True Heart

Dakota Grey is just an ordinary girl with an ordinary life. That is, until she meets Alex, a vampire who just can seem to let her go. She learns that she's not an ordinary girl and in fact, she had a whole life before her memory was erased. Together they find out just how small the world really is as they try to piece the puzzle back together.

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15. Chapter 15

We drive back to Castle in silence. Ben drives and I sit in the passenger seat playing around with the Sifer. What the heck can you do with something the size of a watch face? I honestly have no idea whatsoever. We reach the museum in no time and within minutes we are once again in Castle's underground rooms. We are greeted by an older man although I can tell he's a vampire too. He shakes all our hands and leads the three of us into a small room.
"I have news you'll want to hear Dakota. There are invitations being sent out to every criminal in this state for a party hosted by someone under the name of Quello Vero. Isabella was invited to go so I have orders to get you three ready to go too," he explains quickly. I frown.
"How are we going to get into a party for bad guys?" I ask the obvious.
"Well, Dakota, you and Ben will be going as a couple. You are both criminals. Or have you forgotten," he tells us. Ben and I share a strange look and I know we are thinking the same thing. This guy is crazy. Alex doesn't seem to have any problem with it so I'm assuming he's already completely forgotten. Well, lets just say, I'm hoping he just forgot.
"Alex, you are excused. I need to give Ben some lessons," he adds. Alex leaves the room and the man gestures for us to sit at the lone table. Ben and I sit beside each other and the man sits across from us. We just stare at each other.
"I want you to kiss her," he states simply. I blush incredibly and my eyes widen. Ben practically falls out of his chair.
"Excuse me?" He questions surprised. The man cracks a smile.
"Kiss her," he orders. I swallow uncertainly.
"I don't think that's necessary," Ben replies still with the initial shock. He glances at me and I nod so much I'm afraid my head'll fall off. The man tilts his head to the side.
"Yes, I agree. Why is this necessary training?" I ask demandingly.
"Well, once you two are in the field together if things get ruff I want to know he can pull his weight. I already know you can pull your weight Dakota, from all the examples Alex has given us," he spells it out for me smiling. That shuts me up. Ben glances questioningly in my direction but I look away. I really don't want to talk about Alex with them. Ben gets to his feet and shakes his head in frustration.
"Fine! You really want me to kiss her!" He shouts. I stand also along with the man.
"Desperately," he sighs sarcastically. Ben spins around to face me and pulls me close.  His lips meet mine roughly. Right after they hit they immediately become gentle. Time slows and suddenly it's just me and him in the room. Alone. The world disappears and the only thing that remains is Ben standing in front of me. He eventually pulls away and faces the guy with a defiant look on his face. The man smiles.
"That wasn't so hard was it?" He asks us. I look away and rub my lips together.
"I think I should go, now," I mumble as an excuse to leave. I roll my eyes. Whoever put this guy on our case is a nut job. I seek Hannah out and ask her if I can talk to her a minute. She agrees so I lead her into another small room. In the room there's a single bed. That's all.
"Luke said in the letter he taught you to use the Sifer," I state. She nods so I dig it out of my pocket. Handing it over I watch as she leaves the room. I frown as she walks down the hall.
"I'll send him in then," she calls out from down the hall. Sighing I sit on the bed. I am thankful that Luke is my friend. He truly is awesome. With my back against the wall I lower my head. A few tears escape my eyes and drip off my face. I don't like to cry. I've spent years putting up emotional walls so that no one knows my true feelings. And lets just say, it's worked. I've kept my emotions in and people out. Somehow though, Ben seems to be able to see through them. He seems to know my emotions. I'm not sure if I like that or not. I just don't know anymore. Luke would know. No, Luke would be able to comfort me and hold me as I cry over silly little things. Jay, on the other hand could tell me what I should do. God, do I ever miss Jay. Jay is the only person on this earth who understands me. Me and Alex. He's so frustrating it's lovable. My heart aches for those I love, including Ben and Alex. More tears slide down my cheeks but I make no attempt to wipe them away. 
"Why so sad?" A voice asks quietly. I could have sworn my heart stopped. I look up and my heart practically bursts with happiness. I leap off the bed and throw myself into Alex's arms. He stumbles backward but I feel his arms wrap around me.
"Alex," I smile. His scent swirls around me and I breathe the distinct smell as if I can't get enough of it. I feel him smile back and my heart cracks. He shifts his weight to his other foot and walks to the bed. Setting me down he sits down besides me.
"You're getting weaker," I tease knowing he takes pride in his strength. He leans toward me and my mind goes blank.
"You caught me off guard," he defends as his lips brush mine. 
"Excuses, excuses," I sigh as his lips meet mine. Each new kiss tells me everything will be ok now that I'm in his arms. Nothing pollutes my mind. My only thoughts are of Alex. 
"Don't you have a party to go to?" He asks between breaths. I groan and he pulls me away.
"It can wait," I decide as I lay my head on his chest. His fingers gently run through my hair. His even breathing is calming. In. Out. In. Out. 
"You need to get some sleep. You haven't slept in the longest time, you're tired," he mutters softly. He's right. My eyes are already closing. I don't answer him. He picks me up and lies me on the bed. There's no light in the room except the hallway light. Alex turns to walk out the door.
"Will you stay?" I ask in whisper. He stops a second but comes back over to the bed. Leaning over me he runs his fingers down my face.
"You really want me to stay?" He questions. I smile as his lips find mine again. I feel a smile on his lips and I know he's purposely trying to make my mind go blank. Lets just say, it's working. The more his lips move, the farther away the world goes.
"Alex," I scold although he only smiles and continues. He begins to plant kisses down my neck.
"Alex, this isn't funny," I say. Unfortunately, I'm all but laughing.
"No?" He asks in mock innocence.  I frown at him and he stops. Slowly he lays on the bed next to me. I turn my back to him in attempt to fall asleep. Closing my eyes I finally might actually get some sleep. I feel Alex slip his arm around my waist and pull me closer. So much for sleeping. Being this close, I'll never fall asleep. My back is against his chest and I hear him freeze a second. Ha! Apparently him trying to make my mind go blank is working on him too. I smile and I know he can feel it. Purposely he leaves his hand on my waist. Frowning I grab his wrist and shove it into his chest. I hear him take a sharp breath in.
"Keep your hands to yourself," I growl. Turning back around I stay close to the edge of the bed. Alex turns so his back is to me and I begin to wonder if I hurt him. In minutes he's breathing deeply and I know he's asleep. I can't sleep though. I don't know if it's because Alex is lying right beside me or just because I can't sleep knowing my sister's out there trying to ruin my life. I sit up and find I was right. Alex is sleeping soundly. I jump over him without waking him up. It's got to be dawn. I peek down the hall and read the clock at the end of it. One in the morning. I really don't want to wake Alex so I raid the halls in search of someone else. The hall is deserted so I peek into one of the other rooms. I notice Dylan sleeping on a bed similar to the one in my room. That's when I notice the plaques on each door. The one on Dylan's says Serane. It's everyone's last name. We each get our own quarters. I open Dylan's door silently and walk to his bed. Shaking his shoulder I try to wake him. He leaps from his bed, eyes wild. Pulling a knife from his back pocket he points it in my direction. I back up a step with my hands up in defeat. Once he realizes it's me he relaxes.
"Sorry Dakota, I've just been a little jumpy lately," he apologizes. I nod.
"Understood," I reply. Everyone's been a little jumpy since Isabella broke into here. Dylan slides his knife back into his pocket and sits on the bed. He motions for me to sit beside him so I do. 
"So how's Cassandra?" I ask referring to her shoulder. He nods.
"She's doing better. Although she's already tried to break out of the hospital twice," he answers and that's when I see how much he truly cares about her.
"But that's not why you woke me up," he continues. I lower my head to the ground.
"No," I sigh. He tilts his head to the side and waits for me to talk.
"My sister has been causing way to much trouble. I think the only way to stop her...is to kill her," I say worriedly. He considers this a second before responding.
"But you don't want to kill her," he implies. I shrug my shoulders.
"I don't know. It seems inhuman to kill your own sister doesn't it?" I question. Now it's his turn to shrug his shoulders.
"One time, when I was in jail, a vampire, who shared the cell with me, told me a story. He was over 5,000 years old and he said he was ready to die. But he also said he had made a promise long ago to destroy all the vampires. He told me someone else would take over his promise but only if he completed some mission. He asked me if I would like to hear a story. Of course at that time I was defiant and rude but I had nothing better to do so I said yes. His story went something like this, "Once, a thousand years ago, I walked along the Pacific on a morning stroll when I met a young man who went by the name of Zaro. Zaro stopped me and asked if I had ever heard the story of the elephants. I told him no, of course and he began his story. 'Once, long ago, there was a man who owned a circus. It wasn't really much of a circus though because the man only owned 2 elephants. The one was ever calm and always kept its talents hidden. The other was a quick learner therefore the man only spent time teaching that elephant. Over the course of about 2 years the elephant began to believe he no longer needed the man. The man knew this, of course but he loved the elephant as his own kin. The first elephant however remained as secret as ever and often disappeared periodically throughout the day. Rumors were spread that the second elephant was planning to kill his owner. The man however, was too in love with his animal to see the truth. The elephant that had learned all those tricks began to become nasty and mean. People fled the performances in fear of being killed. The man still didn't see the truth. As time passed the man finally began to see how dangerous his elephant was. He was terribly upset that he would have to sell his beloved animal. That night the man was murdered by one of his elephants. All the police blamed it on the elephant that had turned evil but that wasn't the murderer. The other elephant who had been forgotten and faded from people's minds killed the man. The police took no notice though because they thought the calm, sweet elephant everyone loved could not be the killer. So they set that elephant free and sent the other off to be killed. Right as they heard the shot, they realized something very important. They had killed the wrong elephant and the real killer, they had set free.' I asked the man what his story meant but he only shook his head and said. 'Don't you see! This story is not for you! You must find the conquerer and give her this story.' Of course, I thought, her! The conquerer cannot be a her.' Yeah, he pretty much rambled on and on after that. I think maybe he was supposed to give the story to you. Do you know what it means?" Dylan says. I process his story and try to answer his question.
"I don't know, what does it mean?" I ask. It was a good story but I don't understand the meaning.
"Oh, I was hoping you would know," he replies as he lowers his head. I stare at the ground and we stay silent. I hear someone walk sleepily down the hall and a second later there's a small knock on the door. I look up to see Alex leaning against the doorway. He's got all his weight on one foot and the other crossed behind the first. He stares at the ground.
"I woke up and you, uh weren't there," he mumbles and his eyes flicker up to meet mine. Dylan smiles beside me and I can practically see his thoughts. And lets just say, there not funny. Alex glares at Dylan and I roll my eyes. Those two just don't get along. Ever since the jail, which I have an odd feeling Alex hasn't forgotten. I get to my feet slowly and trip on something black. Alex launches forward to catch me but Dylan reaches me first. Just as he gets off the bed I hear a slight click. We all freeze. Alex's eyes widen and my heart begins to beat insanely. Dylan's arms are still wrapped around me but we're all too nervous to move. A constant beep starts and Alex finally gets the courage to move. He motions for us to stay put and he crouches down and lifts the bed sheet. We face away from him but I still hear him take in a sharp breath. He swallows once before telling us what's going on.
"Dylan, do you have any idea why someone planted a bomb under your bed? As soon as you got of the bed it began to count down and now we have 15 minutes to get out of here," Alex informs us. Dylan lets go of me and I get to my knees to see the bomb. Now, I'm no bomb expert, but I highly doubt anyone could disarm it. Then realization strikes.
"There's a traitor among us," I whisper. Alex grabs my arm and pulls me out of the room. I rip away from his grip and follow Dylan down the hall.
"How many vampires are down here?" I ask him. He thinks a second before answering.
"There shouldn't be any. They were all called to a meeting. I decided to skip out and get some sleep," he tells me. Alex runs closely behind me and I can almost hear the bomb ticking away. One second at a time. 
"We'll have to warn them," Alex announces. 
"Wow, you just figured that out," Dylan retorts sarcastically. We jog up a couple steps.
"Guys! Stop!" I hiss. We screech to a stop in front of two doors. I can hear a speaker giving an announcement.
"Getting everyone out will create too much of a hassle and the elevator will only take 3 vamps out at a time. We can only get a handful out before this thing explodes," Alex explains quickly. 
"Wait, that one time there were four of us in the elevator," I comment. Alex opens his mouth to reply but Dylan interrupts him.
"Yeah, Alex here thought it would be a good idea to test its limits," Dylan answers with a sly smile on his face. I hit him on the shoulder and his smile disappears. How are we going to get everyone out? Thinking fast I take the phone out of my pocket and search through the names until I find Star's number. Alex and Dylan follow my lead and soon we're all calling different people and notifying them about the bomb. The first people to exit the room are Star, Eric and Naomi. I immediately send them to the elevator and wait for the next bunch. I estimate we have about 7 minutes left. I try not to think about the fact that we will not get everyone out in time. Kelsy, and Sam run out the doors matching each other step for step.
"Where's Brianna?" Kelsy asks wildly. I shared confused looks with Alex and Dylan.
"She said she was going to get some sleep before the mission. You said the bomb was placed under Dylan's bed therefore the bomb is in the same area as Brianna. Unless you got her out," Sam trails. I shrug my shoulders and rolls her eyes. Kelsy sprints back to the rooms and an thought suddenly strikes me.
"Where's Ben?" I demand Alex. He shakes his head and I watch as Ally, Hannah and Cassandra come out. Dylan's face lights up at the sight of Cassandra and he walks toward the elevator with her. They walk off and I turn to face Alex again.
"Where's Ben," I order again. Alex avoids my gaze and instead looks at the ground.
"I don't know," he mumbles so quietly I almost don't hear him. He's lying. I know this for many reasons. One, when he lies he can't look me in the eye. Other than that, I have a gift for it.
"You're lying. And I know it," I lecture. He turns away from me although I can feel his growing anger.
"Why do you care so much!" He growls. If he's trying to cover his anger he's not doing a good job. That's probably my fault. We do bring out the best of each other.
"Why do I-" I cut myself off. Why do I care so much? I honestly have no clue. Ben is my friend. Yeah, that's a good excuse.
"He's my friend!" I shout at him with equal anger. That's odd. I wasn't angry until I said that. This whole "third component" thing with his venom is annoying me.
"Is that really 'all' he is," Alex accuses. I freeze and swallow hard. 
"All that matters is that we get him out too," I reply calmly as I meet his outraged expression. His gaze softens and he lowers his head.
"How much time do we have left?" He asks under his breath. I contemplate not telling him, telling him I don't know. But that would be a lie and I just called him on one so I won't. And I have been counting down.
"4 minutes," I answer and he takes off running down a corridor just as Kelsy comes running with Brianna at her side. My eyes widen when I realize what just happened. I feel Sam guide me toward the elevator and I don't try to fight it. I watch as the doors close around me. Trapping the others in. All those who weren't warned will die. The doors shut out the two I love most. The two I can't decide between. The elevator jerks upward leaving behind those who will die. I close my eyes and a single red tear falls from my face. I watch, as if in slow motion as the tear plummets to the floor of the elevator. It slams into the metal and the tear shatters as if it's glass. Tinier droplets of my tear, so small the human eye can't see them, fly into the corners of the elevator and seep in. I can still see them, barely. The elevator groans and screeches to a sharp stop that throws me into Brianna. We tumble to the ground and I find myself tangled not only with Brianna but also with Kelsy and Ally.  Wait, me, Kelsy, Brianna, Ally, Cody and Sam. That makes six of us. My eyes widen and Alex's words run through my head, "the elevator will only take 3 vamps at a time...yeah, Alex here thought it would be a good idea to test its limits." I pull my legs out from under Brianna and stand. The elevator begins to slide downward. While the others untangle themselves I dig my fingers into the doors and pull them open. There's a small gap about 5 feet long. There's enough space for us to get out. I don't know how much time we've got but it's a risk we'll have to take. 
"We need to get out of here," I shout. Cody nods and we get in position to lift people out. Kelsy goes first and we lift her through the hole. She makes it up ok and reaches down to pull Brianna up. I feel the elevator sliding with every movement. I think of Alex, who is risking his life for Ben. Because of me. My arms ache as Ally places her foot on my hand. Her heels dig into my palm as I give her a shove through our exit that's closing fast. I hear something burning the metal beneath my feet and seconds later a square piece of metal is lifted away. Alex pokes his head up and I feel his gaze travel around me. I turn away from our exit and pull Alex up through the hole. Ben comes up after him and I hug him. He seems surprised but I feel his arms wrap around me. I try to hold back my tears but a few slip out anyway. Alex grunts and I let go. I turn to see Sam crawling up through the hole and Alex turns to me. 
"Your turn," he says wrapping his arms around my waist. I brush him aside.
"I want to know Ben will be safe," I tell him. Alex's gaze falls to the ground and he looks hurt.
"K then," he mumbles. He shoves Ben, rather rudely, through the hole that is now only about 2 feet long. He spins around and his hands are, once again, on my waist.
"You're jealous, aren't you," I realize. He freezes a second, swallows, and his eyes meet mine one worried millisecond before he lowers his head.
"We have exactly 30 seconds until the bomb explodes. I have gotten Ben for you and he is safe. Now, you," he replies patiently. I give up and he lifts me up as if I weigh nothing. I scramble up the wall and Kelsy's hands pull me up the rest of the way. I lean down and stick my hand through the hole to pull Alex up. His hand grabs mine roughly and with the help of Kelsy, I pull him up. I reach down for Cody but the hole is less than a foot.
"Go! Run while you can," he shouts. I nod once and he disappears from my view. He won't have to tell me twice to run. I sprint through the museum, the others hot on my trail. Within 10 seconds we are all out. Well, that's a lie. We aren't all out. Many will die. I look over my shoulder and bits of metal fly into my eyes. I scream bloody murder but no one stops. They all keep running. Metal lodges itself in my thigh and I fall to my knees. The museum comes crashing down around me and I lose sight of the others. I have no idea what's happening. All I know is there's blood everywhere.

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