💌 ROSES FOR RACHEL🌸
“Calvin, I love you too, but please stop.” I begged. “You’ve got to stop this, you’re going to get yourself killed, and I need you, Calvin! Please!” I cried into the phone. “Don’t go anywhere, just come back to me! Please!”
“I love you.” He said in a breathy whisper and then there was some kind of explosion and I heard the breath get knocked out of him. “Rachel, tell Pedro our plan is a go.” He gasped. “One month.” I looked up to Pedro with tear stained eyes. “Rachel, I love you, and I promise I will do everything I can to get back to you. When this is over….I’ll come…home to you.” The line went dead and I threw the phone across the room, screaming, then brought my fists down on the ground in front of me.
“Rachel.” Pedro said as he wrapped me in his arms. “Don’t think the worst.” He said with a quiver in his own voice.
I shook away from him. “What plan?” I demanded, but Pedro avoided my eyes. “What plan?” I shouted at him.
He leaned back and sighed. “Before he left, he told me that should anything happen to him or if things were turning bad, that if there was no word from him in over a month, or if I were to get word that he had been killed, I have to get you out of here.”
I brought my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around my legs and sobbing. He was looking out for me even before this happened. Of course he was. He was always so well planned out. I cried for a long time, replaying Calvin’s strained voice and the shouts and explosions going off in the background, while Pedro rubbed my back reassuringly. “Pedro?” I cried.
I sniffled, the tears finally slowing as my body became exhausted. “What did he mean…when he said no matter what I find out?” I asked.
Pedro looked me in the eyes. “I don’t know what he meant.” He said shaking his head. “He was talking so fast and all of the…well, I’m just not really sure what was going on, or what he meant.” He admitted. “I do know that he wouldn’t want you sitting here fretting over him.” Pedro said, lifting my chin. “You’ve never seen Calvin in a fight, but I have, and I don’t think we need to worry. He is a warrior at heart, Rachel, and if it means coming home to be with you, I know he can conquer anything.” He tried to make me feel better. “I’ve never seen that man more dedicated to anything else the way he is to you. Just have a little faith in him, ok?”
That was all easier said than done. In my moment of weakness, curled up on my floor I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t have opened up to him. Maybe I shouldn’t have let myself fall for a man like him, one who comes from a world like this where only pain and heartache can be the outcome of any decisions. I asked myself if I regretted agreeing to be with him, or even marrying him, but my heart told me that I would choose this fate a thousand times over not knowing what it was like to love Calvin at all.
I stood up from the floor, feeling ashamed of where my thoughts had gone. Calvin would never turn his back on me, so I’m not turning mine on him. If he says he is going to do everything in his power to come back to me, then I have to believe that. I walked stoically to my mirror, wiping the stains from my face, and pulling my loose curls up into a ponytail. I have to be strong, for me, for Calvin, and for our people.
“Crap.” I said with a smile, faking that I was ok. “I didn’t know they’d get this together so fast.” I explained to them as I walked over and helped them carry their things in. I should have known in the land of the vampire’s that everything happens fast.
Pedro smiled at me lightly. “Do you want the designer to come up so you can tell him how you want to do this?” He asked. “We can have some beds and things added in here to make you all more comfortable.” He explained and I nodded to him.
I smiled at the girls, even though Lexton kept her eyes down. “This will be fun.” I said happily. “Like a slumber party.”
Tessa flipped her hair and giggled. “I remember slumber parties.” She grinned and Greer laughed. The handmaidens took the few bags that the girls were holding and placed them on one side of the room for now until we can get the room set up correctly. Once Lexton didn’t have her two bags to stare down at, she was forced to make eye contact with me. I tried to still smile kindly to her, even though I could see how uncomfortable she was with me. “What about you?” I asked her. “Do you remember having slumber parties?”
She brushed her silky hair behind her ear and shifted her weight.
“Look,” She said softly. “I really, truly, appreciate you inviting me to stay here with you, but I think I’d rather just go to level 4 with the others.” She said.
I stared at her in disbelief as she walked to the other side of the room, grabbing her bags and walking back towards us. I didn’t know whether to be really offended or a little relieved that she wasn’t staying. Knowing that she has real feelings for Calvin would have made us being roomies a little weird.
She was in such a hurry to get out of here that when she passed the foot of my bed she caught one of her bags on the post and dropped it, the contents spilling out of the open zipper. I started to go to help her gather her things, but Greer beat me to it, so I took a step back, watching as she picked up all of her stuff from the floor at the foot of my bed and then practically ran out of the room.
“Again.” I said as she shut the door behind her. “That was super weird.”
Greer shrugged. “Yeah, she’s just-.”
“In love with my husband,” I filled in for her. “I know.”
It didn’t take the designers long to transform Gordo’s suite for us. I had decided when they started to bring things into mine and Calvin’s room that I didn’t want them to rearrange anything in there. I was holding tightly to the memories of he and I that had happened in that room, and I didn’t want to lose them. Instead, we cleared out the living area in the suite and added three beds, a table, and some other things for us to keep busy with.
Pedro had insisted that the lockdown be taken very seriously. So seriously that he didn’t want me or the other girls leaving the room at all. There hadn’t been any incidents here, but we took all the precautions that were necessary to keep one from happening. Despite Calvin’s request, we did still send a handful of men to Calvin’s last known location in Germany, but they were nowhere to be found. Only signs of a heavy battle and dozens of left over pyres were there. All broadcasts had been suspended until we had further news. For now, all the people know is that the conflict is still ongoing, but they don’t know that the King and his men are missing.
I sat up in my little bed, slowly stretching my hands up over my head. I remember at first when Calvin left, the days seemed to drag and drag, but now, with a deadline of one month looming, each day seemed to just quickly fold right into the next. I sighed, lowering my arms and looking around to see Tessa and Greer still sound asleep in their beds. I’m always the first one up, and the last one to go to bed. I’m too afraid to sleep too long and get even closer to the last day.
I quietly tiptoe across the room and into the study, only glancing for a moment at the calendar hanging on the back of the door. Four more days until the end of August and the end of my time here. I never would have thought I’d want to stay, but somehow or another this place became home. I never felt that way about Drighten. It was always just a place to me. I know that it’s Calvin that makes this place feel like home, but even if something happened to him, I can’t imagine just leaving now.
“God, you scared me.” I told Tessa while she strutted over to the chair in front of the desk and sat down, draping her legs over the arm.
I walked over to sit in the chair beside her the same way. She turned her head to the calendar and frowned her pouty lips. “You good?” She asked.
I nodded, trying to appear unaffected. “He’s coming back.” I said confidently.
She shook her feet. “I’m sure he will…but,” She paused, narrowing her eyes. “Can I go with you?”
I sighed, brushing my hair behind my ear. “You don’t even know where I’ll be going.” I pointed out.
“I know.” She said rolling her eyes. “But if it won’t be safe here for you anymore, then I highly doubt it would be safe for me or Greer either.” She whispered, her eyes begging me.
Tessa and I both jumped, gasping. “God, Greer!” I yelled. “You scared the pee out of us.” I said looking over to her lingering in the doorway, still in her yellow night gown.
Greer shrugged, coming to sit in the floor between mine and Tessa’s chairs with a devious smile. “Can we though?” She said, giving me puppy dog eyes. “I want to go with you, too.” She said putting her hand up on top of mine and squeezing.
I looked down at her and then over at Tessa. “You’re both asking the wrong person.” I told them. “I’m fine with you coming with me, but I don’t know what the plan is. All I know is that in four days Pedro will be taking me somewhere.”
The three of us all jumped again when a man’s voice came from the living area. “Who is talking about me?” Pedro said playfully as he came into the study.
I was laughing for what felt like the first time in forever. “Pedro!” I giggled. “What is wrong with everyone today? You’re all creeping around!” I told him as my heart rate slowed back down to normal and we all laughed.
He leaned against the doorframe and pulled at his blue suit jacket. “They can come with you.” He smiled at them.
“Where are we going?” Tessa asked excitedly, and my happy mood was gone just like that.
I stood up and tied my robe a little tighter, trying to hide my feelings. I didn’t want to sit and gossip about where we might be getting to go. I want Calvin to come back. Greer gave me a knowing look and a soft smile as I squeezed by Pedro to leave the study.
Pedro followed me out to the hallway. “Where do you think you’re going?” He asked, his hands on his hips.
“I just want to go get a couple of new books from the library.” I told him, mirroring his stance. “Do you want to go with me?” I asked him.
He narrowed his eyes at me and then smiled. “Fine.” He conceded. Cromley started to follow us, but Pedro help up his hands. “I’ve got her this time.” He told him. Cromley was reluctant at first, but finally he fell back in line with the other guards.
We rode silently on the elevator down to level 5 and as soon as the doors opened I started trekking down the hall. “Pedro!” A man called from the other direction and I turned to see Pedro and Patrick embrace. “I was just looking for you.” Patrick smiled.
Pedro glanced over to me. “I’m good, I’ll be right back.” I told him as I turned and wound through the corridors to the creaky door at the end of the hall. I glanced at the red velvet couch as I passed it, reminiscing on the time I’d run into Calvin here by accident. I went back over to the histories section and pulled three new books down, but I dropped them when I heard the door slam behind me.
“Hello, your highness.” A tall lanky man said, bowing his head curtly, then he laughed.
“Hello.” I said nervously.
He glanced down at the books on the floor. “Didn’t mean to scare you.” He said. “You studying up on some good old vampire history?” I smiled and nodded, bending down to pick the books back up. When I stood up again, he was right in my face. “You know what I find hilarious?” He asked me.
“I don’t.” I said lowly, not liking the dark shadow to his brown eyes.
“I think it’s pretty funny that you actually think you are the queen.” He said laughing, shaking his head back and forth.
“Excuse me?” I said in a louder tone than necessary, hoping to get the attention of Pedro or Patrick even from down by the elevators.
The man took a step closer to me, leaning down. “You can scream if you want to.” He whispered into my face. “This room is nearly sound proof when the doors are shut.” He smiled. “Makes for a better reading environment, but I doubt they’ll hear you.”
“Get away from me!” I warned without any power. “Calvin will-.”
“Calvin isn’t here, darling.” He laughed. “I wonder if you’ll taste as good as you smell…Or maybe, a girl as blind to everything going on around her as you are, will have a disappointing taste.”
He mused. “Stupid human.” I kicked and pushed against him as he backed me into the bookshelf, shoving the books from my hands and laughing at my shrieks as he ripped the sash off of my robe. “Either way, I’m draining you dry.” He said then brought his thick mouth down on the top of my shoulder, biting me hard.
His teeth dug deeply into my skin with a burning sensation and his whole face seemed to darken as he sucked my blood while I screamed.
The door swung open and suddenly the man was ripped away from me, and he was fighting with the woman who pulled him off. They were just a blur in front of my dazed eyes. Pedro appeared in the doorway and joined in, until finally the body of the man was on the floor in pieces and Angela and Pedro were standing on either side of it, looking frazzled.
“Are you ok?” Pedro asked, holding me at arm’s reach and looking slightly ashamed when his lips pulled back over his teeth slightly when he looked at the blood oozing from the bite mark.
My heart was hammering and I was hyperventilating. “Am I going to turn?” I asked in fear.
Pedro shook his head. “Not how it works.” He whispered, still looking at my arm. “Rachel…I can’t. I haven’t fed in a while.”
“Go!” Angela shouted at him and he stalked from the room with his head bowed. Angela came to me with blood on her blouse and looked at the bite. “Are you alright?” She asked urgently, staring into my shocked eyes and I leaned away from her slightly. She took a half step back. “It’s ok,” She told me. “I just ate.”
I looked over at my wound and cringed. “Calvin can’t see this.” I said in a high pitched voice. “You have to heal it.” I urged her.
She furrowed her thick brows. “What?” She asked.
I staggered towards her. “Cut yourself and put your blood on it.” I directed her and she looked weirded out but did as I told her, turning her face from me as she placed her blood soaked hand on top of my shoulder.
Almost instantly the stinging stopped. “Thank you.” I whispered to her.
She met my eyes again and Pedro reentered the room. “Just remember it was me who saved your life when the king comes back.” She told me. “I’m sorry for my behavior last time we were together.” She bowed her head to me, then called in guards to handle the cleanup, before she left.
Pedro shook his head angrily, looking down at the corpse. He turned his eyes to me. “We can’t do this anymore.” He said firmly. “You can fight me on it if you want, but you are leaving tomorrow night, no matter what you say or do. It isn’t safe for you here anymore.”
My heart fell at his words. “No.” I protested. “I have four more days.”
Pedro crossed his arms across his chest. “Rachel!” He yelled, then lowered his voice and waited for the guards to leave. “He isn’t coming back.” He told me harshly. “We haven’t gotten any word from him or any of his men, and I’ve had people out searching for him, Rachel. If he was alive, he would have gotten word to us somehow by now.”
My lip quivered and I sucked it into my mouth, biting it hard. “Don’t you dare say that.” I snapped at him. “He’s coming back.” I insisted.
Pedro’s expression was hard. “I care about you too much, Rachel, to just let you stay here and end up getting killed when the population riots against you.” He said. “They might love you now, but right now you are married to their king, and one day will bring into the world a little prince or princess, but when they find out that Calvin is dead, there will be no need for you anymore. I will be named king, and you will be in triple the danger you are now, so say what you want, hate me if you must, but you will be leaving here tomorrow night.”
I wanted to hate him, but instead I just let the tears free flow while I wrapped my arms around his waist.