"So are you two gonna tell me what's goin on, or what?" Robyn spoke aloud, breaking the thick tension inside of the car as we sat in front of her home. Bruno glanced over at me and I rolled my eyes at him, getting out of the car. He had to think of something, not me. I didn't even ask to be a part of this warped reality.
"It's been a long couple of weeks, Rih, we're just worn...that's all." I heard Bruno explain as he climbed out of the car, handing Robyn her keys. I happened to glance over my shoulder and see Robyn look from Bruno to me, and then back to Bruno again.
"You guys are hiding something from me, I can feel it."
Neither one of us answered the accusation. An evening breeze passed through, moving the palm tree leaves to rustle against one another.
"We have to go." I ended the conversation, albeit rudely, as I made my way over to Bruno. I looked at him, knowing he could feel my annoyance and anxiety within our blood bond.
"So that's it huh?" Robyn's voice moved a bit higher in pitch, and softer in volume. "You're gonna leave me just knowing I'm some freak? How am I supposed to live with this?"
I sighed, "Rih, I don't know but I have enough shit to worry about, I have to go back on tour."
She stared at me in disbelief, shaking her head before she turned away and walked into her home, nothing else to be heard but the echo of the slammed door up and down the empty street. Bruno's arms embraced me, strong and secure. "You did the right thing." He said quietly.
"Then why does it feel so wrong?" I fell into his hold as he lifted me off the ground and sprinted off into the night, the wind whipping around me. He didn't answer me, I guess he couldn't. There was nothing more to say, this was what we had to do. We had to distance ourselves from her in order to protect ourselves, and her too. Whenever Jason could figure out a sufficient plan, it would be carried out. Until then, he wanted to eliminate Robyn's immediate access to vampires. The last thing that needed to get out in their community was a threat, it would be extinguished instantly, and if Robyn Rihanna Fenty was killed, it would make headlines...and a very unsafe world for vampires.
Isabella's estate had more protection than usual; with guards and even guard dogs all over the premises. We were stopped by one before we could even reach the intercom at the gate.
"What is your business here?" He was short with us, and seemed ready to attack at any moment if need be.
"I'm Jason's creation, Bruno Mars."
I was quiet, for once. I contemplated what exactly could happen. Here I was, stuck with some odd kind of healing power...at least that's what I thought it was...and I had find some kind of way to heal a very powerful vampire in front of a bunch of other old, powerful vampires that could snap me in half in under a second. I felt my anxiety in the pit of my stomach; and I tried to push it down. Who knew how my emotions could affect the outcome of this situation? Jason forewarned us that it was risky, Bruno wasn't fond of putting me through it...but here we stood. I watched as the guard took Bruno's AVL card and checked it over for confirmation, before guiding us into the mansion.
"You okay?" He turned to me and asked. He looked really concerned, almost hesitant. He was so full of expression and faux-life, that even in that high-intensity moment I forgot he was undead...until he grasped my hand within his own and it was ice cold.
"I'm fine." I swallowed with a nod. He didn't believe me.
"You don't have to do this."
"And risk getting you or Robyn killed? I have to do this." I said with a bit more confidence. But there was no lying to a vampire, he could hear my speeding heartbeat. I gave his hand a little squeeze. "I'm alright Bruno, I promise."
Around the corner came Jason, tall and striding confidently. He was dressed immaculately in black pants and an olive colored button up. His hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. He met us in the middle of the foyer, his expression serious and less comforting than usual. He placed his hands onto Bruno's shoulders and looked at him in a mixture of love and relief. It was the first time I had ever witnessed them together, and I felt like I was intruding, if only for those few unspoken moments between them.
"Thank God you're back to yourself again." Jason's lips turned into a small smile.
"A hundred and ten percent, thanks to my girl." Bruno said. It was then that Jason turned to me, releasing his creation.
"For that, I thank you...but of course, you didn't do it for me. I'm just thankful he's safe, and that you are as well." He nodded towards me politely. "We haven't got much time, the Sheriffs of the neighboring Areas are present. We've had to silver Isabella to prevent an altercation should something go amiss."
I felt my heart sputter at the thought of something going 'amiss' as Jason put it.
Like my head being amiss my body.
"Hm?" I snapped back into reality from my gruesome thoughts. "Right, of course. Safety first." I forced a smile.
Bruno stepped forward. "What are the chances of something like this...messing up?"
Jason placed his hands in his pockets as his brow knotted in thought. "I have no idea my child. I have no idea what kind of mishap you two have had getting involved within voodoo. Your spell backfired and left fragments within you." He took my hand and gave it a once over, tracing the veins on my wrist before letting me go.
"I will have to do a bit more research; but right now my research lies elsewhere concerning the Elitists..." Jason was distant before turning on his heels and lifting his hand in a gesture for us to follow him.
"If I die-"
"Shut up." Bruno snapped harshly, I fell silent, taken aback. "Don't talk like that, ever. I lost you once, I can't lose you again."
I sighed. "But-"
"Seriously babe, stop."
I crossed my arms and followed Jason until we arrived in the parlour. There were four vampires seated around the room. One was a pale, short, stout man with a long silver goatee and bright blue eyes. The other was a dark chocolate skinned woman with silky white curls that fell to her shoulders. The third, a muscular man with a tough face and a scar down the side; he wore a tall turban upon his head. The fourth was another man who was tall and had blonde slicked back hair. He was extremely tall, looked almost to be 6'7 at the least.
All of their attention turned to me as I was led into the room. I could smell the putrid fumes of burning flesh and I saw Isabella laid upon a metal table in the center of the room, layers upon layers of silver chains frying into her delicate vanilla skin. With every tiny movement she made, she hissed in pain, her fangs ejected. I noticed everyone else's fangs were out too, and sure enough when the scent hit Bruno, I heard the click of his.
Not much to help me comfort-wise.
"Hello Sheriff." I said meekly once Jason had me standing by her side. She looked up at me, but rather than the smug pompous expression she had worn the last time, I saw fear in her eyes. The same fear I had seen in Bruno when he saw Robyn for the first time outside of that gas station. She was helpless and didn't know who she was; she was depending on me to save her.
"Can you help me?" She whispered weakly. "Aren't you a mere mortal?"
"I'm a special mortal." I said. I almost wanted to take her hand, but I decided against it for now. The less she had to move, the better. I swallowed the lump in my throat and glanced over my shoulder, "Do they have...what I need?" I said to Bruno, hoping he would do the rest of the explanation.
"Yes." Jason spoke up. He brought over a small wooden box, about the size of a shoebox. It had a floral print carved on it and smelled ancient. It was covered in crusted dirt; but the detailing on it was beautiful. Jason opened it and I gasped and jumped backwards in alarm.
"Oh my God!" I exclaimed, covering my eyes. "Oh my God, please tell me this is a joke. Jason...I can't...."
"Come on baby, I'll be right here with you alright?" Bruno's arm came around my waist protectively. I heard him whisper to Jason, though in a room full of vampires, I doubt that served any real purpose; "You could have warned us."
"I couldn't risk you two not showing up." Jason replied. "Roxanne, this was Isabella's daughter Caroline when she was human. The poor child died of Tuberculosis; she was everything to Isabella."
I uncovered my eyes, my face turned up in disgust. I couldn't hide it. I felt Bruno's small push to guide me back over to the box that was upon the metal table that Isabella lay on. Inside of it was the rotting skeleton of a baby. I nearly threw up upon second view. "Do I have to...touch it?"
"You had to sing with me, didn't you?"
I guess that was my answer.
I took Isabella's hand and her grip tightened as she gasped. I felt the energy of the room shift as the vampires became instantly alert. Shit, I hadn't even said anything yet! "Are you alright?" I asked in concern.
"Y-Yes." She replied. "I just-I just felt something in your touch dear, that's all. What would you like me to do?"
"Um." I took a quick glance at Bruno who nodded for me to continue. If it weren't for him and his endless support, I'm not sure where I would be now.
"Please, Bella is just fine. You've taken time out of your schedule to help me, you can call me Bella." She smiled kindly.
Wow, I wasn't too sure I wanted the old Isabella back anymore.
"Right, Bella." I continued, "I need you to think hard about a child you once had, her name was-"
"Caroline." Isabella answered, closing her eyes. "I can remember a little...but not very much."
"You loved her Bella; she was everything to you. But you lost her to a horrible disease." I didn't know anything I was doing, I was just rambling whatever I could. I reached out to the skeleton within the box; but when my fingers touched the fragile skull I felt a surge throughout my body that made me literally give a violent jerk.
"My Caroline, my sweet child...Mommy loves you so so much baby. I never got to say goodbye..." Isabella started murmuring, her lids tightly shut, but blood spilling through the cracks, she was crying. But I swear my body was frozen to the spot like I was being shocked. I even felt this pain throughout me; it was unfamiliar. With Bruno, I didn't feel this. The voices around me became muffled and low indistinguishable murmurs.
I heard a baby crying and I opened my eyes that I hadn't realized I had even closed; and there was nobody in the room but Isabella who was now sitting across the room on the couch that had been occupied by vampires just moments before. She looked at me in confusion; dressed in a modest sundress, a wide brimmed hat sitting upon her luscious hair.
"I feel as though I know you...is there a reason you've come here?" She asked, standing up and approaching me. I looked down at my hands and there was no metal table, no vampires in sight, but it was the same place.
"I think so..." I said in astonishment. "Do you hear that?"
"Your child, Caroline...she's crying, you can't hear it?" I know a baby's cry when I heard it, and there was most certainly a wailing baby in the far corner of the room. I glanced around until I saw the bassinet.
"Caroline passed a year ago, Tuberculosis. You must be mistaken." Isabella explained; but I ignored her as I approached the bassinet and saw the beautiful young baby inside of it. She was full of life and had forest green eyes and a head of soft brown wavy hair. She quieted once she saw my curious head peeping inside at her; but she still sniffled sadly. I reached inside and picked her up and Isabella shrieked in terror as she rushed over to me, clutching her chest in sheer amazement.
"My--My sweet Caroline Marie...this is a miracle..." She removed her velvet gloves and threw them aside, reaching out to hold her daughter; whom I gladly handed over. She rocked her slowly, close to her chest as crystal clear tears fell from her eyes.
So she wasn't a vampire; but she couldn't be human. None of this could be real, could it? It sure did feel real.
"You." Isabella looked up at me, "Are you an Angel?"
I opened my mouth to speak but closed it again. I didn't know what to say. "I...I don't know what I am." I said, "But I'm pretty sure I'm not an Angel."
I felt a sharp current light up my bloodstream and I doubled over, clutching my stomach.
"Oh my God, are you alright?" Isabella knelt down in front of me, still holding baby Caroline close to her; but I noticed the child seemed to be fading. Wisps of smoke were floating upwards from Caroline, as if she were turning into a vapor.
I winced, trying to endure the searing hot pain within me. "You've got to say goodbye to her." I sputtered, breathing heavily.
"Goodbye? But I've only just held her, can't I have a moment more?"
"You've got to say goodbye Bella, I'm...I'm sorry." I held myself up against the wall and coughed out a burst of vapor. Isabella sniffled, wiping her tears hurriedly as she looked down at the quickly evaporating child in her arms.
"Goodbye Caroline, Mommy loves you and will always remember and love you forever more."
The room warped in my vision and feeling severely weakened, I collapsed in a blackout.
"I think she's back."
"Move the fuck out of my way."
"Hey, you'd better respect your elders, baby vamp."
"Fuck off Gerald, she's my fucking-"
"Stop." I felt myself speak and when I opened my eyes I was standing just where I was before I was transported to whatever the hell I was. My hand was within Isabella's and another on the rotted skull; which I quickly ripped my hand from, wiping it on my pantleg.
"What the hell is going on?" I asked, stepping back from the metal table and holding my head. "What the hell just happened?"
"I can't believe it..." Isabella said softly, and everyone stood around the table in dismay. "Unsilver me you fools!" She commanded the others, who quickly did as they were told and she screamed in pain at the peeling of her flesh; but it quickly began to repair itself. I felt Bruno pull me into a tight embrace that threw me off guard. I stumbled into his hold, but he kept me upright.
"I thought we were going to lose you." His voice was shaky.
"It's alright, I'm here...I'm fine...I think..." I ran my hands through his curly hair as I glanced over my shoulder at Isabella rising up and wiping the bloody tears from her cheeks. She reached over to the box and pulled it onto her lap, glancing down at it in amazement. She closed it and looked up at me, but I looked away, returning my attention back to Bruno.
"What happened to you?" He questioned, holding me by my arms and looking me over repeatedly.
"I don't know Bru...sweetheart, I have no fucking clue...I was in this room but Caroline was alive-"
"I know it sounds crazy but I swear she was alive but Bella couldn't see her until I held her. Then I felt this pain all over, it was...words can't describe how bad it was, and it just kept getting worse and worse. Isabella was human, she was crying human tears and I told her to say goodbye to her daughter and as soon as she did...here I am." I explained, though I probably made no sense. I was still trying to make sense of what had happened myself; let alone attempting to explain it to someone else.
"Roxanne." Isabella called. I turned around. "Thank you." She said.
"We have an O Positive human for you Sheriff, whenever you're ready-" A servant said nervously, assisting her to her feet.
She cut him short, "O Positive?! I want an AB Negative, with a bit of a smoky flavor. How dare you even offer me such low class food. Go." She waved her hand for him to leave and he stumbled off hurriedly.
"I need to feed and go to ground, there is no need for any of you to be here any longer. I need solitude." She pulled her fur coat higher upon her shoulders before she left the room; and as if on cue, the rest of the Sheriffs of the other Areas left promptly. Jason turned to Bruno and I.
"I believe that your spell could have possibly opened up an ability for you to transcend between spiritual dimensions. If this is correct, then you may have awakened your spirit to be that of a Medium." He explained intelligently. Jason was an extremely smart vampire and I wondered if that came from his past as a human, or his many years of discovering knowledge as a supernatural creature. Either way, I was most certainly happy to have him on our team.
"A Medium? As in...psychic?"
"Not particularly psychic...but what you've just explained was the ability to leave this dimension into another and speak to spirits. I do believe that is also what you did with my child and his music. If this is true, then we may be able to figure out more about Robyn's possession and possibly cure her." Jason paced as he spoke, figuring out things as he went along, talking more to himself than to us. Finally he looked up at us in sympathy.
"But you two have been through quite a bit recently, and you are both entertainers who need to make a living. I will leave you to your lives; as Robyn should cause no more harm lest she be provoked. Once I have gathered enough solid research, I will contact you two and we will come to a conclusion. I also question the methods of the Elitists; I must ask, my child, that you be ready to stand by my side if times become hard...I have a feeling they might." His focus wasn't on us, but on his ominous statement. For the first time, I saw uncertainty, I felt it...in Jason Hendrickson.
"What do you mean?" Bruno asked, clearly feeling it too. "What's going on with the Elitists?"
"Nothing." Jason said, his tone final, ending the conversation without saying much else. "I just want your word that you will be ready to stand by my side."
"I owe you everything Jason, you gave me my life back. I will fight to the death for you." Bruno replied confidently.
I frowned, but nobody caught it. I wasn't used to him being so incredibly loyal to someone. I mean he loved me; but to see him profess his loyalty to someone who created him almost made him soldier-like...it reminded me of how different he truly was now...
That night, Bruno saw me to my apartment and made sure I was safe and sane. The latter, I wasn't too sure about; but when I finally listened to my voicemail full of all kinds of requests and rehearsals, and reminders of the tour I was starting back up soon...I figured I probably wasn't sane. I wasn't sane when I decided I wanted this lifestyle, both as an entertainer and a vampire's lover. But I chose it with confidence, and I don't regret it...sometimes.
Bruno went back to his place so he could safely go to ground rather than to hide from the sunlight in my place. I laid down in my bed and finally felt a bit of relaxation for once. Things were fixed...for the most part, and I was in my own space, comfortable in my familiar bed.
Just when I was about to be graced with the presence of sleep, I received a text message:
- Ashley: We need to talk.