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Authors: Ella Price

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Horror, #Dark Fantasy, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Science Fiction & Fantasy

Awakening (6 page)

BOOK: Awakening
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I
woke up in Aubrey’s bed. I still had the empty ache in my chest. I considered
getting up, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to do anything. Cornelius’s
rejection was more than I could handle. I thought once he realized I was alive,
things would return to the way they were.

I
heard the door open and close behind me, but I didn’t turn to see who it was.
“Are you going to remain here all night?” Aubrey asked softly as he sat on the
bed next to me.

“I
don’t have any reason to get up. I am beginning to wish I remained dead,” I
said quietly.

Aubrey
touched my shoulder, and rolled me so I was looking up at him. “Don’t say that.
Cornelius is an idiot, but there are others who are happy you are here,” he
said softly as he caressed my cheek.

I
shook my head and looked away. “What do I do now?”

“You
can go back to the hunters. Luca said he has your room ready for you. Go home,
start over,” he said as he stood.

I
looked at him wondering if that was really what he thought I should do. I
wasn’t a vampire anymore, so I could go back to being a hunter. I knew Luca was
still freaked out, but he didn’t shun me like Cornelius did. “I guess that is
where I belong,” I said as I stood.

Aubrey
nodded and offered me his hand. “I will take you.”

I
took his hand and he pulled me close to him. The familiar rush overcame me, and
we were in my uncle’s house. I suppose it wasn’t my uncle’s house anymore, it
was Luca’s.

Luca
came out of the office and smiled at me. “I am glad you decided to come home,”
he said as he embraced me.

“Thank
you for taking me in,” I said breathlessly. I swallowed the urge to cry. I
didn’t understand why I was suddenly so emotional. I tried not to cry, now it
seemed much harder for me to fight.

“I
will go. Let me know if you need me,” Aubrey said softly, then he was gone.

“Come
on. I got your old room set up for you,” Luca said as he guided me up the
stairs.

I
leaned into him. “I am glad to be home.”

He
kissed my head. “I am glad you are finally home.” He opened the door to my old
room. He had unpacked everything, and put it how it was before I left.

I
looked around and smiled. I liked having my old room back. I sat down on the bed
and looked up at Luca. “Where is my aunt?”

His
expression changed to a more melancholy one. “She went to live with her sister
after Carl’s death.”

I
looked away and nodded. “I guess that is best.”

“It
is. Come downstairs when you are feeling up to it. Maybe we can get some
training in. It has been a while for me,” he said dryly.

I
smiled and nodded. “I will be down in a little bit.”

He
left closing the door behind him. I looked around the room. I was glad to be
back, even if nothing was the same.

 

After
a couple hours of thinking about all that had happened, and mourning the loss
of Cornelius’s affection, I had a new determination. I was going to go back to
my old ways. I was born a hunter, and I had been given another chance to be the
person I was born to be.

I
got out of bed and dressed in the appropriate attire for training. Luca
mentioned wanting to train because he was rusty, I was sure I was just as rusty
as him. I was going to take him up on his offer to train. I needed the
distraction.

Once
I was dressed, I took a few minutes to stretch. I wanted to warm up a little
bit before I fought Luca. I left my room, and walked toward the training hall.
I encountered a few familiar faces. As expected, they looked at me like I was
something terrifying. I didn’t recall getting as many curious and fearful looks
when I was a vampire.

To
my surprise, and relief, Luca was already in the training room. He was bouncing
around one of the bags punching it. He smiled when he saw me. I doubted he
expected me to show my face so soon.

“I
didn’t think you would come out tonight,” he said as he approached me.

I
shrugged. “I need to do something. I can stay in bed forever.”

“I
agree. Your time is better spent training, and helping me with the hunters,” he
said smiling.

I
nodded. “It has been a while for me. I want to get back to my old self. Being a
vampire made things too easy,” I said dryly.

He
laughed. “I could see that.” He raised his hands ready to fight. “Let’s see
what you got,” he said playfully.

I
smiled and got in position to take him on. His good mood was infectious. I
liked feeling like I used to around him. It felt like old times.

 

After
several rounds we were both panting. Luca had improved from the last time I
fought him. I was still slightly quicker than him, but there wasn’t as much of
a gap as there had been before. I was pretty evenly matched with him, and that
annoyed me a little. I was beginning to see how much I had let go of my
training. I had every intention of training until I was back to my old self. I
refused to be weak. I wanted to be one of the strongest again. I didn’t need
vampire strength to be that way either. As a hunter I was a match for most
vampires. Training would be a distraction like it had been before.

Luca
sat down to take a break, while I went to the bags. “You know you can take a
break,” he suggested.

I
smiled and shook my head. “I don’t need one. I didn’t need one then, I don’t
need one now,” I said firmly.

“You
know it is ok to be a little rusty. I think everyone will understand that the
great Lillian Rayne has been through a lot,” he said amused.

I
rolled my eyes. “I never said I was great. I just wasn’t the worst, and I
refuse to be the worst.”

“You
are still not Tanner level, so you are ok,” he said playfully. His comment made
me smile. I would agree with him. Out of all the hunters, Tanner was the worst
fighter. He didn’t want to hurt a bug.

“What
ever happened to Julian and Damon?” I asked changing the subject.

“They
high tailed it out of here when power shifted. They didn’t want to stick around
and face Cornelius’s wrath,” he said as he got back to his feet.

I
laughed harshly. “I wouldn’t either. Cornelius can be a real ass,” I muttered.

Luca
stopped not far from me, and watched me. “He will come around. He is just in shock.
I think everyone went through it after you magically came back to life.”

“How’s
Kate?” I asked changing the subject to his life.

He
shrugged. “She’s Kate. Why do you ask?”

“I
ask because I thought you were seeing her.” I was curious now. He seemed like
he was being nonchalant about the whole thing. I kind of wondered if they broke
up, or had a falling out.

“I
am seeing her. Kai is a pretty good fighter. You should train with him
sometime,” he suggested changing the subject.

Obviously
Kate wasn’t a subject he wanted to discuss. “I will do that. Does he seem like
a reliable guy?”

Luca
nodded. “He has always had my back. I think he is a valuable asset to the
hunters, plus he has a decent relationship with most of the younger vampires.”

“So,
what purpose do the hunters serve if there are no vampires to hunt?” I asked
wondering why I even trained. Last I remembered there was a no-kill truce
between the vampires and hunters. Of course that was prior to my uncle’s
attempt at power.

He
squared with me, and we started circling one another. “There are plenty of
rogues to hunt. We keep the streets clean from invading vampires. You know how
territorial they can be. There is one master vampire, Dustin. He keeps sending
his minions into our territory. I think he is trying to take Aubrey’s
territory, but it hasn’t gone so good for him.”

I
smiled. “I am glad you can hold this place without me,” I teased.

“Ha,
ha. I did happen to do pretty well before you, and all your mightiness,” he
said amused.

I
lunged at him and we went rolling across the mat. He was fighting for
dominance, but I wasn’t about to let him win. After several minutes of
scuffling I finally managed to pin him. He cussed and relented. He was
breathing heavy. I grinned down at him. “You are getting old. You are lucky I
am back,” I teased.

He
scowled and tossed me off him. “Old? Really? Just because I am a little rusty,
that doesn’t make me old.”

I
laughed. “I know, pushing all that paper is tough.”

He
growled and pounced on me. I landed on the floor with a thud. He landed on top
of me and started tickling me. I giggled trying to shove him off me.

Someone
cleared their throat, and Luca quickly stood. Kate stood not far from us
glaring at the scene in front of her. “Kate, we were just talking about you,”
Luca said nervously.

I
smiled and shook my head as I stood. I knew she was mad, and I was sure Luca
would be paying for it.

“You
didn’t look like you were talking,” she snapped, and spun on her heal. She
marched out. Luca gave me an apologetic look, and hurried after her.

I
went back to punching the bag in front of me. Training was a nice stress
reliever, and a way to take my mind off my tumultuous personal life.

 

After
I finished training I went back to my room and showered. I finished dressing,
and I walked downstairs to the kitchen. Kai was in the kitchen when I walked
in. I considered making an excuse and leaving. I didn’t have anything against
Kai, but we never talked much.

“I
am making a chicken salad if you are interested,” he offered before I could
make up my mind.

I
watched him for a minute trying to decide whether I wanted to be social. I
decided I should be social. “That sounds good,” I said taking a seat at the
bar.

“You
look like you are taking things pretty well,” he said as he continued what he
was doing.

I
shrugged. “I am doing ok. It is going to take some getting used to. I was just
getting the hang of being a vampire.”

He
smiled. “I am sure you will get used to being just a plain old hunter again.”

I
smiled as I walked to the wine fridge. I selected a bottle of wine. “Do you
want some?”

He
nodded. “That would be nice. Dinner is almost ready.”

I
poured us each a glass of wine, then sat back down at the bar. He set a plate of
salad in front of me, and sat on the stool next to me. “So do you have any
plans? Are you going to go out on patrols?” he asked as he glanced at me.

I
shrugged. “I am not sure if I am ready yet. I got pretty rusty. Luca almost won
in training.”

He
laughed. “I could see that being a problem for you.”

I
smiled. “Luca has never beat me, other than when I let him.”

“You
should fight me sometime. I would like to see if you are as good they all say,”
he said playfully.

“Luca
recommended I spar with you, maybe sometime I will take you up on the offer,” I
said slightly amused. I kind of wondered how well I would do against him. Kai
was a hybrid, and I never had a chance to fight a hybrid.

“You
should. I spar early most nights,” he said smiling.

I
nodded. “I will think about it.” I ate the rest of my meal in silence. Kai
didn’t make any attempts at conversation. I was glad he wasn’t one too try to
talk. I enjoyed the silence.

Once
I was done eating I walked to the sink and washed my plate and wine glass.
“Thank you for dinner. It was good,” I said glancing at Kai.

“You’re
welcome,” he said and smiled.

I
walked back toward my room. I stopped in the foyer as I approached the
staircase. I saw the outside through the glass windows. I couldn’t remember the
last time I just went for a walk at night. I left the house via the front door.
No one was around to see me leave. I figured Luca was busy with Kate, and Kai
was still in the kitchen. I considered going to see Drake. I hadn’t seen him in
a day or so. I wasn’t even sure he would be home. I decided I wanted to be
alone, so I walked toward the park.

It
was a beautiful night. The park was dark, and full of horny, drunk teenagers.
It was a vampire’s dream. In the past this would have been my hunting ground. I
stepped off the path into the woods. It was a beautiful night.

“You
shouldn’t be out here alone,” a familiar male voice said.

I
turned, and Cornelius was standing not far from me. He looked the same as he
did the last time I saw him. He was un-kept, and dirty looking. I didn’t
understand why he wasn’t taking care of himself. “Why not? I am not afraid,” I
said quietly as I watched him.

He
watched me like he wasn’t sure what to do with me. “You aren’t her,” he said
quietly after a minute.

“Then
why are you following me?” I countered. I didn’t understand why he was so
determined to keep me away, but at the same time he was obviously following me.

He
looked hesitant like he wasn’t sure how to answer. “I’m not. I was here first,
and I saw you.”

I
looked at him not sure what to say. I didn’t believe him for a minute. He
didn’t seem like he would come out of his house just to go for a stroll. “I
should go,” I said, then I turned to walk away.

He
suddenly appeared in front of me, and my pulse quickened. He was close to me,
and his expression was intense. I was starting to worry a little. I had a knife
on me, but I doubted I would be quick enough to get it before he got to me. I
didn’t think I would be able to use it anyway. I cared about him too much, and
I didn’t understand why he was acting like he was.

“You
look just like her, smell just like her, taste just like her,” he whispered. He
seemed like he was in his own little world. It was like he was trying to make
excuses for not believing I was alive.

“That
would be because I am her,” I said softly as I walked past him.

He
caught me around the waist from behind. I felt the rush of being transported,
and he dropped me onto the floor of a bedroom. I could tell by the décor it was
his house, and more than likely his bedroom.

I
scowled as I climbed to my feet. “You could not drop me on the damn floor,” I
snapped. I was getting annoyed with his behavior. I didn’t understand why he
brought me back to his house. He was watching me like he expected me to do
something.

I
certainly wasn’t going to do anything if he didn’t shower or change. I decided
to start the shower, and try to tempt him into showering. I walked to the
bathroom, and started the shower. He watched me like he was curious about what
I was doing. I turned to face him. I slowly started to undress in front of him.
I wasn’t really sure why he was acting like this. All I knew is I wanted him
back to the way he was before I died.

His
eyes scoured my body once I was completely naked. I walked over to him. I was
surprised he didn’t pull away from me. I slowly unbuttoned his shirt. I slid
his shirt down his shoulders. I tossed it aside, then knelt in front of him and
pulled his boots off. I undid his pants, and slid them off him. I stood, and
took his hand. I led him into the shower stall. He was watching me like he
didn’t trust me. The water ran over his body. I ran my fingers through his hair
wetting his hair as I did. I liked that he was letting me close to him. I
poured soap in my hands, and began to wash his hair. I loved touching him. I
didn’t realize how much I wanted to touch him until that moment. I washed him,
running my hands over every inch of his body. He remained completely still like
he was in a trance. He was watching me like he still didn’t believe I was
there.

I
brushed my lips against his. I wanted to know if he was going to pull away, or
give in to me. When he didn’t pull away I pressed my lips to his deepening the
kiss. My tongue touched his, as I pressed my body to his. “Come back to me,” I
whispered against his lips.

His
expression changed. I could see the sadness in his eyes, and it made my chest
ache. I wanted to ease his pain and uncertainty. I didn’t understand why he
didn’t believe I was his Lillian. I couldn’t explain how I came back, all I
knew was that I was back. I pressed my lips to his again trying to get him to
say something.

“I
don’t know what to believe,” he whispered.

“I
don’t know how to explain what happened, but I promise it is me,” I said
softly.

He
pulled me closer to him. I closed my eyes as I held him. A small amount of
relief washed over me. I was crazy about him, and the thought that I might have
him back excited me. He ran his hands down my sides. I looked up at him. He
leaned into me and pressed his lips to mine. “Let’s get out of here,” I
whispered.

He
nodded, and I took his hand and led him out of the shower. I wrapped a towel
around him. I dried him off, taking special care to dry his hair. I pressed my lips
to his and kissed him again. I forgot how much I loved the taste of his mouth.
I led him to the bed. I climbed on the bed, and looked at him expectantly. He
still looked hesitant like he wasn’t sure what to do.

I
sighed impatiently. “Why are you being so hesitant? You have to know it is me.”

He
sat down on the bed, and looked away. “I haven’t been with a human in a very
long time. I might hurt you,” he said softly.

I
crawled over to him, and wrapped my arms around his neck. “I am not completely
human; I am still part hunter. You won’t hurt me, and if you do, you can give
me your blood.”

He
looked at me like he was unsure. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered.

I
watched him not sure what to say. I wanted him to want me like he did before.
He wasn’t worried about hurting me when I was a vampire. “Then bite me, and
change me,” I said softly.

He
stood suddenly, and looked at me startled. “No, I don’t know what it will do to
you.”

I
looked at him confused. “What do you mean? I am a human, it should turn me into
a vampire.”

“It
may not. I could just end up killing you. I won’t take the risk,” he said
sounding worried.

“I
want to be with you. If that means I need to be a vampire, then I will be one
for you,” I said firmly.

He
looked at me confused. “The Lillian I knew hated being a vampire. She would
have given anything to change what she was.”

“That
Lillian was an idiot. She didn’t realize what she had until it was gone.
Cornelius please, you know I love you,” I pleaded.

He
pulled away from me. “I can’t,” he said quietly.

Before
I could say anything he was gone. I sighed in defeat. He was going to continue
being difficult. I walked to the bathroom, and put my clothes back on. I wished
he would go back to his old self. I didn’t know what to do with this new
Cornelius. I thought he would like that I wanted him to change me. Instead I
got a far off look, and him disappearing. I needed to figure out how I came
back. Maybe if I could give him an answer he would be willing to take me back.
I needed to talk to a witch like Aubrey claimed he was going to. The only witch
I knew of was Maude, the one who broke the bond between Cornelius and me. I
needed to see her, I was hoping she could give me answers I was looking for.

BOOK: Awakening
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