I was naïve. I really was. Things were going so well and I was finally feeling like we would be in a good place for the rest of our lives.
I was starting to show and Erik was both ecstatic and terrified. Gertrude purchased many books on pregnancy for him and he read every chance he got. Kendra had fun talking to the baby, calling it her baby sibling. The papers had been processed and she was officially a Moreau. According to Johanna, she was a bright girl and would go far in her schooling.
Then the bandits came.
I was resting in bed, reading one of the books that Erik had dog-eared for me, when my spine started to tingle. I sat up with difficulty and looked around. I walked to the window and drew back the curtains. I gasped.
"Erik!" I shouted. "Erik!"
Bandits were pouring into the village, each one holding a lit torch. Erik had already sensed them, though, and threw a cloak over me. We had to wake Kendra up and she scrambled into her shoes and a cloak of her own. Cami, to my surprise, clung to Kendra's shoulder as we ran outside.
"Wait!" I said when Erik ran back.
"I have to go help," he said and kissed my forehead. "I will meet you in the woods. Go now."
My lower lip trembled but I let Gertrude drag me away.
"They will be safe," Gertrude said. "You'll see. Come on. We need to get the two of you somewhere safe."
Kendra was crying and Cami was meowing in panic. I tried to keep my mind cal but that didn't stop me from looking over my shoulder every so often so that I could see Erik. We got in a little way and Kendra wrapped her arms around me tightly.
"Everything will be fine," I said but Kendra didn't answer.
"I want to help," she said in a small voice.
"I know but we cannot help," I said.
She looked up at me. "If I were a vampire, too, could I help?"
I sighed, knowing why she asked. I pulled her away from the others and we sat at the base of a tree. I put my arm around her shoulders.
"Kendra," I began," there are some things you have to understand." I thought for a few moments. "How old do you think I am?"
I smiled a little at her. "I turn 34 in the spring." Her eyes widened. "Erik is 140."
"But he doesn't look any older than his 20's, too!"
I nodded. "That is what happens. Once you are turned, your looks freeze."
She frowned. "So I would look like I'm 12 forever?"
"Yes." I sighed. "Feeding is not as easy as it may sound. It is hard, messy, and tiring. And, if you are not careful, you could end up killing someone."
She didn't answer for a while. I looked over at the village where I could still hear fighting.
"Can I think about it for a while?" she mumbled.
"Of course," I said and kissed her forehead. "Wait here," I added. "I cannot stand this."
I stood up and climbed the nearest tree.
"Madame Camille!" Johanna shouted. "No! The baby!"
I ignored her and continue to climb until I could see over the trees. I screamed just as our house erupted into flames. I found Erik fighting alongside Howard. When our house was engulfed, I saw his eyes go red.
"No!" I screamed. "Erik! Stop!"
He heard me and looked over just as a bandit put a sword through his leg. I screamed again. Erik slashed the man's chest and he fell to the ground. I knew he was dead. Erik started pushing Howard to the forest. I tried to climb down but my foot slipped. I gasped, too breathless to scream, but Erik caught me, reaching me with the speed only vampires possessed.
His eyes were red and his fangs exposed. Howard and Gertrude stared at us in fear.
"Kendra," Erik panted, "your marble. Now."
"But I don't know where to go!" she said, digging it out of her pocket.
"Trust yourself," he said. "Tell it to take us somewhere safe." He looked at our friends. "Come with us."
"It's true," Gertrude gasped, pale faced. "You-You really are-"
"We do not have time," I said, starting to cry and I reached for her. Howard pulled her away. "Please! If you stay here you will die! Please come with us!"
"We trusted you!" Howard shouted.
Gertrude looked torn and Kendra held my hand. I looked around wildly then grabbed Gertrude's hand, gripping it tightly when she tried to move. I closed my eyes just as the world tugged out under us.
It was raining where we were transported. Cami hid under Kendra's cloak, still meowing loudly. I opened my eyes and looked at the building in front of us.
It was large with two stories and a dark exterior. Before I could talk to Erik, Gertrude whimpered.
"It can't be true," she whispered. "You-You're not supposed to exist."
"That is what I thought, too," I whispered. "Please, I am sorry I deceived you but you would have killed us otherwise."
She frowned. "What? No I wouldn't have."
I blinked. "You would not?"
Howard, however, shook his head. "I can't believe this!" he yelled. "You betrayed us! If you hadn't moved to our village, we wouldn't have had-!"
Suddenly, Gertrude slapped him. He stared at her in shock.
"They just saved our lives!" she shouted. "Don't be so ungrateful!"
"But what about our children, Gertrude?"
"They'll be safe."
The gate in front of us swung open and I bit my lip. A young man with black hair and red eyes was slowly walking forward.
"So," he said, his eyes sweeping across us. "This is the company you keep these days."
Erik's jaw clenched. "You look well."
The man stared at him for a few moments. "Come. He is expecting you."
"Where are we, Erik?" I asked.
He held my hand. "My master's home," he whispered.