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Blood jewel, p.20

Blood Jewel, page 20

 part  #2 of  Vampire Agápe Series


Blood Jewel

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  I chose her Chillax playlist and ‘And Then You’ by Greg Laswell began to play. “How about that?”

  “Absolutely perfect. Thank you.”

  “Call for me if you need anything. I’m only a streak away,” I said and I leaned over and kissed her forehead before I left.

  “Will do.”

  I left Chansey to her soak in the tub and returned to the painting that just couldn’t seem to get the attention it deserved. I picked up my brush again and dipped it into the paint. I started on her eyes again, trying to remember the way Anna had captured them in her portrait of Chansey as a child.

  As I worked to capture her irises perfectly, it became quite clear to me that I was too distracted by Chansey’s distress to continue painting, so I decided I wanted to speak with Sol further about his plan to leave.

  I knocked on Sol’s door, but got no answer and he suddenly appeared next to me in the hall. “Looking for me?”

  That was weird. Which direction did he come from? “Umm, yeah. I want to talk to you about your leaving.”

  He shrugged as he looked at me. “What about it?”

  “You should talk to Avery about what happened.” I suggested.

  “No, I’m not going to do that,” he snapped. “It wouldn’t do any good. She is literally terrified of me. She would completely freak out if I tried to get her alone to talk to her.”

  “This is your life we’re talking about and you’re about to disrupt everything you’ve work so hard for because you’re afraid to talk to her. That’s not at all like you, Sol. What’s really going on here?”

  He wrinkled his brow at me. “If there’s something you’d like to say, maybe you should just go ahead and say it.”

  Okay. If he wanted to play like that, game on. “Face it. You want to blame the fear on her, but it’s you that’s scared.”

  He laughed. “Psst. You’re full of it, dude. I am not scared of some little human girl.”

  “You’re lying. I think that...” And I paused because I suddenly felt something alarming.

  “What? Tell me what you think,” Sol demanded, but I couldn’t answer him.

  Then, it came to me immediately. Something was wrong with Chansey. I felt her struggling to breathe as she fought to get her head above water. She was...drowning?

  I streaked to our bathroom and what I saw couldn’t be happening. Her head was underwater while her arms and legs were kicking violently as water splashed on the floor and walls of our bathroom. She fought to lift her head above the water, but something was preventing her. She was being held down by something I couldn’t see. I rushed to her side and slipped when my feet hit the wet floor, but I quickly stood and reached for my wife. I thought I could grab her and lift her body without a problem, but I couldn’t lift her face above the water as hard as I pulled and tugged on her.

  “Solomon!” I called out. “Help me.”

  He was in the bathroom instantly and stared motionless at the sight of me struggling to pull Chansey from the water. “Help me get her out. She’s drowning.”

  He snapped out of his daze and sprung into action. Together, the two of us finally pulled her from the tub and I fell backwards with her on top of me against the wet, black granite tile floor.

  When we hit the floor, Chansey fought violently as she gasped for breath. Sol tossed her towel to me and I wrapped it around her before I pulled her up to sit between my legs. I rocked her back and forth and said, “It’s okay, Love. I’ve got you and you’re going to be fine. You’re safe in my arms.”

  Sol stood with water dripping down his face as he looked down at us on the floor. “What the hell was that?

  I looked up at him while trying to catch my breath and shook my head. “I don’t know.”

  He ran his hand over his wet hair to push it out of his eyes. “And why did it take both of us to overpower it? I’ve never seen anything like that.”

  Chansey’s head fell back against me in exhaustion. “It was Marsala,” she whispered.

  How could she possibly know that? I turned her around to face me as she laid wrapped only in a towel. “How do you know it was Marsala?”

  “Know the truth, but whisper lies. That’s what she said right before she shoved me under the water,” Chansey said and I felt my heart take off like a helicopter. It was Marsala’s patented line-the one she always used right before she killed her prey.

  A rigor came over Chansey and she shook as she said, “I saw her clear as a bell as she stood over me.”

  As if I needed further proof, I asked, “Can you describe her to me?

  “She was beautiful, but in a sinister kind of way. She had an exotic look about her, like I couldn’t quite place her race. Her hair was long, light brown curls that hung to her waist and her eyes...they looked like pale green ice staring at me. She looked at me like she despised me and I knew she was going to kill me before she made the first move or said the first word. It saw it in her eyes.”

  There was no doubt. She described Marsala perfectly, so that meant that she had found a way to get to Chansey. Given our recent encounter with her, I could only assume it was the use of Black Magic again.

  I could only rock Chansey back and forth like a baby as I lay on the bathroom floor holding her. I never expected it to come to this. I thought Marsala would only be a danger to Chansey if she found her, but I couldn't’ have been more wrong. She had the power to get to her at any time and there was nothing I could do to keep her safe. For Chansey to remain human was risking her life, so the obvious choice became clear. I knew what I had to do. Chansey had to become a vampire soon or I risked losing her forever.

  24 Start The Clock Now

  I spent the rest of the morning watching Chansey’s chest rise and fall as her weary body returned to a state of deep sleep, but it wasn’t enough to reassure me so I lightly placed my ear against her chest to hear the rhythmic beat of her heart.

  I knew in that moment that I would never rest and there was only one thing that would give me the reassurance I needed. Chansey had to be death proof. She needed to made a vampire and the sooner, the better.

  I heard a light knock on the bedroom door and I lifted my head from Chansey’s chest. I sensed Sol on the other side and I thought it was strange for him to be up so late because I had already seen light coming through the bedroom drapes. “You may come in, Sol. It’s unlocked.”

  He slowly opened the door and peeked in as if he was afraid he would walk in on something he shouldn’t. Once he saw we were not in a compromising position, he was satisfied that it was an all clear and walked into our bedroom. “I was getting ready to retire for the day, but I wanted to check on Chansey first. How is she?”

  I stroked a strand of hair away from her face. “She’s sleeping like the dead.”

  Sol found humor in my expression and laughed as he said, “See, she’ll fit right in with us when she decides she’s ready to be turned.”

  I never took my eyes away from her as I announced, “I’ve decided I’m ready.”

  “And I guess we have Marsala to thank for your change of heart?” Sol asked.

  “I didn’t realize how breakable she was or how helpless I was to save her until I couldn’t pull her out of the water. She could have died.” I looked up at Sol. “I almost lost her forever.”

  “When will you do it?” he asked.

  “I don’t know. Marsala could make another attempt at any time, so I’d like to do it as soon as possible. Chansey and I will need to talk about it when she wakes up and we’ll make the decision together. I’m sure she’ll want to spend some time with her family before we do it since it will take weeks before she completely transitions.”

  Sol nodded in agreement and I pleaded, “Please don’t go to New Orleans, Sol. I need you here in case Marsala tries to get to her again. I need you to be with me through her transition. She trusts you and she will want you to be with her through it. I know it’s selfish of me to ask, but will you please stay? We can arrange for Avery
and Jenn to go to the New Orleans compound if you want.”

  He looked thoughtful as he scrunched the space between his eyes and said, “No, that won’t be necessary. They’re both comfortable here and I don’t want to disrupt that after all of the things they have been through. I’ll stay until Chansey’s transition is complete, but I’m out of here once it’s complete.”

  I knew what he was giving up in order to do this for me and Chansey, but I couldn’t help but think it was in his best interest as well. I think he needed to face Avery and the demons that were haunting him where she was concerned. “Thank you, Sol.”

  “I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think Chansey’s transition will be easy since she is an Agápe. Wouldn’t you agree?”

  The thought of Chansey’s transition being anything like Jenn’s scared me to death. “I’m scared to go into it with expectations. I just pray hers isn’t anything like Jenn’s.”

  “God, I hope not either,” he agreed.

  I looked down as Chansey stirred and Sol looked toward the window, “I need to go. It’s close to dawn.”

  “I hate to be the one to tell you, Buddy, but you missed dawn a while ago.”

  “Huh?” he grunted.

  “It’s morning outside. Your internal clock is on the fritz,” I informed him as I gestured toward the drapes.

  He stood staring at the edge of the curtains like he wasn’t sure if he believed me or not. “Pull them back if you don’t believe me. I’d like to see a free show this morning.”

  He cocked his head to the side in bewilderment and backed toward the door. “I’ll check on Chansey when I get up tonight.”

  Great! Just what I needed-Sol acting weird on top of everything I had going on in my life with Chansey and Marsala.

  I spent the next several hours lying in bed with Chansey as she slept and it was noon before she finally woke. She rolled toward me, opened her eyes and broke into a big, beautiful smile when she saw me staring at her face. She stretched and squeaked out, “How long have you been watching me sleep?

  “Oh, it started a few months ago. After I realized I was dreadfully in love with you, I began sneaking into your bedroom at night so I could watch you while she slept. I haven’t managed to stop doing it even though you’re my wife now. What can I say? I’m a sick bastard.”

  She laughed at me, but didn’t disagree.

  “Hey, you’re supposed to tell me how romantic I am for doing it,” I suggested.

  “I think you’re weird for doing it, but it is sort of a stalker kind of way, I guess.”

  She quickly sat up and kissed me on my cheek. “Bathroom calls,” she said as she slid off the edge of the bed.

  As I waited for Chansey to finish in the bathroom, I became a little nervous. She and I had not discussed her being changed since the beginning of Jenn’s transition and I wondered if it was a bad sign that she had not mentioned it the past several weeks. No one could blame her for changing her mind after the things she witnessed with Jenn.

  When she came out of the bathroom, she wasn’t wearing the long T-shirt I had dressed her in after her near drowning. She had slipped into a black slip gown and her hair was down and flowing over her shoulders as she slinked her way toward me. “Mr. Brennan, your wife has missed being with you something fierce these past few weeks.”

  I couldn’t contain the grin on my face. “Mrs. Brennan, you just had a near death experience. Don’t you think you should be in bed resting?”

  She crawled up on the bed on all fours and said, “Oh, I certainly think I should be in this bed, but definitely not resting when I have such a mighty fine specimen of a man next to me.”

  She pushed me to my back and crawled over me, letting her hair tickle my bare chest as she raked her locks back and forth over my chest. “Do you want me to lie down and go to sleep, Mr. Brennan?”

  Intimacy was going to be different after Chansey became a vampire and I wouldn’t have moments like these for much longer. “No, I definitely don’t want you to lie down and go to sleep, Mrs. Brennan.”

  The talk about turning her would have to wait. Right now, I needed to make love to my human wife.

  ≈ ≈ ≈

  Chansey laid next to me with her arms and legs wound around me and her index and middle fingers did a little two-step dance back and forth in the dip of my chest.

  I pulled her closer and said, “You really believe in making up for lost time, don’t you?”

  “I guess I needed my Curry fix,” she laughed. “It had been too long since we were together and I was in withdrawals. You’d be wise to remember that for future reference.”

  Her words sparked a reminder in me. We had to talk about the Marsala incident and what we were going to do to keep her safe. It was time to talk about changing her. “There’s something important we need to discuss.”

  She waited for several seconds and then said, “Sounds like something serious.”

  I turned my face toward her. “I’m afraid it’s very serious.”

  Her fingers abandoned her playful dance and she sat up, pulling the sheet under her arms with her. “You’re scaring me, Curry.”

  “We need to talk about Marsala.” Just saying her name aloud made me want to throw up. “Sure, I expected her to make another attempt at getting to me, but you...I never expected her to go for you, but I guess I should have. She almost killed you, Chansey. Another minute and she would have succeeded, so we have a decision to make. Our first choice would be to sit around and wait for her to try again, which she will, and possibly succeed.”

  I steeled myself to say the words that I could never take back. I drew a deep breath and eased it out slowly before I said the words to connect us forever, but condemn Chansey to eternity as a vampire. “Or I turn you.”

  I braced myself to hear her response. I didn’t want her to disagree because it put her in too much danger to remain human, but I didn’t want her to agree either because I wanted to keep my human Chansey, the one I met and fell in love with.

  She reached for my hand. “It’s not what you want.”

  I brought her hand to my lips and placed a gentle kiss on her knuckles. “It’s not, but I don’t want to risk losing you and she is a serious threat.”

  She leaned forward to put her forehead against mine. We sat that way for what seemed like eternity and I could hear her heart racing the whole time. “When will you do it?”

  “As soon as possible, but I want you to spend time with your family and friends first.” I didn’t mention the fact that it was because she would be debilitated for weeks.

  “Yes, I would like that very much. I’ll call Granna and let her know we’re coming for a visit. I should probably tell everyone that when we return home, you are being sent on a job assignment and I’m going with you. I’ll say your assignment is in some third world country without much in the way of communication. That should cover my MIA status for a couple of weeks while I’m transitioning.”

  I shut my eyes and lay back against the bed.

  “Curry, look at me,” she pleaded.

  I opened my eyes to see her hovering above me. “It will be bad for a while. We know that going in, but then it will all be fine. When it’s over, it’s over and you’ll be glad we did it because we can get on with the rest of lives together. For eternity.”

  I could hear the countdown of the Chansey’s human timer clicking away. I had a week, tops, with my precious human Chansey. I knew she was about to enter eternity with me, but I felt like I was losing a part of her. It was a part I didn’t want to give up yet. I hadn’t had her human long enough. Damn Marsala for always ruining everything.

  25 Weird And Cryptic

  Naturally, Anna and Grady’s backdoor was unlocked when I opened it for Chansey. We walked inside and Chansey called out, “Granna, we’re here early because Curry drove like a maniac.”

  Ugh! “Don’t tell your grandmother that. I did not drive like a maniac and I got us here in one piece.”

nbsp; “Yes, by grace. It takes a normal driver almost nine hours to get here from Savannah without stopping. We stopped and still made it in seven. That qualifies as driving like a maniac.”

  Anna came around the corner smiling. “Oh, heavens. I thought you wouldn’t be here until after six.”

  Anna gave Chansey a big hug as she explained, “Well, my Nascar driving husband got us here a little quicker than I anticipated.”

  Anna looked at me over Chansey’s shoulder as she hugged her and I gave her a wink. “Keep on, Mrs. Brennan, and you’ll drive on the way back while I lay the passenger seat back and sleep the whole way.”

  Anna stepped away from Chansey to look her over. She grabbed her hands and lifted them out to each side of her. “Are you feeling poorly?”

  “No, Granna,” Chansey laughed. “I was just really sleepy on the drive over.”

  Anna ran her eyes over Chansey carefully. “You’re pregnant, girl. Fatigue is one of the first signs.”

  Chansey looked at me embarrassed and then back at Anna. “I’m not pregnant, Granna.”

  “Time will tell us who is right, so I’m not going to argue about it. Get yourself in here to see your Granddaddy. He has missed you so much.”

  Anna pulled Chansey by the hand into the living room. She shrugged at me as Anna led her and mouthed the words, “Sorry.”

  I mouthed back, “It’s okay.” I didn’t know what else to say.

  We spent the next hour catching up with Anna and Grady about our honeymoon and ‘faux’ lives in Savannah before Chansey went into the kitchen to help Anna cook dinner. I wanted to learn some tips on cooking since I ate food now, so I joined the ladies in the kitchen which Grady found humorous.

  Anna put me to work on peeling red-skinned potatoes while Chansey battered the chicken and Anna rolled out dough for the biscuits.

  “Mrs. Emerson, Chansey doesn’t cook like this for me at home. She’s been holding out on me,” I laughed.

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