Drake had not returned. He was gone. Gone. And the resistance was turning away. Humans and vampires were talking, walking, eating together. I couldn't understand it, the change in just a few hours was... immense. As if sharing blood had connected them somehow. Perhaps that was why Susanne and I were the only ones sitting on our own this evening. She refused to drink, I refused to give. I glanced over at her again and saw her sipping from a blood bag.
Her eyes met mine and she nodded. I turned away again. It made my skin crawl to see the blood slipping through the holes. Bleugh.
Now the vamps were all training with Antonius, learning tactical moves he had picked up from his years of experience. I was crouched on a rafter having climbed all the way along the roof supports to spy. Yes, spy. I wanted to know what the vamps were doing. Just because I was allowing the feeding, did not mean I trusted them.
They were fast, each of them landing a blow only to be thrown back a split second later by their recovered opponent. I watched them carefully. Antonius was a good instructor; within an hour they were much improved. It was good, as long as they stayed on our side.
"What are you doing?" I almost fell in the shock and felt hands steady me from behind before hastily removing themselves as soon as I regained my balance. I twisted myself round on the beam and found myself facing Jared. He had been down in the training group moments before.
"What's it to you?" I snapped, startled that I'd been caught off guard.
"Just wondering why you're watching us from so far up. It could be dangerous."
"Is that a threat?"</p><p>He looked at me incredulously and then shook his head.
"You really aren't going to change are you? I cannot imagine how badly you've been hurt if you can't trust what is right in front of your eyes. But I pity you for it. No matter how ignorant and stupid you are being."
"Stupid?" I repeated, outraged.
"Yes, stupid." He growled. "We're trying to help, but if you keep treating us like animals some of them are going to break. And then it's your head that's going to roll. Not ours, not the rest of your kind. Because you can bet once people realise they had a chance at equality and peace until your pig-headedness, they'll blame you."
He disappeared in front of my eyes and left me there to take in what he'd said. And of course he was right. I hated to admit it. I hated it with every fibre of my being, but he was right. I sat up there for several more hours before I dared go down.
"Sorry." I muttered, leaning on the wall and looking down at Jared who lay on some blankets reading. He glanced up in slight surprise.
"The great Sophia saying sorry to a blood sucker? Do my eyes and ears deceive me?"
"Funny. Really, I'm laughing on the inside. But I mean it. Sorry. I find it hard to trust you all, but I shouldn't have said that."
"Why? Why is it so hard?" He put the book down and sat up, his arms wrapped around his legs.
"I'm not telling you."
"It might help if you talk about it."
"I'm not... you look... never mind."
"I look what?"
"Tell me." He grinned encouragingly.
"You look like a kid that's ready for a bed time story."
He stared at me for a moment in disbelief, then threw back his head and roared with laughter. I looked around startled but most people were eating at the other end of the warehouse and could not see us through all the shelving and machinery.
"Do I now?" He chuckled having recovered. "It's a long time since anyone has called me a child."
"I'll bet." I rolled my eyes.
"Sit down?" He gestured to the end of the blankets and begrudgingly I sat. "What else do you think of me?"
"I don't. Think of you I mean." I muttered quickly, under his stare. "I don't really think about anyone beyond where their skills lie. It's a habit now."
"A bad habit to get in to."
"A hard one to leave behind. Although since you made sense earlier, I am willing to try."
"Well I'm very pleased to hear it. Now, you could try telling me why you have a hard time... trying."
I stared at him for a moment in mistrust. I wasn't sure I was ready to share my story. Especially not to him. But I had to try, I could see that. Why say I was going to try if I fell at the first hurdle?
"My best friend was round about two months after we found out about vamps... about you existing. Everything had calmed down, none of us could see any real reason you'd be a threat because you claimed to be good and basically human-"
"-Which we can be."
"Yes. Well, we were talking, laughing, discussing vamps... and then she told me she was one. I didn't believe her obviously, thought it was hilarious and she went along with it. We got to the point where she was 'pretending' to go for my neck before my little sis walked in and saw her fangs. She'd popped them out when she was close enough to my neck. And then..." My throat closed up and I looked away from Jared, blinking away the tears that threatened to fall. "Then she tortured and killed my little sis, right in front of me. Then my mum, then my dad. All because she was 'having fun'. And then when I lay there, holding my little sister, she looked down at me crying and told me I was too weak to become one of you. That she'd changed her mind, and she didn't want me sulking round her for centuries because of a few walking blood bags. Then she left me there, with their bodies. They found me two days later, still hugging my little sister. Said I'd been in shock or something. That was a week before everyone else found out that you weren't all as human as you'd said."
I didn't want to look at him so I kept my head facing away, the tears streaming down my cheeks freely. After a few silent moments I felt his hand touch mine lightly, and when I didn't move away he sat next to me and took my hand in his.
"I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I'm sorry that some of our kind don't seem to have the same respect and love for their previous state of life as me, as the rest of us. Let me help you."
"How?" I asked in a strangled voice.
"We'll find her. The one who did this to your family."
"I already did." I muttered, looking down at our hands and freeing mine.
"And?" He asked, giving me my space.
"And I killed her."