“He doesn’t remember anything?”
“It’s in bits and pieces. He doesn’t even remember that he’s famous, but he knows and understands what he is.”
“I have to consult a colleague of mine. In the meantime, keep him safe.”
I ended the phone call, tossing my cell onto the bed as I stopped pacing and sat next to Bruno. We had decided to stay in a hotel for the rest of the night, because Dawn would be arriving soon and we weren’t sure as to how thrilled Bruno would be with being locked in the trunk to save him from the daylight.
It took a lot of convincing, but he agreed to come with us, although Robyn’s movements made him flinch sometimes, and he didn’t look at her, or go near her much. We came to the hotel and snuck him in the back so as to not cause a scene, and while he showered, I washed everyone’s clothes. I knew the blood stains weren’t going to come out, but at least they would fade and he’d have something fresh to wear.
He was sitting on the bed in a bathrobe, staring pensively at his hands. I began to finger his wet curls affectionately. He looked like a lost puppy, I just wanted to coddle him. “So how famous am I?” He asked.
“Real famous. You have a lot of awards because you write and produce for other performers too.” I explained, taking his hand within my own. “You can play the drums, the piano and the guitar.”
He looked surprised. “I’m that talented?” I nodded. “And you...how do I know you?”
I squeezed his hand. “We’re soulmates.”
He tilted his head to the side, a smile spreading across his lips, “You’re beautiful, and caring too. I must love you a lot.” A thought came to him that returned him back to his seriousness, “Why would you fall in love with a vampire?”
I readjusted myself so I was closer to him, his hand still encompassed within my own. “You were human when we fell in love. We were together for two years and then you died when a sixteen wheeler hit you.” I took a breath, feeling emotional at the rememberence of the scene.
“You’re sad.” He touched the tear that fell down my cheek and looked at his fingers. “I can feel your sadness. It feels like watching a beautiful opera with a tragic end.”
I sniffled, wiping the remains of my tears. “I’m not used to you speaking so eloquently, you used a lot of slang when you had your memory.”
Robyn came into the room with everyone’s dried clothes. The door slam caused Bruno to jump up and eject his fangs. I pulled on his arm, “It’s just Robyn.” When he saw her, his fangs retracted and he rushed to the other side of the bed, his back towards her.
Robyn sighed, setting the hamper down. “Someone left a black tee in the dryer, its a medium, I figured he could wear it so I took it.” She tossed me the shirt. “How’s he doing?”
“Alright I guess. I was just filling him in on a few memories.” I folded the black tee and set it aside. “I promise she’s not going to hurt you Peter-” I turned to him. It was rude to speak of him as though he weren't there.
“Don’t.” Robyn stopped me. “We can’t force him. Judging by what you told me, if I were him I would be afraid too...and because I don’t know what happened, I don’t know if it might happen again so it’s better if we keep our distance.”
I shrugged, “I guess.” I crawled over to where Bruno was seated, but he just stared longingly out the window. I could tell he was trying his damndest to remember anything he could. I laid my head in his lap and he looked down at me, studying my face. I took his hand in my own, interlocking our fingers as I spun the ring on his finger absentmindedly. I heard the bathroom door close as Robyn started up a bath for herself, allowing us some alone time.
“Everyone calls you Bruno, that’s your nickname.” I said.
“I was about to ask why you kept calling me that earlier.” He looked back out the window, “I think I remember that a little.”
“I only called you Peter whenever something was very serious, or I was very angry.”
“Well...” He looked back down at me and smiled, “You can call me that, if you’d like. I do like it, it’s different.” He chuckled, thinking about it. “Bruno.”
“My Bruno.” I added, sitting up. “It’s almost dawn, you should rest.”
He looked back at the bathroom. “What about you and your friend?”
“We’ll sleep during the day and all of us will leave in the evening when you wake.” I stood up, ushering for him to stand, and when he did I took the thick comforter off of the bed and pulled a chair up to the window, stuffing it around the window in order to completely conceal the daylight. I wasn’t sure what happened to him when he was hit by the sunlight, but I had no intentions in finding out.
“Are we sleeping together?” He asked, watching me as I messed with my makeshift light-block drapes. I looked them up and down, tucking in the sides for extra protection.
“Uhh...” I reached up and tucked in another part, and I was finished. I turned down to look at him, “You meanresting right? In the same bed?” He helped me back down to the floor where I landed with a bounce.
“That’s what I’m asking, yes.” He nodded, “What did you think I meant?”
I quickly pushed past him and sat on the edge of the bed, connecting my phone charger properly. I may have been on the run, but I still needed to stay connected to my publicist, assistant, manager, etc. When I felt the bed dip behind me, I swallowed the lump in my throat. I mean of course I assumed he meant...well the Bruno with his memories would have meant...
“Oh.” I heard him pipe up in discovery, “I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry, I should’ve said that differently.” He continued. I turned to see him lying down in bed, staring up at the ceiling endlessly.
I smiled, crawling into the bed next to him, and he wrapped his arms around me. I nestled my head against his soft bathrobe, but his cool body temperature could still be felt through the terry cloth. “No, it’s alright. I mean, before all of this, we did a lot of physical things together...it’s how we connected on a deeper level. It’s nothing against you but one mishap and I could be done for, you know?”
He nodded, “But I would never hurt you, you know that, right?” That was the Libra in him talking, the charmer.
“I know, Bruno.”
“So will we ever be able to connect like that again?”
I chuckled, rubbing his chest affectionately. “Baby steps darling, baby steps.” When he didn’t respond, I looked up to see him chewing his bottom lip in thought. “What’s on your mind?”
He started to speak but stopped, like he was reconsidering something. “Can I kiss you?”
“Yes...yes you can kiss me.” He leaned down slowly, pausing just inches from my face to gauge my reaction. I closed my eyes willingly, waiting for the electricity of his lips against mine. It seemed to take ages before we liplocked, his mouth moulding against my own perfectly. It was a simple kiss, but as we separated, I captured his icy lips with mine again and he returned it, his hand coming up to caress the side of my face as our tongues swirled together in what was becoming a more passionate kiss than I had intended or he had even expected.
And I was happy, I was content kissing him. Uninterrupted by those sometimes-pesky automatic fangs too, mind you. I could have done it for the rest of the night and nothing else, but alas he pulled away and for a split second I saw the fire in his chocolate orbs again.
“For what?” I whispered softly.
Robyn and I woke a little before Dawn. I assumed this at least, since Bruno was definitely still stone-cold dead. We both silently got dressed and re-packed the few belongings we had with us.
“You know, I’ve been thinking about what Jason said last night about my family history.” Robyn broke the tension while I sat on the bed, holding Bruno’s hand and waiting for his life to reappear.
Robyn fidgeted a little. “Last night, when I left to do laundry...I called my mother. I asked her if we had any interesting family history. She asked me what did I mean and I couldn’t tell her...it killed me Rox, I knew she felt like I was keeping secrets from her.” She looked down at her hands, her crimson locks falling into her face briefly before she swept them out the way.
“Anyway, she said my grandmother, her mother, was a healer who practiced Obeah.” She finally looked up at me, and I read the uncertainty in her hazel eyes.
“What is that? Some branch of Gynecology?” I shrugged. I didn’t see what the big deal was, or what the hell that had to do with our current situation.
“No, it’s a form of--”
“Evening, what’d I miss?” Bruno squeezed my hand, his eyes opening wide as he sat up and cracked his neck. I winced, he hadn’t forgotten that habit. He looked from Robyn to me, then back to Robyn again. “You two are already dressed...damn, how long have you been up?”
“Only a half hour now, you didn’t miss anything. But we have to-” I stood up, his freshly laundered clothing in my arms, but literally in the blink of an eye, he changed into them, the only remnant of his movement being my hair slowly returning back to it’s original position from being windswept.
“Beat you to it. Let’s roll.”
We left the hotel and Robyn offered to drive the remaining few hours we had left to our safehouse. I wondered if these people were vampires or humans, but I knew if anything, we were most certainly safe with friends of Jason. I sat in the passenger’s seat and Bruno was in the backseat, drumming away on his knees like a pro.
“Hey, I think I’ve still got my skills you told me about!” He exclaimed, bobbing his head excitedly as he started another intricate beat.
“You are like a child sometimes, you know that?” I turned back to him and lifted a brow.
“Pssshhhh, hater.” He smirked, sitting back in the seat. “Damn, I’m hungry.” He rubbed his stomach as he watched the trees pass by.
His comment struck me as odd. “But you just fed last night.” I reminded him of the grotesque scene I had stumbled upon. I remember Bruno specifically telling me in the beginning he didn’t need to feed often, especially not daily. So why, after filling up on what appeared to have been a healthy woman, was he suddenly in the mood for more? That wasn't normal.
“I know.” He confirmed, “I feel like I’m running on half empty though, I don’t want to hurt anyone but I’m being honest here...I need to feed.”
Robyn gave me a worried glance and looked in the rearview mirror. “Like immediately?” She asked.
“I don’t think it should be taken lightly when a vampire is in the backseat of a car of two humans and proclaims his thirst.” I stated matter-of-factly. He just wasn’t himself and Robyn was a wildcard, it was better to play it safe rather than to find out what happens when even more odds were against us. I turned around to him, “So is my wrist ok?” I held out my arm.
He pushed it away, “No, I really need to feed and I’ll take too much from you right now.”
Robyn’s eyes widened, “You’re not going to go kill anyone are you?”
“I don’t see what the issue is with that, as long as it isn’t either of you.” He shrugged.
I facepalmed at his lack of morality. “You’re Bruno Mars! You’re supposed to be the ideal man for women all over the world, you can’t be caught killing people! Plus, your Elitists want trust from the humans, there’s no way you’re allowed to publicly do that!” I exclaimed.
“Alright, pull over.” He said flatly.
“What?” Robyn sputtered.
“Pull over.” He repeated with a little more force. Slowly, Robyn pulled onto the shoulder of the highway. Bruno got out of the car and stretched, looking around at the thicket of forestry that was beyond the guard rail. I got out and closed my door and Robyn decided, quite wisely, to remain in the vehicle.
“What’re you doing?” I asked, watching as he pulled his shirt off. He tossed it in my direction and I caught it, stumbling after him as he effortlessly leaped over the metal guard rail. “Bruno, it’s dark out here!” I lowered my voice, hoping there wasn’t anyone lurking in these woods.
He laughed aloud at my concern, “I’m a vampire, let’s be realistic about this.”
I kicked through weeds to catch up to him, out of breath while he looked around at the impending doom of darkness. “Why’d you take your shirt off to go romping in the woods Bruno like damn who are you, Jacob Bla--”
“Shh.” He quieted me. I watched as he studied a spot to the right that I couldn’t see or hear. Suddenly, his fangs projected and he vamped off. I heard a clash of compact, an animal sounding whine of distress and snorting and then a horrid crack that sounded like bones being broken. The whine of distress turned into gurgling of distress and I was left standing in the dark, astonished by the horror of what I was hearing.
“I’ve never been happier for pitch blackness.” I muttered.
Minutes later I heard the crunch of his footsteps returning to me. “Do you have a towel?” He asked, blood dripping from his chin that he caught with his finger and licked clean. I nearly threw up, I was kissing that mouth last night. Sweet baby Christ I had a love/hate relationship with vampires and their disgusting needs.
“Uhh...” I glanced back at the car, but I felt a sudden rip and the bottom half of my shirt was clean tore off. “Hey!” I shouted.
He cleaned himself up with the material. “Now you have a crop top. You have a pretty naval piercing, show it off.” He wiped his hands clean and gave me a swift pat on my backside. I slapped the back of his head and threw his shirt at him, marching back to the car.
“What happened to your shirt?” Robyn asked as I got in the car.
“No comment.” I rolled my eyes, looking at my ripped tee in hopelessness. He was definitely going to buy me a new one, memory or not he still had his cash. Hours of driving later, the navigation system announced that we had arrived at our destination. The neighborhood was cozy, in a down south kind of way...which was odd for a city in California.
The houses were modest and small, many of them looked to be only one story. The one that was designated as our safe-home, appeared to have two floors. There were two dogs that were lying out in the lawn, one a Great Dane, the other a German Shepard. There was no fence to contain them, and they weren’t leashed, they just lazily lay there.
The home was all-white on the outside with dark black accents around the windows. The front window was open, lights on inside. The only off part about everything was how....perfect it seemed. We had been under the impression that we were underground railroad-ing it from here on out, but everything seemed alright...save for the flickering orange streetlamp that was above our parked car.
“Is this the right place?” Robyn asked, looking at the GPS picture and at the identical home in front of us, then at both addresses.
“There’s too many houses here, we can’t exactly be discreet Rihanna and Bruno Mars. Not to mention I'm Roxanne.” I sneered at them both. I knew I could trust Jason but damn this seemed like a bad idea.
“I don’t think we can leave anyway, we aren’t safe at night remember?” Robyn whispered.
I looked back at Bruno, who was steadily growling in the backseat like an angry Pit Bull. “Quit making that noise.” I warned.
“This place is crawling with Supes.” He looked around.
“What’s a Supe?” Robyn asked.
“A supernatural creature.” I answered quickly. I turned back to Bruno, “How do you know?”
“I can smell them, everywhere.”
“Vampires?” I asked, locking the doors.
“No,” He sharply turned towards the home that was designated for us and the Great Dane came striding towards us, but before our eyes it’s body morphed into a large, muscular man.