Home > Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(2)

Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(2)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“You really have to learn that it’s not polite to break into people’s homes,” I tell him in a snappy voice. At the same time I’m wondering how he knew where I lived, he must have been watching me for days.

“And you have to learn that it’s not polite to tell people you’re going to meet them and then not show up. My feelings are hurt,” says Finn, falsely wounded.

“You’ll get over it,” I reply and lean back against the kitchen counter, after tossing my keys onto the table. “Besides, you clearly didn’t bother going to the café at all. I told you an hour, it’s only been twenty minutes,” I say, glancing up at the clock.

“You need to get up a lot earlier in the morning to pull a fast one on me, love. Now sit down, I need to talk to you.”

Reluctantly, I take the seat across from him and sit. I grab one of my blue coasters and spin it around and around on the table. Carefully avoiding Finn’s gaze.

He puts his hand on my wrist. “Stop fidgeting.” His skin is warm, hands slightly callused. I stop spinning the coaster and look up at him. He doesn’t move his hand.

I raise an eyebrow and smirk. “Do you still have that skin fetish off yours then?”

His hand clamps on my wrist and pulls it closer to him. “Would you like to find out?” he asks, his voice low. I pull my wrist away quickly and put my hand on my lap under the table, annoyed over the fact that his touch makes me come over all tingly. I can’t help it, he’s one attractive vampire slayer.

“So go on then,” I say, ignoring his previous comment, “tell me whatever it is you came here to tell me.”

Finn’s gaze travels over me, this time I’m even more body conscious than I’d been back in the gallery, since we’re all alone in my apartment. He shakes his head and says, “You have no clue how bad things got after that night. The night Theodore was killed.”

“He wasn’t killed,” I interrupt, “he was pulled into a hell dimension. There’s a big difference.”

“Well whatever happened to him, he may as well be dead. That hole in the sky didn’t look like it was taking him for a nice holiday in the sun.”

“What happened in Tribane after I left Finn?” I ask, curious now, they don’t exactly report supernatural occurrences on the news.

“Small fights at first, mostly between the magical families and the vampires. The vamps were pissed that North Tribane had decided to align themselves with Theodore, so once he was gone they decided they needed to teach us a lesson. What started as a few small scale attacks turned into a full blown war. We weren’t prepared for it, and the vampires were extremely angry. There were lots of casualties, mostly slayers, since we’re the most human and the easiest to kill.”

I gasp. I’d never anticipated Theodore’s actions would lead to such destruction. I just thought everything would go back to normal. Division between the South and the North as usual.

Finn continues his story. “About two days after we attacked Ridley Island, Antonia Herrington committed suicide. This added to the vampires’ anger, as they thought she’d killed herself over grief for Howard. Since he’d been murdered by Theodore, the vampires felt the need to lay that blame on North Tribane too. One of the oldest vamps in the city, you probably don’t know him, goes by the name of Jeremy Whitfield, was voted in as the new Governor and he was determined to kill as many of us as he could as a tribute to his predecessors.”

A grim sense of guilt settles in the pit of my stomach, as I realise the true cause of Antonia’s suicide. Rita’s spell. The guilt goes away fairly quickly though, as I think of how Matthew took his life because of her. An eye for an eye, and all that.

“So this Jeremy Whitfield declared war on North Tribane?” I say after a brief pause.

“Not in so many words, he first set out to get revenge, but the battles became bigger and bigger until we were fighting for our very survival. The vamps wiped the floor with us, half the population was dead within the space of a few months. Two years on and we’re still being attacked by the vampires, they aren’t going to be happy until they’ve subdued us completely.”

“What about your Governor, Siegfried Pamphrock, is he still alive?”

Finn looks away for a minute, then his eyes meet mine. “That’s sort of the reason why I’m here.” He falls silent.

“Because of Pamphrock?”

Finn nods. “Jeremy Whitfield has kidnapped Pamphrock’s ten year old daughter Rebecca. He’s holding her captive until Pamphrock stands down and allows him to take control of the entire city, the North and the South.”

“I don’t understand what that’s got to do with me,” I say defensively.

“We need someone who can get to Whitfield,” Finn replies.

“And that’s me is it? I’ve never even met him before.”

Finn is careful with what he says next. “No, you’ve not met Whitfield before, but you are very well acquainted with his second in command.”

A clammy sweat slicks itself over the palms of my hands. “And that would be who exactly?” I ask. Although I think I already know the answer.

“Ethan Cristescu,” says Finn smugly.

I push myself up from the table. “This is ridiculous Finn, I feel bad for your Governor, believe me I do. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to have their own child taken away from them. But I’m not the solution to this. I can’t go back there. Too many people know what I am.”

Finn’s brow furrows. “What are you talking about Tegan? Nobody knows what you are. Almost everyone who was on Ridley Island that night is dead now, with a few exceptions. There’s only Ethan, Delilah and Lucas left, and that other vamp Dru, she works for Ethan now. Cristescu would never have allowed any of them to reveal your secret. He’s far too infatuated with you.”

“What about Rita and Gabriel?” I ask with worry.

“Rita and Gabriel are fine, and I know for a fact that neither of them have told a soul about what you are.”

“What about you Finn, have you told anyone?”

He grins. “I thought about it, but I decided not to.”

I breathe a sigh of relief. Then I begin to think. So if the only people who know about me are going to keep my secret, does that mean I can go back to Tribane? It surprises me how hopeful that makes me. But I push the thought away, it’s still far too dangerous for me to return, especially since there’s a full blown war going on.

“I still can’t go back Finn, it’s not safe.” I tell him in a shaky voice, and at the same time I’m willing him to give me a good enough reason to go home.

“I’ll protect you,” he says steadily, and it takes me by surprise. I never thought I’d hear those words from Finn. After all, I’m just some stupid girl who used to hang around with vampires.

I think of that little ten year old girl, Rebecca. She must be so frightened being held captive. Something twists inside of me, telling me I have the ability to save her and making me feel guilty for not having the courage to do it. I stay silent for a long moment, just thinking about her.

“So, are you going to help us?” Finn asks, his eyes wide and almost hopeful.

I let out a nervous yawn. “I’m tired Finn, let me sleep on it and I’ll decide in the morning.”

“Fine, but I’m staying here tonight. I can’t take the chance that you won’t try to run off again.”

“You’re not staying here Finn, there’s only one bedroom. And, I trust you about as far as I can throw you.”

He smiles, slow and seductive. “Ah you can trust me, I’m a decent guy, and don’t worry, I’ll take the couch.”

“No.”

He stands up and walks over to me, he keeps coming toward me and backs me up against the wall. “Oh, so you want me to stay in your bed then?”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

His hand grazes my hip, then slides down to my thigh. “Are you sure about that?”

I swallow and put a hand to his chest to push him away, he’s only wearing his t-shirt now, and I can feel the muscle beneath it. His frame is too solid, and me pushing him doesn’t achieve much. Instead I find myself lingering, my hand still pressed hard against him.

“Stop it Finn.”

He dips his head to my neck and breathes in, his lips touch me, feather light. I tremble and let out an involuntary sigh. He pushes into me and a heavy breath comes from both of us at the same time. He kisses down the side of my neck to my collarbone, and his hand wanders under my blouse, his palm spreads out over my stomach. Okay this has gone way too far. I need to stop now. What on earth is wrong with me? I can’t allow myself to get carried away with lust. I push away from him. He looks at me, eyelids lowered.

“You can stay here tonight – on the couch.” I tell him, knowing that I could be making a huge mistake. Damn him for being so tempting. Can lust somehow override fear?

He shoots me a predatory smile. “Sure.”

Then I turn away from him, my cheeks flushed, and go into my bedroom. I bring him out a spare pillow and a duvet without saying another word. I go back and close my bedroom door, locking it for good measure. Then I get into the long baggy t-shirt I wear to bed. It takes me a while to fall asleep. I can’t stop thinking about how Finn touched me, and how much I actually liked it. Embarrassment fills me up. Then my thoughts wander to Rebecca and going home. I have to help her.

Oh God, I’m getting sucked in again.

Chapter Two

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

The noise of my television set wakes me up. I turn over beneath the covers irritably, wondering how on earth it got switched on. I don’t remember leaving it on before I went to sleep last night. This makes me suspicious. Even more so when I feel the weight of someone sitting beside me on the bed, the recognisable click of the remote as they change the station. I peek my head out from under the duvet.

Finn’s sitting stretched out on my bed, with nothing on but a t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts. I distinctly recall locking my bedroom door. Then again, that isn’t much of a defence when you’re dealing with an expert lock picker.

He glances over at me, grinning. “You know, you really should keep your TV out in the living room, it’s rude to leave guests sitting around with nothing to do.” Then he continues flicking through the stations.

I rub at my eyes. “What time is it?”

“Nine-thirty,” Finn answers. “I took the liberty of making breakfast, it’s waiting for you out in the kitchen. I left it in the oven to keep it warm.”

I actually perk up at the mention of food, and my stomach does a little hungry morning grumble. I sit up and get out of bed, pulling my long t-shirt down as far as it will go so that Finn can’t see my underwear. Still, he whistles at the sight of my legs. I turn around and scowl at him before going out to the kitchen.

There’s a pot of fresh tea on the counter, and in the oven I find a plate containing bacon and scrambled eggs. I take a fork from the drawer and pour myself a cup of tea before sitting down at the table to eat. I could almost forgive Finn for showing up and ruining the incognito life I’ve made for myself when I taste his cooking. So, so good, I nearly sigh as the salty bacon and perfectly seasoned eggs slide down my throat.

At this Finn emerges from my bedroom, hair all messy from being slept on.

“I take it you like the breakfast then,” he says, going over to get a cup of tea for himself.

“Just because you cooked me breakfast, doesn’t mean you’re in my good books. And don’t ever come into my room when I’m sleeping again. It’s an invasion of privacy. In fact, your whole being here is an invasion of my privacy.”

“Big fancy words from the university graduate,” says Finn with amusement. “What, does having a degree suddenly make people twice as self-righteous?”

“How did you know I finished my degree?” I ask, shovelling down another mouthful of eggs.

“That’s how I traced you. I actually can’t believe the vampires didn’t think to look up your educational records. Then again, a lot of them died in the war after you left. I saw that you’d attended Tribane University, but that you hadn’t finished your degree. Then I began searching the databases of other colleges all over the world who taught your subject. I’m fairly handy with a computer you know. Finally I came across your picture in your student file here in Manchester, but you’d been going by your middle name Alexandra, instead of Tegan.”

“Damn, I’d forgotten about that stupid photograph.” I reply regretfully. If only I hadn’t allowed myself to be bullied into having it taken then maybe I would have remained hidden for that much longer. The woman at the registrar’s office had been so adamant.

“Yeah well, it was a godsend for me. Do you know how mind-numbingly dull it is going through thousands of student files?”

I snort. “Do you know how illegal it is for you to go through those files?”

“Myself and the law have always been at odds,” says Finn casually.

“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”

He takes a sip of his tea and watches me closely before saying, “So, have you decided to come with me back to Tribane?”

I’m just finished up with my breakfast. I push the plate away and fold my arms. “What’s in it for me?” I feel terrible for asking, since there’s a little girl’s life at stake, but I don’t want Finn to think I’m giving in easily. Even though I am so entirely curious to go back and see everybody.

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