I was still thrumming with raw excitement and anticipation when we arrived in New York. Pamela had not stopped staring at me since we left Louisiana. Two days before.
Neither Nan, nor I had uttered the words aloud yet. We were not yet safe enough to do so, and my child was unhappy.
I did not fault her for her displeasure, I had after all summoned her from her life, asked her to aid in my vengeance, then quite abruptly removed us again with no explanation.
It was only her trust and loyalty that kept her silent and calm.
Even so, she refused to even acknowledge Anabelle’s existence, and never spoke more than was necessary to me.
She must have been terribly confused by the emotions she was receiving through our bond.
I mused that she must have assumed I was bent upon destroying my enemies in this round about way, but had to have been curious about my lack of anger and bloodlust.
“Pam, enough,” I said mildly as I stoked the sleeping miracle’s hair.
“You won’t stop touching her.”
I simply met her gaze, silently commanding her to keep her tongue a while longer.
I could not risk bringing her to a hotel of any sort. Instead we found the most sanitary windowless basement my child could tolerate.
I carried the still sleeping young woman in and settled her on the pallet of blankets Pamela laid out when she located this place. I settled down next to her and took one small hands in my own, and just stared at her, excitement once again bubbling within me.
Pam returned shortly thereafter, resuming the waiting game she was no doubt playing. And she was keeping score. The longer she waited, the less hospitable our accommodations, the more I’d wind up paying in the future.
My child had been spoiled her entire existence. Her maker had always been in a position of wealth and power, and never before had I forced her into such a flight where her comfort meant nothing, and her opinion less still.
But we had never taken anything from a fairy prince before.
I was not certain this would not cause war between our races.
I still had much to ponder before making any permanent decisions.
Nan stirred from her slumber and drowsily observed my child and me. “Wow, y’all are too good at staring, I give. I blinked. Game over, so stop willing him to speak, Pam and just ask. I’ll be outside for just a few…” Nan trailed off when I seized her wrist. I felt the beginnings of panic rising and I did not like it. Dawn was coming fast and too soon I’d be beyond reach if she needed me. She should not be going anywhere. She sighed, “Eric, we talked about this. I need it, and if I need it, you need it. I can count the number of sunrises I missed on one hand. I’m not about to just stay here in the dark.”
Slow and sluggish because of the approaching sun, Pam nestled into her own palette and scowled at us, “Eric, she’ll be out the door the instant we’re resting.” Her eyes closed and she was barely able to finish her next thought, “Obstinate humans… making…things…difficult…”
It did indeed appear that Nan was waiting for me to follow suit to make her escape. I felt my own need to rest stealing into my body.
“I’ll be only a few minutes,” she soothed. “I’ll be back before you know it.” She smiled charmingly.
“The timing of this could not have been worse, Nan.”
Her smile widened, “It’ll be like this every morning until you decide, so hurry up. I really need to go outside now.”
“I will go with you.”
“No! The sun! It’s not safe!”
“No more for me than you,” I said firmly. I would just stay out of the light… but within grabbing distance. Instead of waiting for her reply, I scooped her into my arms and had us up the stairs and at the entrance to the alley before she could blink.
“You just stay in here, Buster, ” she huffed, extricating herself from me. I felt the loss of contact like I would the loss of a limb. “I’ll only be a couple minutes…” and she slipped out the heavy door.
Every second she was gone, I felt my anxiety rising and fighting with the powerful need to rest, resulting in a dark need within me to claim and subdue the source of my troubles with any and every tool in my arsenal, fangs to feet.
I could hear her singing in the language of her kind, and groaned.
Anger rose and swirled with my anxiety and torpidity. Could she possibly be so stupid? Obviously, I had already had my answer. She was outside in sunlight practically broadcasting that a fairy was denning here. It took every ounce of my rapidly depleting willpower not to go after her, my nature warring with itself to protect what was mine but screaming that I needed to go to ground, now.
The door opened just enough to admit the small frame of the originator of my current misery, and I snatched her into my arms immediately. Relief filled me as my skin made contact with hers. A little golden aura still clung to her as I deposited her back in our resting place. I then set about ensuring she would not disappear again, and piled as much large debris and furniture as I had available to me in front of the room’s only exit.
“Jeez, Eric. You’d think I was trying to run away from you,” she whispered and I wrapped myself around her once more, letting the day finally begin to claim me.
I kissed her hair. “If you must persist in acting foolishly, I must do everything in my power to counter that.” My eyelids were heavy, and choosing my words carefully had become difficult.
“What are you talking about? I told you before that I needed to do that!”
“Anabelle, singing loudly in Sylvan is like waving a flag and shouting that a sky fairy is in the area. That was reckless and foolish and must stop.”
She looked as if I’d slapped her, and struggled to extricate herself from my heavy limbs. I only held tighter. She stared sunlight colored daggers into my eyes, furrowing her little golden brow, and setting her mouth in a petulant way, but ceased struggling.
“You’re such a… vampire… God!”
She really was… so very lovely… and mine… my… gift…
“Before you, uh, die for the day, you gotta loosen your grip. I’m going to need to get up at some point.”
I only growled in response, but complied.
I felt her fingertips tracing the lines of my face.
“You still with me?”
I grunted softly.
“How much longer?”
I shook my head once slightly to indicate it would not be long.
I kissed her hair again.
“I’m afraid, and I don’t want you to leave me yet.”
I used every ounce of my remaining strength to open my eyes and meet hers.
“Is it okay if I just talk? You don’t have to respond. It’ll just make me feel better.”
I grunted my affirmation.
“I’m really scared. I know I was confident the other night, but I felt like some part of me just took over then, and I knew what to do. I’m back to myself again, and I’m just a big ole mess of worry now.”
I tried to communicate my devotion to her protection with my eyes.
“I know you’ll protect me. It’s not that. I really don’t think anyone would try to hurt me, I’m too valuable.”
I could do nothing but stare.
“I’m not saying I have doubts, I don’t. I was created for this, but just that is enough to send my head into a right state! Why was I given a life to begin with, and will it be taken away? Will I just wink out of existence? Or will I somehow just become a normal everyday human that can go on living a regular, mortal life? Do I even want that kind of life anymore? Where is my choice?”
She paused for a moment to make sure I had not slipped into slumber. “I look for answers about what I am and why and they are just there. I just know, like Sookie made sure I’d innately have just enough to find you and complete my purpose. But what happens after is a complete mystery… I guess that’s the way life is, though. We never really know what happens after.”
I wanted to say so much, but was barely hanging on by a thread to my consciousness.
“I know you can’t stay with me much longer. I appreciate you trying. That’s how I know I made the right decision. You’re all dark and vampy but you have a light of your own that wars with all that. If it comes to that, you’re worth winking out of existence for.”
How had I gotten so fortunate?
“I’m still reeling though. All that stupid fairy secrecy could have been avoided. They should have just told me, and I probably would have done whatever they wanted, but the Sookie in my head says she knew how they’d behave and had all this planned so I’d give myself to you instead. After all, she created me in her image to be attractive to you.”
She frowned and continued, “But see, I had to love who I gave the wish to. That’s why Niall and Claude freaked when you showed. I’m the only one that has ever been made of flesh. That’s kind of a big deal, right? I’m the only one that’s ever been given a choice who uses me.”
She smiled and nestled closer, whispering, “All in all, this,” she nuzzled my neck, “makes it worth anything and I’m glad I’m your cluviel d’or.”