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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18. Chapter 18

Sunlight pours into the room and I groan as it stings my eyes. I open my eyes to find that it's almost lunch time. For humans that is, not me. The little girl is gone and I have this odd feeling I dreamed her. Either way, I slept dreamlessly. It was the first night in two years that I've been able to sleep a full night. I get out of bed and jog down the steps eagerly. Riley stands in the kitchen next to the table. I notice papers laying out on the surface of the table. Riley tries to shove them away before I see them but I already saw them. They are pictures of a man. Who? I'm not quite sure.
"Who is that?" I interrogate. The man had a hat and sunglasses on so I couldn't see his face.
"I'm doing a favor," he replies. His remark only raises suspicions more. Something doesn't seem right. I take a step toward him but he doesn't flinch. 
"Who are you doing the favor for?" I demand. He meets my gaze and doesn't back down. 
"Two people," he responds. Yeah, because that answer certainly helps.
"Who?" I ask again. He swallows hard and holds up one of the pictures.
"Do you know this man?" He questions harshly. I study the picture. There is a man holding a passport open wearing a black short sleeved shirt. I have an odd feeling I do but I'm not sure yet.
"No," I answer. He pulls out a different one and I study it. This time the man is facing the camera and I notice he has sparkling hazel eyes. But they are tired and otherwise emotionless. That doesn't match up with Alex. But I guess it still could be him.
"No," I repeat slowly. He pulls out a third picture and my jaw drops. The picture is dark but clear. The picture must have been taken when he was found because he's laying on his back in what looks like an underwater cave. The man's shirt is off and in the picture you can just see a tattoo on his chest. It's a red tipped silver flame. I cry out and Riley puts the photos away. Alex is alive. I think. I hope. How did he survive?
"Yeah, I know who that is," I say through my tears. Riley nods. 
"He's agreed to meet up with me but only if I brought you. He thinks I've killed you," Riley continues. I nod my head in agreement but wonder why Alex thinks Riley killed me.
"So, first, you'll need to change a few things about yourself," he adds.
"What do you mean?" I ask. 
"Well, you do everything way too fast," he begins. I become defensive. I can't stand it when people criticize me.
"No I don't," I retort. 
"Not to a vampire you don't. But in the eyes of a human you move to quickly. Try walking across the room slowly," he explains. Frowning I try to move slowly across the room over to a table set with glasses. It honestly feels like I'm not going anywhere. If this is how slowly humans walk I can't ever imagine how slow they crawl.
"Good, now sit at one of the chairs," Riley tells me as he comes up beside me. I sit on one of the chairs and wait as Riley walks to his.
"Better, much better. Next thing, you sit and stand too straight. You need to slouch," he says. Ok, if he is going to criticize me this entire time I'll find Alex on my own.
"I don't sit that straight," I counter. He seems unimpressed.
"You do, so slouch, it'll feel like you're imitating the hunchback of Norte Dame but it will look normal to humans," Riley harshly replies. He's loosing patience so I slouch and find he's right, it does feel like being a hunchback. How is this even comfortable?
"You also do everything too smoothly," he says. I growl a little but otherwise hold my tongue. Riley nods towards the glass so I pick it up making sure to shake it as I hold it to my lips. I take a sip and cough it up.
"What the heck it that!" I screech. It dried my mouth out and left a disgusting taste.
"Water," Riley smiles as he stands. I stand too, still not over the bad taste. It lingers in my mouth as a wet residue. Riley steps closer and I feel his arm wrap around me. He leans in and as much as I want him to kiss me there's something wrong with this whole situation. Maybe it's because Alex is alive. I don't know? Riley catches my moment of hesitation and backs away slowly. An awkward second passes between us where we both stare at the ground before I turn away.
"You'll do fine," he reassures as I walk up the steps to my room. Yeah, sure, I'll do fine meeting the man I thought was dead. Uh huh. Ok, whatever. I open my door and find a navy blue dress lying on the bed. That's odd, who could have put the dress out. Riley couldn't have because he's been with me the whole time. Hmm. Oh well. I hold up the dress and see it's absolutely beautiful. It's ruffled at the bottom and has a belt of sparkles along the empire waist. As I slip it over my head I notice it contrasts well with the pale color of my skin. It has a sweetheart neckline and the bottom of the dress falls mid-shin. I switch out my earrings for the ones on the bed and pick up the picture laying next to a brush. The picture features a woman whose hair is in a bun off to the right side. I'm assuming since the picture was next to the brush that it is the style I'll be wearing. Whoever picked this all out clearly thought through everything. In seconds I have mastered the hair style and my hair is now in a bun. I honestly have never worn my hair this way before but it doesn't look bad. I slide a clip gently into my hair. It's only a few inches long and very sparkly. I grab the small black purse off the bed and head down the steps after slipping my feet into the high heels on the floor. I find Riley waiting at the door for me. From his amazed look I think I can safely  assume I look outstanding. Whoever picked this out did an awesome job. Riley leads me to the car and opens my door. I climb in and wait for him. He drives off down the driveway that leads to the road. We sit in silence until Riley finally pulls into the parking lot of the restaurant. I don't recognize any smells as I get out of the car. None are familiar to me. I follow Riley inside and am truly surprised to find the place is fancy. Giant chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the tables are pure silver. Riley squeezes my hand a little and I'm brought back to reality. The waiter leads us to a table for three and asks if we want anything to drink. I'm quick to say no but Riley elbows me under the table so I swallow hard and choose something. Too bad I never asked Sam what Jay's drink is called.
"Water?" I practically choke out. Riley nods approvingly and orders wine for himself. I try to keep my focus on Riley and the waiter but my gaze keeps switching to the man sitting at the table to my left. Something about him is...different. The way he sits, the way he holds his hands and the way he ignores every girl who passes his table looking for someone to take them home. I can't catch his smell because he sits right under the air conditioner in the ceiling. I'm not sure if he's a vampire or not but he could be one. He looks up and his eyes meet mine. They are a beautiful shade of brown. The waiter sets our glasses down and without thinking I raise mine to my lips. The water runs down my throat immediately drying it out. I cough and the waiter gives me a funny look.
"Sorry, excuse me for a second," I apologize as I stand and leave the table. I walk past the man's table and watch as he, in one fluid motion, places a small slip of paper in my purse. Vampire. Definitely. I try to act calm as I head to the bathrooms. As soon as I open the door I switch into vampire mode. No more slow human pace for me. I slide the purse off my shoulder and open it. Inside there's a note. I pull it out and scan the letters. Two words. Two words with the most meaning. The only two words that would make me believe in a total stranger. The stranger who happens to be sitting out there. I only need two words from him.
                                          Promise me
I drop the slip of paper and rush to get a paper towel. Once I have one I, with perfect accuracy, rip it into a smaller piece. There's also a pen in my purse so I get it out and pop off the cap. In the few seconds I've had the pen out I already know it's out of ink. Darn it. Now what? I raid the purse until I find something that catches me off guard. A pocket knife. The pocket knife. The one Alex gave me. I clench my hand around it and walk back out to my table. As I pass the man's table I place the knife on it. His hand brushes against mine and it sends shivers down my back. The good kind of shivers. Riley smiles as I sit back down and I'm forced to put on a fake smile. 
"Is there a problem?" He asks. I throw a glance at the man and see a mischievous grin on his face. The same smile I've seen so many times. I look closer at his brown eyes and can faintly see the outline of contacts. You only see them if you're looking for them. I smile for real and he looks up. His eyes light up at me and I begin to wonder. Why did I have any doubts. Yeah, I'm still mad at him for leaving me for two years but there's nothing more amazing than seeing him, alive, right now.
"Not anymore," I answer Riley's earlier question. I pick up the glass and take a painful swallow of water. Magically though, the water suddenly doesn't taste so bad. Riley sighs frustratedly and, startled, I look up.
"Looks like Alex didn't show up. I knew he wouldn't," he growls under his breath. I almost tell him that Alex is here and that everything will be fine now that I know he's alive but the tone of his voice surprises me. It knocks the smile right off my face. I look over to the table where he was sitting and find it empty. Riley stands and I follow him outside. Coldness comes off our bodies in waves of fog even though it's warm out. Riley slips his hand into mine and we slowly make our way to the car. Shadows perch along every building and it's starting to freak me out. My ears prick up when I hear a quiet whoosh above me. I peer upward trying to make it look natural, for Riley's sake. Nothing. Wait, there is a shadow on one of the roofs. I watch as the figure jumps from rooftop to rooftop. The person is a vampire and I have a feeling it's either stalking us or being stalked. I'm not sure which is worse. Soon I see another figure chasing the first. 
"What are you looking at?" Riley questions softly. I'm surprised he didn't hear everything that's going on. I actually find that a little suspicious.
"Can we get into one of these buildings for a better view?" I ask. He doesn't see through my act and leads me to the building that the two vampires are on. It doesn't take him long to snap the lock in two and we climb the steps in record time. I go first and silently open the door a little. The dark figures suddenly become people and there seems to be a battle going on. I immediately recognize Isabella as one of them. The other I have a feeling, is Alex.
"This isn't your fight Alex," my sister confirms the identity of the other person for me. Riley falls silent behind me.
"You made it my fight when you hurt Dakota," Alex retorts. Huh, he must have seen Isabella come and that's why he left. But if Riley has such bad opinions about Alex who thought Riley was going to kill me then I just led danger to Alex.
"Can you get us a drink to share," I whisper to Riley. He leaves and I turn back to the roof. In the fraction of a second it took me to turn my head Alex made a move. I watch as he throws himself at Isabella. She barely has a chance to dodge the attack and she ends up flying off the edge of the building. I fling open the door and run to Alex's side.
"You'd better get out of here," he mutters. He's not getting off this easily, this time I'm more determined.
"You can't scare me away that easily," I tease. I see him smile and his eyes sparkle mischievously. A battle cry sounds and Alex's smile disappears.
"She brought back up," he mumbles. A horde of vampires jump over the edge of building and I flinch.
"Go!" Alex shouts as he shoves me in the direction of another building. I take a running start, moving my legs to a rhythm. My feet, still in heels touch the edge of the concrete and I push off with all the strength in my legs. I fly across the gap and land heavily on my shoulder. Shocks of pain shoot down my arm and I scream out. My flesh begins to mend slowly and soon I am able to sit up. I look across the gap and see Alex fighting for his life. So much for being more determined. I watch as a dark figure throws punches at Alex. He deflects but with each new punch Alex gets closer and closer to the edge. The dark figure plants one last punch on Alex's jaw. He flips off the building and spins in a downward fall. Luckily the building I'm on is shorter than the one he fell off of. Alex lands on his side and I hear something crack. I crawl to him and roll him onto his back. I lean over him and try to find where he might be bleeding. Alex coughs and I hear it echo throughout his chest. At least I know he's alive. A tear slides down my face and I try to keep anymore from spilling. He reaches up and brushes the tear away.
"That was fun," he breathes. I cry and giggle at the same time. Alex smiles. A screech rings out and I leap to my feet. The first few vampires attempt to jump off the building but most of them fall to the ground. Some actually make it and sprint toward us. I hold my hand out for Alex and he takes it strongly. I pull him up and he flinches. Isabella leads the attack and Alex takes a protective stance in front of me. 
"I told you to stay out of this Alex," she comments with mock pity. Alex is holding his breath painfully, I can tell so I take this time to make myself known. I come out from behind him and wrap my arm around his waist to steady him. 
"What is this about?" I interrogate. Isabella's eyes widen.
"Alex hasn't told you yet?" She answers me with another question. I frown and Alex begins to pant as he leans on me. More vampires fill in and our chances of escape are diminishing quickly. 
"Told me what?" I ask slowly. She looks delighted I asked. A wicked grin grows on her face and she throws a glance at Alex.
"Well you have something I want and you don't even realize its yours," she replies. Yeah, cause that explains everything. Not. Alex leans his head into mine and I feel his hand wrap around my waist, resting at my arm. His fingers slip something into mine and he smiles slightly.
"For freedom," he repeats the same vow Jay made when we were about to fight the dragons. Instantly I know what's in my hand. The pocket knife. I smile and clench the knife in my hand.
"I can't land a helicopter," I panic. Alex sighs and leans away.
"I'll race you to Sam's," he replies confidently. Isabella looks terribly confused which almost makes me laugh.
"I leave you alone for 5 minutes and you injure yourself," I worry. Alex laughs and I can see Isabella is getting impatient.
"I didn't get all my strength from being a vampire," he announces proudly. 
"Alex this isn't funny," I say. Isabella growls and out of the corner of my eye I see her vampires surround us.
"A piece of glass is lodged between your ribs," he retorts.
"Where'd you meet?" I ask. I know I'm pushing our limits but I can't help it.
"Stop," Alex orders.
"So I shouldn't breathe," I add sarcastically. He frowns along with Isabella.
"You wanna arm wrestle," he challenges. I nod. Here's our conversation in short, or out of code...
Alex: Throw the knife.
Me: What if I miss?
Alex: Run for your life.
Me: What about you, you're injured?
Alex: I'm not that helpless.
Me: I'm serious Alex.
Alex: So am I.
Me: Where should I run?
Alex: Off the building.
Me: You're kidding.
Alex: Wanna bet?
Me: (nod) No
"Now that you two are done we can finally have a heart to heart chat," Isabella says. I raise the knife and in one fluid motion I throw the knife at Isabella. In that second of chaos Alex and I jump. It feels like you're flying it's that amazing. Of course, we were falling but who cares the feeling is still the same. The sleeping world blurs around us but as a vampire I can see it clearly. I see police cars screaming toward us with their lights blinking wildly. I feel Alex grab my hand and a second later he pulls me above him. I try to turn to face him but just as I do he hits the ground. I fall right onto him and the earth shakes from our falls. Alex coughs quietly and brushes the hair from my face.
"Hey there beautiful," he smiles. I smile back as I stare into his contact-lens covered hazel eyes. 
"Are you two okay?" A police officer calls out through a megaphone. Alex exhales loudly as I fall onto the concrete beside him. My sides scream at me and I cringe in pain. I've at least cracked a few ribs, broken my left wrist and bruised my thighs to death. I'll live. I know that for a fact. I stand unsteadily and try to get Alex up but he doesn't budge. I lean over him and that's when I notice the trail of black blood dripping from his side. Alex pants heavily as he holds his chest.
"I didn't want you to worry," he explains as I watch his flesh heal. The ambulance pulls up and a crew of paramedics jump out to help. They pull me away gently and place Alex on one of the rolling beds. I watch as he is driven off and a tear slides down my cheek. Riley comes up beside me and brushes away the paramedics.
"What happened?" He asks worriedly. I wipe my tears away and begin to shake as Riley puts his arm around me. Swallowing my sadness I hang onto the two words that Alex has so often told me.
"My wound in my heart has been hit again," I tell him as I brush off his arm.
"I need to go home," I state as I leave. The poor paramedics look so confused so I smile at them and race home. Home. That's an odd word. People refer to their home as the place they live but I'm not going back to the house on the beach. No. I'm going back to where I know I'm loved. To Sam's. In a few minutes I'm at the door but I can't bring myself to open it. It sounds like a party inside. Sam pulls open the door, takes in my expression and hugs me. I find that my injuries have healed.
"Will you miss me when I die?" I question. Sam lets go and smiles.
"Of course I will," she replies as if I asked the silliest question in the world. She opens the door wider and I step in. I was right it pretty much is a party. Vampires drinking and dancing and it's loud and dark. I didn't know vampires partied like this.
"Join us?" Sam shouts over the music. I laugh a little and take her hand as she leads me deeper into the mess. Dylan catches my arm and pulls me into his so my back is against his chest. He's got his arms around me and he's got a drink in his hand. I'm assuming its alcohol for vampires.
"I see Alex has come back for his prized possession," he comments into my ear. I smile and lean my head on his shoulder. I take the glass from his hand and hold it to my lips. Taking a large swallow I find I like the taste. Turning I shove the glass into his chest.
"I see you still haven't broken any of your bad habits," I counter. Dylan smiles and holds his glass up to toast. I nod and continue on. Music blares into my ears and I drop the purse in one of the rooms along with my heels. I slide the clip out of my hair and it falls to its normal length. I sigh and head back out to the party. I barely make it to the kitchen before Dylan finds me again.
"So, what kind of trouble d'you get into this time?" He asks. I steal his glass because, frankly, I think he's had a little too much to drink. I finish the rest of it and open the fridge to pour more.
"Oh, no more than the usual," I reply. He laughs and takes the glass back. Frowning I grab one from the cupboard and fill it.
"And you?" I ask as I down half the glass. The alcohol is taking its toll on me and I begin to feel lightheaded. Lightheaded and hyper. Dylan finishes off his glass and sets it onto the counter.
"Are you even old enough to drink?" He questions as he pours another glass. I swallow my mouthful and laugh.
"As a vampire, yes," I say. He laughs with me and I finish my second glass. Right as I reach for the bottle Dylan stops me. Confused I watch as he fills his glass.
"You, have had enough," he announces. I frown and swap his glass with mine.
"Oh yeah? And how many have you had?" I retort. He sways slightly but otherwise holds himself straight.
"How many I've had doesn't matter, I could drink gallons of this and come out fine. You, on the other hand have had two and you're already swaying," he explains as he fills what used to be my glass. The vampires around us ignore us.
"You didn't answer my question," I point out. He nods for the longest time and finishes his glass. He sets it down on the bar and looks me in the eye.
"12. As soon as I finish yours it'll be thirteen," he answers honestly as he downs mine. I frown at him and my vision swirls.
"Your reflexes have got to be shot," I perplex. He leans away from the bar and stands. I'm amazed that he can still stand somewhat straight. 
"Hit me with your best shot," he challenges daringly. I can't back down. He's got what, 11 drinks on me? There's no way I can lose. Right? I punch hard in the direction of his chest but before my fingers even touch him he catches my hand. Surprised, I throw out my leg in attempt to trip him. With perfect balance he knocks away my leg with his. He drops my hand and I'm left utterly confused. I need something that will distract him long enough to trip him. But what will? He obviously already knows my moves so what kind of move won't he be expecting? I can't believe I'm honestly even considering this. Dylan's right, I am swaying after two drinks. Better make it four or I might reconsider my actions. I quickly, shakily, fill both our glasses and finish them off before Dylan moves. The world spins as I set the glass back onto the counter. As I go to make my move I see Dylan prepare himself for the blow. Rushing in I place my hands on his face and my lips meet his. I can tell he's shocked. I have successfully surprised him. A second later though, his lips move along with mine. His lips are hypnotic. The taste, the rhythmic movement, and the fact that I probably shouldn't be kissing him in the first place. I hear a slight whoosh upstairs. Alex. No doubt. Well, I am a little doubtful because again, my mind is elsewhere. He stops. He pulls away a few inches and stares at the ground. My  head spins as I try to figure out why he stopped. He looks up a second and his vibrant teal eyes meet mine. His thoughts are very clear through his eyes but on top of his thoughts I see restraint. I finally realize what he's trying to tell me. He's giving me a choice. If I stay he will continue. If I leave tonight will be forgotten, no hard feelings. I swallow once, and with my head down I cross the room to the steps. It will be better this way. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. Dylan follows but at a distance. I reach the top of the steps and hide behind a corner. I want to see where Dylan's going. He comes up and turns the opposite direction. I watch as he goes into a room and a couple seconds later I hear the shower get turned on. Huh. Okay then. I turn away and head into my room. I no sooner get the door open before I notice Alex standing beside the dresser with a glass in his hand. I think of how tonight I have been getting away with all the things I've done. Alex must have seen my upset manner because he sets down his glass and wraps his arms around me gently.
"I'm sorry," I burst out. I catch his confused look and it makes me sad. How to tell him of the event that happened tonight.
"What happened?" He asks softly. I swallow hard before answering.
"It got out of hand," I reply. In a second Alex's arms are no longer around me and he sprints out the door.
"I'm gonna kill him," he threatens just before he races down the hall. I run after him and we make it to Dylan's room at the same time. Alex practically breaks down the door and bursts in. Dylan walks leisurely out of the bathroom wearing only shorts. I shield my eyes and only peek through fingers as Alex backs him against the wall. 
"What'd you do to her you disgusting fool," he growls. Dylan smiles at me and I realize he's going to pick a fight.
"Well, it's not everyday I get to kiss a girl like Dakota," he replies. I smile slightly but it disappears quickly. Alex shoves him hard against the wall and he holds his breath.
"You're going to wish you hadn't," he retorts. I see Dylan flinch as Alex dislocates his shoulder. If I don't do something Alex really will kill him. He snaps the bone in Dylan's left arm and knees him in the stomach before he finally retaliates. Alex goes flying into the opposite wall as Dylan throws him off. He lands with his left side digging into the dresser. Blood trickles from his side and he pauses a second. They are both back on their feet in seconds though ready to attack. They both sprint toward each other so I do the first thing that comes to mind. I step between them just as they hit. All the bones in my arms crack and my ribs are pushed in. I open my mouth to scream but nothing comes out. Instead I fall to the ground painfully. I feel both Dylan and Alex reach for me but Dylan is shoved away.
"Don't you ever touch her again," he orders as he bends over to help me. I hear Dylan growl and a millisecond later he flings himself at Alex. They crash into each other in a wrestling heap. The fist fight is gruesome and black blood covers the room. I shake in agony and watch as the two fight. The fight would end sooner if they didn't heal as fast as they were attacking. Dylan has found Alex's weak spot and repeatedly attacks there. Alex struggles to stand after so many blows to his side. Dylan has wounds all over him but none are his weak spot because they're all healing fast. I'm not sure who will win. Alex is attacking faster but is also receiving the most dangerous blows. I feel my bones resetting themselves and my ribs are healing too. Dylan holds Alex against the wall and rapidly punches his stomach. He coughs up blood but Dylan doesn't stop. Each new blow is harder and faster and more dangerous. I know for a fact Alex can't take much more of this. With one last hit, the hardest, Alex collapses to his knees and doesn't move. Dylan turns to me and bends down so my face is close to his.
"I'm not a very nice person Dakota. Alex is right, you shouldn't be around me. This is what happens when you do," he lectures as he points to Alex who lays motionless on the ground. I fight for breath as he walks toward the door. I swallow painfully.
"That's why I want you on my team," I say as loud as my voice will let me. He pauses a second and in that same second Alex leaps from where he was. He crashes into Dylan and they go at it again, punching each other. This time though, Alex has the upper hand. Dylan growls in pain as Alex digs his fangs in to his neck. A weak spot. He's thrown off before he do much damage but it's a start. Dylan presses his hand to his neck to try to stop the bleeding and stands.
"Do I really need to teach you this lesson again?" He retorts. Alex smiles despite the fact that he's bleeding from multiple injuries.
"Guess I didn't learn it the first time," he replies mischievously. Dylan takes the bait and charges. Silently I'm screaming at Alex not to provoke him, he can't win. Alex catches Dylan by the shoulders and throws him to the ground. 
"Two can play at this game," he adds. My eyes widen in realization. Alex is playing by Dylan's rules. Which is there are no rules. Everything is allowed. Alex places his foot on Dylan's chest and smashes his ribs. Dylan lets out a small cry but Alex doesn't quit. I see him fumble for something in his back pocket as Alex continues to squish the air out of him. A flash of silver flys out of Dylan's pocket and gets lodged in Alex's chest. He freezes and Dylan takes that moment to throw him off. He hits the wall hard and the silver thing comes out. Black blood gushes out of his chest and he fails to breathe. I recognize the object as a knife. Dylan picks it up and walks to Alex. He holds him as a shield with the knife against his throat. 
"Whatcha gonna do Alex? You still wanna play by my rules?" He threatens harshly. Alex chokes on his own blood and Dylan is the only way he's standing.
"You still gonna challenge me?" He spits. The knife digs into Alex's neck and he struggles to pull Dylan's arm away. Blood runs down the front of his shirt as Dylan uses all his strength to slice Alex's neck. Alex begins to get noticeably desperate and he pulls at Dylan's arm. Dylan's gaze meets mine and I see no hesitation, no restraint. His teal eyes search mine for a second before he sighs. I stare, confused as Dylan lets go of Alex who sinks to his knees. 
"Good, but the enemy won't stop because it hurts," he announces. My jaw drops as Dylan limps out the door.
"You could have killed him!" I protest in horror. He smiles slightly but otherwise remains serious.
"You want me on your team you play by my rules," he tells me simply as he heads down the hall. I rush to Alex's side, not sure what to do. He's bent over himself with his arms wrapped around his waist. I hear him snort softly.
"Good choice," he murmurs. I'm not sure if he's being sarcastic or not. He looks up at me and I find a mischievous smile waiting for me. I sigh in relief and try to calm my worried heart.
"Don't do that to me Alex, I thought you were dead," I breathe. His smile grows and he leans in closer.
"Ye o' littl faith," he answers with a perfect Scottish accent. I watch as he grips his sides in pain. My smile disappears and I carefully pull him to his feet. Slowly, we walk down the hall, me with my arm around Alex supporting him and, him stumbling down the hall from blood loss. We finally make it to my bedroom where Alex collapses onto the bed. Blood soaks through his shirt and he closes his eyes as if it'll get rid of the pain. I place my wrist to his mouth. He needs blood and this is the quickest way I can think of to get it to him. He opens his eyes and sits up, staring at me with a wide eyed expression.
"Drink," I order. His lips press against my wrist and I close my eyes. His fangs never rip the skin though, instead he kisses my wrist. I frown at him but his expression remains serious. I pull away my arm and rip open the skin myself. I shove it in his mouth before he can react. I listen as my blood runs down his throat and he sighs in relief. His skin cools beneath my touch and I can tell he is enjoying the coldness of it. My guess is that he hasn't had blood in a while. My head spins and I lean on Alex. His wounds heal almost instantly and I feel him let go of my wrist.
"I'm sorry," he whispers. I lay my head on his shoulder and a tear slips down my face. One bloody tear. It falls from my face and runs down his chest. He turns around and, with worried eyes, hugs me tightly. More tears fall. More and more. It's never ending. They spill from my eyes and run down his chest. For hours we sit like this, hugging and crying. Well, I'm the only one crying but still.
"I remember trying not to stare the day that I first met you. I hadn't told you but I thought I loved you then," Alex murmurs into my ear. I wipe the tears from my cheeks and wait for him to go on.
"We've come so far since that day. But what I can't see is how I'm ever going to love you more, but I've thought that before," he continues. I smile slightly at his comments because they warm my heart. They remind me every day that this is why I love Alex. Despite the fact that he's gotten me into so much trouble. He takes a deep breath in.
"Well look back some day at this moment. And I'll look you straight in the eye and say, and I thought I loved you then," he ends brushing the hair from my face.
"And I thought I loved you then," I repeat slowly, softly. He nods and my eyes close instinctively. And I thought I loved you then. My mind swirls away and darkness replaces it. 
'I walk out of the trees into a meadow. The tall grass rubs my legs uncomfortably and my ribs ache with a dull pain. Crickets and other small bugs jump around me as I make my way through the unnaturally long grass. The meadow seems to go on forever and soon I get tired of walking. But I keep going on because a strange man stands at the end of the field. He beckons me forward with his hand waving me faster. The faster I run the further he gets. I just can't seem to run fast enough. I watch as he raises his fingers and snaps almost silently. Suddenly I'm going at a normal vampire speed and I catch up to him quick. With the momentum I have I almost crash into him. He doesn't hold out a hand to shake or give a hug. Not that I would expect him to.
"Sit," he says. He doesn't order it he suggests it. His words are strong and powerful. I obey without question because there is no question in his words. He knows exactly what he wants me to do and he is not questioning his choice. Human and vampires alike have questions in their voice. They have doubt. That's why it's easy to refuse what they ask. I sit on a rock in the field and he sits on one across from me. I stare, amazed into his beautiful blue eyes. They remind me of the little girl's who sang me to sleep the one night. Only the man's are different. They are far more intelligent and they look like they have seen far and wide into the depths of each mortals souls.
"You are right," he confirms, "I have seen into mortal's souls and each is as important to me as the next. But I have also seen your soul." My eyes widen with curiosity and the man laughs. His laugh is sweeter than the sound of a lullaby. I immediately trust him.
"Would you like to see something?" He asks gently although he seems to already know the answer. His voice isn't loud but it is heard. I nod eagerly like a little puppy and he laughs some more. I watch, fascinated as he moves his hands along the grass. The grass waves back and forth although there's no wind. A picture appears where the patch of grass once was. A movie. The figures move and I try to recognize them. The one is sad. She sleeps but tears still run down her face. She lays with her head on the man's chest. The man isn't asleep and instead he talks quietly. I stare up in astonishment.
"That's me? Isn't it?" I question worriedly. The man nods and gestures to the people.
"Listen," he says smoothly. He's one of those people who don't ask for respect but they are given it. I turn back to the movie in the grass and listen to Alex speak.
"How am I going to tell you?" He asks himself. He looks so worried and frustrated, I just want to reach out and reassure him everything will be okay. But I don't.
"How am I going to tell you about Jay's daughter? He told me to take care of her," he continues. My mouth drops and I look up at the man for confirmation. He waves his hand over the grass and the images disappear.
"Do not ask," he silences me. I panic because questions fill my mind and I'm afraid it'll explode if I don't ask them.
"But I have so many questions!" I protest. He looks me straight in the eye and smiles slightly. I like when he smiles.
"Dear Dakota, the world is full of questions but the answers you seek cannot be sought out," he explains. I see wisdom reflect in his eyes.
"Why?" I plead. He shakes his head once and leans closer.
"Because Dakota, you already know the answers," he smiles. His answers are even more confusing than my questions.
"But I don't know what to do! I don't know how to find them! I'm lost," I confess. The man doesn't seem to be surprised at all. As if he knew all this would happen.
"Doing nothing IS doing something," he replies. I look deep into his eyes but find no emotion only knowledge. He is far smarter than anyone. 
"Who can I trust?" I whisper unsteadily. He shows no surprise or shock or confusion. He smiles even. 
"Have faith," he solves my questions with two words. I frown, not exactly the answer I was hoping for.
"Have faith in what?" I ask desperately. He is patient with me and he answers with no hesitation.
"You mistook my words. Faith is the evidence of things unseen and unprovable. It is to be believed in. It is to be trusted in. You need to have faith Dakota. Have faith in what you believe in," he clarifies.
"Have faith," I repeat reflectively. He nods.
"Have faith Dakota, have faith in love," he ends. He blurs from my vision and I'm sad to see him go. I like that man. I'm happy around him. Just happy. Have faith Dakota. Have faith in love.

 

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