I was at a complete loss for words. What was he doing?! I thought he was the one that kidnapped me in the first place and then seemed to completely hate me, why was he rescuing me? If that’s what he was doing…
I suddenly became wary of him. Those eyes seemed a little too sinister, his stance became intimidating and he seemed to be smirking.
‘Don’t be afraid, I’m here to save you,’ he spoke perfectly innocently, still in that hypnotic, smooth voice of his.
‘Why should I trust you? You kidnapped me in the first place,’ I pointed out. He shrugged.
‘Let’s just say, I’ve had some time to think,’ he smiled. ‘Come on, before Luke wonders where you are!’ Before I could protest, he grabbed me by the hand and led me deftly through back alleyways and into a separate parking lot. He opened a car door for me and without thinking, I climbed inside. I was just so desperate to get away from Luke I didn’t think about the consequences at the time. Looking back now, I do very much regret making that car journey with Gabriel.
‘So where are you taking me?’ I enquired.
‘To safety,’ Gabriel replied, keeping his eyes on the road. I was just so thankful to not be trapped in the back of the van that I didn’t ask many questions.
‘It’s not far,’ Gabriel reassured me. It was hard to think that I thought he was evil at first, even if he did give off very bad vibes. I leaned against the seat in comfort and sighed happily. I was finally free of Luke. ’I’m so tired,’ I mumbled.
‘Here,’ Gabriel handed me a Styrofoam cup and the sweet familiar smell of coffee filled the car. ’This’ll keep you awake.’
I sipped at it gratefully, letting the warmth run through me and refresh me. There were a few moments of silence, the car glided smoothly down the road and the bright green lights of the speedometer soothed me and made me feel safe for some reason. It was how I had always felt travelling at night when the car was warm and the lights were comforting.
‘How you feeling?’ Gabriel spoke softly.
‘A little tired actually,’ I smiled, my eyelids drooping. ‘I thought coffee was supposed to wake you up, not…the other way round.’ I started to slur my words towards the end as the tiredness overpowered me. Gabriel started to whisper something, but I didn’t hear him. I was asleep within seconds.
I was dreaming that I was standing in a field in the middle of nowhere. It was a really picturesque field, with poppies and daffodils and I could hear the faint sound of happy laughter in the distance. It was such a realistic dream, I could feel the warmth of the sun lightly touching my skin and there was a gentle breeze that ran its fingers through my hair. I closed my eyes and smiled, head tilted upwards towards the sky, and inhaled the fresh air. My eyes snapped open however as I caught scent of something so…delicious. There was no other way to describe it. It made my mouth water.
I turned my head in the direction the scent was coming from to find a little girl, sat cross legged a few yards away. I frowned; I was certain she wasn’t there before. She had her back to me but she couldn’t have been more than five or six. Her long blonde hair tumbled down her back and her shoulders seemed to be shaking, like she was crying.
‘Hey?’ I called out softly, taking tentative steps towards her. ‘Are you okay?’ She didn’t reply, and as I crept closer she turned round and stared up at me with large, glassy blue eyes. Her cheeks were red and tear stained and she looked so sad. I instinctively reached out to her, touching her shoulder.
‘Hey sweetie, are you okay?’ She simply shook her head, blonde hair falling into her eyes. That tantalizing scent still hadn’t gone away, in fact it seemed to have now intensified and it caused me pain, but I ignored it and focussed on the little girl.
‘I’m lost,’ she sobbed.
‘Come here, I’ll help you find your mummy and daddy,’ I smiled at her, picking her up. The pain now felt like a red hot iron and burned its way right through my mouth, down my throat and caused me to cry out loud, startling the young girl. I put her back down as I tried to numb the pain.
‘Are you okay?’ she looked up at me with worry and fear.
A shocking pain ripped through me, across my stomach and up my spine. I screamed loudly. The little girl started crying harder and she ran off. Before I knew what was happening, I chased after her with incredible speed and instinctively darted for her throat, an aching pain shooting through my gums before I sunk my teeth into her neck.
A scream ripped out from my throat, but this time I was awake. I woke up with sweat pouring down my face and clinging to the back of my neck. For one moment I was terrified and alone and confused. I was in a strange bed, in a strange room with no recollection of the previous 24 hours.
After a few seconds, everything came rushing back to me, the kidnapping, running away from Luke, Gabriel giving me coffee…
‘Tara?’ Gabriel came rushing into the room. ‘Are you okay?’
‘I-I’m fine,’ I stuttered. ‘Just a bad dream. Where are we?’
Gabriel sat down at the end of the bed before murmuring, ‘In a hotel.’
‘Why are we in a hotel? Why can’t you just take me home?’
‘Because that’s the first place Luke will go.’
‘Why does he want to kidnap me so bad? And why are you rescuing me when you were involved in the first place?’ I repeated my earlier question. My questions came out sharper than I’d intended and I didn’t want to come across as ungrateful so I was about to say something else when Gabriel spoke again.
‘Some people are looking for you Tara. You’re not safe on your own so Luke thought that if he kidnapped you himself, you’d always be safe with him, but the truth is, he’s not that strong. He wouldn’t be able to protect you if the worst came to the worst.’
‘Who’s looking for me?’ I asked, puzzled.
‘Some old enemies. It’s a very long story, one that cannot be discussed now; it’s not the right time. But you just have to trust me right now okay? With all due respect to Luke I am far stronger than him and I’d be able to protect you more. The others don’t agree with me doing this, in fact they didn’t want anything to do with it in the first place. Ruby said we shouldn’t get involved with this and just let them do what they wanted and Reuben was up for a fight but not for protecting you. I have to admit that I was at first a little… hesitant about the prospect of getting involved in such a drastic problem. Luke was the only one who wanted to protect you.’
He let all of this sink in as I stared numbly ahead. I had no idea what was going on or who ‘they’ were or why Luke was so protective over me when I didn’t even know who he was. I had no idea why Gabriel was being nice to me now and what had changed his mind.
‘To be honest, I do still feel the same way.’
I blinked at him as I processed the words. He still didn’t care for me? Why was he doing all this?
My stomach lurched as it hit me. I scrambled off the bed and ran to the door, but Gabriel got there much faster than me and blocked my way.
‘Wow, that didn’t take you long did it?’ He smirked at me. My heart was hammering wildly as my eyes darted around the room, looking for possible escapes. There was a window but we were far too high up for me to use it.
‘You’re cleverer than I thought.’ He brushed his fingers across my temple. ‘Clever.’ I was rooted to the spot in fear. Gabriel hadn’t rescued me; he’d planned this. He’d led me right into his trap and now I was going to die.
‘You can come out now,’ he declared in a louder voice, eyes still fixed on me. I heard the floorboards creak behind me and I whirled round to find myself looking into the hungry eyes of Reuben.
The corner of his mouth lifted up into a snarl and he moved closer to me. I took a step back, only to bump into Gabriel, who grabbed me by the shoulders.
‘You tricked me,’ I tried to turn on Gabriel, but he had a firm grip on my shoulders. ‘You led me here.’
‘I think we’ve established that now,’ Gabriel commented dryly.
‘Why? What have I done to you?’ I was starting to get angry, despite the circumstance I was in, it was dangerous to get them mad but I couldn’t help it. ‘I don’t even know who you are!’
‘Poor, innocent little Tara,’ Reuben murmured in a silky, mesmerizing voice. His blue eyes flashed dangerously. I was entranced once more, just like before, it felt like my chest was tightening, restricting me of oxygen and crushing me, but I couldn’t look away, I kept silent and fixed on his glare. Just when the room started spinning and I was sure I was going to pass out, he blinked and I was free.
Choking, I spluttered: ‘How on earth… do you do that?’
Reuben simply smiled secretively.
‘You should have stayed with Luke, you should never have trusted me,’ Gabriel whispered into my ear.
‘Who the hell are you?!’ I exploded. I jerked free out of Gabriel’s grip, but I couldn’t go anywhere; I was trapped in between them. ‘Why do you want to kidnap me so bad? I’ve never seen you before in my life!’
‘That’s not important,’ Gabriel smiled. ’You see, in a few minutes it won’t matter how we know you, it won’t matter why we kidnapped you, virtually nothing will matter.’ As Gabriel said this, he began sauntering towards me, eyes fixed on mine. I noticed he left the door unguarded. I thought about making a run for it, but I very much doubted that I’d get past him.
Reuben brushed my hair away from my shoulders, leaving his cold fingers at the nape of my neck. I stiffened.
‘What are you going to do?’ I couldn’t help but whimper. This seemed to amuse them as they chuckled in unison.
‘Haven’t you ever dreamed that there was more to life? That you were destined for other things?’ Gabriel spoke to me seriously, all traces of humour gone. ’Ever felt that there was this empty hole in your life and nothing ever seemed to fill it, you just felt…lonely? Confused?’
I stopped and stared at him. I hated to admit it, but I had sometimes felt like that. I just thought it was a phase I was going through, but deep down I knew it was more than that.
‘I’m right aren’t I?’ Gabriel softened his voice and looked at me almost sympathetically. ’I’ve felt the same, Tara. But we can help you. You’ll never have to feel alone again…’
‘How?’ my voice was a mere whisper.
‘Just close your eyes,’ Gabriel smiled. I did as I was told. I’m not too sure why I willingly listened to him, maybe he was using some sort of power over me. Right then it just felt like everything he said was right and I had no reason to fear him.
I felt his fingers touch my neck lightly and I suppressed a shudder.
‘This’ll hurt for only a second,’ he whispered, his breath warm against my skin. I didn’t process his words, I just stood there motionless with my eyes closed.
‘Get away from her,’ came a low, dangerous voice from the corner of the room.