Mercy's Debt (Montgomery's Vampires Series Book One) (14 page)

BOOK: Mercy's Debt (Montgomery's Vampires Series Book One)
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“She called you?”

“Yes. She can be quite unpleasant.”

He had no idea.
“Yes. She can.”

“So, I figured that the only way around our… obstacle was to book more outings.
I would feel terrible if you lost your job over me.”

I was touched.
“That’s very sweet. And I have been thinking about you, too, Robert.”


I also felt very humbled after the evening we spent together,” he said in his sensual speech. “I do wish that I would not have carried on so much about myself. I hardly know anything about you, yet you know an awful lot about me.”

“Yes, but I’m certain that your history is
a lot
more interesting than mine.”

“I guess I will just have to
find out for myself,” he said seductively.

“Well, I hope I don’t disappoi
nt.” I mentioned this teasingly, but it was something I seriously worried about. How could I parallel the rich history that Robert had contained within him? Wouldn’t my childhood experiences spent at the trailer park fall flat when compared to his vivid encounters of becoming a vampire, going from rags to riches, and meeting all sorts of interesting characters of the past?

Would he still consider me an enchanting princess?

 

 

 

FOURTEEN

 

As it turned out, Robert did not treat me like an enchanting princess on our three dates.

No, in truth, he treated me much, much better. He regarded me more like a bewitching goddess, listening intently as I told him anecdotes about Liz, Grams, my upbringing in Pelville, and my past few years at Dewhurst.

Ironically
, it was the grim stories about my impoverished youth that brought us closer because it was a strong common bond that we shared. Robert and I had both lost our parents at a young age, and we both had to work very hard to earn a respectable place within society.

In retrospect, it
seemed silly that I’d worried about Robert learning the truth about my jaded past. It had been difficult to discuss such an undignified history with a man as sophisticated and handsome as Robert, but I was glad that I had. I like to think that Grams would have been proud that I remained true to myself.

Our outings
had passed in a blur during the following two weeks; first the theatre, then the ballet, and, lastly, a night spent in my apartment watching movies. Robert swore that he didn’t mind spending a thousand dollars to suffer through crappy B movies all night for our date, but I still felt guilty nonetheless.

One of the best
aspects of all of the dates was the fact that Robert got to meet Liz, who instantly loved him. She had joined us for our night in, proclaiming that Robert was out of his mind because he was the only man she’d ever met who willingly turned down free beer and popcorn. She still didn’t know that he was a vampire of course, which made for an awkward few minutes when Robert had to excuse himself to the restroom to down a quick vial of blood in order to hold off his budding fangs.

Unfortunately, t
he dates also had a few disappointing aspects.

For starters, Robert nearl
y lost his mind when I explained to him why I had so many scratches on my arms. I assured him that I’d clearly imagined things during my meltdown in the forest, but he was not convinced. I couldn’t really blame him for being worried, especially after what had happened to Raquel. Still, it was kind of frustrating trying to ease his paranoia.

I probably didn’t help matters
, either, by opening my trap. I only added fuel to the fire by mentioning the smiley face on the mirror (which Liz could either confirm or deny making because she simply couldn’t remember), plus the few other “oddities” that I had been noticing.

I had repeated hang-ups from
a blocked number during all hours of the day and night, which I blamed completely on Mathew. The guy was being even more of a pest than usual, calling twenty times a day, if not more. One day, I discovered muddy footsteps on my doorway that also led to my car and bedroom window. That had been a little eerie, but I imagined that Mathew had expanded his stalking efforts to include in-person visits.  As tenacious as he was, I wouldn’t have put it past him to lurk around outside the apartment, which replaced any fear I may have had with annoyance. The boy had come completely unhinged.

The
bummer was that Robert had completely flipped out when I told him of these things, which made small portions of our dates a little tense. He kept hounding me about my safety, and even went as far as offering me a bodyguard, which I found ridiculous. And then he found
me
ridiculous for not accepting.

There was also
the fact that the man wouldn’t put the moves on me!

Look,
I appreciate a true gentleman just as much as the next girl. However, there came a time when I just wanted to yell, “Would you get naked with me already, Robert?”

I tried everything: low-cut tops, perfume,
sexy heels, flipping my hair, innuendos. Nothing physical happened, other than handholding and a few innocent kisses on the cheeks. The vampire was almost old-fashioned to a fault.

What I truly believe
d, and what we never actually discussed, was the fact that he didn’t want me to feel obligated to do anything with him sexually because I was technically “on the clock” when I was with him. I mean, it wasn’t as if I could causally insert “I won’t feel like a hooker if you want to have a roll in the hay with me” into our conversation.

Would I
have been crossing some sort of moral line if we’d slept together on one of our “outings?” Maybe. But I didn’t care, and it wasn’t as if I was going to call Marlena and rat him out.

All I wanted
was some sort of signal that Robert wanted me in the same sort of way that I wanted him. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

None of it
mattered in the end, since my plan to seduce Robert was foiled shortly after he and I had our third date.

And who was at the crux of the foiling?
Mathew.

His
relentless harassment escalated to the point of madness: the incessant calls, the crying, the begging… One evening, I simply had enough.

I didn’t
consider Mathew dangerous (only pathetic), and so I consented to meeting him at the local coffeehouse to “have a talk.” It was ridiculous to agree to such a thing, I know, especially because it was a small courtesy that he never extended to me during our breakup. I probably should have told him to go to hell simply out of principal, but he assured me that he’d vanish from my life for good if I only heard him out just the one time. I figured that I could endure a few minutes of seeing his detestable face if it meant that I would get him off my back once and for all.

When I arrived at the coffee shop, Mathew
approached me in the parking lot holding a gas station rose, acting as if we were long-lost lovers meeting up for a reunion.

And then h
e opened his arms and tried to hug me.

I took a step back and
formally said, “There will be none of that. Let’s go inside and get this over with.”

It may have been petty, but I must admit that it made me feel jubilant to note tha
t Mathew’s appearance had taken a turn for the worse since I’d last seen him. His hair had thinned greatly, he’d packed on a good twenty pounds around his once toned midsection, and he had an angry razor burn at the base of his neck.
Looks like all of your chickens have come home to roost, Mathew
, I thought smugly.

We went inside, and a
s if it wasn’t awkward enough that he paid for only his coffee using all quarters (seriously), he then chose to sit at a table located in the utmost center of the room. The spotlights above us, which would have been a lovely addition to any interrogation room, felt so hot on my scalp that I began to worry that my hair would catch fire if we didn’t start speeding things along.

When it got to the point that I just couldn’t wait any longer (i.e. my
skin was staring to blister), I demanded him to get on with it.

And then he
lost it.

He
burst into tears as an opener, causing every pair of eyes in the room to focus on me accusingly. He then began loudly blathering about how we were meant to be, declaring that the “other guy” I was dating was “nothing but a chump.” He then concluded his tremendous outburst by flapping his arms around spastically, informing the entire coffee house that he never stopped loving me.

At this poi
nt, I was furious; clearly I’d been duped. Mathew never had any intention of parting ways with me. Coffee was merely a ruse to get me to recommence our relationship.

I’
d played the whole “when I finally face Mathew” scenario out in my head more times than I could count: my biting words, my witty insults, my sweeping exit. When it was actually taking place, though, he was just such an utter…
douchebag
that I no longer cared enough to get my digs in. If anything, I was pissed at myself. How had I
ever
fallen under his spell?

His life was obviously in the toilet
. That was revenge enough for me.

Without a
nother word, I stood up and walked away. Mathew, not yet having his fill of dramatics, followed me into the parking lot and continued wailing. Of course, he did this directly in front of the coffee house windows, giving the customers a perfect viewpoint into act two of the hit production
Mercy Montgomery Wants to Die of Embarrassment.

I rooted
through my handbag looking for my keys as he carried on sobbing, cursing myself for choosing such an enormous purse for the occasion. (On a side note, if there’s one thing I learned from the experience, it was to never again go boho-chic for an outing with the ex. Keep it simple and use a small clutch bag.)

I finally located the damn
keys, stepping around Mathew in order to get into my car.

Then three things happene
d all at once: Mathew grabbed my arm, Robert materialized out of nowhere, and Mathew hit the deck.

The icing on the whole shi
t cake of the evening was the subsequent argument that ensued between the three of us.

Robert yelled
at Mathew for “placing his hands on a lady.”

Mathew reacted to
Robert’s assault, screeching, “Why don’t you fuck right off, moneybags?”

And
I yelled at the two of them for acting like apes.

After I’d calmed down from
the shock of the fight, it occurred to me that Robert must have been monitoring my movements. He’d have no other reason to be at a coffeehouse.

He didn’t even have the decency to deny it when I accused
him! He merely shrugged his shoulders and stated that he was looking out for my safety, and that I’d left him no other choice because I’d refused his bodyguard.

It was then that I snapped.

A crowd had
formed around our sideshow, and I was beyond humiliated. I’d had my fill of Mathew’s whining, and I was sick of Robert telling me what was “best” for me.


So, this is what my choices have come down to: a cheater or a stalker?” I yelled. “To hell with the both of you!”

I pushed my suitors
out of the way and jumped into my car. “I’d rather be on my own!” I yelled out the window as I drove passed.

Mathew, Robert, and the audience
remained as still as statues, gaping at in me in astonishment as I peeled out on to the street. I didn’t bother to check on any of them in my rearview, angrily contemplating how I ever managed to get involved with such idiots.

 

FIFTEEN

 

The cell
phone sitting by the door lit up once again, disrupting the atmosphere with its shrill melody. It was the fifth time that it had sounded that evening, and just as before, it clicked over to voicemail on the third ring.

Liz, incensed by the continual interruptions, snapped up the remote and
paused her favorite tearjerker. Letting out an aggravated breath, she hopped up from the couch and shuffled over to the side table where the relentless noise-maker was sitting. She snapped up the phone, intending to place it on silent, but then noticed that all the missed calls were from the same number.
Robert’s
number.

Her eyebrows knitted together as she speculated
about the numerous calls; could there be some sort of emergency?

She was contemplating returning the call on behalf of Mercy when the phone lit up in her hand. She hit “answer” and lifted it to her ear.

“H-hello?” She felt rude, answering a phone that didn’t belong to her.

“Mercy?”

“No, Robert, this is Liz… Mercy’s roommate.”

“Oh, yes.
Hello Elizabeth. How are you?”


I’m okay.” She waited, but he said nothing more. “So, I’m guessing that you’re looking for Mercy?”

“Yes.”

“She’s out, actually, and I believe that she’ll be gone for at least a few more hours. Funny, I thought you were the one she was out with.”

“I am afraid not.”

“Oh. Well, she left her phone behind. Again. She’s always forgetting the thing. I’ve been listening to it ring all evening,” she said with a curt emphasis on the last two words. “I saw all your missed calls. Is everything all right?”

“Well… Yes and no.”

“Oh? Is there anything that I can help you with?”

Robert sighed sullenly. “I do not know
if you can help me, Elizabeth.”

“Try me.” Now she was curious.

“I do not know where to begin,” he said. “I have upset Mercy in a terrible way, and now she is refusing to return any of my calls. It has been over a week since I last spoke to her.”

“What did you do?” Liz asked pryingly.

“She did not tell you?” He was taken aback.

“No,” Liz said carefully. “Mercy can be quite… secretive about her personal affairs. Sometimes she has just a little too much pride for her own good.”

“Yes,” he agreed.

“So, what did you do?”

He exhaled again. “Too many things to recount, Elizabeth. The worst of it is that I… I punched this
Mathew
person in the face.”

“Whoa! You socked Mathew?” she
shrieked. “Awesome!”

“You know him?”

“Well, I used to. I can’t stand the guy. He totally broke Mercy’s heart. He…” She stopped, worried that she’d said too much already.

“I see.

“So, wha
t do you need?”

“I do not know, Elizabeth,” he said sadly. “Perhaps I
require some advice on what to do about Mercy. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I cannot bear not having her in my life.”

Liz placed a hand over her chest, touched by Robert’s words. “Well, you can talk to me,” she said.

“Can I?”

“Of course,” she said. “I only want what’s best for Mercy. She deserves to finally hav
e a bit of joy. You obviously make her very happy.”

“I do? Are you certain?”

“I’m positive. I’ve never seen her as happy and relaxed as she is with you.”

“I am very pleased to hear you say that.
” He paused for a moment. “Would you…”

“Would I what?” Liz asked.

“Would you like to come to my home tonight and provide me guidance about Mercy?”

“Now, you mean?”

“Yes. If you are not busy. I can send a car for you.”

“Well…” She thought for a moment. “I don’t know. The thing is, I don’t know if Mercy would be too happy about me going over to your house in secret.”

“I see.”

“But,” Liz continued on, “you
do
seem to genuinely care for her.”

“I do.
With my entire heart.”

“And she
does
seem to care for you.”

“I hope that is true.”

“Hmm.” She chewed on the side of her cheek, undecided. “Did you
really
punch Mathew?” she asked, unable to hide the smile from her voice.

“I did.
Right in the jaw.” His voice contained a bit of a smile, too.

“You know what, Robert? Send your car. I’m coming over.

BOOK: Mercy's Debt (Montgomery's Vampires Series Book One)
2.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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