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Chapter 22 – Thirst
Lulu worked with us daily on how to control our thirst during Evan’s absence. Leonard and I didn’t want our Maker to come home to two mentally broken newborn vampires who had no control over their animalistic instincts. Tatum helped Lulu as much as he could with our rearing, but he could only help whenever we had actually made our choice to attack. Leonard was adapting better than I was by the time we went on our second hunt. I almost backed out completely until the thirst won its victory and I lost control. Lulu consoled me afterwards as I sobbed uncontrollably. Drinking blood was the only part that I didn’t really enjoy as a vampire. Evan had given me a choice when I was on the verge of Death, and I made the decision to have him save my life. I had nobody else to blame for my new existence but myself and I wasn’t going to make Evan regret ever changing me into my new form. Even if it meant that I had to murder innocent people on a regular basis just to survive.
We spent our days playing cards or watching television while Lulu and Dylan slept. Other vampires would stop in from time to time, but none of them ever paid us any attention except for Arella. The Mother of Vampires would always take time out of her visit to spend with each of us. She would ask us questions about ourselves and helped us better our understanding of our new abilities. So far, every newborn sired by Evan had an ability. Tatum could see the chance of things happening, Leonard could dampen other vampiric abilities, and I was faster and stronger than my brothers.
“You are beyond being just fast, Jenna.” Arella told me one evening as we waited for Evan to return. “I believe that might be part of your ability. If Lusindra was here, she would be able to tell us for certain.”
“Is that her ability?” I asked curiously. “To sense abilities?”
Arella smiled and nodded before she reached out and tucked a loose strand of my hair behind my ear.
“Something major is coming, Jenna.” Arella told me calmly as she held my hand in her own. “A great battle.”
“I’ve heard,” I replied hesitantly. Tatum had told me everything that he had learned from Jon during their trip to Philadelphia.
“So, you know about your destiny?” The Mother of Vampires asked me nervously.
I only shrugged. Arella squeezed my hand reassuringly.
“The future isn’t set in stone, Jenna.” She told me quietly. “It can be changed with just a single choice.”
“What if that’s the decision that puts me on my path to my destiny?”
“You keep fighting until the end, Jenna.” Arella reassured me.
I nodded and forced myself to smile at the Mother of Vampires. She had helped me feel better about our situation, even though I knew that there wasn’t any way for me to avoid my destiny. Tatum had taught me that with a few exercises during our nights of exploration. Dylan hung next to Leonard like they were best friends, and it took me several days to realize that it was because it kept Dylan from hearing everyone’s thoughts. It was the day that Jon Wells returned to ‘Lulu’s Hideaway’ that our little vacation from reality ended abruptly. The sun was just beginning to set beyond the horizon, and I was relieving the day shift clerk for the evening when the door slammed open and Jon stumbled into the motel.
“Where’s Lulu and Arella?” The werewolf demanded as he approached the counter with a fierce look in his silver eyes. I could smell the recent change on the man as well as the hint of blood. He had been in a fight.
“They should be waking up soon, Agent Wells,” I told him before I motioned towards the door that led to the sanctuary beneath the motel. “You’re more than welcome to go wait for them.”
Jon nodded before he took a curious glance at me.
“Did you recover completely from your encounter with Adam, Lady Jenna?” He asked me suddenly. I was caught off guard by his question.
“What do you mean?” I asked nervously.
He pointed towards the back of my head.
“Did your skull heal completely?”
“Oh!” I stated as I vaguely remembered the strange man that had attacked me. “Yeah. I’m completely cured.”
“Evan would be proud to know that, Jenna,” Jon informed me. “He speaks highly of you.”
“Where is he anyways?”
“That’s what I need to talk to Arella and Lulu about,” the werewolf stated darkly. “Director Croft of Section-9 has broken the contract.”
“I don’t understand, Jon.” I told the man in confusion.
“They’ve taken your Sire hostage, Jenna,” Jon stated darkly. “Director Croft is trying to get Evan to make him an army of newborns.”
“Holy shit,” I muttered before the door from downstairs flung open and four vampires were standing on either side of me.
Arella was wearing a dark red gown with a black hand-knit shawl draped across her shoulders. She stepped around the counter and moved over to Jon. The werewolf looked terrified as Arella tried to comfort him. I turned to Tatum and Leonard who looked scared by the news. Lulu stepped over to Jon and pulled him into her arms.
“What have we done, Arella?” Jon asked in disbelief. “How are we ever going to stop this?”
“The final piece of the Prophecy has fallen into place, Jon,” Lulu said softly. “There are supposed to be five members of the new coven before the first battle comes to pass. Three of them are here at the Hideaway. Evan is the fourth, and he must be creating the fifth during his time at the Section-9 Headquarters.”
“Do you honestly think Evan would ever make a convict one of his new family members?” Jon asked Lulu in disbelief.
The petite woman smiled and patted the wolf’s cheek gently.
“I believe that anything is possible these days,” she said with a meaningful look in my direction. Then, she slipped her arm into Jon’s and led him towards the basement door. “Let’s have a drink.”
“Mother Arella?” I heard Leonard speak up hesitantly.
“What is it, Leonard?” She asked pleasantly.
“What are we going to do about Evan?” I could hear the worry in my brother’s voice.
“It’s time to summon the Alliance, Leonard,” Arella said with a scowl. “They should be about ready to move on Philadelphia, anyways. We will get Evan back from the humans…”
‘No matter what!’ I thought fiercely.
I began to give up hope of ever being rescued when Sonya and Adam came storming into the room one night. Adam yanked me from my bed before bodily slamming me into a chair. I cried out in pain as Sonya paced the floor behind the werewolf. She was muttering something that I couldn’t make out and she refused to look in my direction. When she finally did stop pacing and looked at me, I felt a chill of fear go down my spine. Adam moved to where he was standing behind me as Sonya approached me.
“I should kill you right now and end any chance your father has of ever laying eyes upon you again, Ethan,” she said with an angry growl. Sonya sighed and turned towards the window. “I won’t though, only because that means I won’t have anything to barter with when your brother does finally come for you.”
Sonya had mentioned Evan so much that I had started to believe her when she said he was coming for me. It seemed completely possible as I learned more and more about the vampire and werewolf that held me prisoner. Sonya had been creating an army to hold the Alliance back, and she hoped Evan would come to face her alone. Then, she was going to ambush him with another army of newborn vampires that she had been raising over the past two months. In her eyes, Evan didn’t stand a chance at making it through to the penthouse. Why was she so pissed if she had everything ready to face the Alliance and my brother?
“Your family has been nothing but trouble for me, Ethan,” Sonya told me without glancing away from the window. “I made careful arrangements with one of the government agents to capture your brother and keep him occupied for a while, but time is running out. I can almost feel it. Arella has summoned the Alliance to gather at their precious little hideaway, and she’s going to move on Section-9 to break your brother out.”
“I don’t understand-” I stammered nervously. “I didn’t start any of this.”
“No, you didn’t,” Sonya agreed with a growl. “But you are involved, whether you like it or not. You’re entire fucking family is involved all because the Mother of Darkness believes in some stupid ass ‘prophecy’ that an old man spouted off centuries ago when he was undergoing the Change. No, you didn’t start any of this, Ethan, and it’s slightly unfair for me to drag you into this mess. On that, I agree with you completely.”
“Why did you bring me into this, then?” I asked, trembling uncontrollably.
I gasped as Sonya was suddenly kneeling in front of me with her hand grasping my throat. Her red eyes stared at me as if she was trying to look into my soul. I felt her fingernails digging into the skin of my neck.
“What’s so special about your family, boy?” She demanded as she squeezed on my windpipe.
“I don’t know,” I managed to gasp out. “I don’t even understand what’s going on!”
My tears burned as they fell from my eyes, but Sonya was merciless as she continued to squeeze even tighter on my throat. The woman glared at me with a hatred I had never witnessed before and I thought for certain that she was preparing to end my life right then and there. I mentally said my goodbyes to my father and grandmother before I closed my eyes and waited for the icy touch of Death.
Sonya chuckled and released me.
“Don’t worry, Ethan.” Sonya said as she patted my cheek. “I still need you alive. For now, at least. Isabella will be along shortly.”
Adam picked me up by the back of my shirt and threw me back onto the bed. I immediately scooted as close to the headboard as I possibly could and watched the man fearfully. Adam was unpredictable which meant that I couldn’t trust him under any circumstance. He would rather kill me than keep me from any kind of harm. If Evan was alive, he was my only salvation from this nightmare.
“You’re never going to get out of here alive,” Adam said smugly before he left my room and slammed the door shut behind him.
‘Please, save me Evan,’ I begged silently as I buried my face in my arms. ‘Someone has to save me!’
I paced back and forth in my bedroom as I gripped my cell phone tightly.
“Justin,” David’s voice came from the speaker. “You need to relax.”
“I need to be there, David!” I told him.
“You will be there, Justin.” David reassured me. “I’m picking you up in the morning.”
I swallowed nervously and put my hand to my throat.
“There’s something else, David.”
“Shit,” my mentor grumbled. “I was hoping there was still time before you began to fully mature.”
“What are you talking about, David?” I asked him in disbelief. “I thought you didn’t know what I was?”
I heard David sigh on the other end of the line.
“I’ve been doing some research the last few days, Justin.” He said sadly. “It’s not good. Listen, I promised you that I would always keep you informed, and I will keep that promise, Justin. You just need to wait for me to pick you up so we can talk in person.”
“Fine,” I said despairingly. My throat was burning anyways and talking was only making it hurt more. Another thought crossed my mind. David had told me that vampire’s throats burned when they were thirsty. “David?”
“Should. . . I mean, am I a danger to people?” I asked hesitantly. “Can you at least tell me that much?”
“How bad is the burning?” I flinched at the bluntness of his tone. “You wouldn’t have brought it up if it wasn’t bothering you, Justin.”
“My throat feels like I tried swallowing sandpaper.”
“Go drink some water,” he said in a serious tone. “Then, I want you to get some rest, Justin. I’ll be there at eight.”
“Yes, sir.” I said meekly.
I ended the call as my shoulders drooped in despair.
‘What am I?’
I laid down on my bed and stared at my ceiling. I had been having strange dreams lately, and they had all focused on Ethan. I kept seeing myself with Ethan, leaning in and kissing his neck. Feeling the heat of his paper-thin skin against my lips before I sink my teeth into that tender flesh.
I growled and sat up quickly.
‘This is fucking ridiculous!’ I thought miserably. ‘How am I supposed to sleep when all I dream about is killing Ethan?’
I wanted to cry as I sat there in my dark bedroom, barely any light coming in through the open curtain. Then, I snuck out into the hallway and went down to the kitchen to get myself a drink of water. The sounds of the different heartbeats echoing throughout my house had always intrigued me as I grew up, now they were just the sign of how close I was coming to losing control of whatever monster was struggling to break free from inside of me.
It was a monster that I didn’t want to become.
Something that I was being taught how to destroy.
Why was I acting like one of those monsters? Was it some sort of Rite of Passage into becoming a full-fledged Hunter, or was I just a freak? David did say that he wasn’t sure what I was becoming, but he had been doing some research.
‘Please, have some answers for me,’ I thought miserably as I quickly grabbed myself a bottle of water from the refrigerator and returned to my room. I returned to lying on my back in bed and stared up at the ceiling as I thought about how much I loved holding Ethan’s hand, and how much I wanted to kiss him again. ‘I love you, Ethan.’
I rolled over onto my side, and let the tears fall from the corners of my eyes as I cried myself to sleep.
Each day seemed to take longer than the last as we waited for the remaining members of the Alliance to arrive. Lusindra of course was very interested in my abilities and spent much of her free time during the night putting me through different tests. I did my best like she had asked, and she decided that my ability dealt with my increased strength and speed. Leonard’s ability was a nightmare for anyone on the receiving end of his wrath. He could take away your abilities with a thought, making you vulnerable and weak. Lusindra made sure to set us against each other, and the Elder even managed to get Dylan and Tatum involved with our training when her and Dylan weren’t sleeping during the daylight hours.
“This is bullshit!” Tatum complained as Leonard easily sidestepped his attack and tossed the smaller vampire into the side of the old barn we were training near. Tatum hit the wall with a grunt but was back on his feet and attacking Leonard again in the space of a second. This time, Tatum twisted around Leonard at the last moment, and managed to kick the brown-haired man’s feet out from beneath him. Leonard sent up a cloud of dust the moment his back hit the ground.
“Nice move, Tatum,” Leonard complimented the younger boy with a grin. “I wasn’t expecting you to do that at the end.”
Tatum smiled at the praise.
“You actually threw me out of the range of your power, Leo,” Tatum said with a giggle. “I was able to break through and see what you would do if I moved like I did, so I went with it.”
“I’ll remember that for next time,” Leonard said with a chuckle. Then he took a glance at me. “Are you ready for a rematch, Jenna?”
I smiled and leapt towards him in response. Leonard’s red eyes went wide in surprise and he was unable to avoid my attack. I spun around at the last moment and kicked him square in the chest sending him flying towards the same barn wall that Tatum had slammed into. Leonard came running back towards me with a vengeance, and I felt him sap me of my extended strength and speed before I could use my ability against him again. So, I waited until he was close to me before I quickly ducked down and let his attack pass over my head. I heard him gasp in surprise just before I punched straight upwards into his chest, sending Leonard flying into the air about twenty feet. I heard him grunt in pain as my fist connected with his body, and I couldn’t help but smile as I realized that once I was out of his eyesight, I was out of the range of his ability. I had hit him with nearly my full strength, and it didn’t even phase me the slightest. I felt like I could take on more opponents, and I was on the verge of asking my brothers to all come at me at once when Jon came out to join us.
“Hey, Jon,” Tatum greeted the werewolf with a pleasant smile. “Care to go a round or two with me?”
“I’d rather not, Tatum,” Jon said with a grin. “I’ve heard that you cheat judiciously!”
“I do not cheat!” Tatum tried to act offended.
“That’s a lie,” Leonard said with a chuckle.
“That’s the pot calling the kettle rainbow!” Tatum accused Leonard with a playful grin.
I laughed as Leonard started chasing Tatum around the sunlit field, both of my brothers were laughing happily.
“How are you doing, Jenna?” Jon asked me, drawing my attention away from the two boys.
“What do you mean, Jon?”
Jon smiled at me and patted my shoulder.
“I mean how are you doing in general, Jenna?” He asked with a chuckle. “You don’t need to be suspicious of me, dear girl. I’m one of the few good guys, and I’ve already made a pact with Evan, Tatum, and Dylan to never lie to each other.”
“Oh,” I said softly. “I didn’t know about that.”
“There’s nothing to worry about, Jenna,” Jon reassured me quickly. “I just wanted you to know that you can trust me. It doesn’t hurt to have a few extra friends when it comes to being a member of the Underworld.”
“How long have you been a member of this crazy world?” I asked him curiously.
Jon grinned thoughtfully.
“Honestly, I don’t remember my exact age,” he said with a chuckle. “I was bitten by Jackson sometime around 800CE, I think.” The man shrugged like it didn’t matter. “I’ve been a member of this community long enough to know that not everything is always as it seems, Jenna. I know what I’m saying may seem confusing to you now, but Felix has assured me that everything will become clear to you when the time is right.”
“What if I mess up?” I asked nervously.
“Everybody dies,” Jon smiled grimly at me. “No pressure, though.”
I rolled my eyes at his words. Tatum had told me that I would give my life to save another’s, but he wouldn’t tell me who it was, or when it would happen. He tried telling me that it was because he didn’t know for sure, but I felt like he knew more than he was letting on. I had let it go at the time, but something told me that it was time for me to demand more answers from the smaller vampire.
Suddenly, Tatum was standing in front of me with a silly grin on his face.
“You can ask me anything you want, Jenna,” he said smugly. “But until Felix has a talk with you, I’m not saying anything about your future. Besides, who’s to say that I didn’t fuck up when I saw it?”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I just can’t help but to assume to worst.”
Tatum hugged me tightly, and I was instantly reminded of Ethan as a lump formed in my throat.
‘That poor fucking kid,’ I thought grimly. ‘What else can he possibly be put through?’
“Well?” I asked nervously after we had been riding in David’s truck for an hour with only the sounds of the tires running along the road filling the cab. “Are you even going to talk to me, or is it really that bad?”
“Oh shit,” I mumbled. “It really is that bad.”
“Sorry, Justin,” David said. “I wish I had better news for you.”
“What am I, David?”
“You’re a half-breed, Justin,” my mentor said grimly. “You’re not the only one, though.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” I asked in a snarky tone before I quickly apologized. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
“I’ll let it slide this time, Justin,” David said with a sigh before he continued. “Now, it’s not as bleak as you may think. You’re just going to have to learn how to control yourself so you can fit into society like a normal person.”
“Are you even hearing yourself, David? How am I supposed to fit in? I’m a vampire!”
“Wrong, Justin!” David snapped warningly. “You’re only half-vampire. Yes, you’re going to have to drink blood in order to maintain your strength, but we can get you on a diet of animal blood and you’ll be fine.”
Even the thought of drinking animal blood turned my stomach. Ethan’s blood though. . .
“Stop that!” I told myself angrily.
“We really need to get you something to drink, Justin,” David said as he glanced over at my sudden outburst and saw me rubbing my throat.
“I can’t help it, David.”
“I know, Justin,” David tried to reassure me. “You’re just going to have to hang out with some new friends for a few days that can help you.”
“Nobody is going to want to be friends with a monster like me, David.”
“I seriously doubt that, Justin,” my mentor said with a smug grin.
“What do you know, old man?” I asked suspiciously.
“You mean, besides the name of your real father?”
I gasped at David’s words before I scowled at him and crossed my arms against my chest.
“I’m waiting,” I said nervously.
“Are you sure that you want to know this stuff, Justin?” David asked me.
“I think so, David.”
“Okay,” he said softly. “Your father’s name is Demetrius, and he is a half-breed vampire that helped the Hunters several centuries ago when several vampire wars had broken out across Europe. It was a nightmare that didn’t seem to have an end until your father arrived. He helped us fight the newborn armies by killing them during the day and setting fire to their shelter houses. The Council of Elders was formed then to help maintain the peace and to keep the secret. These days, the group has become known as the Alliance, and they continue to help maintain the secret of the Underworld’s existence from normal society. Demetrius was offered a chair on the council, but he refused stating that he had another role in life to play.” David smiled at me for a moment before he turned his attention back to the road. “I’d say that Demetrius made the right choice in his life.”
“Why didn’t my mom ever tell me the truth?”
“Demetrius probably compelled her to forget who he was,” David suggested thoughtfully. “You are the only other half-breed in existence, though. Unless of course, you ever decide to become a father.”
“Good thing Ethan can’t get pregnant,” I said before I began to blush furiously. “Aww shit!”
David started laughing ecstatically.
“Don’t try to act like I didn’t know about your little love interest, Justin,” David teased me. “You’re not that good at hiding stuff like that. Especially, when you go all googly eyed every time someone mentions Ethan’s name in your presence.”
“I didn’t know I did that,” I said with a frown.
My mentor reached over and patted my knee.
“Trust me,” David said softly. “If I had a problem with it, I never would have taken you on as my student, Justin. Ethan’s a lucky guy to have you chasing after him.”
“Thanks, David.” I stated as my cheeks flushed red again. “I’d do anything for Ethan.”
“Are you sure about that, Justin?”
I glanced at him suspiciously.
“There’s still one more thing that you’re going to have to do if you want to see Ethan again,” David reminded me.
“You’re going to have to survive, Justin,” my mentor told me. “It’s the only way.”
I felt a tear slide down my cheek as I stared at the road ahead of us.
“It’s not fair,” I said softly.
“I know, Justin,” David said. “I wish there was another way.”
“Just keep smiling and assigning rooms, Jenna,” Leonard instructed me with a pleasant grin. “Lulu has all of the room details in order by room.”
Leonard spent the next few minutes teaching me the intricate details of the motel’s reservation system. Once I had mastered the different styles of rooms, the rest of the day went by without any issues. Leonard greeted all of the travelers as they arrived, and I made sure that their room assignments and keys were ready as Tatum took their belongings to their different rooms.
The Alliance was beginning to gather, just like Arella had requested. They were going to move against Section-9 if Agent Croft didn’t release Evan from the CIA’s custody. My brother’s and I had already decided that we would go rescue Evan ourselves if we needed to. It was the arrival of Evan’s grandmother that changed our minds.
“Hello, Jenna!” The woman greeted me with a pleasant smile.
“Hi, Patricia!” I returned the greeting happily. “What are you doing here?”
“Didn’t Tatum tell you?” The older woman turned her gaze to her grandson that was busily picking up as many of her bags as he could without dropping any.
“Nana’s a witch, Jenna,” Tatum informed me cheerfully. “Where’s Cordillia?”
“She’s on a mission for someone else, Tatum.” Patricia Bentley informed the curious vampire. “Cordillia will be joining us when we leave for Philadelphia.”
“Aww,” Tatum pouted. “I like her! I was hoping she would show me some more tricks!”
Patricia laughed lightly.
“Here you go, Miss Bentley,” I said as I handed her the room key Lulu had set aside for the woman. “You’re in 103 this time.”
“Oh, good,” Patricia grinned. “I love the tub in that room.”
I smiled as Tatum led his grandmother away. Leonard came over to stand by the counter for a minute.
“Do you really think we’re going to go to war against the CIA?” He asked me nervously.
“We will if they don’t let Evan free,” I told Leonard grimly.
“I was afraid that you were going to say that, Jenna.”
It was getting closer to sunset when I heard a very familiar voice coming through the open lobby door.
“I don’t see why you’re so excited about this meeting, David.” The light baritone voice was recognizable almost instantly, but I couldn’t quite place where I had heard it before until the familiar brown-haired teen stepped into the motel lobby right behind David Hunter.
The boy’s green eyes were drawn to me and his mouth fell open in surprise.
“Jenna?” Justin stumbled forward with a look of disbelief and sadness on his face. I quickly rushed over to him and pulled him into my arms.
“What’s wrong, Justin?” I asked softly.
“I- I- I killed somebody, Jenna,” Justin said sadly as tears fell down his cheeks. “I had no choice. I couldn’t stop myself. Ethan is going to be so disappointed, Jenna.”
“Ethan will understand, Justin,” I reassured him. “I promise. Now, come along. We’ve got a lot to catch up on.”