I just barely got downstairs when the doorbell rang. I heard Rachel talking to someone and then she came into the kitchen with a cop in uniform. I looked up and the cop said I was needed downtown, at the station. I asked him what this was all about but he said he wasn't at liberty to say. Rachel had a worried look on her face as I followed this guy to the police car.
As I entered the police station I noticed a lot of people milling around, some in uniforms, some in regular clothes. The cop led me into a room with a big glass window, a table and two chairs. He told me to have a seat and someone would be right with me. I wondered what in hell the police could possibly want with me. I soon found out.
A man, looking like he had slept in his suit, entered the room. He introduced himself as Detective Jenkins. He asked me if I'd like a soda or water or coffee, I declined and asked him what this was all about.
He began by asking me if I had been on Gossamer Road on the night of April the third at eleven at night. I told him yes, I was going home from a party and had lost my bearings and gotten lost. I asked him why he wanted to know. He told me a Mr. Clement had placed me there at that time of the night. I said I didn't know any Mr. Clement and Detective Jenkins said the gentleman in question had come in recently and gave a report about something happening to his friend.
I recalled the newspaper headlines and then I recalled one of the guys who had attacked Karla and I was named Clement. I told the detective two guys had attacked us but that a car came along and the lights must have scared them off because they ran. He told me Mr. Clement said some guy had attacked him and his friend, Bubba, and that he hasn't seen Bubba since. The detective asked me if I recalled seeing anything suspicious at that time. I told him no, and something must have happened after the attack. He said Mr. Clements had been arrested and that he was ranting on about some guy, possibly with me, had attacked them and he was worried his friend might be dead. I told him I was sorry I couldn't help him but that I was glad this guy was in jail. Then the detective asked me why I hadn't reported being attacked and I told him since they got scared off, I didn't come in to report it since nothing bad had actually happened. He asked me about Karla, it seems he had gotten the hospital report about my friend having stitches. I explained to him she had gotten the cut from falling because she had too much to drink. He scolded me for us drinking under age and then thanked me for telling him what I knew. He called in the officer who brought me here and told him to take me home.
As I was leaving, I saw Karla in the waiting room. She shot me a look and I gave her a 'don't say a word' look, kind of a scowl actually. I thought: “For heaven's sake, this once, keep your big mouth shut.” I made a phone gesture to my ear, an indication for her to call me later. She nodded in acknowledgment.
At home, Rachel decided to grill me about why the police wanted to see me. I made up a story about something happening at the party Karla and I had been to and they wanted a report from us. That seemed to satisfy her, except for the small lecture concerning hanging out with Karla too much. I assured her I haven't been seeing Karla as much lately. I'm sure she took that as I was working harder on my grades. I wondered what she would say if she knew I was hanging out more with Duncan instead, a vampire. I smiled inside at the idea of her knowing that.
I decided to go to my room and wait for Karla to call me. My phone started playing music and it was Duncan. “Hello?”
“What were you doing at the police station?” I wondered how in hell he knew that. When I asked, he just said he has his ways.
I explained to him that some detective was asking me about the night of the attack. I told him how I had said I knew nothing much about that. Duncan asked me what the detective looked like. When I described him, Duncan suddenly fell silent. He said my description fit the assassin who has been hunting him and his friends. When he said that, it was my turn to fall silent. I told him that Clement guy had filed a report.
“I should have hunted him down and killed him when I had the chance. That creep.”
I was a bit shocked, I'd never heard Duncan talk like that before. I could feel the venom dripping from his every word. It kind of scared me that Duncan could hate someone so much. It also scared me that the detective was trying to kill Duncan.
Just as I hung up, Karla called me. “What did they ask you?” She sounded out of breath. I told her what the detective asked me and what I had told them.
“I told them close to the same thing then. I said I hit my head because we were on a back road, lost, I had too much alcohol and had to pee. I explained I stumbled when I went to go pee, then those two guys showed up. I also told them a car came along and must have scared them off or something. Do you think that detective believes us?”
I told her I didn't know, but I was glad her story and mine were the same. I was worried though, worried what that detective was up to and what he might do next. Those two men were the bad guys, not Duncan. If it hadn't been for Duncan, Karla and I would have been coyote food or something. I told her not to worry. Besides, I was doing enough worrying for the both of us.
Duncan texted me and asked: “You want to come over tonight? We won't have the place to ourselves, everyone is back, but we can swim and hang out, if you'd like to.”
I sent back: “Sure, that sounds fine to me. What time?”
“How about eight or so?” I told him eight was great and I'd be ready. I was hoping to be alone with him, at least by the pool, to talk to him more about that detective guy. I wanted to know what he wanted me to do now.
Duncan picked me up and we went to the mansion to hang out. Everyone was home, like he said and of course everyone acted glad to see me but Blade. He was his usual aloof self as far as I was concerned. I wondered why, I certainly hadn't done anything to offend him at least nothing I knew of. Maybe he just doesn't like humans.
Duncan and I changed into our suits and went up to the roof to swim. The night air was chilly but the warm pool water felt good on my skin when I got in. We were swimming for a while when Blade came outside too. He motioned for Duncan to come out of the water. They stood over in the corner talking when it looked like Duncan got an angry look on his face and started raising his voice. They were too far away for me to tell what was said, but I could tell they were both quite angry. They looked like they were arguing.
Duncan came back to the pool and got in and Blade went back inside. But in a few minutes Blade came outside again. He also had his swim trunks on this time and got in the pool.
“So Duncan tells me you were at the police station today talking to Detective Jenkins.” Blade had a hard look to him, like he hated the world or something.
“Yes, yes, I did.”
“What did he want?”
“Blade, knock it off!”
Blade shot Duncan a look: “What? I'm just trying to make conversation. You told me to get to know Cheryl, now you're telling me not to?” Duncan shot him a disgusted look and started to swim.
“He just asked about an incident that my friend, Karla and I were in the other night. That's all.”
“The one when Duncan saved your asses?”
“Blade! I'm warning you, man.”
But Blade continued. “Was he asking about Duncan? Was he asking about us?”
“Why would he ask about you? He doesn't know I know you at all. I'm sure of it.”
The next thing I knew, Blade was right in front of me, nose to nose. “Good, let's keep it that way, shall we?”
His breath was hot and his eyes were flashing, almost red. He scared me, he looked like Satan himself. Then Duncan was right behind Blade. He grabbed Blade's arm and said: “I warned you to let it go. Now leave Cheryl alone.”
Blade narrowed his eyes and looked at Duncan. “Just because you think you're in love with some damned human could get us all killed. Jenkins isn't one to give up easily and he's very dangerous. Your beloved human could very well slip up and Jenkins finds out where we live and kill each of us. Is that what you want?”
“Cheryl would never tell him where we live. She'd never lead him to us.”
“Yeah, right. Maybe not on purpose, but Jenkins is cunning and he could easily figure it out, using her.”
“That's not going to happen, Blade, he's not going to find us, especially not through Cheryl.”
With that, Blade shot me a look that made me understand the term; if looks could kill, and started to go back inside. At the doorway he turned to look at me, “You better hope that's true.”
His last remark made me shudder and it felt like someone had walked across my grave. I literally shivered thinking about how he looked at me and what he said.
“Blade hates me. Does Blade hate all humans or just me?”
Duncan gave me a hug and climbed to the edge of the pool and sat down. “There was a time Blade didn't dislike humans. I'm not sure he liked most of them back then, but he did tolerate them. In fact......” Duncan's voice trailed off.
“What, what were you about to say just then? What? Tell me, I want to know.”
“There was a time he loved a human. A beautiful woman.”
“When, recently, a long time ago, when?” I kept prodding Duncan to continue.
“It was a few centuries ago; three hundred years to be exact. He met her in France at a masquerade ball on All Hollow’s Eve, Halloween, to you. He got to know her and fell deeply in love. They were together for five years and she was even going to turn, for Blade, she loved him back too. But it wasn't meant to be.”
“Did she fall out of love with him? Did she find someone else? What happened, Duncan? Was she a princess or something?”
Duncan laughed when I mentioned the princess part. “Hardly royalty. She was a maid, serving drinks and food that night. Her family were pretty much indentured servants to the rich family throwing the party. What happened was, she led Jenkins, he called himself another name back then; right to where Blade and his family were staying. Jenkins killed everyone, Blade narrowly escaped the slaughter.”
“Why would she do that if she loved Blade? I don’t understand, Duncan.”
“Jenkins offered her a great deal of money. Enough money so her family didn't have to be servants anymore. Apparently her human ties, blood ties, to her family were stronger than her love for Blade.”
“That's awful. But my family members aren't indentured servants. I'm not going to do that to you. Did she just disappear then?”
Duncan looked down at his feet swishing the water around. “No, she didn't just disappear.”
“What then? There's more to this than you are telling me. Please finish. Tell me what happened.”
“She didn't know Blade's family had been killed over what she had done. She met Blade, like they planned, for him to help her turn so they could be together, forever. But instead of turning her, Blade killed her for betraying him. Blade has never gotten over it. So you see, it's not you at all. It's what you, what we, remind him of.”
“Oh my gawd, I'm so sorry for Blade. To live forever with that sorrow must be awful. What about you, all these centuries, you've never loved any humans?”
“Yes, yes I have. I'm not going to insult your intelligence and lie and say, no, I never did. I have, a couple of times.”
“So? Why aren't those women with you? Why didn't they turn?”
“Frankly, the other women didn't want to turn. Oh, sure, they said they did, but they decided, at the last minute, they really didn't want to, so we always broke up. I never saw any of them again.”
“Oh. That's why you told me I have to be sure and that's why you didn't help me turn the other night? Even though I said I did want to turn.”
“Yes, Cheryl. We all say things in the heat of passion we really don’t mean. I wasn't going to turn you then. I want you to be rational at the time, if you decide you still want to. Not in the heat of passion. I want you to think it over and be absolutely sure. If you're not sure, you would regret it and eventually grow to hate me.”
I looked down at the water then. I could never imagine hating Duncan. I had fallen too deeply in love with him to ever imagine not loving him, for any reason. I must have been quiet for quite some time because Duncan put his robe on. “Maybe we had better be getting you home now. Are you ready?”
I got dressed and I noticed the ride to my house was very quiet. Maybe I was just pondering what he told me about Blade. Maybe I had an awful lot to digest in my brain. When we got to my house, I started to open the hearse door. Duncan reached out and took my wrist. “I do love you, Cheryl but as you know now, it's more complicated than just being in love. Think over all you know and don't be too hasty to turn. But remember, whether you turn or not, your decision will not change my love for you.” With that, we kissed and I went inside the house.