I had searched Tulsa for traces of her scent until dawn. I found only the stench of humanity and city filth in the dry Oklahoma night. Pamela had been on the hunt after meeting with Bill Compton at the palace as well. We met back at the secluded, suburban bolt-hole to go to ground and she debriefed me with nothing of value.
Rage had been boiling within me, only to be replaced by fear and longing at times. I would find her.
“Master, we must go to ground. We must,” Pamela entreated when faint pink rays of sunlight made her sink into stupor.
“Go,” I commanded, but I would not let the day take me just yet. I wanted to prepare myself for when I found my Anabelle, so I took up the documents Pamela had retrieved from the safe deposit box. It was plain manilla envelope that had not been sealed. I dumped its contents onto my lap.
I found three things:
A piece of silk shirting with traces of ancient blood – mine – on it.
A bullet slug.
And a letter with one word written on its envelope in bubbly school-girl script: Eric.
I tore it open hoping for clues, not to my Anabelle’s existence, I did not care at all about that then, but perhaps Sookie could offer guidance of sorts in making the fairies give back what they had stolen. Needless to say, I was not at my most level-headed.
We didn’t part on the best terms. I was mad at you for a long time for so many things. The truth is, we’re both so alike, stubborn, fiery, and always convinced we’re right about everything. Our biggest differences came from how many more years you had to grow up and learn to be right, and not just think you were. You always knew what I needed. You always tried to provide. You always did it without having to be asked. You always showed me how much you loved me, even when I refused to see it.
Still, I don’t regret the way things turned out, only the way I handled them, because I hurt you. I told myself for so many years you weren’t capable of getting hurt by someone like me, but I know how silly that is now. I always refused to see you as a person, except for the week you lost your memory, because you seemed like a being apart to me. You seemed too perfect and too perfectly vampire. My heart just couldn’t accept that someone like you, someone so gorgeous, thoughtful, caring, genius, strong, scary, ruthless, and cruel would ever love someone as imperfect and human as myself.
I did love you, Eric, but I didn’t ever trust you. Maybe that was my fault for the reasons I mentioned. Maybe you gave me too many reasons not to, or maybe Bill and Quinn did. Maybe I just couldn’t make it in your world and I needed a quiet human life. Maybe I just really hated the woman I was becoming having to deal with supes. Maybe it was all of it together. It doesn’t matter now. Sam is the best husband I could ask for, and I wouldn’t change anything but how I hurt you. You deserved so much more than you got.
I used to think it was fitting that you had to go off and marry that vampire against your will since you had taken away so much of mine in our relationship. I thought you were getting a taste of your own medicine and it would be good for you. I thought of a lot of nasty things to make myself feel better about what I had done. None of it helped and I ended up just feeling like a bad person. In truth, all I feel is sorry that you are enduring so much heartache, and I feel love for you.
I’m not saying I’m still in love with you, that ship sailed long ago. I am in love with my children, and in love with my life. I’m saying I have love for you in a way that I need to give you something back. I need to actually take care of you back this once.
I had my second baby last month. I named him Jamison Corbett. I am so in love with him that I stare at him while he sleeps, just to make sure he’s breathing and really real. I did the same with his brother Tommy when he was born. The thing is, I remember waking up to you doing that sometimes. If the love I feel for my sons is anything like the love and devotion you gave me, then my heart breaks for you. I couldn’t live without my boys. I don’t ever want to have to.
So, the point of this letter is to tell you how sorry I am. Doesn’t help a whole lot, I’m sure, but I needed to let you know that. I also am trying, well I guess I’ve been trying for a while now, to find a way to take care of you in return. You see, I found out a couple years ago that I’d be outliving my family, probably by a long time, and I just can’t do that. I can’t watch my sons grow old and leave me. I don’t want any part of this magic, and I’m going to get rid of it, but I’m hoping not to waste it. I want to give you some happiness since you always made sure I would have as much as life allowed me. I’m entrusting this letter and the magic, if we can get it out, to Claudine. I was sure I’d lost her long ago, but she is altogether a different being now and helping me with everything I’m trying to put right, and I hope I can put things right for you.
My sincerest wish is for your happiness. I want that more than anything.
I have learned so much from Claudine and I think what we’re planning will work. Hopefully this makes sense to you since you should have the me-reincarnation with you by now and you can wish for a way to protect her that will keep you both from all the unhappiness and trials we went through. And make sure you use the wish right away! I don’t know how long it’ll last in her once you find her and it’s active. No one has ever done anything like this before.
I know she may be very different. She won’t be me, but Claudine said if it was my essence you loved, that wouldn’t change very much.
Claudine is risking a lot to make this happen and she’s going to make sure the timing works, but if something goes wrong, I hope at least this letter finds you, and you know that I loved you, and I’m sorry.
Anyway, Eric, maybe I’m being high handed now deciding who you’re going to love in the future, but if you taught me anything, being high handed isn’t always the worst thing to happen to another person. Sometimes the Know-It-All really is right, and you should just listen to the person who wants to see you happy.
PS: I’ve enclosed a little memento for you. I never stopped caring so I could never throw it away. I used to look at it and be reminded that you tricked me. After a while I looked at it and saw all the times you put your life in danger for mine. Don’t let that kind of stuff happen in your lives again! Use the wish!
For the second time in mere hours, I let loose a roar to shake the foundations.
I was given everything.
Sookie gave me everything.
And it was lost.
Anabelle was gone.
If only I had stayed. If only I had abandoned the desire to inflict suffering, I would not be in such pain. My darkness had kept me from happiness.
I had to get her back.
Anabelle was my chance at happiness. She had asked me to endeavor to deserve her and I had ignored her plea. I would never make that mistake again, if I could only bring her back to me.
I furiously wiped away blood tears and went to join Pamela in the dark.
Upon rising the next night I found a renewed sense of purpose within.
I had gone to rest with the letter in my hands having read and reread until I could no longer fight the call of daytime death.
I handed it silently to my child and let her examine it herself. She turned away from me as she read and wiped at her face. When she regained herself she turned back and looked at me questioningly.
We find her, I responded to her silent query.
It was all she needed and she was gone. I knew she would search all night.
As would I.
I tucked the letter into my shirt pocket, feeling better having it close to my lifeless heart.
I needed to find Bill Compton. I needed to know what, if anything, he was able to discover.
I took to the sky in the direction of the palace, praying fervently to my ancient Gods that I had not called upon in so many years. Let me love her. Let me prove to be equal to this gift.
I alighted outside the compound, not dismissing protocol. I wanted Bill to help, and disrespect even in my urgency would be unwise. A guard left to secure my entry, and I waited as patiently as possible.
It was not easy, I had little left.
His return brought the first aggravation of the evening. Bill was not there.
Furious, I walked away down the street to clear my head and gain control over my rampant emotions.
I was stopped just a few blocks away by a sizzle in the air followed immediately by a popping sound.
A fairy stood half a block away in front of me. This female had long dark brown hair and glowing green eyes. She wore shimmering robes that signified her importance.
I did not inhale the scent. I would not. It was too dangerous in my current state. I needed to question her.
I struggled to decide whether I should catch her or keep my distance and open communication in a non-threatening way. I wanted to threaten her. I wanted to inflict pain and rip the information I needed from her, but perhaps I had more to gain from peaceful interaction.
“Where is she?” I asked as carefully as I could.
“She is safe,” she returned in a serene voice that only succeeded in provoking me.
Every fiber of my being cried out for the capture of this Fae then. They did have her. I forced myself to remain still.
“I want her back, she is mine.”
“I am not keeping her from you, Vampire. She left of her own will.”
“I cannot lie to you, I am a priestess. My name is Siobhan. I care deeply for Anabelle, and I’ve come to beg you to let her go.”
“She is mine.”
“Repeating that does not further your cause.”
“I could easily kill you, Priestess.”
“And yet I am here. I am taking the risk that you love Anabelle as I do and desire her safety.”
I kept silent and focused on remaining rooted. The night breeze felt like needles assaulting my thrumming skin. My fangs were throbbing. It felt as though the cement beneath my boots would crack with the very force of my rage. I wanted to rip her limb from limb and drink every drop of the intoxicating blood I would spill. When the urge lulled enough, I spoke, “What would it take to make you give her back to me?”
“Nothing you do or say will make her less necessary to my people. She is our hope and the future of our continued existence, but I am… I love her like I would my own daughter. I wish for her happiness more than… I will take you to her if…”
My dead heart would have beat like a drum had it the ability, “Yes?”
“If you give the prince to us. We need him every bit as much as we need Nan.”
“Is he dead?”
“You killed him?”
“I did not end his life, but he would have died by my ministrations even so.”
“Thank you for your honesty, Viking.”
“You will not give her back.” I was not asking. My control, so tenuous to begin with, had begun to slip as soon as she mentioned dealing for Niall.
“She is not mine to give,” she shook her head casting her eyes in the direction of the night sky and smiled sadly. “I pity you, Vampire. You have so much pain and hatred. Beings of light do not thrive in darkness. If you wish for her to return, you must let it go…”
I no longer cared. She had refused me any hope of regaining my love. They would hold her no matter what I did. This fae’s pity was enough to send me over the knife’s edge on which I had been so carefully balancing. While she had her focus on the stars, I grabbed her. Her startled green eyes were begging as she struggled in my grip.
“Viking! No! You can’t! You mustn’t!” They were her last words.