I was annoyed. I didn't get anywhere. I had hoped being away from everyone would loosen Kendra up but it seemed to only make it worse. As we walked back to her house, I started to plan a different way to get close to them.
She stopped walking and I knew why. My head turned a little and I swore under my breath. She took her heels off and we both started running back to the city where people's screams were mixed with the smell of smoke.
Duke Moreau was waiting for her and grabbed her hand to drag her in the house. I was going to run back to mine but she took my wrist, shaking her head.
"It's too dangerous," she said and I let her pull me in.
Duke Moreau slammed and locked the door. We all slowly backed away, being as quiet as possible. Colin walked in with two rifles, passing one to the duke. I took a second to wonder where they got them but a rough voice got my attention.
"Look! That house looks like it's got a-plenty!"
"Well, what are you waitin' for, then?" another snapped.
The door rattled and I glanced at Kendra. Her eyes were furious and I could see the tip of her fangs. It was obvious she wasn't used to hiding her vampire in high stress situations.
"The door's locked!" the first bandit shouted.
"Of course it is, you idiot! Oi! The window!"
A torch flew through the window and Kendra picked it up before it could burn the wooden floor.
"Why ain't it burnin'?"
Another swore. "They're still in there!"
Duke Moreau nodded to Kendra and she threw the torch as if it was a throwing knife. A man had tried to come in and he screamed as the fire engulfed him.
"Get it off, get it off, get it off!" he screamed.
"Whoever did that is gonna pay!"
Duke Moreau planted his feet and raised the rifle. He nodded again and Kendra grabbed the back of my collar. She yanked me back just in time. A head was coming in and Duke Moreau pulled the trigger. The bullet whizzed past me and lodged into the marble. The bandit froze.
"Come in any closer and I will not be so generous!" the duke snarled.
His eyes were fighting from blue to red, impressing me. Even now, as he protected his family, the duke wasn't dropping his guard.
"Ar, you're probably not worth it," he snapped. "Nothin' here! Let's just go!"
No one moved for a few minutes. Kendra inched closer to the window.
"They're gone," she announced and the duke passed the gun back to Colin.
"Are you all right?" the duchess asked Kendra.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
When she did, I saw a bite mark on her neck. I frowned but her hair covered it again and I cleared my throat.
"Thank you for letting me wait here," I said. "I need to go check on my store, though."
"Quickly, in case they come back," the duke said, shaking my hand. "And thank you for getting my daughter back safely."
It's more like she got me back.
"Of course," I said and bowed to the women. "Good day."
"Stay safe," Kendra said and our eyes met.
We seemed to pass each other the same message:
I know what you are.
I left and jogged to the shop, looking around. There wasn't much damage. Any fires had been quickly extinguished and everyone seemed safe. When I got to the shop, I let out a sigh of relief.
"Thank goodness," I said as Ben swept up the broken glass.
"Aw, were you worried about me?" he teased.
I rolled my eyes. "This store may be a farce but some of this stuff is expensive."
"How'd it go with Lady Kendra?" he asked and I pressed my lips together.
"Did they steal anything?"
"No," he said and narrowed his eyes at me. "What did you learn from her?"
I sighed and leaned against the counter, shaking my head.
"Not a damn thing," I said. "She's sealed tighter than a drum." I rubbed my chin in my thought. "There was one thing, though...." Ben looked at me. "I saw bite marks on her neck."
Ben's eyebrows came together. "I thought you said that they disappear."
"They do if they were made by your master," I said.
He dropped the broom. "That means-"
I nodded. "She was attacked before she was turned."
I stood in front of my vanity, brushing my hair and singing under my breath. My window was open, letting in the cool night air. Cleaning up the mess of the attempted raid was easy. My thoughts were now on Solomon.
I hadn't told my parents, but I knew he saw my bite marks. I glared at them as I moved my hair to get rid of a knot. Just like every time, anger boiled inside of me and I looked around. For now, I sufficed with chucking my brush out the window.
I jumped and pulled my robe together at the top. I ran to my window and my jaw dropped.
"Are you stalking me!?" I screeched.
"N-No of course not!" he stammered. "I just- I heard a noise, and I-"
"Of course you did! I was singing! What are you doing in our gardens!?"
Mathias Lance fell to his knees, a pathetic sight, truly. He put his hands together.
"I'm obsessed with you, Lady Kendra," he said. Well that was obvious. "I want to make it right."
I shook my head. "You can't, Mr. Lance," I said. "Go home."
A gun shot echoed in the night and I looked down to see below my window. My papa stood on the porch, his gun pointed at Mathias. Mathias looked horrified.
"Home, Mr. Lance," he hissed. "Now or I will not give you a second chance!"
I wanted to see what happened next but Mama ran in and pulled me in, slamming the window shut.
"Are you all right?" she asked and I sighed.
"I'm fine," I said.
"How long was he out there?"
I shook my head. "I don't know. I was distracted."
She was going to speak but Papa stormed in.
"Did he hurt you?" he demanded.
"Of course not," I said.
"Why did you not tell me he was here?"
"I didn't know he was," I said honestly with a small shrug. "I was brushing my hair and got mad. I... well, I threw my brush out the window." Mama shook her head. "It hit him and that's when I found out he was there."
"I knew there was something wrong with that boy!" Papa said, his fangs extended.
"That reminds me," I said and he looked at me. "You need to be careful, Papa. You almost revealed yourself today. If we didn't know that Mr. Bailey was a vampire already-"
Papa's face went blank. He turned slowly to Mama.
"Can you give us a minute?" he asked through clenched teeth.
She sighed. "Erik," she began but his eyes flashed and she nodded, shutting the door quietly.
Papa glared at me and I tried to stand my ground.
"What did I say about keeping secrets?" he hissed.
"I wasn't keeping a secret," I defended. "I was sure you knew by now!"
"Then why did you go walk with him today!?" he shouted. "Do you know how dangerous that was?"
"It wasn't dangerous!" I argued. "All we did was walk!"
He threw his hands up in the air. "Kendra! He is a vampire from London! Have you forgotten already!?"
"Of course I haven't! I was in that cell, too! I'm not stupid, Papa!"
"I am trying to get it through your thick skull! If he finds out who we truly are, we could be in serious danger!"
"I understand! I didn't say anything to him!"
"You will not see him again," he snapped.
"Like hell I won't," I snarled.
That was the last straw. He slapped me again. I clenched my teeth but slapped him back, my nails leaving scratch marks on his face. His jaw dropped.
"I'm sick of this Papa," I said, my voice shaking. "I will see whoever I wish; that includes Solomon Bailey."
He looked lost for words and I pierced my wrist, putting some blood in the small goblet I kept at my vanity. I filled it with my blood and pushed it at him.
"I know you're trying to protect me, Papa, but you have no idea how lonely I am."
He stared. "You are lonely?"
"More than you know," I whispered and turned my back on him.
I didn't want him to see my tears. I wiped them away and smelled him pierce his wrist, as well.
"I am sorry I lost my temper," he muttered as I drank his blood. I felt the bruise heal and put the goblet down. He hugged me. "After what happened to you, I cannot help but want to protect you."
I sighed and hugged him back. "I'm sorry I yelled, too." I shook my head. "We can't keep fighting with each other."
He sighed heavily. "I just wish you would try to see things as they are."
"And I wish you would try and see things from my point of view."
He pulled out of the hug. "I will make a deal - I mean a compromise with you," he said. "If you will be open with me, I will be open with you. Agreed?"
I smiled and nodded, shaking his hand. "Agreed."
We hugged again and Cami jumped out from under the bed. Our shouting had scared her and she mewed at Papa, reaching out with her paw. He hesitated but let her touch his hand.
"Good night, Kendra."
"Good night, Papa," I sighed. "I'm sorry again."
"As am I."