the curtains as the sun rose outside.
“For what?” I asked him, his profile slowly coming into view as my eyes adjusted to the dark.
He rubbed his cold foot up and down against mine and I sighed as I leaned further into him. “For not forcing me to feed.” He said. “I know how badly you wanted to, but I just…”
“It’s ok.” I told him. “I understand why.”
He nodded to himself, then leaned his head against mine. “I couldn’t risk damaging what we have here because, Rachel, I’d never been happy before you, and there’d be no happiness without you.” He whispered. “I know I tell you I love you all the time, but I only wish there were words that felt stronger than that.” He laughed. “What I feel for you…I can’t fathom any other being ever feeling for someone else the way I feel about you, and about Rose too. I know I haven’t met her yet, but I don’t have to to know that she’s my world too.” He explained quietly, still playing with my hair softly. “Look how all of our friends have dropped everything and put their lives on the line to help her.” He said. “She’s a special little girl, which makes perfect sense because she’s got you as her mother.”
I felt tears in my eyes as he rolled slowly towards me, hovering over me and caressing my face before he leaned down to kiss me, his lips parting with mine. “I can’t wait until you meet her, Calvin.” I whispered when he pulled away. “She’s the luckiest girl in the world to have so many people who love her.”
Calvin smiled, his perfect white teeth shining even in the dark.
“We’ll be with her soon.”
“Soon.” I nodded.
“I love you.” He sighed. “And so much more.”
ANYTHING FOR RACHEL