From the rhythm of her breath and the easy rise of her shoulders, he concluded she was asleep.
‘Conor, we should talk, now that the child is asleep.’
Berach slinked from Conor’s tattoo and onto the bench beside him. Not making any subtle movements so not to attract attention.
‘If Delilah’s excitement hadn’t done that already.’
He smiled as he looked down at her; she was definitely tired, though she had looked almost hyper a few minutes ago. Her nonstop pacing and a grin seemingly stuck to her face. She was happy. And he was happy to have put that smile on her face.
“I doubt she is a child. Maybe she’s immature, but not a child.” He spoke as the wolf repositioned himself to lie along the bench and look at Conor.
He wouldn’t have these urges if she was a child.
“That’s exactly what I want to talk to you about.” Berach sat up and nuzzled his shoulder, catching his attention.
“Vampires may live longer, but they also grow at a slower rate. Their average age is every .4 year of a vampire is 9.3 for any regular human. And a whole vampire year is the same for every 6.3 Old Civilian years.”
Conor looked at Berach with alarm.
“So, when you say she ages slower. . .”
“Yes, she maybe over a hundred years old and onlylookseighteen. But did you hear her when you asked her about the sun?” Conor thought back and nodded. “What caught your attention when he answered?”
“She said . . . not that she could remember.” His brow knotted as he contemplated her words. He had ment to ask her about it when they got here, but it had slipped his mind.
“Exactly,” Berach exclaimed. “Have you also seen the difference in her eyes?”
“What does that have to do with this?” Conor asked, not catching Berach’s drift. “Yes, her eyes change. But only slightly.”
“Yep, a subtle, but strong hint.”
“For what?” Still confused, he simply stared at the wolf that proposed the impossible. Was he suggesting that she changed at times?
“That’s just what I’m suggesting, Conor.” Breach spoke, hearing his thought through their bond. He hated it when he did that.
“What? That she is two different people and her eyes change when she is someone else?” He snapped, almost beyond hearing it all.
Yeah, and his sister was the princess of elves, he scoffed.
Berach hopped down and pounced right in front of Delilah, causing her to stir and grumble in her sleep. His hand shot out before he could stop himself and he gently rubbed up and down her arm. She shifted to her back, her head still resting on his thigh. Through the blanket he saw her hands fumble and her legs curl in slightly. She was cute.
“Conor, listen.” Catching his attention, Conor turned his head to look at the canine. “When I was helping her chose something in the kitchen, she was talking under her breath.”
“Did you hear what she was saying?” He asked, one of his eye brows rose, beyond confused now.
“Barley, but she said some things like, ‘That won’t do. . .’, or ‘no, I hate that. . .’. But one full thing I did catch was when she saw a bag of potatoes. She said, ‘Arty would love those,’ and she spoke his name like he was someone close.” Berach sat down before him, and looked at Delilah with something a kin to pity. “She didn’t even realize she was saying it. Her eyes were far off, like she was remembering something, but not.”
“What do you think?” Berach was always the one to think a head, and always had an opinion. Even when one wasn’t wanted.
“I don’t think she remembers anything before the whore house.” He said, and then looked at Conor, who still doubted his words, but not thinking it was beyond possibility. “Think back to the apartment, when you kissed her. When you looked at her, didn’t she seem different?”
“Yes, but that was because. . .” Conor thought back and remembered when Berach had called his name, stopping him from doing anymore harm.
When she had looked up at her eyes, they had desire in them. Need, but also. . .
Yes, something had indeed changed. Wither it had been that spark of lust or the situation entirely. Her eyes had been darker, when she had had sparkling light blue eyes only second before, she had then had darkest blue he had ever seen. And her eyes had held a maturity that they normally didn’t.
“Yes, there was something else to her.” He looked down and chewed on the inside of his mouth, something he did when he was indecisive.
“You have to ask her, Conor.” Berach’s tone had taken a serious pitch and he looked down at him, questioning his rash decision.
“If she has had something done to her memory, then she doesn’t know who she really is. We don’t know who she really is. The Commander might be keeping something from us.” He looked at her then back at him. “We might be doing something worse than we think. Did you really think about the mission before you took it?”
Conor was taken back from his sudden rush. What was the wolf panicking over?
“Why would the Commander send us all the way from Europe to New York, to simply save a single female vampire. Yes, she’s a vampire. Yes, she’s a female. But it doesn’t make since.” The wolf paced. Conor had never seen him like this, so concerned. “What is The Order thinking? Why do they want this vampire so bad, when they hire so many?”
“It’s not our place to question them, Berach.” He spoke, wanting to calm his companion. “They pay us and we don’t question what they want.”
“Doesn’t it ring any alarms in your head? Come on, Conor! You can’t be that hard headed.” The wolf placed his paws on Conor’s knees and used them put him eye-to-eye with Conor. “You cannot tell me that you don’t care, even a shred for, her. I know how you act, females don’t effect you like she does.”
“I do care. I saved her from a whore house and she is kind. She doesn’t deserve that fate and I would be the same with any other women.” Conor snapped, taking away his hand that rested on her shoulder still. He hadn’t realized he had kept his hand on her.
“Ah, you still lie to yourself, Conor.” Berach sighed and shook his head. He leapt up besides Conor. “You can rest, I know you want to. I’ll watch out for her.”
“Thanks,” he scoffed. Sighing himself, he crossed his arms over his chest and rested his head back against the wall.
He didn’t know how long he had been sitting there, but it felt like forever. He wanted to sleep, he needed to sleep. Staying up all night before he had went to The Devil’s Corner, he knew he needed to rest. But sleep eluded him as well as the meaning of Berach’s words did.
What did he mean? He did care what happened for the small female and didn’t want harm to come to her, but that was it. He had no other feelings besides concern and maybe lust, but that was it. Or is it?
Giving up trying to sleep, opening his eyes, he looked down at the small female resting her head on his lap. She had moved, her head was turned towards him, instead of up to the ceiling. Her body was even more curled inwards and her hands rested on his leg.
Had he dozed off for a few minutes? He didn’t remember feeling her move.
A breath he didn’t know he had been holding, released as he looked down at her. She was the most intriguing female he had ever met, besides his sister. But she ceased surprising him a while ago. No, this woman did more than surprise him. She amazed him.
The way she would be so innocent and so secretive at the same time. She looked at him like he was some one she could trust rather than a man that could do her as much harm as any other. She seemed to be the perfect, unequivocal, picture of a seductress, but she had no idea. He bet she didn’t want anything to do with pleasure now.
Looking her over, he had to stop himself from caressing her.
Her violet eyes dared a man to stare too long. Her ebony hair teased a man to touch it. Her lips so soft they practically provoked a man to leave without touching them. Her body yelled at a man to get closer, but at the same time screamed at the man to get away. Her body language was so mixed up even he was caught in the jumbled up messages.
Closing his eyes, he tried to regain his composer. He had to wake her up. The boat’s mess was a bustle with the crew getting ready to serve a small meal and he knew she had to eat, but he also wanted to question her.
Normally he would have just stood up and told anyone else to wake up and their head smacked against the steel bench. But that might have startled her.
“Come on, Delilah, wake up.” He gently used his hands and lifted up her head so he could stand up. He set her head down and crouched next to her.
She only groaned and turned towards the wall, curling up all the way. He smiled, she was going to be hard to wake up. His sister sometimes did the same and only Sergius could wake her up. Not wanting to think about ways he could wake her up that would scare her, he reached out again and rocked her shoulder.
“Come on, sleepy head. Wake up, time to eat.” He spoke as people began to walk into the mess hall. They paid them no attention. Good, then he wouldn’t have to beat anyone.
“Umm, five more minutes, brat.” She grumbled and she sighed.
Brat? Did she just call him a brat?
“No, Conor.” The wolf raised his head and looked at him with his wolfish smile. “Its Russian. Be lucky she used the simplified version. Other wise you would have had a head ach.”
“I didn’t know you were fluent in another language.” He rolled his eyes to look at the wolf. “What did she call me then? Stupid?”
His humor gone he looked at the female. Was she remembering something? Or was it another hit-and-run?
“Delilah, wake up.” He pushed her shoulder again and she turned over and looked at him, sleeping glazing her eyes.
“What?” She snapped.
He smiled, she was grumpy when woken up before she was suppose to. He stored that away in his memory, knowing that it’ll come in handy some time.
“Time to eat.”
She raised her arms up and she wiped her face with her forearms. Her hair flowed with her movement and she had to get that out of her face as well. She had a bed head.
“What time is it?” She asked as she sat up, looking around at the people that had already come in.
“Just past 7,” he said as he opened up his pocket watch. “I didn’t think you would join us in the mortal realm.”
“Yeah, well, here I am.” She yawned and looked at him. “You shouldn’t do that.”
“Do what?” He asked as he stood.
“Wake me up early, I’ve hurt people for waking me up. But they weren’t as gentle as you were.” She smiled, and he saw the barest hint of fangs.
Images rose up that he tried to push away. Her fangs sinking into his neck as he road her. Her fangs skimming down his body, to nip and her tongue flicking out to heal the nick on his skin. Her fangs and tongue. . .
Damn it, not again. He rolled his shoulders, pushing his shirt to in front of his pants. Damn the women.
“Whats for breakfast?” She asked as she swung her legs over the bench and onto the floor. Her nose twitched as she smelled the air.
“Smells like bacon, eggs, ham, and toast.” He answered as he held out his hand to help her up.
She took his hand and she stood up fluently. Not waiting for him, she flounced away and to the line in front of the serving table. That was full of people just as eager to get their meal.
As he watched her, she bounced on her feet and sometimes twirled to look at him.
So, this was the grace that so many talked about. Her body rocked with her every step, swaying with her hips. His shirt was so lose on her; it took a few second for it to catch up with her constant movment, showing the curves of her slender arms and on her body as it tried to keep up. She seemed to have kept some feminine curves despite her miss feeding. Or had the blood given her some shape?
“She does need to feed again, Conor.” Berach spoke, again picking up her thoughts.
“I thought as much, food won’t do what blood does. But she hates skin-to-skin contact.” He said as he sat back down, there was plenty and he could wait.
“Except with you.”
Looking sharply at the wolf, he shook his head. “Being so close to her would drive me insane. I would end up doing something that I would regret. And it would scare her.”
“Then you have to find the strength.” Berach stepped down form the bench and sat at Conor’s side. “The blood she got from the bouncers will ware off very soon, if it hasn’t already. She’s in a delicate state.”
“I know. I would gladly give her my blood, if she wasn’t so scared and that having those little fangs in me might just drive my control out the window.” He smiled as he continued to watch her.
But he wasn’t the only one. He saw glance from men all around the room. She was attracting attention from everyone, in a bad way. The girl didn’t even know how she affected men.
He stood and walked to her side. Not so it looked like he was cutting, but enough to show that he was protecting her. He shot any man that looked at her a look that caused them to shrink away.
“Conor, aren’t you gonna get anything?” She asked as she filled a trey with scrambled eggs, but she had a lot of bacon on her plate. She must really be hungry.
“I can get some in a minute, but you need to get what you need. I know you must be hungry.” He said as he walked down with her until she reached the drinks and got a carton of milk. He escorted her to the bench and sat down with her.
He was thankful that this boat offered food as well as the trip. Some boats didn’t have the room, but they also had rooms. This boat didn’t and that was fine with him, makes protecting her a little bit easier. Though he would have preferred the security of a room.
She didn’t wait; she used her fork and dug in. The bacon was gone first, then the eggs. She hadn’t grabbed any toast or ham. She ate like a woman possessed, not caring about anything else.
He felt like punching a hole through the bridge. He hated to see women like this, starved and helpless. But as he watched her, he saw that she was far from helpless. She could protect herself, she just didn’t know it.
She set the trey beside her and sighed, “man, I’ve never been this full.”
“You sure? I’ve put more away with a lesser appetite.” He laughed as she sat back.
“Oh, yeah.” She stretched and she yawned, her arms over her head grasping for something invisible. “I could sleep a week.”
He let her lay her head against the wall as she relaxed. He knew that asking her the questions would cause her to pull away, mentally as well as physically.
“Delilah,” he spoke gently, “I’ve got questions.”
“I thought you might.” She looked at him and again, she had slightest darker eyes, but they were still lighter.
“I’ve mentioned that I didn’t exactly remember going into the sun. And I’ve shocked myself even talking to you.” She shrugged. “It was bound to happen. So, take a shot.”
“You said you don’t remember, but up until what time do you recall?” He turned to her, not giving any quarter.
“I lost my memory until I was found by Master. He had taken me from under a porch; I thought he had saved me. But only later did I see what he had intended for me.” She closed her eyes. “He tricked me and said that he could find my family. I felt hope. All I wanted to was to find my family. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
“How do you know you have family?” He asked softly.
Her head snapped to him as she pierced him with a glance, her eyes darker. “I know I have family. I feel it, they’re somewhere. I just have to find them.”
“You don’t remember anything about them?” He asked, trying not to ruffle her feathers.
“Nope, if I did then I wouldn’t have stayed in that place. I would have been long gone.” She sighed and then looked at him. “Got another?”
Looking at Berach he went off with what they had spoken of earlier. “Do you know how old you are?”
She opened her mouth and then closed it just as fast. She looked dumbfound by his question, like she hadn’t ever thought about that before.
Berach stepped forward. “All we need is an approximate age. Then I might be able to give a reasonable number.”
“How would you know?” She asked, not like she was snapping, just curious.
“Do you know that a vampire ages slower than any other human or non-human?” Berach tested the waters as he sat down in front of her.
“No, I know they live longer. But aging slower, that’s new to me.” She brought her knees up and against her chest, her arms wrapping around her slim legs. Her voice had become feeble again, she was pulling away.
“Vampires live almost 10.0 years to a human’s 1. You can be over a hundred years old, but have the mind of an eighteen year old only because you lost your memory.” That was Berach, laying out the facts not caring about the audience.
Delilah simply stared off into the distance. She must be trying to remember something. She looked intently at Berach, but not totally seeing him.
She startled him when she sucked in a breath and her hands flew to her temples, instantly massaging her head.
“Whats wrong?” He asked as he pushed aside her hands and began to do it for her. He knew just how much to press because he had helped his sister when she experienced something.
“I tried to remember.” She tensed against his hands at first and then she relaxed as his hands soothed her head. “But I can’t.”
“Then it’s settles.” Berach spoke out as he looked at both of them.
“What is?” He asked sharply, confused to what was going on. He was a fighter, not a healer, damn it.
“Someone had either caused some damage to her brain that caused her to forget, or,” he sighed, “someone had placed a spell on her.”