A sort of shiver ran through Calla at the vampire's words, one that I felt from where I was sitting. I reached out to take her hand, her tiny fingers lacing with my own. Oh, it felt so right. That surge of relief she gave to me. I shouldnt have been able to feel that, and yet somehow I did.
"Everette?" Calla murmured, hesitant and uncertain. With a composed expression I watched the vampire before us. The ancient one with his pale face, his pointed teeth and the permanent sneer he wore. Nicholai was his name, and he was the master of the Blood Council. I owed him my respect, at least, even if I could feel the way Calla was upset by his words.
Meanwhile, Nicholai only nodded. "Everette was a brave vampire. Strong. Invincible, really. Pity that he let a...weakness get the best of him." The vampire's gaze was calculating, moving over Calla's trembling form. My Calla. I wanted nothing more than to reach for her, drag her into my lap and hold her there forever. Keep her safe from the demons and the dark things lurking. Perhaps that made her my weakness, too. Or maybe it was something more, something like strength.
"If I might interrupt," I said lowly, hoping to deflect his poisonous gaze from her, to distract him. "I summoned you for a reason."
Nicholai smiled at me, a devilish grin that might have chilled my blood, had it not already been dormant in my veins. "Yes," he purred. "Adder, isnt it? My, you look like a smitten image of Everette" I narrowed my eyes at him, acid burning in my black eyes. Something told me he knew exactly what he was doing, the pain he was causing Calla. Now that she had her memories back, I was certain she felt somewhat responsible for the death of her previous lover.
"Look," I said pointedly, baring my fangs. Letting him know that I didnt want him here any more than he wanted to be here. "I know you and the rest of the Blood Council have heard of what's going on. The Evil is back, and if we stand any chance of stopping here, we're going to need your help."
Something flickered across Nicholai's face, but then he was blank again. "The Blood Council has been aware of this for some time," he admitted. I couldnt believe the hesitation in his voice. Like maybe we werent the only ones who were scared. Nichola's gaze flickered between Calla and I; I dared to glance over at my lover, to gauge her reaction. But she was looking anywhere but towards me, her violet eyes focused on her lap.
"Why should we help you?" He sneered, drawing my attention back to him.
"Because," I replied evenly. "Because sooner or later we have to realize that this world is all of ours. And we'll either protect it to the death, or we'll die losing it to the darkness."
The vampire nodded slowly but said nothing. "I'll be in touch," he said softly. And then, as swiftly as he had come, he was gone. And we were alone again.
For a long time, we only sat there in silence. Calla's hand was still in mine, squeezing just enough for me to feel. I looked over to her, trying to muster a smile. But none would come. I could only stare into her eyes, longing to fall into her, disappear from the world. We could be alone, and happy, and safe. And I could love her unconditionally, and she could never, never leave my arms.
In the end I only sighed. "You should go,"I told her, my voice trembling. I hated myself for the way her eyes widened with pain, rimmed with sudden tears.
"But I-" She started, but I cut her off.
"Go," I repeated, a little harsher. My voice was sharp enough that she actually flinched, ripping her hand from my own. It took all my control to keep myself composed, to stay where I was. "Go and make your amends with Demrin. You know you'll regret it if you dont."
She watched me with those broken eyes, opening her mouth like there was something she wanted to say. Then she was up on her feet and out the door, slamming it behind her as she went. I gazed longingly at the place where she'd been, swallowing hard and thinking that maybe I might go out and find some blood.
Instead I turned off the lights, closed my eyes, and willed myself into a restless sleep.