MY VAMPIRE'S HUSBAND
Everyone stopped moving. Everyone that could, stopped breathing. Even the sounds of nature around us stopped. No serpents slithered in the grass, no night animals skittered under the brush, no owls hooted in the air. Everything was silent, either paying their respects for the fallen, ancient vampire, or shocked into silence that my husband had been the one who felled him.
Teren, the only one not shocked and silent, panted as he twisted back to Malcolm. "Now, where the hell is my son!" he yelled, his voice breaking the stillness.
Malcolm's hazel eyes were wide as they stared as his nemesis on the ground, stone still in death, a true death this time. "Holy shit! I can't believe you actually did it!" His eyes flashed up to Teren's, a happy smile on his lips. "That was...incredible! I really didn't think you'd go through with it, especially when you brought him here. Way to man up!" He shook his head. "And out of nowhere too. He never saw you coming. Wow, and you think I'm cold."
Teren, obviously done with playing games, blurred over to Malcolm and grabbed him by the throat. As he lifted him in the air, everyone pulled their eyes from Gabriel's corpse to watch what he would do next. Everyone but Halina that was. She was still staring at the body of her beloved, her face frozen in shock. I had no idea what she'd do when she snapped out of her daze. Family or not, Teren had just killed the man she'd finally let herself love. I couldn't believe that she'd just let it go.
"Do not underestimate what I will or will not do for my family." Through a clenched jaw, Teren spat out, "My son...now."
Malcolm fidgeted against Teren's hands, prying the thumbs free from his vocal cords so he could speak. "Yeah, yeah, relax. It's over now. A deal's a deal. Put me down and I'll tell you."
Teren lowered him, but didn't remove his hands from his neck. Malcolm smirked and shrugged. "Your kid is forty miles up the road. There's a clump of woods a few miles east of the highway. There's a car tucked in those woods. He's in the trunk."
Malcolm shrugged again and smiled, like everything in the world was all right. My hands flew to my mouth as my eyes watered. My baby was alone in the woods, in a trunk? God, how long had he been there?
Teren eyed his mother and then his grandmother. "Go get him." His eyes snapped back to Malcolm's; they were icily cold in the lamplight. "Once I know he's there and...fine...I'll let you go."
Alanna and Imogen instantly blurred away, eager to find Julian. I wanted to go too, nearly more than anything, but I couldn't leave my husband with this psycho...especially when I wasn't sure what Halina's reaction would be. She was still staring at Gabriel's limp form, her eyes misted over with blood red tears waiting to drop. It was still sinking in for her.
Malcolm, seemingly exhausted now that the tension was over with, sighed irritably. "The kid's fine and he really is there. You'll be able to feel him by morning, if you don't believe me."
My head snapped over from watching Halina to lock on Malcolm. "What?" I asked cautiously.
Malcolm looked over at me from the corner of his eye. "I had to inject him twice a day to block the bond. It's a tricky thing to shut off. He'll pop back up on your radar in a few hours."
I exhaled a relieved sigh. Teren clenched his hands tighter. "We'll be able to feel him? So, if you just lied right now about where he is, I'll be able to find him soon. I don't need you anymore," he whispered lethally.
Malcolm's eyes snapped back to Teren as his hands went to try and pry Teren off of him. Teren was well rested now though, and Malcolm was still exhausted and worn. For the moment, Teren was stronger. "Hey, we had a deal. You lived up to your part, I lived up to mine. I've got no further beef with you!"
Teren leaned in, his face centimeters from Malcolm's. "You stole my son from me, kept him locked up like an animal. You murdered a friend of mine. I've got a beef with you."
Malcolm bristled and tried to pull back from him but Teren held him tight. Ben walked up and grabbed an arm. I walked up and grabbed the other. He may be exhausted, but fear can lend a person strength. And Malcolm had everything to fear from Teren right now. Teren and me both.
Malcolm looked between the three of us as I ticked off how far away Alanna and Imogen were. Their streaks were still moving, still getting to my son. Malcolm pulled at his arms but we had them tight, even Ben, who was using every human muscle he had.
His eyes wide, Malcolm started sputtering. "I didn't hurt him! I was lying about the food and water thing. He's as healthy as a horse. I just needed a card to play so you wouldn't kill me. I've treated him like a King." His frantic eyes looked between the three of us. "I'm a business man, not a child torturer. I just needed you to think he was in danger, so you'd back off. In fact, if you had taken me, the daily injections I'd been giving him would have worn off and you'd have found him easily. I was bluffing!"
Teren leaned in close again. "Why should I believe anything you say?" His grip tightened around Malcolm's throat and he winced in pain.
Malcolm's eyes widened as he realized that Teren just may kill him as well as Gabriel. Struggling, he managed to squeak out, "Hamburgers!"
Teren relaxed his hands, tilting his head. "What?"
Malcolm inhaled deep. "Hamburgers. The kid eats them like they're gonna disappear." Teren narrowed his eyes and Malcolm added, "Ketchup! He likes them plain with about a gallon of ketchup." His eyes flicked between mine and Teren's. "He thinks it makes them look like they're covered in blood."
My hands loosened on Malcolm along with Teren's. We stared at each other, our expressions equally startled and relieved. It was true, that was exactly how Julian loved his burgers. I always got the super large ketchup bottle at the store, just for him.
As Teren and I smiled at each other, hope that our child might not be starving filling us, a roar of grief and despair pierced the air. My ears rang with the force of it. Before I could even start looking for who or what had made the sound, Teren was yanked away from Malcolm. Malcolm staggered back a step as his neck was suddenly free.
Twisting my head, I watched an enraged Halina pulling Teren to the ground. She immediately ducked down, her short skirt riding high up her thighs, and clenched an iron hand around his throat. With a strength that superseded us all, she stood, lifting him easily into the air.
His eyes wide, he struggled against her. "Stop," he croaked out, the air he needed not really reaching him.
"What did you do!" She yelled, her face in a near unrecognizable snarl.
Her eyes filled with hatred and pain as she stared up at him. I wasn't even sure if Halina saw Teren anymore. No, I was pretty sure she was no longer looking at the grandson that reminded her of her late husband. She was letting her normally contained anger explode in her grief, and the only thing her eyes saw now, was the thing that had destroyed the man she loved.
My hands loosened on Malcolm as I took a step towards her. After everything we'd survived...she may be what finally killed my husband.
"What did you do!" she repeated, louder. Her hand jerked him back and forth, shaking him like she could shake an answer from him. As he couldn't get air to speak though, he couldn't get air to answer her.
I watched Teren mouth, 'not now,' and filled in his speech for him. "Halina! Stop it. You can deal with Teren later!"
As if to prove my words, Malcolm took the moment of family strife to break away. Squirming out of my distracted hands, he easily broke free from Ben's. My head snapped back around to him right as he shoved me. Not expecting it, I fell harshly to the ground. My hip land on a jagged rock in the dirt field and I gasped as I felt skin tearing. It healed as soon as I shifted, but it still hurt like a bitch.
Hot Ben watched me fall and started to help until he noticed Malcolm making a break for it. He grabbed hold of the weary vampire's shoulders, stopping him from blurring away. Irritated, Malcolm twisted around and connected his fist to Ben's jaw. Weary or not, Malcolm was still a supernatural being, and a hit from him was like a steel bat being swung at you. Hot Ben twisted around and slumped to the ground. He didn't get back up.
Seeing what was going on, Teren tried to kick his great-grandmother. Her back to the turmoil of Malcolm making his escape, she ignored him kicking her in the shins, only batting his legs away like he was paining her no more than the twins would have. Leering at him viciously, she finally lowered him, bringing his head to hers. "You...will pay," she hissed.
Teren shook his head and tried pointing at where Ben's lifeless body was, but Halina was ignoring everything that wasn't him. She wanted vengeance and Teren was the only one that could currently give it to her.
After downing Hot Ben, Malcolm smirked and twisted to flee. I blurred back to my feet, torn between stopping him and helping Ben, assuming the gorgeous man was even still alive. Ultimately, the fear of Malcolm being loose in the world made me go for him. I attached my body to his. If he was going to try and blur away, he was going to take me with him.
Malcolm struggled, not having the strength to hightail it with me on his back. Cursing, he tried to grab me and tear me off of him. Quite unfairly, his main hold on me was my hair. He grabbed a fistful and yanked back. My head had to follow, which suddenly exposed my throat to him. His fangs dropped down as he stared at the surging veins. He may not kill me by feeding on me, but he couldn't certainly weaken me to a point where I couldn't fight back. His arms holding mine down, he sank his teeth in as far as he could. I screamed. It hurt. It also reminded me of being attacked.
Pure I-won't-be-a-victim-again panic surged through me and I kneed him in the groin, hard. Some things still hurt men, even when they're deceased, and he groaned and staggered back a step. Pissed off at another creep taking an unwanted bite out of me, I curled my hand into a fist and clocked the bastard. I felt the jolt of it all the way up my arm, but his face whipped around and he looked stunned, so I felt vindicated. Then he snarled and looked back at me like he wanted to tear me apart. No longer intent on fleeing, he growled and lunged for me.
I managed to duck out of his grasp by mere inches. Twisting back at Halina still having a stare down with a now freaking-out Teren, I screamed, "Halina! Let him go and help me! You're the protector, so stop messing around and freaking protect!"
Irritated, Halina finally looked at me. The heat in her expression cooled as she watched Malcolm successfully tackle me to the ground. His hands firmly on my head, he bashed my skull into the dirt, smacking it into the same rock that had injured me earlier. When I was dazed and more complacent, his palms on the sides of my face started pulling my head away from my body.
Halina snarled and released Teren. She may blindly hate him at the moment, but she wasn't about to let my head get ripped off...thank god. Blurring over to Malcolm, her foot came out and connected with his jaw. He flew backwards about twenty feet, landing hard on his back. Stunned and not looking like he wanted to take on a pureblood, he shakily stood and twisted to leave. Halina phased right in front of him. Grabbing fistfuls of his shirt, she yanked his face directly into hers.
"Going somewhere?" she seethed, anger apparent in every syllable she uttered.
Malcolm's eyes were wide as he watched Halina's fangs drop. I was pretty sure that if she wanted to, the teenage vixen could decapitate him with those teeth. And her eyes blazed with enough fury that I was equally sure she wanted to.
Teren's arms were instantly around me, inspecting my already healed head. His face twisted in rage, he helped me stand. Behind me I heard a weary groan and looked over to see Hot Ben starting to stand as well. Relief poured into me that he was okay, that I was okay.
As Teren started stalking over to Malcolm, looking ready to assist in his decapitation, something changed.
The blips of Alanna and Imogen in my head started racing back to us. Knowing that they'd only come back if they'd found my son, I closed my eyes and imagined that I felt his presence returning too. Quickly opening them, I saw Teren and Halina paused, looking towards the direction of where Julian was rapidly coming towards us. As the wind shifted again, I imagined I could smell him faintly in the breeze. Maybe I even could? I wasn't sure if it was real or not, I wanted it so bad.
Malcolm took the distraction to disengage from Halina. Successfully breaking free, he wasted no time in blurring away.
I yelled, "No!" as I watched him streak towards the edge of the barn. Everyone's heads turned to watch him zip to the edge of the pool of light...where he ran smack into a wall. Well, it seemed like a wall, with how solidly he'd run into it. But as he stumbled backwards to the ground, I realized it wasn't a wall at all. I blinked and gasped.
It was Gabriel.
My eyes were wider than they'd ever been as they flicked from the spot where Gabriel's prone body had been lying, to the very much alive vampire standing before Malcolm. On the ground, only Ben's bloody stake remained. Gabriel's shirt was dripping with the red blood soaked down the front of it; he'd definitely been staked. He'd been dead, I was sure. I had no idea how he was standing before Malcolm, hands on his hips in displeasure.
Hot Ben staggered to his feet, cursing lowly while he stared at Gabriel as if he were a ghost. "Holy hell, I thought he was dead?" he muttered as Halina gaped, stunned into silence again.
But our reactions were nothing compared to Malcolm's. He looked about ready to implode from fear and stress. Backing away from Gabriel, he started muttering, "No, I watched you die...that's not possible." His slightly glowing eyes darted over Gabriel's body.
Gabriel frowned down at him. "Malcolm, I'm very disappointed in you."
As Gabriel advanced, Malcolm retreated, scooting right up to bump into Teren's legs. Teren imposingly stared down on Malcolm huddling by his feet before smiling crookedly. Turning his head between Teren and Gabriel, Malcolm disbelievingly said, "You? You did this? You tricked me?"
Leaning down slightly, Teren whispered, "I told you not to underestimate me."
Malcolm's pale face seemed to pale even more as he began to realize that he'd been successfully tricked this time; he'd given up Julian's location. He made a dash for it, but Gabriel reached down and pulled him up by one arm. Halina snapped out of her stupor and immediately grabbed his other arm. Malcolm struggled, but both incredibly strong vampires held him tight.
His head twisting between the two of them, Malcolm started to genuinely panic. "Gabriel, please...let me go. I didn't hurt the child!" Gabriel's only response was to narrow his jade eyes, dark in the bluish lamplight.
Teren stepped in front of Malcolm, crossing his arms over his chest. Malcolm tried beseeching him, since Gabriel was unmoved. "I did nothing to the kid! I didn't hurt him. Just wait, he's fine, you'll see. When he gets here, you'll see!" His scared eyes took in all of us. "He's fine!"
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