“Are you insane? We'll never be able to get the provisions together for that kind of trip,” Matt said, his words quick. I knew he was right, I was asking far too much.
“The way he and my father spoke … Matt, I know something else is going on here. I need to know,” I could hear my voice crack, I was pleading now. Something I never did. He studied me, his eyes meeting mine. He gave a defeated sigh.
“Fine, but we won't be able to travel for a few days. I'll have bigger groups of people scavenge the rubble city,” Matt said. A big grin broke out on my face. I pulled him into a sudden hug and kissed his cheek.
“Thanks. This means a lot,” I said.
“I could tell,” he replied, his cheeks embarrassed. “Now go back to the medical center. You still need to heal up,” Matt commanded.
“Hell no, I'm bored of the clinical smell. I'm well enough to go back to my room anyway,” I said with a shrug. I could tell Matt wanted to argue further but he opted for a head shake. He turned and left the room, muttering something about how impossible I was. I smiled as the door closed behind him and glanced at Cain, my expression dropping a little.
“Cain, I'm sorry-” He cut me off.
“I understand why you hid it. You are very similar to her. But you're Nicole,” he murmured the last part, his voice quavering. My eyes dropped to the ground.
“I have her memories. She cared for you,” I said, lifting my gaze to meet his eyes. The sad smile returned. I ached to change it into a genuine one.
“I was so caught up in finding her when I first saw you. But I guess we're both different people,” he said with a shrug. I frowned, his words didn't ring true.
“You're still kind, going crazy lengths for people. Like a reluctant rebel who refused to be fed on,” I said, laughing as I pointed out the last part. He shook his head, but I could tell he wanted to laugh as well. I grabbed his hand, taking him by surprise.
“It's still night, how about I give you a proper rebel welcome, eh?” I didn't give him a chance to object and dragged him after me and into the main common area. I left him shifting uncomfortably in the doorway to find Greg, the guy who ran the kitchens.
“Greg! Rally people together, we're having a party for our new guests,” I yelled through the doorway. A dark-skinned man glanced up at me with raised eyebrows. He looked behind me at Cain and shook his head.
“You're as crazy as Matt. But why not? Any excuse for a party, right?” he said with a deep, throaty laugh. I grinned and ran back outside, grabbing Cain's hand again.
“What are you-” he didn't get to finish the sentence as I pulled him into one of the towers. I grabbed a firework at random and set it up. Parties were usually spontaneous here. Mostly because life was pretty unpredictable for us. We found various fireworks but didn't know what to do with them. It was Greg's idea to use them as a communication device for parties. I brought one outside and lit it, rushing back and pulling Cain with me. Unable to stop laughing at the confusion on his face growing. It went off and I grinned at the lights. I heard people around the camp respond and heading to the common area. I saw Cain put the pieces together and he shook his head.
“Life here is odd,” he said.
“You don't know the half of it,” I murmured. I led him into the common area, glad to see other vampires had come, obviously following the lead. The women from the war room earlier approached me and Cain.
“Hi, I'm Viola,” she said, holding out a hand. “It's a pleasure to finally meet you probably, Nicole.” I took her hand and glanced at Cain.
“Nice to meet you too,” I replied. “C'mon.” I gestured towards the main area, where the sound of music was starting to grow. They both followed, sharing apprehensive looks. I walked in and felt warmth rush through me. The familiar sight of people dancing and people sitting on chairs, tables and the floor, drinking whatever cocktail Greg can put together put me instantly at ease. I'd gotten so caught up in the castle politics and my past, I needed this to relax.