Chapter Nine: Secrets
I grabbed the truck’s keys out of my jeans and paced slowly behind her. As she slid into the Impala I ran to the truck and shoved the key into the ignition and turned it hard until the engine roared to life with distaste for my urgency. I put it into gear and peeled out on the pavement and wheeled through the street.
My mind knew what to do, and I had a destination in mind this time around. I hit my blinker in the opposite direction that I turned and watched my rear view mirror as I took a few more incorrect turns and took back lanes and ended up on Mountain, making sure that Marley and Sabrine weren’t too close behind me. I turned onto Parkhill and up another street, past a few bays until I found the road I was looking for.
The house was easy enough to spot, dark brick covered the exterior, a haunting image on a street where most of the houses were white or a lighter, more brilliant color. The driveway was wide and engulfed the front lawn, and in said driveway was the Ducati bike and bicycles. I knew I was instantly in the right place.
I slammed the truck door and Alex instantly appeared on the front deck with his hands in his pockets. He stood brilliantly against the setting sun and the dark contrast of the house behind him. His dark hair glittered red in the evening light and for a moment I had forgotten the reason why I had thought to seek for his company.
And then he smiled. “Evenin’.”
“Whatever.” I snapped. “Tell me what you know, NOW!”
“Know? About? Olivia, you can’t just show up on my doorstep after eight and expect me to read your mind.” Alex smirked, his eyes glistening with an alter-ego.
“Alex!” I cried, anger began to turn my body hot.
JUST FUCKING TELL ME!
“Come on in.”
Huh? “Alright. That’s more like it.” Mission accomplished. Good work detective.
He led me inside where the porch was small but spread out into a bay of directions. The living room to my right and further back was the kitchen and dining room, but I wasn’t too worried about the house layout.
Vivian was watching a cooking show on Slice with a cat coiled at the base of her feet, it’s eyes flickered with the screen as if it were watching as well. I found this mesmerizing and stared intently; shivering at the murky color its eyes took on. Distant. Dangerous. Mischievous.
“You already know Vivian, and that’s Kat.”
“Cat? You named you cat, Cat? How lazy.” I scolded.
“No. No. Kat: as in Kataline. Vivian, can you take Kat to the den until I call you back in?”
“No. Take your girlfriend to the den, I’m comfortable.” Vivian sneered, though her eyes never left the TV screen.
I was still staring, my eyes motionless as I watched the odd pair. Would Alex explain this situation to me more thoroughly as well? I was counting on it.
Finally Alex lead the way, up stairs, obviously an add on from the original structure to accommodate newer additions. I realized that we weren’t going to the den as we passed a bedroom for a younger girl and my voice caught in my throat.
Does Vivian have a child?
My sapphire eyes lingered on the décor for a second as I passed it and then I kept walking and caught up with him, we arrived at a door and he opened it to show off his room. It was by far the largest and definitely the most accommodating. It had its own living room and bathroom, like his own penthouse apartment.
“Sit down over there.” He pointed towards a black leather sectional. I did as ordered, and I plopped down onto a stiff cushion that gave way for comfort. He followed suit and sat in an easy chair next to me, made of similar material, and stared me down.
“What would you like me to tell you?”
“About my Father. Is he an artist? Does he look like me? And these – visions – yes visions, why do I have them? Can I control them?” I paused to take a breath, I had so many more to ask him, but I’d been holding my breath for a while now.
Alex blinked and sat back into the chair looking very small, but older somehow. “Let’s start with your easier questions. Gabriel – your Father – is a lot like you, but in his own way. He loves music and appreciates fine art and the skill altogether. His favorite thing to say was that the world lacked true artists.”
“Carry on.” I breathed, motionless.
“He looks like you a lot. Fair hair, thought it’s almost completely silver now, but the life he’s had could make any man go bald so I guess he’s lucky. My Mother always tells me that he has the most stunning blue eyes she’s ever seen. I wouldn’t doubt it, but I’ve never really paid too much attention to his eyes, though I’d assume they look a lot like your eyes.”
I blushed. He had been staring at me, but I didn’t know he was looking at me so closely. My Father is the reason I have this look and the reason why Marley and I don’t really match. MARLEY! OH SHIT! Alex!
“Wow. I have so many questions, but I need to know them later. These, I guess, visions? What are they?”
“Just as you said, visions, glimpses of the future.” Alex smirked.
“I worded that wrong. Why do I have them? Can I control them?”
“You have them because you inherited them from Gabriel. He can choose to have them at anytime, but I guess it takes training.” Alex shrugged and leaned into his chair.
“Alex?” The voice came from around the corner, it was younger and sweeter than Vivian’s. I turned towards the door to find a girl no older than 13 crouched there, her eyes were a startling yellow and her features were all very cat-like.
“Ah, Kat. What would you like?”
“K-Kat?” I stammered, disbelief coloring my tone though it was hidden behind confusion and fear.
Alex gave me a devious grin and motioned for Kat to come closer. She obliged, her gait smooth and energetic, she was smiling with her bright eyes.
“Can I go out for a bit? Vivian is boring me. I’ll take my cell phone.” She looked over me, and winked. “You must be Olivia. I’m Kat. I was wondering how long it would take to find you.”
“How long? How long have you been searching? And … why?” My curiosity changed to panic.
“Four years.” Kat added matter-of-factly. She seemed very proud of herself and playful.
“Kat, before you go.” Alex trailed and wagged a finger at me. I stood up and walked slowly towards him. He patted the chair’s thick, padded arm and I sat down on it obediently counting the seconds. “Can you tell Vivian that Olivia and I are going to be busy and we would like NO interruptions?” He slid his hand up my back along my spine, and I shuddered but managed to stay calm.
“Ew gross. I’ll tell her. Bye Olivia, it was nice meeting you.”
“Likewise.” I bit my lip.
Kat left and shut the door behind her; I shot up and backhanded the smart ass. “PIG!”
“I had to get rid of her.” Alex touched his cheek delicately.
“Why not just ask her?”
“I keep forgetting that you don’t have any siblings. Because she would have just sat here and bugged you with a million questions that you don’t know the answer to.” Smugness rolled over his face. “Besides, I don’t date.”
“Right. Instead you just mess with their heads for fun.”
“Not true. I have other reasons, but that’s not tonight’s subject.”
“I should go.” I balled my hands into fists.
“No, you shouldn’t.” Alex glared, anger thick in his eyes.
Every muscle in my body tightened. “And why not?”
“Tonight’s not a good night to go home. Marley and Sabrine will be waiting to ambush you and erase, or ‘misplace’ tonight’s memories.”
“Yupp. She’s the only one that can do it. It’s her little secret. The Society has lots of little secrets.”
“The society?” I sat back in my original seat, new questions arising.
“The Society of Hunters. Like myself, your Mother and Sabrine.”
“Cleaners. Slayers. The movie names that pretty much prevent mortal deaths by the immortal.”
“Immortal? – Wait – You’re a vampire slayer?”
“Well, not exactly. I ‘slay’ pretty much anything.”
“So?” I asked, though it wasn’t a real question.
“What’s really out there?”
“Demons – of all sorts – vampires, lycans, were-beings.” He muttered something under his breath satirically, it sounded a lot like ‘evil nymphs’. I didn’t ask.
“You’re insane.” I snapped. “None of that shit is real, only stories and lights. Did you forget your meds?”
“No. I’m fairly sane. I have to be to deal with Vivian.”
“And her, is she sane? Did you kidnap that Kat girl?” I was standing, edging towards the door. Sabrine wiping my mind sounds pretty good right now. I fumbled for my truck keys and I cursed remembering that I’d left them in the truck itself.
“No. Kat’s a very dear family member. Like a-”
“If you say ‘pet’ I’ll scream.”
“Then I won’t.” Alex seemed to scrutinize my reaction and edged out of his chair towards me. “Olivia, I’m telling you the truth.”
“Bull.” The word came out sharply.
“Stop it. Get away!”
I was about to turn and run when I ran into Vivian standing in the doorway, obviously alerted from the fit I’d just had before Alex in his own house. Suddenly my temples throbbed again, and everything went black. I cursed as the similar images of Sara entering Michael’s house occurred again and I hit the floor with a pair of arms wrapped around my chest gently. But I was too far gone to fight back and I knew that I would regret this decision when I finally came too.
I woke up as a beam of light struck me in the face so I rolled over on the soft surface I was laying on to escape the potential sunshine. When my eyes opened I found that I wasn’t in my room, instead I was in a large room covered in soft fabrics and pale green walls, much nicer than the room I slept in. There was a little chair next to a small electric fire place across the room from the bed and a large window, with the drapes opened, angled out over a backyard. I rolled over on the bed and came face to face with a younger girl, I remembered her from yesterday and immediately knew where I was. I was still at the Teague’s residence and I’d never made it home.
“Morning Olivia.” Alex’s voice echoed from the doorway. I straightened up and sat up on the bed, careful not to disturb the little girl sleeping in her yellow spotted pajamas.
“Alex? What am I still doing here? What happened?” I shook my head and ran a hand through my tangled hair.
“You had quite a vision yesterday during your tantrum and passed out cold on my floor. How are you feeling?”
“Horrible. And I’m so confused, and surprised that I’m not chained to the bed or something.” I sat on the edge of the bed staring out the window.
“Can we show you something, Olivia, without you freaking out? It’ll answer all your doubts.” Alex added, his voice soft and for once it was gentle.
I looked at him doubtfully but took in his promise and nodded slightly. He placed his hand on Kat’s leg and she stirred and woke up with a start and crawled to the end of the bed to where Alex stood and he whispered something in her ear. She blinked hard and looked awfully shy for a moment and then crawled back to my side.
“Please Olivia, don’t be scared.” Kat said softly and then kissed my cheek. She crawled back from me a bit while I watched, suddenly her body shifted and became a blurry image and then slowly she shrank and her body covered with cream fur, spotted with orange and dark chocolate.
“Oh my …” My voice trailed off as the little girl curled up on my lap in cat form, her eyes watching my carefully and hoping for some sort of comfort.
“Olivia?” Alex added softly, coming to sit next to me on the bed and touched my arm.
I pulled my eyes from Kat’s fur and sad eyes and looked up to Alex, his eyes smug and enjoying my silence. He moved in closer to me and I froze in place, still not sure how to take his movements. “Are you alright?” He asked.
“I think so. Why didn’t you just do this before?”
“It never occurred to me that her little trick could be the ticket to you understanding that I’m not the bad guy.”
“Well… it was.” I stifled a laugh and found myself stroking Kat’s soft fur slowly, and she was actually purring and rolled over on her back to let me stroke her belly.
“She likes you, you know. She was worried and slept by your side all night. She’s never done that before.” Alex smirked.
I was speechless and just continued the motion of petting her like I would any normal pet I’d ever dreamed of having. “Well, I like her too. She’s welcome to keep me company any time.” I smiled softly and Kat bounded off my lap and onto the floor and in a smooth and blurry motion changed back to the 13-year-old girl that I had first seen her as.
“Good.” Alex smirked. “Okay Kat. Go get ready for school and tell Vivian to bring those clothes in here for Olivia.”
“Yes Commander.” And with that, Kat darted out of the room with a bright smile on her lips and spun in the doorway and bolted down the hall.
Alex stayed by my side; he was already dressed for school, with his jeans and tight green shirt that seemed to be part of his customary uniform. He still looked extremely handsome in even the most simple of clothing.
“Alex… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I should’ve prepared you more for what I was going to say. But I just sort of forgot who I was dealing with and…” Alex stopped and I looked past him to see Vivian standing in the doorway with a pile of clothing in her arms.
She tossed them all on the bed and then left the room after rolling her eyes and stretched out her neck and body to make herself look even more intimidating. Alex picked out a few items and handed them to me, and then pointed to a closet.
“You can try them on in there, it’s actually a lot bigger than it looks.”
“And you’re just what? Going to stay in here and make me model for you?” I sneered.
“No. I’m going downstairs to do damage control.” Alex nodded and then stood up and left me to my own dwelling.
I walked over to the closet and opened it up and peaked inside. It was about the size of my room and had more shelves and hanger room than I could ever imagine. I wonder why they had such a room left without an occupant. I quickly tried on a few of the pieces that were obviously expensive and hardly worn, I settled on a jean skirt and black tights that just came below the knee and a white tank top and pulled over a light blue top that had a low, v-cut neck line and exposed most of the tank top and the sleeves were loose and chiffon-like.
I wandered into the hallway, after finding a brush in the closet and straightened out my messy locks, only to find that it was quiet and empty. I found my way to the stairs and quietly tiptoed down the carpeted steps and found myself at the front of the house near the entrance. It was quiet on the main floor as well, as if there was no one in the house at all, that was until I heard Vivian growl something at Alex and I followed their voices into a large stainless steel kitchen.
They all fell silent when I entered the room and they all looked at me. Kat was seated on the island eating cereal, dressed in jeans and a gray top that was far too mature for her age. Vivian still looked like herself, wearing skinny jeans and a loose fitted top, with her dark hair pulled into a ponytail at the nape of her neck.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Is something on backwards?”
“No.” Kat smirked. “They were just talking about making it look like you and Alex were having ‘relations’ last night, instead of you freaking out and passing out up-”
“KAT!” They both snapped.
“Sorry.” She recoiled and slipped away off the island and into the living room.
Vivian glared at me and I moved slowly to sit at the island that they were all standing around. Alex pushed a muffin and a cup of coffee towards me, it was still steaming and I could smell the aroma and it lured me in with all its force. I sipped it slowly and waited for the two of them to start talking again, even though I could feel Vivian’s impatience with me, growing.
“Alright.” I sighed. I released the coffee mug and straightened out my back and looked across both of their plain expressions. “What am I supposed to say, or better yet, not say?”
Alex gave a little shrug and then his shoulders relaxed, and by the look on his face he looked relieved that I was willing to go along with their unorthodox plan. “We-”
“All you have to do is pretend that you and Alex are dating, you were here with him last night and those nosy little tenth graders from next door are going to be spreading that exact rumor. You don’t have to say you were sleeping with him, just make something good up.” Vivian snarled and interrupted Alex; obviously she didn’t like the idea of us actually being a couple.
“Viv…” Alex groaned and rubbed his temples. “Just say you fell asleep here last night watching a movie with me.”
“I can do that.” I nodded and picked at the blueberry muffin before me.
“Great.” Alex sat down on a stool on the opposite side of the island. “But you realize that people will be talking, right?”
“Yes. I’m well aware of that. But it wouldn’t be the first time.” I sighed depressingly and stopped eating; suddenly my appetite had lost its ferocity. “Can I go to school now?” I glanced up at Alex.
“Yes, I suppose so. Here’s your keys, you left them in the ignition.” Alex winked.
“Gee thanks.” I rolled my eyes and snatched the keys from his hand, and only for a second did he hold on to them. “I guess I have to go home and grab my stuff first. I’ll see you at school, Hun.” I teased and blew him a kiss as I moved out of the house in one smooth gait.
I slipped into the cab of the truck and admired the bay in the morning’s light, it glistened but their house still looked gothic and foreign to the brightly assorted homes. I shivered a little of the faces I’d meet in the hallway of the tiny house and I quickly started the car and went home to grab my book bag when I looked over the truck’s bench. My backpack was sitting on the floor by the passenger side; I stared for a brief moment and then shook my head free of all the other worldly assumptions and left the bay and drove to school in my Mother’s only mode of transportation.
I made it to school in no time and I wandered up the front steps with a clear head and moved without taking in a second glance of the faces around me. I quickly trotted up the stairs to my English class, knowing that I’d find sanctuary and some sort of peace due to the fact that Michael no longer sat next to me in that class.
As I made my way into my first class I made a note of how they all silenced as I passed the threshold and that Michael was perched on my table where I now sat by myself. He looked up at me as the class silenced and took in my new appearance with his nose turned up.
“Well, you weren’t wearing that last night.” He snickered.
“Shut up.” I glowered and took my normal seat ignoring the stares I was getting.
“So, is it true?” Michael positioned himself on the table so that he resembled some sort of lazily chiseled statue.
“Is what true Michael?” I didn’t look up at him. I didn’t know how well my lying abilities were going to be around him, they never were truly amazing.
“Olivia, don’t play coy with me. Is it true that you spent the night at Alex’s?”
Something was wrong; Michael had only called me ‘Olivia’ in the early days of our awkward friendship. My heart flopped into my colon and I felt my appendix give a gentle squeeze to move me forward. “Yes I did. But I slept in the spare bed.” I glared at him from behind my blonde bangs.
He looked hurt and a little flabbergasted; he chewed on his lower lip and then straightened himself out. “What happened? I mean after you left my house. Is that why you asked where Vivian lived? Or was that all a ploy?”
“Michael, I really didn’t know where they lived. I needed someone I could yell at, and he was the first person that jumped into my mind. I used Vivian as an excuse.”
“But why? You could’ve yelled at me!”
“No. You told me to go back with my Mom, when all she wanted to do was lock me in my room and tell me that everything was a lie and to go back to pretending I didn’t want to know anything about him. You were the one who told me I would get answers to my questions, when all I wanted was a friend to hold me.” I kept my voice at a decent level, but still loud enough to sound angry.
“What are we talking about?” Black eyes seethed from under spiky bangs as the 5’4” Skylar leaned across my desk
I literally jumped out of my thoughts and my butt left the chair for an instant. “Where the hell did you come from?” I snapped, my voice wavering.
“My locker.” She rolled her eyes with a smirk. “I brought something for you.” She held out her hand and its contents, a strip of folded paper. It was a TicketMaster print out. “Read the listings at the bottom and the date that I highlighted.”
I did as instructed and forgot about Michael for a moment. My eyes dropped down the page until I read the words: MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE playing at the MTS center on December 06/06. I felt like dancing, singing, squealing, but the best part was the ticket read-out next to the date: 4.
“I bought us all tickets. Early ones are the cheapest ones.”
“Oh my damn. Skylar, if I wasn’t straight I would totally kiss you.”
“And if you weren’t sleeping around with Alex, correct? But I suppose a hug will suffice.”
“I’m not sleeping with him.” I glared.
“Oh. Sorry, rumors spread pretty quick around here.” Skylar smiled, her precious white teeth spread before me. “But I’ll pay you back. How much?”
“No. NO. I wanted to make sure that you would go; I don’t want the money back. I just want you two to come with us.”
“Us?” Michael asked, reminding me that he was still there.
“A.J. and I.”
“Sweet!” I laughed. “Alright. I’m game.”
“I’m not.” Michael sulked.
“What? The hell you aren’t.” Skylar snapped.
“That’s Sara’s birthday.”
“So?” Skylar and I sneered.
OH I’m going to kill Sara, no matter how mad Michael’s making me, she’s still getting under my skin. She’s practically changed him so badly that I can’t even remember who he used to be. This wasn’t the Michael that was lying next to me yesterday; I’m going to kill that little wench.
“So, I’m her boyfriend. She would absolutely kill me if I went.”
“It’s a little less than two months away, plan ahead.” I sighed.
“No Olivia.” Michael growled.
“Michael!” Sara came jaunting into the room with her little cast of noisemakers following silently behind. “Come sit over here.” She beckoned.
I locked eyes with him, pleading for his company, though it was a lost cause.
“That’s Ollie to you.” I growled and turned my back to him as he walked to her side.
“Man, he sure is whipped.” Skylar snorted.
“He is, and … I miss the unleashed version of Michael.”
“He’ll come back. I’m heading to class. You’re going to tell me all about last night in art. Catch you later and we’ll talk about concert plans later too. Bye.”
“Okay, cool. I will.” I nodded and went back to my wallowing in the loss of my supposed best friend and the irritation from the eyes piercing into my back.
It was about to be an extremely long day.