Hey all! I’ve got an update as far as Fabled Freebie Friday goes. Last week I added a new “Contact” page. There’s a form there to fill out to join my email distribution list. By Friday, July 4th I plan to have The Fabled published. So this will be my last Fabled Freebie Friday but, for those that sign up for my email distribution list, I will email a coupon code for a free copy of the Fabled. That’s right. All you have to do is sign up for my email list and as soon as The Fabled goes live I will email you a coupon code for a free copy. This is my way of saying thanks for taking the time to read my books. I will also be running several contests over the next couple of months so those that join my email list will learn about them first and automatically be entered into the contest. There will be more about this as it happens. So sign up and you’ll be one of the first to read the entire story of The Fabled. Thanks again and much love.
At noon I woke up and went for a run. It was early October in Georgia so it was still really hot during the middle of the day but I needed the run. It always helps me to clear my mind of all the clutter taking up residence so I did my best thinking when I was pounding the pavement. The problem is that as far as this case goes I don’t have the slightest idea of who could be doing this. None of it makes sense. We have someone who obviously has it out for Roman that is choosing vamps from his club and turning them over for humans to steal. Then there is the illusion on the wall and the headmistress at the asylum. I just can’t figure out a connection to any of it. Sure if headmistress Beasley happened to enjoy hanging out in the club and say she and Roman used to be an item but he shunned her, then it would totally make my job a lot easier. But as it is I can’t find any connection between the witches, humans and vamps and its driving me crazy.
I finally called it quits when it was apparent I wouldn’t be able to figure anything else out. After a quick shower I ran a bath and soaked for close to an hour. I love taking a long hot bath. It relaxes everything including your mind. With everything going on I need all the help I can get. Roman was one of the main stressers I could think of. I would tell him first thing when I get to the club the truth about me and Tristan. He’ll be pissed that I lied and will then try to play the deception for all its worth. Somehow he’ll turn it around to me not being able to control myself around him instead of the truth that I was merely trying to keep him off me. Oh well, if he pisses me off too much about it, I have plenty of magic stored up now to wipe him off the planet. Not that I really want to hurt him. I’ve never wanted that. Even when the wounds were fresh I couldn’t imagine hurting him or allowing him to be hurt in anyway. That’s what happens when you love someone with all your heart. Even their betrayal isn’t enough to cause you too wish them ill will. Well, not anything serious.
After my bath I took my time lounging around the house and getting ready for the evening. I figured I would give Tristan the day off of work since we have essentially been working double shifts. We would work all day at the office then all night at the club so I think we both deserve a break.
At seven-thirty he hadn’t called me. I hope his voice hasn’t given out after being choked by Roman the other night. I had noticed last night it sounded scratchy. The thought of Roman holding him over the side of the roof still pisses me off. I know I just said I didn’t wish him ill will but I really would like to kick him in the balls for what he did to my son.
I decided just to drive over to get Tristan without calling him. The worst that could happen is he’ll still be in bed with whatever woman he managed to pick up today. I’ll just change my appearance to look like a fifty-year-old me and pretend to be astounded by what trollops some women had become these days. The thought made me smile.
When I got to Tristan’s his car was parked on the driveway so I called his cell. I didn’t want to listen to another lecture about invading his privacy. He didn’t answer and I rolled my eyes. When will he grow up and realize some things are more important than getting laid? I got out and knocked on his door. He didn’t answer. Huh. That’s weird. I know he’s here. I shrugged and pulled out my key. If he didn’t want me barging in then he should have at least answered the phone.
“Tristan. It’s mother.” I changed my appearance to look older in case he had someone with him.
There was no response so I started down the hall. I knocked on his bedroom door but it wasn’t closed completely so it opened as I knocked. He wasn’t here. Where could he be? I tried calling his phone again and heard a vibration on the bedside table. A check showed his phone was plugged into the charger. Okay, this was beginning to freak me out. I did another search of the house but he definitely wasn’t here. There were no signs of struggle or anything that would lead me to believe he was abducted.
I stopped and thought of possible explanations that didn’t equate to my son being taken. He could have ran to the store and forgot his phone or something simple like that. Yeah, that is what I’m going to go with for now. I would just go to our local office and pull up the GPS on him. It would give me peace of mind and when he got back I will ream him for making me worry.
Every agent has a tracking chip implanted in their arm for location purposes. Since this is a dangerous job it allows us to be found in the event of an emergency. I’m sure the council uses it to keep track on us too but that never really bothered me. Right now I’m hoping it will show us where Tristan is so I can get rid of this weight that has suddenly formed in my stomach.
I pulled up the locator software and inputted Tristan’s agent number. The system started a search but soon came back with a message saying the agent couldn’t be found. So I ran it again with the same results. A third scan too. By the time I had searched for him a dozen times it felt like the computer was mocking me with the message that my son couldn’t be found.
I tried to keep calm but there was no logical explanation other than Tristan being taken by someone. Who would be able to get to him? How would they be able to take him without him at least putting up a fight? It had to have happened at his house so I drove back. I walked up to his front door and stopped. I knelt down and touched the door mat while sending out my magic. When I brought it back in I searched through until I saw Tristan for the last time. A vamp stood on his door stoop. I have never seen him before but he wasn’t even using his magic to hide his fangs. He rang the bell and stood to the side of the door. A few seconds later Tristan opened it slowly with his knife in hand. The vamp stabbed him in the neck with a needle before Tristan could react. I could see Tristan wobble slightly and when he looked at the vamp again the vampere smiled. He told Tristan to accompany him to his car and Tristan followed the command without thought. There must have been something in the injection that made him susceptible to vampere influence because Tristan was trained to repel it. To my knowledge he has never been able to be influenced before.
I stood back up and walked over to the driveway. Kneeling I sent my magic out into the asphalt. I saw a black Mercedes without tags pull up and the vamp get out alone. A few minutes later the vamp and Tristan got back in and drove away. There were no determining factors in regards to the car. It was a typical luxury Mercedes, probably a million of them on the roads. The vamp didn’t have any distinguishing marks I could see either. He had brown hair and a full beard cut short. He was of average height and build. No tattoos that I could see and no scars. I could describe him to a sketch artist then search our database but something tells me I would be wasting my time.
The question is, who would send a vamp to abduct Tristan? There is only one person who comes to mind. One person knows how much Tristan means to me and because of that hates him. One person who would have the means to hire a vamp to abduct him.
I arrived at Eternal Darkness about twenty minutes later and took the time to attach my sword to my hip before starting for the bar. It was the first gift Lucian gave me. He had been training me in sword fighting for a couple of years when he presented it to me. He had commissioned a Valkyrie he knew to make it. I don’t always carry it with me because it’s hard to walk around all the time with. I do know a spell that keeps it hidden but I have to constantly work on keeping the spell up. Some people are able to do this without thought but for me it takes effort. Not to mention my magic would pull from my surrounding to feed the spell and I don’t really like doing that. It will pull from plantlife and small animals and humans. The thing about my magic is that it doesn’t discriminate. Anything that contains energy is fair game to be pulled from. I wasn’t worried about hiding my sword this time because I would be concealing myself until I found my vamp and then I would be using the sword so I wouldn’t have any use for it being hidden.
Dark elves are able to conceal themselves just like light elves only they use the darkness. Their magic is connected to the dark so they will use the darkness to make them shadow. Luckily, one of my adoring fans from last night was a dark elf so I used their magic to conceal myself and used the vamp magic I had taken to quickly make my way past the bouncer out front and into the club. The band was playing already and Dan was filling in as singer. I spotted Roman sitting in his usual spot in VIP and I worked my way toward him. There were just as many people here tonight as there had been last night and as I got closer to Roman I dropped my concealment. That turned out to be a mistake because I was recognized immediately. I could hear people say my name as I passed but I ignored them. Then I heard the music stop and Dan’s voice come over the microphone. “Sunny. You’re finally here.” I ignored him too. The bouncer at the entrance to VIP eyed me warily but didn’t make a move to stop me. Good for him. I continued to walk straight up to Roman and pulled my blade as I went until it was pointed directly at his neck. He didn’t bother to even move from his seat.
“Where is he?”
“I’m afraid you’ll need to be a bit more specific than that, Sunshine.”
“Where is Tristan?”
“I wouldn’t know where the boy is. Perhaps he grew weary of you.”
I called on werewolf magic and backhanded him before placing the blade to his throat again.
“Where is he?”
He wiped the blood off of his lip. “I told you I don’t know.”
“You threat to kill him then the next night he’s taken by a vamp and yet you expect me to believe you had nothing to do with it?”
“I don’t really care what you believe. I’ve told you the truth. I had nothing to do with the child’s disappearance.”
Suddenly there was a knife to my throat. “Lower your weapon or I will kill you.”
I smiled. Carly should have known better than that. I reached up and used witch magic to cast a simple spell that would hold her in place and then I began pulling her magic into me. After several seconds she fell to her knees and I turned to look at her without breaking contact with her hand.
“That is enough,” Roman told me but I ignored him.
I looked her in the eyes. “The next time you hold a blade to my neck you had better kill me because I will kill you.” I released her and she fell to the floor. “I want my boy back, Roman. I will destroy this world if I have to but I will get him back.”
I used the djinn’s magic to teleport to the stage and took the mic from Dan. “Someone was taken from me. Someone I love deeply. And I will not stop until he is returned. Spread the word because whoever stole him is dead. It’s just a matter of time.” With that I teleported out of the club and to Lucian’s.
I took a moment to get my emotions in order. I don’t know what to think. Roman is the top suspect but he didn’t seem to be lying when he said he knew nothing of Tristan’s disappearance.
“Are you just going to stand out here all night?” Lucian asked from the darkness surrounding me.
I looked toward where the voice had come and instantly he was standing in front of me. He took a second to look at me before he wrapped his strong arms around me. I tried to keep my tears in. Only a few managed to escape as Lucian held me.
After a few minutes he pulled back. “Come inside and tell me all you know about his disappearance.”
It didn’t surprise me he knew why I was here. Lucian had ways of acquiring information I would never know about. He led me inside and Brennan took one look at me before she too was hugging me profusely. I let her hold on for a few seconds before I moved us to the sitting room. Lucian handed me a cup of tea and I accepted it gratefully.
We just sat there in silence for a moment while I gathered my thoughts then I began telling them everything I knew about Tristan’s abduction. When I finished Lucian seemed to be thoughtful for several minutes. Finally, he got up and began to slowly pace the floor.
“You can stop with these silly notions Roman took him. That should help you concentrate on finding the real villain.”
“He held Tristan over the side of a building and threatened to kill him just two nights ago. I think it’s safe to assume he had something to do with this.”
“And I am telling you he did not.”
“Why would you think he’s innocent? Because the two of you are buddies?”
“I am sure he didn’t do it because he spent the majority of last night here with me.”
Brennan was nodding her head in agreement.
“Why would he be here?”
“We were talking about…things.”
“Things? You mean me. Did you tell him Tristan is my son?”
“No. He told me of the events on the roof but I thought it would be your decision to tell him the truth or not. I did tell him your relationship with Tristan wasn’t as it seemed but that was all.”
“So he still thought Tristan was my lover and after he left here he went and abducted him.”
“He wouldn’t do that. No matter how much he did not want Tristan in the picture he would not have harmed him. I also told him that Tristan was important to me and if anything happened to him I would not be happy. Do you think I would defend someone I truly thought may have abducted my grandson?”
“I don’t know Lucian. I keep learning more and more about how close you and Roman are and don’t get me wrong but you aren’t exactly that friendly toward Tristan.”
His eyes widened. “He is my grandchild. I merely mean to guide him into the man I know he will once be. I have known Roman for centuries but that does not mean I would choose him over Tristan.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that if it wasn’t Roman, who was it? I have never seen the vampere who took him before. I have no idea if he was working alone or for someone. Where do I even begin to find any information?”
Lucian walked over to me and put his hands on my shoulders. “You need to stop thinking like a mother and start thinking like the agent I know you to be. If you allow your emotions to cloud your judgments you will never find him.”
A tear slipped out and he wiped it away. It was easy to say not to let my emotions control me but my mind was screaming that my boy was gone. He could be being beaten right now while I sit here and do nothing. He could already be dead. No, I won’t go there. I can’t go there.
“Stop. Your thoughts will be your downfall. The mind is a dangerous thing especially when it is lost.” He seemed thoughtful for a moment. “Perhaps there is one who can help you. She knows all and it has forced her into hiding but she might be willing to help you this once.”
“Tell me father. The sooner I get Tristan back the better.”
“Her name is Aerystasia. She is the strongest oracle to have ever lived. She is ancient and she will know what you seek before you ask it. Whether she will tell you the answer you want is the true mystery.”
“It’s worth a try.”
“I’ll come with you,” Brennan piped in.
She had been so silent while me and Lucian talked I had forgotten she was here.
“No Brennan. You don’t have control of your magic yet and if this woman is as old as Lucian said she will be very dangerous.”
“That’s why you need me. My magic is strong.”
“Yes it is. That is why you need to learn to control it.”
She huffed and for a moment I thought she would continue to argue but instead she held out her hand.
“Then take some of my magic. It’s getting stronger as the meds wear off and you taking some of it will help me and you both.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then I thank you and except your offer.”
I reached out and took her hand. I pulled in as much as I could stand to take before squeezing her hand once and releasing it.
“I will open a portal for you to get to Aerystasia’s,” Lucian offered.
“How will I get back?”
“That will be for you to figure out. If you’re really lucky, Aerystasia.”
“Great. I have to rely on the crazy uber-powerful oracle. Thanks, father.”
“You are quite welcome daughter.” He winked at me.
He waved his hands in front of him and the air began to distort. After a moment he pulled his hands back and nodded to me. I nodded back and walked through the portal.
I came out in a cave. WTF? Why am I in a cave?
“Because you have to ask me where your son is. Or at least that’s what one voice says.”
I turned to see an old woman approach me. She was dressed in rags and her hair looked to have either fallen out or been pulled out in places while the rest looked as though it had went unbrushed for centuries. There was dirt all over her and her hands had several scratches on them with the nails broken and jagged. There was a light surrounding her but it didn’t seem to be coming off of her. It just moved with her lighting her way.
I curtsied to the best of my ability. “Aerystasia.”
“Get up girl. I know my damned name. At least I haven’t lost that yet.”
“Uh, sorry. I was just trying to show you some respect.”
“You want to show me some respect? Next time don’t come to me with your problems. There are so many thoughts and strings. Thousands of strings. If you pluck just one, just one, the whole thing might unravel. I hate when the strings get tangled. Takes forever to get the knot out. Still trying to get the knot out.”
Okay. Let’s try to move this along.
“I’ve come to ask you if you could tell me where my son is.”
I didn’t bother to word the question if she knows where he is because more than likely she does.
“I’m not omnipotent. I only know what I’m supposed to know and yes, his whereabouts are one of those things.”
“Um, okay. So you will tell me?”
“I can tell you much child. Some you will want to know. Most you will not.”
“Right now I only want to know about my son.”
“He is alive. That is all. You must pick your allies for the coming battle. The vampere would not be a bad choice.”
“What battle? Which vampere? Where is my son?”
“So many questions. Always questions. What it would be like to be the one told for once.”
“I will tell you something. If you would permit me.”
She tilted her head and I worked hard on thinking about anything except what I had planned to do.
“You will. I grant you permission.”
Before I could think better of it I reached out and touched her arm. Images flooded my senses so fast I felt lightheaded. Pain was the one sense that accompanied it all. I released her arm and took a step back. Before the images could leave me I sorted through what I could make sense of.
She has been alone her entire life. Put on display as a child by her father and demanded to give premonition after premonition she finally managed to get away from his controlling hand only after his death. Others have tried to control her but she learned how to be cunning and lead them to their death until no one would try to take advantage of her again. Even with that freedom she was a slave to the voices. They seldom let her sleep and constantly tell her secrets, futures, deaths, she had seen and experienced it all. There was but one person in the whole world she was never able to read. A man she met in a chance encounter and then he was gone. It was only after his departure she realized she knew nothing about him. All of her life she knew everything about everyone. More secrets than she ever wanted to know. And yet with this one man she knew nothing.
That was the information I needed to seek. I need to find this man for her. He will be her salvation. With the thoughts I heard whispers from within. Her magic at work. Telling me everything. All that I might want to know and all that I don’t want to know. I asked the voices where my son is and they went silent. No wonder she was crazy. All the information about anyone except the one you really want to know about.
I put thoughts about Tristan aside. If I’m lucky she will help me find him. Instead I thought about the man she could know nothing about. Because he wasn’t connected to me the voices immediately started telling me everything. I turned to Aerystasia and smiled.
“He is a djinn.”
Her eyes widened.
“He is alone. As you’ve never forgotten him the same can be said for him about you. If you leave tonight, and follow the North Star, you will find him.”
There were tears in her eyes and she didn’t speak for several minutes. Finally, she looked down at herself and seemed to notice the state she was in. As she looked back up at me she was a young woman in her twenties with golden locks flowing down her back and the sheath style dress she wore was pristine white. She smiled at me and I smiled back.
“I thank you for your gift, child. It is the first true gift I have ever received. In return I will ease your burden.”
“You’ll tell me where Tristan is?”
She shook her head slightly. “That I cannot do for it would do him a great disservice. I will however allow you to rest. When you awake you will know your son’s location.” She smiled again. “Oh, and be prepared to beg.”
My brows drew together. Beg? She reached out and touched me and I knew no more.
I was floating happily and when I landed I was on a trail in the woods. I looked around but didn’t see anything familiar.
“Is this the fastest you can go? You’re like a sloth.”
Roman was standing in front of me smiling as he teased. He took my hand and we started along the trail again. “Come on. It’s only a little further and I want to get there before it’s too late.”
Too late? Wait. Something about this seems familiar. I followed him through the woods up a slow incline until finally the trees opened and I saw a large meadow that lead up to a cliff overlooking the canyon below. Now I know why this seems familiar. The sun was about to set and that was obviously why he wanted to hurry. I also saw that a blanket had been laid out and there was a picnic basket sitting on top.
“Wow. You’ve went all out,” I heard myself say.
“You’re worth it. Have a seat and I’ll pour the wine.”
I sat down on the blanket and he poured us wine before coming to sit beside me. We could watch the sun’s full descent from our perch and it was perfect. Slowly the sky turned from a brilliant blue to an orange before turning red and finally becoming purple.
“That was beautiful.”
“You are beautiful, Sunshine. My very own light in the darkness.”
“I don’t know about being a light.”
He kissed me instead of responding. When I was completely breathless he pulled back and just looked at me until I began to feel subconscious.
“Will you marry me, Sunshine?”
Out of nowhere he held a ring in his hand. “I asked if you would marry me.”
“I, I don’t know what to say.”
I looked into his eyes to see he was sincere. It was apparent he was eagerly waiting for my answer. “Yes.”
His face broke into a smile and he kissed me again even more passionately. After a moment he seemed to come to his senses because he pulled back and took my hand before sliding the ring in place. I looked at it. It was beautiful. Simple but perfect in its simplicity and it appeared to be old. I’m talking belonging in the Smithsonian old.
“I’m glad you like it. It was my mother’s. It’s been in our family for a very long time.”
“It looks old. When was it made?”
He shrugged. “Probably around three hundred AD.”
“Are you kidding me? You just gave me a relic to wear on my hand.”
“It belongs to me and now it belongs to you.”
“How did you keep it so shiny for so long?”
It appeared to be made out of silver. Didn’t that tarnish after a while?
He laughed at my absurd question. “I have a very good jeweler.”
“Alright. I’ll try to be careful with it.”
“Don’t fret, Sunshine. It is but a symbol.”
“A very old symbol.”
“Do you not like old things?”
“I do. It’s just that I don’t want anything to happen to it.”
“Then it won’t.” He looked out into the darkened sky for a few moments and I used what light there was to watch his profile. After a little while he turned back to me with an almost worried expression. What could he be worried about? I already said yes.
“If I asked you to spend the rest of eternity with me, would you?”
“What are you talking about? I just told you I would marry you.”
“What if I wanted more than just words in front of a judge?”
“Is that all a marriage is to you?”
“That is what it is to most people.”
“Well, not to me. It means you dedicate yourself to that person for the rest of your life. I know that makes me sound like a hypocrite since I’ve been divorced before but that is what I believe. You’re right. Not everyone believes that. My ex-husband for example but I do.”
“Then you will agree to be with me for the rest of my life? However long that might be?”
“Do you think you’re going to die soon?”
His brows drew together. “No, why would you think that?”
“Because you said however long that might be. Like you think you might kick the bucket in a few days.”
He laughed softly. “No. I referred to if I have an exceptionally long life.”
“You think you’re going to outlive me?”
“No. I think we will both live an exceptionally long time. Sometimes people grow weary of each other. I only hope that will not happen with you.”
“You think you’re going to grow tired of me before we die?”
“I meant you may grow tired of me.”
“Are you kidding? That could never happen Roman. You are the only man I will love for eternity.”
He smiled again. “That, my lovely Sunshine, is exactly what I wanted to hear.”
My phone was ringing. I jumped up out of bed and looked around. I was in my bedroom. How did I get out of the cave? My phone stopped ringing and immediately started again. I answered without looking at the ID.
“This is Sunny.”
“You need to come to my club now before it’s too late.”
“Roman. Why? Did you find Tristan?”
“He was dumped in the employee lot. Carly found him a few moments ago. You need to come quickly.”
I didn’t even bother hanging up the phone. Instead, I teleported straight to the club.
I was standing in the middle of the club but I didn’t see anyone. I started for the hallway leading back to the employee lot when the door opened and Carly motioned for me to follow. She moved around me and led the way to a room that was obviously an employee lounge. There were a couple of tables in the middle of the room with a counter running around the perimeter and cabinets above it. A microwave sat to one side with a coffee maker beside it. Toward the back was a couch and lying on it was my son. I ran to him and fell to my knees. He looked beaten and bloodied so badly I put my ear to his mouth to make sure he was breathing. I could barely feel air coming in and out. I took another look at him. Both of his arms appeared to be broken with one actually bent backward. His legs looked to be in about the same shape. I looked at his beautiful face to see a huge gash running from his right temple, bisecting the outer edge of his right eye, along his cheek and down to his jaw. It was old too. The blood had already crusted over.
“Oh, my poor boy. How could I let this happen to you?”
“It is not your fault.”
I turned to look at Roman. He was standing in the back corner of the room watching us. Instantly I knew what Aerystasia meant when she told me to be prepared to beg.
“Please Roman, don’t let him die. Not like this. Please save him.”
His brows drew together for a moment before dawning hit and he looked horrified.
“I can’t do that Sunshine. Ask anything of me but not this.”
“He’ll die. There is no way a human doctor could save him.”
“You don’t know that. If we leave now, he’ll stand a chance.”
“You know that’s not true. He’ll die and I’ll be alone again.”
He came closer and knelt beside me. “Sunshine, I would do almost anything you ask of me. But how can you ask for this?”
“Because he’s my son. You asked me if I loved him and I said yes. That was the truth. I love him like any mother loves her child.” I reached over and grabbed his hand. “Please Roman. A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her children. I’ve already had to do it once. I will do anything, anything at all if you will turn him.”
He hesitated. “It’s against the rules.”
“I had him sign consent when he first started working with the council.”
He bowed his head for a moment before sighing and looking me in the eyes. He reached forward and ran his hand down the length of my hair. Then let it rest on my shoulder. “You say anything. I want your word.”
“You have it. By all that I am I will do anything you want in exchange for my son’s life.”
He nodded once to me, reached back up and wiped a tear away.
“I will do as you ask.”
He stood, picked up Tristan and left the room. I followed but as he started up the stairs to his office he shook his head at me before ascending them.
Great. Now, what am I supposed to do? I looked around and found Carly behind the bar pouring a drink. That sounds like a wonderful idea. I sat on the stool in front of her and she slid a drink over. I downed it in one gulp then sat the glass back on the counter. She filled it again.
“For the record. That was low ball move.”
I sighed. “To which move are you referring. I’ve done so many it’s hard to keep up.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. I was talking about telling Roman Tristan was your lover. I knew something wasn’t right with that. But I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I mean, every time we were alone he was hitting on me nonstop. I thought maybe he was just tired of having such an old lover but now I know he was just sticking to the part when he was with you.”
“Yep. You hit the nail on the head. Well, except the old lover part. For the record though, I didn’t actually tell Roman that Tristan was my lover. He assumed and you know what that makes out of you.”
She let out a short laugh before downing her own shot.
“You’re not lying are you?”
“I’m not sure what you’re referring to again but I’ll just say that nothing I’ve said since entering this club tonight was a lie.”
“Good. I would have to kill you if you hurt Roman again.”
“What’s the deal with you two anyway? It’s obvious you have a thing for him. I would think you would want me to hurt him. Maybe leave things open for you to come in and pick up the pieces.”
“I would never want him hurt. Even if that means we’re not together. The truth is he told me from the beginning he would never care for me that way. I just didn’t want to believe it.”
I picked up my refilled cup and wove it around as I spoke. “In the great words of Nazareth, love hurts and all that stuff.”
She picked up her drink and clinked it against mine before drinking. I sat my glass back down.
“Carly, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken your magic last night or whenever that was.”
“It was earlier tonight just so you know. You were really a mess over Tristan weren’t you?”
“Too much of a mess but it was the oracle putting me under that has my time all wonky.”
“Oracle? I’m not even going to ask.”
“Good. It was a kind of weird experience. So what’s your story?”
She shrugged. “Roman saved me. I volunteer to be his security as repayment.”
“And you haven’t paid that debt off yet?”
She just looked at me and smiled. We both knew why she was still here.
I spent the next several hours pacing the floors of the club. Several times I thought about just barging into Roman’s office and demanding an update of Tristan’s condition. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. It had been over four hours. The sun had fully risen in the sky and I needed some peace. I slowly ascended the stairs until I reached Roman’s office door then I knocked softly. I felt like a kid getting caught out of bed after bedtime.
“Come in Sunshine.”
I released the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. I opened the door slowly to see Roman sitting on one of couches with a drink in hand. I entered the room tentatively looking around for Tristan.
“He’s not here. I took him to my home for the change.”
“Is…is he okay?”
“He survived the change so yes.”
“Good. Thank you Roman. I know you didn’t want to do it and making a child is a big deal so I’m really grateful.”
“Do you know about the bond between sire and child? Really?”
“I know the sire treats the child like a child until they’re old enough to live on their own.”
He looked at his drink for moment. “It is more than that. The bond between sire and child is irrefutable. It is not something the sire chooses. It is something ingrained in both vampere.”
“I’m not sure where you’re going with this.”
He sighed. “I’m telling you that Tristan is no longer yours. He is mine. Body and soul. He is my only child and will be mine for the rest of his days.”
“Are you saying you’re not going to let me see him anymore?”
“For now. When a vampere is made they have to relearn everything. Much like an infant. I will have to teach him how to do everything. Until he’s mastered these basic functions I think it would be best for everyone that you don’t see him.”
“He’s my son, Roman. I raised him from age three. There is nothing in regards to him that I can’t handle.”
“You are wrong. He is no longer your son. That child died tonight and mine was reborn.”
“You’re not taking my son from me. I’ll give you some time to explain everything to him but I’m not just going to abandon him.”
“Suit yourself. You can go home for tonight.”
“I thought the change took several hours to finish.”
“He has been through the hardest part and survived. It is unlikely he will not make it through the rest.”
“How do you know he’s okay?”
He huffed. “I know.”
“I’ll wait here until he’s completed the change.”
He sighed. “Fine. You can sleep on the couch.”
I looked at the couch opposite him.
“Just get on it. I can assure you there are no diseases running abound.”
“Um, what about…uh, fluids.”
He laughed. “There are no fluids either so you’re safe.”
I tentatively sat down. He walked to the corner and opened a cabinet door pulling out a blanket. He walked back over and sat it on the ottoman in front of the couch before taking a seat next to me.
“Wow. You have it all here don’t you? A lot of your lovers stay the night on the couches?”
He looked at me contemplative. “Fishing for information about my personal life? No Sunshine.” I rolled my eyes and he continued. “I usually send them on their way with a slap on the rear. Would you like a demonstration?”
“Good. I fear I’m not feeling quite up to par tonight.”
“Did it take a lot to change him?”
“More than I thought which is not a surprise given that I’ve never done it before. But don’t worry yourself. I’ll be right as rain tomorrow.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll go back to singing tomorrow night. Now more than ever I need to catch these guys.”
“Do you think everyone will just forget your little show from earlier?”
“I hope they will realize I was doing what I had to do to find my son.”
He raised a brow. “No, this time we will do things my way.”
I raised a brow back. “Since when did you get to tell me what to do?”
“Since you pledged your word to do anything in exchange for your son’s life.”
My mouth dropped open. Did he think he controlled me now?
“Fine. If pretending to be your lover until these killers are caught is all I have to do then so be it.”
He laughed. “Oh you won’t be getting off that easy. Remember that I will have to teach and protect Tristan until he reaches his full power.”
“You expect me to be your slave for the next hundred years?!”
He seemed thoughtful. “Hm. Slave, I like the sound of that.”
“Dream on vamp. I said I would do anything not everything in exchange for Tristan’s life.”
“Oh, should I end him now then?”
I narrowed my eyes at him and he just stared back. After a moment I smiled.
“You wouldn’t. There is no way you would create a child just to destroy him. As you said, there is a bond between you now.”
He smiled in return. “Touché. Still, you must admit one small task like pretending to be my lover hardly equates to ‘anything’. You will do what I say until I deem you have paid your debt in full.”
“You do wish to see your son again don’t you?”
He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “You obviously don’t know me as well as I thought. See, I always get what I want. One way or another.”
“Always seems like a bit of a stretch don’t you think?”
“Always.” He shrugged in conceit. “Eventually. Lucky for you, I’m a patient man.”
“Whatever. Leave me alone. I need to catch some z’s on your hoochie couch.”
He stood up. “Get used to it. I have a feeling you’ll be spending plenty of time on it.”
I ignored him.