Everleigh’s knees gave out.
In a reflex and against better knowledge, Heath jumped forward and caught her, until some female bystander screamed.
One brief look, the feel of familiar touch, the breath of a kiss to her forehead, careful not to truly touch her with his mask covered in spikes.
Then the moment was already over.
Swiftly, Everleigh was pulled away from Heath as he was tossed to the ground and beaten.
About to fade out of consciousness, Evey fought it then saw Heath twitching oddly as if under electricity, as someone gently pet her face. When she looked up she looked into her grandmother’s kind eyes and smiling face.
“Grandma …” she mumbled relieved.
“No, Evey … it’s Belle. Are you okay? Someone call 911!” she addressed the latter part at some of the bystanders.
“Stop …. Belle make them stop! Please, make them stop. STOP….” Evey cried and pointed weakly at the still twitching Heath.
“Hey, you, enough!!! Stop that – NOW!” Belle ordered in a commanding voice Evey never heard from her, but it worked.
“Lock him up, he’ll be dealt with later.” someone ordered.
“Belle, don’t let them hurt him. He saved me. He’s my friend … please, Belle. PLEASE!” Everleigh begged fighting against the black cloud wanting to consume her.
Isabelle looked surprised and appalled, but gently placed Evey down on the pillow someone brought, while jumping up and setting after the men who were taking Heath.
“Excuse me … hey … I am talking to you! Do you not know know who I am?!”
Evey could not hear the rest of it, as the emergency doctor was checking on her now.
Within the hour she was given a mild sedative, blood pressure stabilizers and some other things which Evey barely paid attention to.
KC, who had arrived in the meantime, looked worried as he insisted on carrying her out to his car, even thought he tried to make Evey laugh, by teasing her about just having to be different. Other people go to spas to relax, she goes and creates drama.
Evey wanted to tell him about Heath, but knew if she did, it would make things worse. They may have become something like friends once upon a time, but now KC indirectly blamed Heath for the deaths of the people who had been like a mother, father and grandparents to him, which he never had before.
Isabelle reappeared, following them out to KC’s Jeep. Evey was afraid Belle could just blurt out something about Heath, but instead she looked at KC and said some typical Belle things along the lines of ‘good thing she didn’t fall face first on the marble floors’.
When KC went away for a few minutes, Belle’s tone and demeanor changed instantly.
“I got them to swear they wouldn’t hurt him, and they know better than to upset me, but he won’t be allowed back to work here. Some BS policy. I am going to stay on that like a duck on a June bug, Eve. You have always been so strong, if you ask – beg – me for something, I know it’s important. But you are coming for afternoon coffee when you are better and you will tell me the rest. I deserve the full story. Deal?”
Isabelle did not sound like the typical airhead at all now. Sounded worried and determined. And caring. Her voice was firm, but her eyes were soft and reflected genuine concern.
“You got it, Belle.” Everleigh agreed weakly and reluctantly.
Days passed since that day at the spa.
Everleigh walked up to the “small summer residence” as Isabelle refered to it as. It may be, but for most people it was still larger than any home they would ever own.
She reached the covered entrance that somehow reminded her of a castle, rang the doorbell and knocked.
The door was opened and she stood in the impressive entrance leading into the equally impressive open living room and kitchen. Everything about this home screamed ‘old wealth’.
After the usual small talk, Belle got serious and to the point.
“So why did you send me to plead for some random Thrall at the spa? He touched you, they are not allowed to. He only got was was coming to him.” she said.
“He is my friend. My best and oldest friend, aside from KC, you and the other cousins.”
“That’s what I thought you said. How do you know him? I don’t remember you ever mentioning any vampire friends … ”
“I didn’t. He was always in some kind of grey zone. He used to live at grandma and grandpa’s for a while, same time KC did. Guess you always missed him when you visited. He’s not exactly the most sociable. I have known him since we were kids.”
“Oh, I think I know who he is then. That guy who kidnapped you once? The guy whose father kidnapped you also? And the guy whose father killed all the vampires in our family. That guy?!” Isabelle looked disgusted.
“Yeah, but none of that is really his fault. Long story. And blaming him for what his father did is like blaming you for what your brother Cam did to me. Just not fair. Heath had nothing to do with that. He mourns them same as we do.”
“Thanks for that reminder. I get it though. Not judging. I know you, Evey. And I can tell when something is REALLY important to you. I could tell you knew that guy right away, the way you stared at him and when you asked me to not let them hurt him. More coffee?”
“No, thanks, I am good.” Everleigh declined.
“Ah, I’ll get some anyway. I know you’ll like what I am gonna offer.” Isabelle smirked, rang a little bell and Evey heard steps muffled by the thick carpet, Belle got up, winked at her and left the room, smiling.
That sort of behavior was odd, even for Isabelle, especially since the kitchen was clearly visible from where Everleigh was seated and also in the opposite direction of where Belle was disappearing to, so Evey decided to investigate.
She turned to look over her shoulder and saw purple eyes, which she would recognize anywhere, making her heart skip a beat.
“HEATH!!!” she tried to jump up, but it turned into an un-elegant laboring up off the couch due to her pregnancy, until she was up and ran into his embrace, he caught her, nearly knocking him over.
They hugged, again and again, until Evey pressed herself against him crying against his shoulder.
Heath said nothing, just held her and closed his eyes. For several minutes until Evey mumbled into his shoulder
“Oh Heath! I am so sorry they hurt you.”
“Your cousin spoke for me. She … owns me now.”
“Oh, thank God. Belle is kind. And really convincing. And always gets what she wants. And stinking rich. Maybe I can talk her into releasing you! I am sure she would!”
“She won’t. She can’t. Once captured there is no liberty. If she were to set me free, she would get into serious trouble up to even a possible jail sentence … and I would get shot on sight. Special guns. Deadly. Even for the likes of me. I know I have no right, but if I may ask one favor of you, Little Leigh.”
“Anything.” she said into another hug, before she pulled him over to the couch with her.
“Abigail. When I knew they were coming for me, I tried to make it home to get her and teleport to safety with her, didn’t make it, they captured me at my doorstep, but I was able to tell her to run and hide. I don’t know where she is, Evey. She is very smart but still so little.” Heath could not speak any more, fighting back tears.
“Oh no! She’s been out there all alone all this time!? Could she be home? I cannot get there, they won’t let anyone through…”
“She won’t be home. They seized it. Just like the last one. I have no more rights or property, Evey. I told Abby to hide in a safe place until I can get her. That was months ago … I don’t even know if they found her. Promise me to look for her. Please, Little Leigh, will you do that for me? I need to know she is safe.”
“Of course, Heath! Look, you are safe now. Belle is high-maintenance, but she’ll treat you right. And I will find Abby. What did you do anyway, that they captured you?”
“Nothing out of the ordinary, only what I had to. I am a New Breed. I cannot use plasma fruit, I need blood. Drinking blood is strictly forbidden. I was bound to get caught sooner or later. I won’t last, Evey. For that very reason. I need blood, they don’t allow blood. I will perish, soon. It’s been months already. I just hope I get to see my daughter in safety before I …. Promise me you’ll try, Little Leigh.”
“Here. Drink.” she lifted up her arm and offered up the underside to him without a hint of hesitation.
“No. You are pregnant. I won’t.”
“You have to. I can’t hardly give birth real quick, just to satisfy your badly timed sense of righteousness. So please Heath, just do it. Besides, the rules were that you cannot turn me when pregnant. Drinking was allowed, as long as it was small amounts. Remember, I come from a long line of vamps, I know the rules. So .. do it. I told you about 10 years ago in a very similar situation that it would be cruel having to watch you die. Don’t do that to me, Heath. I have lost so many already, if I mean anything to you, drink.”
“I wished so many things would have been different. I so wish some choices would have been made differently. I so wish I could go back to a time many years ago and taken my chance when I had it. Maybe neither one of us would be hurting so. Or maybe it would be even worse, although, that is quite hard to imagine.”
He looked into her eyes, his now deep crimson, when he put his arm around her expanded waist and pressed her close up against him, took her hand, kissed the area just below the wrist and then she felt the quick sharp pain and closed her eyes. There was that feeling again, just like back when she was 15. That odd sensation, feeling him so intimately close in such an odd embrace. (read here). A single tear made its way across her cheek, which Heath wiped off with his thumb when he already released her. His eyes purple again, and a faint, hopeful smile slightly curling up the corners of his lips.
“I’ll fix this, Heath. I’ll make it all better.” she whispered.
“You already have, Little Leigh. You’ve always been the light illuminating the perpetual darkness that is my life.”
“If that were true, why did you just try to quit our friendship and ditch me? Not even a word, a visit. I thought you have forgotten about me.”
“Never. I have been there. Watching. From afar. I knew this would eventually happen, and it did. I wanted you as far away from it as possible. Looks like that equation didn’t add up and what’s worse, I am glad of it. I have missed you so.”
“Instead of being a peeping Tom, you could have come and told me you were okay. If you are not just claiming that now to make yourself look better.”
“I am not. How else would I know about Ethan and Esmeé?”
“The names are supposed to be a secret until they are born! How?”
“I told you a long, long time ago, that I am always around, I always keep an eye on you. Well, I did, until … this.” he pointed at his collar.
“Umm … don’t tell anyone, though. Took KC and me long enough to agree on not just one, but TWO names.”
“Oh precious Evey, whom am I to tell? I am not even to speak unless spoken to.”
“I’ll find Abby, I swear. And I’ll somehow make this right Heath. Just need some time.”
Soon she had to go, hugged her cousin as tight as she could and whispered a thank you in her ear. Belle just nodded and smiled.
There it was, the golden heart Evey had always known about.
Back home that night KC came home late. In his still new job as a football coach, he was preparing his high school team for some important game. He loved that job as much as he had once loved his woodworking job, so Everleigh never as much as rolled her eyes when it got later again.
He found Evey in one of the rooms upstairs, her old room when she used to spent the nights at her grandparents’ home. A lot had happened in this room and it was apparent that Evey was in here strolling down memory lane.
“So, what trouble did you and our kiddos get into today.”
“Oh, hi baby!” she was a little startled, but a happy smile appeared on her face before she turned to welcome him home.
“How was work?” she asked into their embrace.
“Ah, same old. Got to yell at some teens, call them lazy and chase them around a football field. Dream come true. What about you?” he grinned.
“Oh, nothing much. Went to see Belle.” she omitted the rest.
“You still feeling okay? After your collapse at the spa, I am not sure it wouldn’t be better if she came to see you, rather than you drive out all the way to Willow Creek.”
“I am fine, daddy. We are fine.”
She rubbed over her belly and smiled when she caressed KC’s cheek, who smiled back until his composure stiffened and his smile faded. He grabbed her wrist and turned it, she tried to fight it, but he was too strong.
“What the fuck, Evey?!”
“Uh ummmm…” she wanted to lie, but nothing plausible came to mind. Everybody above the age of 5 nowadays knew what a vampire bite looked like.
“It’s him, isn’t it? You found him, didn’t you? Were you even at Belle’s? Or was that a lie too?”
“No lie, I saw him … around there …he needed to feed, just a little bit. Heath would never hurt me, or our kids.”
“Oh, good to know. In that case, why would I mind another man suckling around on my wife’s life spirit while she is 8 months pregnant with our children? Are you insane, Evey? Or maybe I am insane. I really thought things had changed. I really thought you loved me, and only me. But it is still the same old story, isn’t it? Second best. Always just second best, right behind Heath. FUCK THIS!”
He stormed out, Evey after him, trying to catch him but her hand reaching into a void when he was already almost all the way down the stairs. Which is when she suddenly felt airborne, then as if on a very fast rollercoaster.
As if in slow motion she felt no more ground under her feet, her face became a grimace of fear, then she saw the stairs suddenly accelerating toward her, heard her own scream as if by someone else, heard KC scream her name in painful distress.
“NOOO!!! EEEVEEEYYY!” KC’s voice sounding of sheer terror echoed in her head and then it suddenly was all dark and quiet.