Camille came in while I was changing. Her face was anxious.
"Please tell me you did not hit her," she said and I smiled.
"Believe it or not, she hit me back," I said. She looked surprised and I put my arms around her. "Camille, when is the last time she spoke to you about her star?"
"Not since Mathias Lance showed his true colors," she answered. "Why?"
I sighed, shaking my head. "She is lonely. I do not know why I did not see it sooner." I hesitated. "Do you think it is time?"
She put her head on my chest. "Not without her consent," she said. "I am so tired of secrets in this family, Erik, and I know you are, too. How long did you know Mr. Bailey was a vampire?"
"Since he dropped off the dress," I said. "I was going to tell you but then Kendra had her nightmare."
She nodded. "That is when she and I sensed it. Are you sure you want to do this, though."
I put my head on hers. "I do not want her to have to wait as long as I did, Camille," I whispered and she tightened her hold on me. "There is more to her problem than this puberty that Ilya speaks of."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"What if.... What if she is running out of time?" I asked and she looked at me. "I think he has the answers."
"Very well. We will speak with her after breakfast."
I lifted her face to mine and kissed her.
"I love you very much," I said and she smiled.
"I love you, too."
After breakfast, I was summoned to the parlor. I huffed, sure I was going to be lectured again for last night. I walked in with as much dignity as I could but frowned. My parents sat there looking nervous.
"Please sit," Papa said and I obeyed.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Your father and I have been in correspondence with someone," Mama said. "Someone who can help you."
"With finding your star," Papa said and I sat up straighter. "It is... complicated, though."
"Who is it?"
"You remember Richard?" Mama asked and I nodded, smiling.
"The fairy that gave me the marble."
"Yes. He sent me a letter after I gave birth to Colin. He said that something had changed after my father was murdered. He said it had something to do with the vampires and the fairies. He asked about you."
"We told him of your nightmares," Papa picked up the story. "He mailed us some books for us to do research from. It is our believe that he can help you find him and give us some answers."
"When will we come here?" I asked and they shared a look.
"He-He cannot leave his home," Mama whispered.
I shut my eyes. "So we would have to go to him."
"Yes," Papa said and he took my hand. I looked at him. "This is your decision, Kendra. We will not make it for you. I can tell you, though, that I believe it to be the best course of action for you."
I looked down at the floor. Return to London? The one place that destroyed everything I loved? That almost destroyed my family? The idea repulsed me but this emptiness inside me threatened to drive me insane.
While I was still thinking it over, Johanna came in with a letter for me.
"I had forgotten," I muttered. "It's Ilya's response. I wrote to him when I first noticed I couldn't pick up on Mr. Bailey's scent," I explained. "I didn't want to worry you."
"Read it," Papa urged and I opened it, reading it out loud.
Do not worry. It is not uncommon for a vampire to not pick up on another's scent. It could be that this vampire is old and has found ways to disguise himself. It might also have something to do with who he is as a man. There is only one person who can give you a foolproof answer: Richard.
Let me know when you get your answers.
I bit my lip. "It looks like we're going to London," I whispered. "But what if they recognize us?"
"There are rumors that Solomon Bailey is going to London, too," Papa said slowly.
"Where have you heard them?" I asked.
"The bandit raid," he admitted. "When I shook his hand, I saw London." I nodded thoughtfully. "We are considering asking him to join us. It will give us added protection and we will offer to pay for his expenses. We just need to ask him."
"Which means I will be asking him," I said and he smiled.
"Colin did say you would like his store."
"Jesus, wake up!"
Someone slapped me hard and I fell off the stool. I staggered to my feet and looked around. I was in the shop and the sun was setting. I rubbed my eyes and Ben stood in front of me, looking concerned.
"What the hell was that for?" I snapped.
"You were shouting and I couldn't get you to wake up again," he said.
"What was I shouting this time?" I asked wearily, going around the counter to lock the front door.
We had put a thick tarp over the window for now. A lot of people had broken windows so the glass maker was working overtime.
Ben frowned and sat down on the stool, pointing at the other one. I wasn't used to the serious side of Ben and it was making me nervous.
"You were fighting with yourself," he said. "You were talking about being a vampire from London and said 'Papa' again. Long story short, the Moreau family know you're a vampire and that you're from London."
I groaned. "I said all that?"
He tilted his head to the side. "You have a link to their home. I don't know what it is, but it's there. They also know you're planning on going back to London."
I stared at him. After the attack on the Moreau Estate, I had questions that only one person in London had the answer to. It was obvious I wasn't going to get close to Kendra any time soon. Now we couldn't even open the store until the glass maker had our window repaired.
"Why does it have to be so damn complicated?" I spat, kicking over an empty box.
"Just relax," Colin said as we walked down the dark streets.
"Easy for you to say," I grumbled, looking around. "You know how important this is."
"Which is why you need to calm down," he said. "If you don't, you'll freak yourself out and everything will go wrong."
I sighed. "I'm so tired of playing this game with him, Colin."
"Father said you could tell him," he pointed out. "Do that if it makes you feel any better."
"I don't know if it will, to be honest," I said. "It's worth a shot, though...."
We got to their shop door. A black tarp fluttered in the wind as Colin knocked on the door. I gulped.
"We're closed!" his business associate - who I knew now was a vampire - shouted.
"It's Colin and Kendra Moreau," Colin said. "We're here to speak with Solomon Bailey."
The door opened a crack. "About what?" Benjamin asked.
"Nothing we can talk about in the open," I said in a low voice.
He looked conflicted but let us in regardless. The store really did look interesting and, if we hadn't been here under such sensitive circumstances, I would like to walk around it.
Solomon came down the stairs, his shirt unbuttoned.
"Ben, who was that?" he asked. When he saw me, he quickly pulled his shirt closed. "Sir Colin, Lady Kendra. I'm sorry but we're closed. If you've come about more jewelry, I won't have any until-"
I rolled my eyes and stomped my foot.
"How much longer are we going to pretend, Mr. Bailey?" I snapped and he arched a brow.
He walked down the remaining stairs slowly, buttoning his shirt as he did so, without taking his eyes off me. He came to the front of the counter but leaned back against it.
"Prove it," he said.
"Solomon," Benjamin said.
"Not now," he snapped.
"You already know," I said. "Why bother?"
"It's important. Until you prove it, I won't say a single word."
I sighed and walked forward, pulling my hair behind my shoulders. Solomon frowned and touched the bite marks on the right side of my neck. I shook my head and turned so that he could see the left side. Cringing, I made the marks appear. He nodded then turned his head, revealing his marks, too. I extended my fangs as he did the same. We both nodded again.
"I forgot how much that hurt," he muttered, rubbing his neck. "Why have you come? I know it's not to talk about this."
I covered Benjamin's bite marks, also rubbing my neck. I sighed.
"We're going to London," I said. "There are rumors that you are, too."
He glared at Benjamin.
"I didn't say anything," he said immediately.
"We're vampires," I said. "You don't have to."
"Who?" Solomon demanded.
"My papa," I answered.
"You call him papa?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Of course. Why?"
"No reason," he said quickly and cleared his throat. "So what if I'm going to London?"
"We're going as well," I repeated. "My papa wishes to extend an invitation to travel with us. If you do, we will pay for your expenses."
He narrowed his eyes. "And what part will I be playing?"
"Protection," I answered, "until we part ways."
"Is there foul play?" he whispered and I sighed heavily.
"You're as paranoid as my papa," I grumbled. "Only about the trip, nothing more."
He nodded as we put our pointer and middle fingers on each other's foreheads.
"Kendra," Colin said. "Maybe that's not such a good idea."
"It'll be fine, Colin," I said, looking into Solomon's eyes. I felt that strange tug in my stomach again. "If he breaks the pact, he'll be punished and the same will be done to me."
We closed our eyes at the same time. I saw an image of Richard hovering over London. We lowered our fingers at the same time and I frowned. Why was he looking for Richard? His eyes flicked between mine.
"When do we leave?" he whispered.