No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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36. Coincidence and Reunion

 

      I spent the next few days getting better. I didn’t do much except lie in bed or on the sofa. Xavier waited on me hand on foot, trying to redeem himself for his past actions.

      “So how did you end up as a slave?” Xavier asked one afternoon.

      I told him about how Gina going missing had been the last straw.

      Sipping at some animal blood, he said. “I’m surprised that Ridge let you come here.”

      I dug my nails into my leg, forcing myself not to cry. “He... he was gone by then. He came to the Realm of the Undead to see what was going on, and he didn’t come back. I found out at a ball that... he’s not himself anymore. He’s Baron Christian Lamont. He was compelled, just like you.”

      “Just like me?” Xavier asked confused. “What do you mean?”

      I heaved a sigh, wishing that I hadn’t said anything. “You don’t really love me. Lady Prenalla is compelling you to be obsessed with me, to love me.”

      His blue-silver eyes darkened. “I do love you, Danira. It’s not compulsion.”

      “She’s compelling Ridge too, making him be Christian.”

      The cup in Xavier’s hand exploded into hundreds of pieces and I stumbled to my feet when I saw that he was shaking.

      “Xavier...” I said warily. “Please calm down.”

      “Calm down, you want me to calm down after what you just said to me?” he gave a harsh laugh and stood up. “Do you know how angry you’ve made me by saying that my love for you isn’t real?”

      Backing away from him I gazed around for a weapon but couldn’t find anything. That was when I recalled the axe in the study. I continued stepping backwards out of the living room and into the hallway. I held my hand up in surrender. “Okay, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

      Xavier shook his head but then his eyes dropped to my neck. “I didn’t notice that necklace before.” his fingertips brushed Mireille’s emerald.

      I usually had it hidden under my t-shirt. I supposed that I should send it back to Luca. Once I found a way to remove it that was.

      “It looks familiar.” Xavier whispered, thankfully calmer than before.

      “Really, where have you seen it before?” I asked, a chill running through me when his cool skin brushed mine.

      Holding the emerald between two fingers, he looked deep in thought. “The woman... the one that gave me her blood when I was dying... she was wearing it.” Xavier’s voice was so quiet that I had to really concentrate to hear what he was saying.

      “Wait, the vampire that sired you was wearing this? Are you certain?” I asked, suddenly filled with dread.

      He nodded slowly. “Yes, yes she was.”

      “What did she look like? What happened?”

      Xavier groaned and lowered his head into his hands. I reached out tentatively and put a hand on his arm.

      “I was driving my car when suddenly...” his voice caught and I could see that he was trembling at the memory.

      Rubbing his arm soothingly I knew that it must be very hard for him to talk about his last few moments of being human, especially as it hadn’t been that long ago.

      “Everything was normal and then the next moment the car was upside down and I... I was in so much pain. I dragged myself from the wreckage, bleeding and with broken bones. I was lying on the ground dying and then she came. I thought she was an angel... she had blonde hair and was so beautiful... she was wearing that emerald. She said that she could save me, that I didn’t have to die. She gave me her blood and I became a vampire. After telling me about the café and the Realm of the Undead she left.”

      “Did she say what her name was?”

      “Yes, she said that she was called Aurelia.”

      My head felt like it was going to explode. Aurelia had been the vampire that had changed Xavier and she had been wearing Mireille’s emerald. But what did that mean? Surely it was a couldn’t have been a coincidence that Aurelia had been the one to give Xavier immortality... as well as the fact that she had been in the same area as Xavier.

      “I know her.” I said, aware of the jealousy and anger that was amassing within me. “She came to the café. She’s... she’s with Christian.”

      Xavier lifted his head up and our faces were so close that our noses brushed. Hunger flashed in his eyes and then he was in the kitchen, searching the fridge for animal blood. “What a twist of fate.” he muttered.

      I reached around my neck for the clasp of Mireille’s emerald. If Aurelia had worn it then there was no way I wanted it anymore. But as much as I tried I couldn’t undo the clasp. I asked Xavier to help but his eyes glazed over and he kept on telling me again and again that I shouldn’t take it off. Growing frustrated I tried to pull the necklace off but only succeeded in nearly strangling myself. Xavier remained standing still, with a far away look in his eyes and as I admitted defeat it occurred to me that I had seen that look before. Axel and Pegasus had been like that when I had tried to take the necklace off on previous occasions. It looked like Mireille’s emerald was enchanted then.  

 

      I decided to leave the next day late ‘afternoon’. Apart from the burns on my legs and my broken arm and rib I was completely healed. Plus I decided that spending more time than was necessary with Xavier probably wasn’t the best idea.

      “Do you really have to leave?” Xavier asked, practically begging me with his eyes not to go.

      Putting on the cloak that he was letting me borrow I replied. “In the letter I said that I would be going back to them. I will come and visit you if you want, or you can come and see me.”

      “It’s just... I’ve enjoyed having you here.”

      I smiled. “I know and I cannot thank you enough for what you did for me. You saved my life. If you hadn’t found me when you did I would be dead.”

      Xavier reached out and stroked my cheek with a cool thumb. “Please stay.”

      “I’m sorry, Xavier.” I pulled the hood of the cloak up and after hesitating a moment, I kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll see you soon.”

      I moved as quickly as I could through the Castle, wanting to get to Ferriday’s estate as soon as possible. Keeping my head down to avoid anyone’s attention, I slipped through the streets. At any moment I expected to find Nevrac gliding towards me. I didn’t know what I would do if I saw him. A smile crept onto my face as I knocked on the front door. I couldn’t wait to see my friends again.

      Aidan burst into a grin when he saw it was me. “I’m so glad that you’re okay.” he said, drawing me into a hug.

      “Broken arm,” I reminded him, flinching in pain.

      “Oh, right, sorry.” he said releasing me. “You’d better come inside.”

      The moment I stepped into the hallway I was nearly knocked off my feet when Kelsey threw herself at me. “Danira!” she yelled.

      “Broken arm!” I cried when her head banged my elbow.

      “Sorry!” Kelsey smiled. “I just... it’s you! I missed you so much.”

      Kissing her hair I replied. “I know, sweetheart. I missed you too.”

      After that there was a big reunion in the ballroom. It seemed that they had been planning a party for my return ever since they received my letter. Everybody except Gina, who apparently wouldn’t leave her room, was there. Aidan had even baked me a cake.

      “You look terrible.” Bertie grinned.

      “Gee, thanks.” I laughed, eating some of the delectable sponge cake.

      Leila walked over to me holding Aidan’s hand. Her brown eyes were worried. “What did he do to you, Danira?”

      Shaking my head I whispered. “You really don’t want to know.”

      Kelsey, who was clinging to my leg like she was never going to let go, looked up at me. “Danira, your leg is bleeding.”

      She must have rubbed the burns so much that the skin had come off. No wonder it had been hurting so much.

      “Here, you finish this off for me and I’ll be back in a minute.” I handed her my plate and she let go of me. Hobbling out of the ballroom, I felt everyone’s eyes on me. I went to the bathroom where I sat on the edge of the bath and pressed some bandages that I had found under the sink to my leg.

      “Does it hurt?”

      I glanced up to find Jet in the doorway. “Yes it does.”

      He walked over to the sink and found some painkillers in the first aid kit. Jet then left the room and a few seconds later he returned with a glass of water. “Here you go.”

      “Thanks.” accepting the water I drank some and swallowed a pill.

      “So you stayed at Xavier’s?”

      Still holding the bandage to my stinging leg, I answered. “Yeah, he found me. I was nearly dead.”

      Jet nodded. He must have known all about Xavier from Ridge.

      “He’s on animal blood at the moment. He’s better.” I told him.

      “What are you going to do about Nevrac?”

      I gave a sigh. “When I woke up I wasn’t wearing a collar, but I don’t know if it was Nevrac or Xavier that removed it.”

      Jet looked hopeful. “If it was Nevrac then you are no longer his slave.”

      “Let’s hope that it was him that took the collar off then.” I muttered.

      “You can come and stay at my home for a while, if you want?” he suggested. “It will be more peaceful there.”

      “That’s very kind of you. I will think about it.”

      After that we returned to the ballroom.

      “Ferriday,” I said, drawing him aside. “Can I have a word?”

      “Of course you can, Danira.”

      “I’ve got some bad news. Nevrac knows that you and Pegasus are human sympathisers.”

      His eyes grew wide. “I... I see.”

      “I don’t know if he will tell the Vampire Lords or not.”

      Ferriday thanked me and hurried over to Pegasus to tell him the bad news. Feeling drained I said goodnight to everyone and headed to my old bedroom. Kelsey went with me. After I had left she had taken the room as her own, preferring it to her old one which Gina now lived in. Kelsey cuddled up to me once we were under the covers. I made sure that she was on my right hand side seeing as it was my left arm that was broken.

      

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