The room came reluctantly into focus. It was a generic guest bedroom, with pale, creamy walls, some photographic prints on the walls and red curtains on the windows. The bedding was white with a rose on and the double bed was soft and comfortable. The door was ajar and I could hear someone moving around the rooms below. I could smell the air from outside and knew I was no longer in the city. The smells were of countryside and forests now. I guessed I was in a small village not far from where Lee had attacked. I'd passed through, always at night, always travelling on to other places. I sat up, aching in every fibre of my body.
"Hey," a very familiar voice said at the door. "It's nice to see you awake."
My head shot up, disbelieving. Though I moved too fast and the room span. After a few moments, it settled and I looked again. His eyes were a warm, deep brown and his hair fell messily in deep chocolate layers, curling slightly at the ends as I remembered. His skin was a lot paler than it used to be, but his smell-the masucline smell that always surrounded him, that always used to tell me he was there, was still the same, only now I could smell it better. His body had changed too, becoming perfect in form. But it was his eyes I had remembered most and they focused on me now, as warm and welcoming as they always had been.
"I've missed you, Asha"
I didn't reply, not sure of what to say. Then gave up and threw my arms around him, burying my face in his shoulder.
"Jake..." I whispered, a wave of homecoming hitting me. After a moment, he pulled me close, burying his face in my hair as he used to. After a long time, we pulled away to look at each other.
"Jake, I'm sorry.. I couldn't come back, not after what happened. I couldn't risk hurting you or anyone. And..would you have believed me?"
He smiled, shaking his head "I probably wouldn't if it hadn't happened to me too. Some little girl attacked me randomly, with another old guy egging her on. I never found out who they were. When I came to, I was like this. Found some other people who run a kind of sancutary for vampires. Vampire Mansion. People there explained what had happened to me and what I needed to do to keep myself out of trouble. I branched out on my own about a year ago... I wanted to see a bit of the world since it looks like I'm going to live forever now." He grinned at me.
I smiled weakly back. "Sounds like you had an okay time of it then.. all things considered."
"No. No, I missed my old life and you every day. Nothing helped it. I just tried to make the best and I got very lucky. Chance encounters and that kind of thing. Like that hotel.. If I hadn't been passing through, you would have died for real..."
I looked down at that point. "Jake, I can't ever forgive myself for putting you through that. But I had no choice. I never lied, I still love you. I missed you every day since then. And I've not had much luck. I'm technically on the run from the Council and Lee will hunt me wherever I go."
Jake pulled me against his chest, automatically I put my arms around him. "No one is going to hurt you again, Asha. I'm here. I'm not leaving you unless you want me to and no one has to tear us apart again. Theres nothing to forgive, I completely understand. I don't care what you did, you're still the person I love.. I've always loved you."
Though I was aching with guilt, oddly, it melted away instantly at his words. I smiled eventually.
"So what happens now then?"
As if waiting for a cue, there was a sound of splintering wood from downstairs. Jake threw me my swords from where they leaned on the wall and ran down, with me a little behind.
There, in the kitchen, brushing wood and glass from his shoulders, was the one person I had wanted to avoid. Lee.