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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19. Chapter 19

Sunlight streaks through the dark room and finds my eyes. I open my tear sealed eyes sleepily and look around. Alex snores softly but his arms are still wrapped around me. It's at least noon if not later. I hear deep breathing coming from almost all the rooms. After the party last night everyone must have crashed. I realize that by keeping everyone here I'm only making us a bigger target for my sister. Alex shifts slightly but still keeps his arms around me. Have faith in love. That's what the man said. Funny, I can't remember what he looked like or the rest of the conversation. It saddens me greatly. Have faith in love. That decides my team then. Me. Alex. Dylan. Sam. Cassandra. That's it. Everyone else goes. For their own good. Those four people I can trust with my life. They are the strongest. They are the ones who aren't afraid to die. I sit up slowly and crawl out of bed. Alex doesn't move so I figure he'll probably sleep for a while longer yet. I hear a slight knock at the door and in seconds I stand before it. The vast living room is a mess. And that's the nice way of putting it. The smell coming from outside is a familiar one. I immediately let my guard down and open the door. I almost laugh when I see who's waiting.
"Riley," I smile. This is definitely Riley but a much more tired and upset Riley. His eyes light up and I find myself wrapped in a hug.
"I've been looking all over for you," he sighs. I frown, he should have known I would come here.
"I'm sorry Riley, I can't live with you. This is my home. Right here," I explain. He nods but I don't think he understands. I hear a click and Riley pulls away slightly.
"That's too bad," he says without sympathy. I find a gun pointed at my stomach. No doubt it's loaded with some special type of bullets giving me no chance of escape.
"You're going to come with me and you're going to stay silent about it," he orders. Forget the red flags the enemy has already entered the castle. Well, I don't consider him my enemy. Or, at least I didn't before. Now I'm not so sure. I hear footsteps behind me and sure enough Dylan walks through the mess.
"You have ten words. If you give any hints about where you're going I'll blow both you're heads off," he mutters. I nod once to say I understand and he shoves me forward to greet Dylan.
"Where you goin'" he asks without a care in the world. If only I could tell him. My guess is he came back downstairs and had a few more drinks before finally crashing with the rest of them. I take a deep breath.
"You. Cassandra. Sam. Alex. Me. Everyone else goes," I tell him. His eyes show with understanding and I count the words. Eight. Eight words. I have two more. There's an unspoken conversation between us. He knows I'm leaving but he doesn't know why. I hold his eye and scream in my head for him to gather the people I said. I yell at him to get Alex. He nods slowly and turns away back into the messy living room. I wait until he reaches the steps to use my last words. I don't want to face this alone.
"I'm sorry," I whisper. My voice carries across the room and Dylan pauses a second. I'm sorry for multiple reasons. I'm sorry for last night, I'm sorry that I have to leave, but most of all, I'm sorry that I have come into his life and ruined it. Riley drags me out the door and I don't fight him.
"I'm not," Dylan replies. I'm shoved into a car and everything's locked. I think over Dylan's answer and smile. Riley starts the car and we drive away. I'm assuming back to the beach house. He puts the gun away and I begin to relax.
"We need to get out of this state. We're going to stop at my place and I'll get everything we need. You are staying in the car. Don't question anything you see," he explains. I nod. Don't question anything. That's against my nature not to question anything.
"What about everyone else?" I ask referring to Sam and Alex and the others. He gets out of the car and turns to talk through the window.
"No questions," he reminds as he walks away. I frown but as soon as he gets inside I begin to dig through the things in the car. The gun, which he conveniently left in the car, to my surprise, isn't loaded. The back seat is blocked off so well that I can't even see through the material. I rip open the console next and find a pad of paper and a pen. Quickly I write out a letter to Alex.
Dear Alex, 
Riley came and dragged me away. We are leaving the state. Not sure where we're going.
                                                                                      -Dakota
Down the road I hear a car pulling into the driveway. In panic mode I break the lock on the car door and run to the front door. I slip open the front door silently and close it behind me. A second later the doorbell rings and I open it. In the doorway stands a short woman with black/gray hair that's pulled into a bun.
"I'm here looking for Ryan Forner?" She tells me. I figure that must be Riley.
"He's not here right now but I can take the message," I reply politely. She frowns and takes a step toward me. If she were a vampire I would have backed away but she's a human so I don't. My patience is running out.
"Look, do want to leave a message or not?" I inquire. She raises her eyebrows.
"Your name?" She demands. Luckily I've been one step ahead of her this whole time so with no hesitation I answer.
"Arizona Smith, and you?" I respond. She looks taken aback by my boldness and quickness to answer.
"Lindsay Knar," she retorts as she turns and leaves. Once she's at her car I hear her mutter something along the lines of, "Same temper." I smile as I shut the door, laugh even. Oh, the look on her face was hilarious! 
"I thought I told you to stay in the car?" I hear a voice from behind me. My smile disappears.
"Well, you said, 'you are staying in the car.' It sounded like a suggestion to me," I explain. He's not impressed but I hear a small giggle from behind him. A little girl steps out from behind his legs. I recognize her as the same girl that sang me to sleep. Riley rolls his eyes and shoves us both out the door.
"My daddy told me you were funny," she says softly. I fall back so I can walk beside her. I smile slightly.
"Who's your daddy?" I ask gently. Riley intervenes and picks her up. 
"She doesn't like to talk about him. Don't you?" He answers for her as he sits her in a car seat.
"If you say so," she looks disappointed. Riley shoves me into the car next and soon we're off. He takes his eyes off the road a second and hands me a set of papers. I take a look at them and notice my picture on them. I look the same in the pictures as I do now. It says that my name is Verity Bakor. I shove them in my pocket and watch as he drives down the road. His hands are clenched tightly around the steering wheel. I reach over and pry his fingers from the leather. I slip my hand in his.
"Do you trust me?" He questions softly. I snort but otherwise keep my eyes on the road.
"After you pointed a gun at me I kind of lost the trust," I answer. He nods once and pulls away his hand.
"It wasn't loaded you know," he mumbles under his breath.
"Who is the girl?" I ask quietly as if she might hear. He closes his eyes.
"I can't do this," he mutters. The car swerves and he parks at the edge of the highway. He gets out and a second later opens my door. 
"I can't lie to you," he adds as he gets me out of the car. I turn to him as he shuts my door.
"Then tell me the truth," I protest. He shakes his head.
"I'm sorry, I can't do that. Forget I ever existed. Start a new life with that name. Don't go looking for trouble. Dakota, I love you. I love you so much it hurts to do this to you. But I know you would rather be with your friends so I will let you go," he explains. I stare jaw dropped at him as he hugs me. His fingers brush against my neck right before he pulls away. I stare in confusion as he drives down the road, away from me. I back off the road and into the grass. A dark red van speeds past me and I get a glimpse of those inside. A little girl. And her parents. I smile slightly. The van pulls off to the side and the woman puts down her window.
"Are you lost?" She questions. I grip the documents tightly. I can still feel Riley's arms wrapped around me.
"Um, my friend dropped me here for some reason," I reply. I figure the truth can't hurt in this situation. She looks worriedly at my disheveled appearance. I'm still in the blue dress from last night and my hair's a mess.
"Do you need a ride?" She asks gently. I nod and she gets out to open the back door. I sit inside with the little girl and the woman gets back in.
"My name's Marian," she tells me. I clutch the passport and force a smile.
"Verity Bakor," I answer. She nods and the little girl holds out her hand for me to shake.
"Hailey," she says. I shake her hand being careful not hurt her with my strength. I begin to realize how much I like not being able to hurt Alex. 
"It's nice to meet you Hailey," I respond as I let go of her delicate hand. 
"Will you tell me a story?" She asks excitedly. I look at her mother who only shrugs. I like the fact that Hailey is excited. She reminds me of myself when I was little. So innocent. So full of hope. I smile and so does she. 
"What story do you want me to tell you?" I question. Her eyes show with anticipation.
"One about you," she replies. I frown, one about me? That's hard. I smile a little when I think of the one I want to tell.
"Once upon a time there was a band of...outlaws. They decided to go to the main office to see why they were so different. A man named Dylan took the lead and he took us to a field of willow trees. I'm was starting to get a little worried because there was nothing out there but willow trees. We walked on for about an hour before we finally stumbled across a helicopter.
"Nice," I approved. Dylan smiled and we jumped in. Dylan sat in the pilot's seat and I sat in the seat beside him. 
"I'm assuming you know how to fly a helicopter," I prodded Dylan. He swallowed hard and a sense of dread filled my stomach.
"Can't be that hard right?" He reassured me. I put on a fake smile and nodded. He flipped a bunch of switches and the helicopter roared to life," I really get into the story. Hailey's eyes light up which encourages me to continue.
"Within a few minutes Dylan had the helicopter flying high above the sky. The view was breathtaking, it absolutely amazed me. In the distance I saw the place we needed to go. Dylan started to panic.
"What's wrong?" I questioned. He looked at me worriedly.
"I don't know how to land a helicopter," he told me. My eyes widened. 
"You said it couldn't be that hard right?" I cried. He turned away and didn't  meet my gaze.
"Haven't you ever landed before?" I asked. If he knew the helicopter was there then he must have had some training landing one. He sighed.
"Crash landed," he replied. 
"If you just hover over the ground we can all jump out and then we won't have to land," I say.
"How do I get out?" He asked. 
"Jump?" I suggested. He stared at me skeptically.
"Out of a helicopter," he said with one eyebrow raised. I shrugged my shoulders.
"Here goes nothing," he muttered as he lowered the helicopter about 5 feet off the ground.
"Go," he urged. I turned back to Dylan one more time.
"Don't do anything stupid," I ordered. He nodded. Dylan gently landed the helicopter and I was surprised. He actually landed it safely. He came running out smiling. I smiled with him. He picked me up and twirled me around a few times before setting me back down.
"I landed the helicopter!" He said joyfully," I smile because I know what happens next.
"Keep going!" Hailey urges. I look to her mother who nods.
"I absolutely could not believe he landed the helicopter. I laughed and so did he. A loud groaning sound interrupted us and I turned back to the helicopter. The whole thing turned into a flaming ball of fire. Dylan's face fell and he didn't even turn to look at it. It was on fire.
"There goes the helicopter," Dylan sighed," I finish. Hailey laughs and I hear her mother chuckle a little.
"Was that the man who left you on the road," Hailey asks curiously. I shake my head.
"Dylan is far to friendly to do something like that," I answer. Lie. I don't need to be a lie detector to know that. Friendly? No more like a rule breaker. 
"Do have a place to go?" Her mother questions. I think about that. Riley must have driven us out of state already because nothing's familiar. So that means it'll take a few days for the others to find me. I can't go anywhere because I don't know anywhere to go.
"No," I reply. She turns to her husband and they chat softly. Ha! They think I can't hear them. I listen in closer as they continue to whisper.
"We should let her stay at our place just for tonight," the man whispers.
"I don't trust her!" The mother hisses. I glance at Hailey but she seems unaware  of the conversation.
"Why not?" He demands. I begin to teach Hailey a hand game I learned as a child so it looks like I'm not listening.
"She told our only child a story about a burning helicopter," she retorts. I flinch, that hurts. It was the best part of my life that Hailey would understand. Everything else involves death or Alex. Hailey messes up so we start over.
"She's got a good imagination," he tells her.
"How so?" She interrogates. I listen in for his answer.
"Well, you have to be at least 20 to fly a helicopter and she can't be more than 18 or 19," he explains. She sighs but I nod my head. He's got a point. Too bad he's not right.
"Weren't you listening to her story! She wasn't the one flying the helicopter. Some guy named Dylan was," she counters. The man pulls into a driveway and parks the car.
"Marian, we can trust her," he ends as he opens the door to get out. She follows him and so does Hailey. I open the door quietly and step out of the car.
"Do you mind waiting out here for a few minutes?" Marian asks. I nod as they go inside and sit down on the porch steps. Hailey comes up from behind and sits beside me.
"How do you catch a butterfly?" She questions with her eyes wide open in anticipation and wonder. I laugh a little.
"Well, the trick is to sit as still as possible," I tell her. A butterfly speeds past us and Hailey tries to sit as still as she can. I try to mimic her posture because as a vampire I could sit still and not breathe for hours. The butterfly flies away not even bothering to glance at us. Hailey looks upset.
"I'll never catch one," she pouts. I frown, maybe she can't catch one but I can. I hold out my hand and sit perfectly still. I even slow my heartbeat so I produce less noise. Another butterfly flies past my hand, takes a better look at it and sits down on the tips of my fingers. Slowly, and I mean slowly, I pull my arm back toward me and Hailey. Her eyes once again show with excitement as I gently pull her fingers to mine. The delicate butterfly obliviously walks across my fingers and onto hers. She giggles softly but the butterfly stays.
"It tickles," she whispers. I smile at her and the butterfly opens its wings. The pattern on it is beautiful but I notice something odd about it. I slip my fingernail under the legs of the butterfly and it drops whatever it was carrying. It flies away into the sky and I open the tiny slip of paper. I read the letters silently but they fill me with dread.
                                             I found you.
I immediately know who sent this. First off if it was any of the Pax Pugnatores they would have said 'we' found you not I found you. Also they wouldn't have put a period at the end of the sentence. No, I know who did this. Hailey's mother comes out and taps me on the shoulder. I jump out of my thoughts in a jerky movement.
"I'm sorry, I've caused way too much trouble already. I'll leave, that's fine. Thank you so very much for giving me a ride," I apologize quickly. She looks confused but nods slightly. I've already put this family in danger by staying here.
"But where will you go?" She prods. I think fast. Where can I go? I can't really go anywhere until I find the others so where does that put me?
"I have a friend who lives right down the road from here, I can stay there," I assure her. Maybe it's the tone of my voice. Or maybe she just wants rid of me in the first place but she nods again and I stand. A wave of agony finds my throat and attacks. I stumble backward but catch myself before I go tumbling off the sidewalk. I lean down to Hailey and hold my breath.
"You just keep on catching butterflies," I mutter to her. She nods, like her mother so I back away off the sidewalk. I wave to them as they become smaller and smaller.
"Thank you!" I shout loudly. If they were vampires I would only have to whisper it and they would hear it. The burning in my throat continues and I crumple to the pavement in pain. I force myself to stand and walk to a collection of trees. As I step into the cover of the trees I immediately notice an odd smell. I leap up onto a branch in the nearest tree and wait. Nothing comes. I wait for hours. I wait until the sun begins to set and still no one comes. Well, I wasn't really expecting anyone to come but with the weird smell I kind of just reacted in fear. Ok, so I might be a little paranoid. Fine, I'm very paranoid. I found containers of blood in the tree so at least I controlled my thirst in the time being. It's not like I was being totally useless. I slide down the trunk slowly and the same smell attacks my throat. This time though, I stay. The smell is sweet and it lures me in to the point where nothing fills my mind but that smell. That's what scares me. The fact that it makes me drop my defenses. I follow the scent further and further away from the world. I reach the trunk of a different tree and find a note, soaked in sweet blood, addressed to me.
                  Meet me at 34 street. The building on the corner of the street is mine. Go to the basement. Dakota, I will be waiting.
I read and reread the note thinking to myself that if I read it correctly it'll be less scary. I turn a full circle looking for anyone who could've left the note. No one. Slowly, I walk back toward the open air, the life. As I pass the houses I'm once again reminded of my life before being a vampire. I jog lightly in the darkness until I find the street labeled 34th Street. There is only one building on the block and with each new step worry fills my throat. I feel like I'm stepping into one of those horror stories where the girl goes down the steps and into the basement where she gets killed. Yep that describes this situation. I place my foot on the first stair and hold my breath. Isabella couldn't have left the notes, she wouldn't kill me in a basement. Right? I make my way down the steps until I reach the door. I take a deep breath and find, there is no smell coming from inside the door. Maybe I'm alone. Maybe I shouldn't go in here. Yeah, then I won't die like the girls in horror stories. My hand somehow manages to find the doorknob and I try to pull it away. If only I weren't so curious then maybe I'd have the self control not to open the door. As the wooden door creaks open I take one step inside. The door slams shut behind me and my heart pounds erratically. As a vampire I can see in the dark clearly but there is nothing in the room. Literally nothing. No furniture. No decorations. And no people. With every second that passes I become more and more scared. 
"I see you found everything alright," a voice announces. I spin around but find nothing that would suggest where it came from. I swallow hard.
"Yes," I reply hoping it will talk again so I can find where it's coming from. The voice is projected through some device that changes it. I know this because I can hear that this is not the person's real voice.
"Once I got a French blond to follow me in here, it's a shame you're a brunet," the voice continues. Fingers run through my brown hair and I twist my head in that direction. Nothing. At least I know the person's a male.
"You know what she said right before she crumpled to the ground in a heap of human flesh?" He asks. I almost say no but then it hits me. I tell him the same thing the French blond told him.
"You're not going to kill me are you?" I say, not only because that's what the blond said but because I want to know too.
"Read between the lines Frenchie," he answers. 

 

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