I pulled myself onto the countertop and crossed my legs as Jayred and Conan found chairs and sat to listen to Alaric.
“You are one of the few people to know what we are, Tala. Even in our home, we cannot be normal, how we want to be. Only when the doors are shut and the curtains drawn can we be ourselves properly. You and Jayred are lucky. You can be completely normal bar those nights, we cannot; we always are and will be different.
I did not want to be like this, however grateful I am to Conan for saving my life. But I wouldn’t have chosen this for myself; I can’t imagine how easy it is for you to blend in.”
I rested back on my hands, frowning as everyone else watched me and Alaric stare at each other. His purple-blue eyes shone with pure honesty as he continued.
“Twenty years ago, I was attacked and left to die in my own blood. It was a miracle that anyone found me. But Lucan and Conan found me and made me like I am now. Tell me, Tala, what happened to you? Why do you live here with Jayred? Where are your family?”
I sat straight up and slammed my hands onto the counter in front of me, ignoring the crack that appeared between my palms and snarling viciously at him.
“My family abandoned me in an empty house when that...” Jay ran across to my side as I struggled to keep my shape together. With his calming hand on my shoulder, I pulled myself together and continued with gritted teeth.
“I was a solitary child. I didn’t really fit in, even when I wasn’t like I am now. Our house backed onto the woods and I would play there as much as I could. I was at home there, comfortable by myself. She didn’t like me playing in there though; I would sneak out and run until I couldn’t hear her calling anymore but he didn’t mind, he let me take the basket and the books and listen to me when I talked.”
Jay’s hand tightened on my shoulder, I knew he missed my father, probably more than I did but I had to keep talking.
“The night I was turned they were arguing. About me, I think, I was not doing well in school or something like that. I crept out of the window, down the porch posts and across the lawn into the woods. She saw me. Her screams sent me further in...” I broke off again, the calls of my mother and father sounding in my head, torturing me with the familiar ‘what if?’ Jayred hopped up onto the counter next to me and lifted me onto his lap, cuddling me close.
“The woods were quiet, the moon bright and I could hear the sound of it coming closer. I stayed where I was; I had noticed the wolf tracks around before and I wanted to see them, I stayed in the hollow of that oak until I could practically feel the ground shake beneath me.”
My voice started to quiver, making Jay press his face into my hair, snuffling comfortingly.
“They came from the west side of the clearing, about seven of them. Looking back now, I can tell that they weren’t the sleek majestic creatures that I thought they were at the time.”
I stopped talking, not wanting to go into detail about how they found me under the tree and.... Sobs choked in my throat and I turned into Jay, buried my face in his chest and wept brokenly.