I saw Darran turn his head, as if he'd heard something. He left the window, leaving Riley waving sheepishly. I raised and eyebrow and he smiled. Darran appeared in the patio doors, looking worried.
"Ace, there's someone at the door claiming they know you," he told me.
I looked at him, alarmed. I jumped up from the poolside and slipped my shoes on. I picked up my top and pulled it on as I hurried through the house. At the front door, there was a woman. She looked about 30 or so, her blonde hair dotted with the occasional grey one.
"Can I help you?" I asked her.
"You don't recognise me?" she replied.
"Sorry, no. You must have the wrong house."
"No, Ace, it's me. I don't know why I'm surprised you don't recognise me. It's been a while, to say the least. I was a teenager the last time you saw me, so were you. You still are though. I still love you, Ace."
"You remember me," she breathed in relief.
"Of course I remember you. I mean, we went out for four years."
"Yeah, we did. The last time I saw you, you broke my heart."
"I know, and I'm sorry, but--" I started.
"To be honest, Ace, 'sorry' isn't really good enough."
"I know it's not but there's nothing else I can say, Em."
"You didn't even tell me why you were leaving. You just said you had to go. I thought the worst, Ace. I thought you'd been caught with the drugs -all of them- and you were running away from the police. I didn't want to think it, but I did. What else was I supposed to think? But what did happen, Ace? What happened to make you leave me and our little girl?"
"Em, what are you talking about? You were..."
"Pregnant? Yeah, I was."
"You never told me," I said quietly, utterly shocked by the news.
"I was going to, that night. The last night I saw you, when you took me to dinner after ice skating. I was going to tell you then, but then you said you were leaving, and we had that fight... I couldn't tell you then, could I? I know what you are, Ace."
"Yeah. Ironic, isn't it, that I married a vampire hunter?" she asked.
"What's going on?" Zoe asked from behind me.
"Z-zoe, this... this is Emma," I stammered, still in shock.
"So this is the one you replaced me with? Bit young, isn't she? And she doesn't seem your type. I bet she can hardly fill her bra," said Emma spitefully.
"What was the point of coming here tonight, Em?" I asked her, getting angry.
"I don't know," she admitted.
"Then could you please leave?"
She looked between me and Zoe a few times before turning on her heel and walking away. I closed the door and slid to the floor. I hugged my knees to my chest and dropped my head onto my arms.
Zoe knelt down in front of me and touched my arm. I didn't respond to her touch. I thought about what I was going to do. My options were extremely limited, but one stood out in my mind: find out whether she was telling the truth about me having a daughter.
I stood up, slowly and shakily. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, only momentarily surprised it had survived the pool. I walked past Zoe and headed upstairs as I searched through the contact list for the number I wanted. I found it and dialled.
The ringing was painstakingly slow, but eventually someone picked up.
"Hello?" said the person I wanted -needed- to talk to.
"Markus, I need your help," I said quietly into the microphone.