Home > Vampire Ever After? (Blood and Snow #12)

Vampire Ever After? (Blood and Snow #12)
Author: RaShelle Workman

Chapter 1

"Home is where your heart can flourish." My mom used to say that. And as Abernathy circled Professor Pops' sprawling mansion, my heart clenched. After I told Professor Pops and the brothers what happened with Dorian, would they still consider me part of them?

From the air I could make out the little cottage-type house I'd lived in with my mom and dad, and then my dad and stepmother. It was minuscule compared to Professor Pops' extensive grounds and house. Though it was dark, I was able to distinguish the tennis court, and putting green. Behind the house, which seemed somehow larger from the sky, lay a sculpted, manicured lawn, and a rectangle pool-lit, and giving off a cyan glow.

If I hadn't left my mother in captivity in Mizu, and Dorian dead, I would've been excited. But I wasn't. I was sick inside. Each time I thought about one of them, my mom or Dorian, my heart broke.

I leaned against Cindy. She, Gabe, and Abernathy were melancholy as well. None of us spoke. Too much had happened.

While I'd healed their wounds with the Seal, I'd told them about Dorian. About the Unknowns, and their belief that to break the Seal I had to die. I told them about Dorian, and what he'd done. That I tried to save him, but he vanished. I told them all of it, without an ounce of feeling, as though I was relating events that'd happened to someone else.

When I finished, it was obvious Gabe and Cindy were fractured. Broken, like I was.

Abernathy only nodded, and said, "The Unknowns are strange creatures. They see things much differently than we do."

And that was it.

We flew the rest of the way home in silence.

Honestly, I was grateful. I didn't know what to say, and I knew I'd have to tell Professor Pops, and the remainder of the brothers what happened, what I'd done. That because of me, Dorian was dead.

Dorian, I thought, wiping at fresh tears.

Abernathy's wings pounded against the night sky. He landed gracefully on the back lawn. It was winter so the grass crunched and crackled under his weight, and the size of his paws.

Gabe slid off first, and helped Cindy down. He didn't bother with me. Probably too upset about what happened. That I'd taken one of his brothers from him.

"I must speak with the other chayot leaders," he said, giving Cindy a quick hug. "Let Professor Pops know I'm back, and safe. Please?" He glanced at me then, and I nodded.

Without the slightest noise, or even a flicker in the wind, he was gone.

Cindy said, "I should get home. My parents are probably freaking out."

"Okay," I whispered as I slid down.

Cindy patted my arm. "I'll see you tomorrow. We'll figure out a way to get your mom back." She spoke the words, but I sensed her trepidation, her exhaustion. Though I knew without a doubt she'd help.

"Tomorrow," I repeated, and tried to smile, but my lips wouldn't cooperate. She jogged toward the house, and skirted it. I knew she was headed for her car, parked in front. As I watched her go, I wondered if it was wise to be close to the people I loved? Being near me seemed to cause them pain.

Abernathy let out a gust of smoke through his nostrils. "You mustn't worry so much. Yes, your friends may suffer. And sometimes it'll be your fault. But you should ask yourself this. Would they be happier knowing you went into danger alone? Would they feel safer?" He shook his head, making his golden mane swirl around his face.

I didn't know how to respond. He was right. Of course. But it didn't make me feel any better. Accept that you're going to cause people pain. That's what it felt like he was saying. How could I consent to that? The answer was simple. I couldn't.

"There are a hundred questions swimming around in your vampire head. Ask them, so I may return to my home, and get some sleep." He lay down, resting his chin against his front paws. Somber eyes bore into me.

Had I not wanted to put off talking to Pops and the brothers, I would've found an excuse to leave.

I snorted. "I do have questions," I began, but stopped. At the edge of the woods, between my house and Professor Pops,' stood Christopher. But that wasn't what gave me pause? For the briefest moment, I thought he was Dorian.

My heart shattered all over again.

Gulping down my pain, I leaned against Abernathy.

A rumble, like a purr, came from deep within his body. "Stay strong. You still have much ahead of you."

His words made me ill. It was true. I still had to find a way to save the seven magics, preferably without losing my life, as the Unknowns intended. I needed to rescue my mother. Tell Pops about Dorian, and figure out if I was meant to be the next Vampire Queen. Each thought weighed more heavily than the one before, until I wished I could disappear. Vanish into nothingness.

"He's waiting. You should talk to him," Abernathy said. I sensed a hitch in the dragon's words. Whether it was the lilt or intonation, I didn't know. The dragon knew way more than he shared. And there was something he wasn't saying.

I studied my Hunter. The man I loved. He was handsome. Excessively so. And before that moment it hadn't dawned on me how much Christopher and Dorian looked alike. They both had hazel eyes (at least before the Seal changed Christopher's to a violet). Both had sandy colored hair. They were tall, tan, with well-defined bodies. They could've been fraternal twins. Brothers, at least.

Maybe it was because their personalities were so different. Where Christopher was serious, Dorian was more laid back, playful. But it was weird. Especially since Christopher still wore the clothes Dorian let him borrow.

"How long were we gone?" I asked Abernathy.

"A few days. They've all been worried. I told Pops you were visiting your mom, after I left you with her. So he knows, but that didn't stop the concern."


"Agreed. The Hunter freaked the most." A question lay behind his words, but he went on, and I forgot to be worried. "He wanted me to fly him to you, but I told him no. Christopher isn't too fond of me at the moment." A soft chuckle escaped the dragon's throat. "Go on. I'll rest my eyes while I'm waiting."

I stepped away, but thought of a question. "Aren't you worried someone will see you?"

He'd already closed his eyes, but opened one. "Do I look the least bit concerned, little vampire?"

"No, you really don't. And I'm hoping it's because you know what you're doing and not because..." I trailed off. I didn't want to call him crazy. That would be rude.

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