Home > Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(8)

Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(8)
Author: L.H. Cosway

I think a moment. “Tomorrow, I’ll come to your place around lunch time.”

“Sounds good, I’ll see you then.”

We say our goodbyes and hang up. Wolf comes and hops onto the couch, it gives me the fright of my life. I’d been lost in my own head for a minute. Lost in worry. Wolf sits down, resting his head on my lap. I don’t know what to do for a minute, and I’m scared that if I move or try to get up that he’ll start growling. So instead I make myself relax, and stroke a hand over his silky black and gold fur. He makes a contented humming sound, and eventually I’m completely calm with him. I hadn’t noticed it before, but there’s something meditative about Finn’s dog, especially when you get lost in petting him and he does the dog version of purring.

I stay there for more than an hour, just sorting through my thoughts and letting the massive dog sleep on my lap. Lunch time comes around quickly and I go into the kitchen to see what there is to eat. I make a mushroom omelette. Wolf has followed me in and watches my every move, perhaps he’s hungry too. I take the big bag of dog biscuits out of the cupboard and pour some into his feeding bowl, he seems happy with this and goes over to munch on them. I sit down at the table with my omelette, and just as I’m about to tuck in, something odd occurs.

My hand hovers in the air above the fork, and the fork begins to hum and vibrate. It’s as though there is some kind of electrical charge coming from my body. I quickly put my hand down on my lap and immediately the fork goes still. What the hell? Slowly I raise my hand up again, hold it over the fork, and this time it floats up off the table. I keep lifting my hand higher and higher, and quite amazingly, the fork follows.

Wolf leaves his food and hops up onto one of the chairs, resting his big paws on the surface of the table and watching as the fork levitates in mid-air. Then he looks at me, with wise eyes that are almost human, and tilts his head to the side, as though trying to figure me out. I make a swift pushing motion with my hand and the fork flies across the room.

Shock and surprise consume me. Had I really just made the fork move without so much as touching it? The image of my mother casting her spell on me when I was only a baby fills my head. She had used such powerful magic at the time. Did some of it contaminate me as a result, or do I have a talent for spells just like my mother had? A frustrated sigh escapes my lips. Why do things I don’t understand have to keep happening to me?

It’s this God damned city, nothing even remotely out of the ordinary occurred while I’d been in Manchester. I never should have agreed to come back. I need to do something about this, because unconsciously causing a fork to levitate is definitely not normal. Then I know what I have to do. I’m going to have to pay Rita a visit.

Later that I evening I tug my long coat tight around me, buttoning it all the way up to the top as I walk alone through the festive city streets. It’s so very cold out, and people rush by this way and that, laden down with shopping bags in a hurry to have all of their gifts purchased before Christmas. I haven’t bought anything yet, last year I received no presents at all. Then again, I did spend the day in bed eating, watching old movies and mourning home at intervals. I make a mental note to get something nice for both Nicky and my dad, I really hope I find him soon.

I’m on my way to the Blackfield monument where I’m supposed to be meeting Ethan. It’s this huge stone statue of some general from the 1800’s. I wonder if Ethan ever met him, since he’s been alive for the best part of the last three hundred years. The historian in me is hungry to know Ethan’s story, to discover all the things that have happened to him during his long life. Perhaps some day soon he’ll be willing to tell me about it.

What happened to me at lunch time is still taking up most of my brain space. I’m going to go to Rita’s house tomorrow after I’ve had lunch with Nicky. See if she can shed some light on the mystery of the levitating fork. I try to convince myself that there’s some kind of logical explanation for it, like electrical waves or something complicated and technical that I don’t understand. I laugh at the idea that this is some new and unusual ability, that I’ll end up touring the world, making things float in the air for intrigued audiences. Just like Uri Gellar and his bending spoons.

The Blackfield monument is on the South side of the river, so I have to cross over a bridge to get to it. The foreboding stone statue sits high atop a number of steep steps, it’s always been a favourite meeting point in Tribane. People come and sit on the steps, some just to hang out, others to wait for their friends to show up. Just beyond it you can see the board walk that looks out onto the Hawthorne.

It’s just gone eight o’clock and the steps of the monument are packed with people, talking, laughing, arguing, waiting. As I get near I see Ethan’s tall frame, standing amid a sea of unsuspecting humans. His eyes seek me out as I walk toward him. When I get to him he takes my hand into his, turns it over to expose the wrist, and presses his lips to my sensitive skin. I shiver. He grins. I pull my hand back quickly and stare at him for a minute, he’s wearing his usual casual attire, and every section of fabric clings to him exquisitely. Despite the fact that I have a purpose for spending time with Ethan, I can’t help getting lost in him every time he’s close to me.

“You look beautiful as always,” he tells me, holding out his arm to me. Reluctantly I take it, wondering what kind of plans he has for me tonight.

“It’s strange seeing you without your car,” I say, as I link my arm through his and he begins to lead me away from the monument, toward the board walk.

“I once knew a woman who spoke to me of using old-fashioned methods of transportation, such as walking. I decided I should give it a try for a change.”

I can’t help smiling at this. “And how are you finding it so far?”

Ethan looks down at me. “You forget Tegan, that I was alive long before the invention of the motor car.”

“That’s true, would you care to tell me about those days?” I ask, seeing this as a good opportunity to get him to tell me about his history.

“So inquisitive,” Ethan replies. “Another time perhaps, I don’t wish to speak about myself tonight.” Then he stops in front of an Asian fast food stall and orders two boxes of noodles. We wait for the food in silence, all the while he just keeps watching me with his intense dark eyes. I’d give anything to know what he’s thinking about. What he’s planning. Ethan pays for our food, pops the brown paper bag over his forearm, and we continue our walk.

“Where are we going?” I ask, and he glances at me in amusement. We’re almost at the end of the board walk when Ethan stops walking. I look out to the river and find a small white motor boat floating idly in the water. Ethan takes my arm and helps me up onto its flat surface. Then he sits down and begins opening the noodles, handing me a box and some chop sticks.

“Isn’t it a little cold to be dining outdoors?” I say, hesitant to begin eating.

“I enjoy the chill,” says Ethan. “Especially at this time of year, it’s invigorating.”

“If you say so,” I reply, before swallowing down a mouthful of warm, spicy noodles.

I try to wait a while before asking Ethan if he’s found anything out about my dad, but I can’t seem to help myself. I scoot over to sit a little closer to him, and it seems to please him. I can see the corner of his mouth turn up in a half smile.

“Did you ask around about my dad yet?” I say, past another mouthful of noodles.

Ethan eats silently for a moment before answering, “I did.” But then he doesn’t say anything more.

“And…” I prompt him to continue.

He frowns and faces me. “It seems you are quite eager to get to the point.”

“What do you mean?”

“I had thought you would at least allow me the illusion that you are here to spend time with me.”

“I am here to spend time with you Ethan, but my purpose in coming back to Tribane was to visit my father, and he’s missing so excuse me if finding him is high on my list of priorities.” If only he knew my other reason for being here, I think a frown from Ethan would be the least of my worries if he ever discovered that.

“Things are a lot different in this city now,” he says suddenly, his voice low and hard. “There has been a shift in power and I am in a far better position than I had been the last time you knew me.”

Finn told me about Ethan being Whitfield’s second in command, does that mean he’s now the second most powerful vampire in Tribane? My temperature drops just thinking about it.

“Well isn’t that marvellous, congratulations are surely in order,” I reply sarcastically, putting down my half-finished box of noodles, not so hungry any more.

“Perhaps they are Tegan,” Ethan says cuttingly, and I immediately regret having given him cheek, “but it also means that I am not a man to be trifled with. And I do not keep company with women who have no interest in me. So I will give you the information you came for and you can be on your way.”

I try to speak, but he silences me with a dark look, then continues, “I have looked into your father’s disappearance, and there is no connection between it and the activity of my people. All who know of your unique genetics are under my authority, Lucas, Delilah and Drusilla. They could not tell a soul about you even if they wanted to. Antonia is dead, as are all of her other bodyguards. So if something bad has happened to your father, then I can tell you with absolute certainty that it has nothing to do with vampires.”

Right. If Ethan is to be believed, my dad didn’t leave town because of vampires. I stow that information away for later. Then I think about what he’s just said. “What do you mean by ‘they couldn’t tell a soul even if they wanted to’?”

Ethan places his food neatly down onto the floor of the boat. Our legs dangle over the edge, and in this moment I imagine how easy it would be for him to drain my blood and simply toss me into the water. He leans over me. “I am their superior, that means I have powers of compulsion over them, and I have compelled them not to speak of your blood.”

I bite my lower lip out of nervousness from his proximity. “So, that’s a good thing right?” I whisper, unable to take my eyes off his mouth.

Urgently, he grabs onto my hips, pulling me under him. Then I watch as his sharp, white fangs extend out from under his lips. Oh God, are these going to be my last few moments on earth? I suppose dying at the hands of a beautiful man isn’t the worst way to go. I say a silent prayer in my head, but this is surely no time to begin reverting back to religion.

“I am beginning to think that maybe I should stop being such a gentleman with you,” he whispers. “There was a time when I would simply take what I wanted. Over the years the world has become a less outwardly violent place, and so my habits have adjusted to that change. Perhaps it was all a waste of my time.”

His fingers reach down and begin unbuttoning my coat, and I’m in too much shock to do anything but simply lay there. His hand slips inside and around my waist, pulling me into him. Then he dips his head to the very centre of my throat, I think he’s about to bite me and I close my eyes in fear. But he doesn’t bite, he breathes in and then traces his fangs over my skin, scraping pleasurably into my nerve endings.

His voice is like smooth, sweet honey when he says, “So you do like me then, at least a little bit.”

“What makes you say that?” I ask, my voice shaky. Even though I think he should know how much I like him after that night we spent back in my old apartment before I’d gone away.

“I can smell it,” he breathes. Damn, I’d forgotten about that one, vampires can smell feelings, so there’s no chance of me getting out of this one easily.

“What does it smell like?”

“It’s both a feeling and a smell I get, when a human…” he pauses a second before continuing, “wants me. Heat and roses.”

“So it’s not unpleasant then…”

“No, not unpleasant at all,” says Ethan, pushing my shirt up and running his hand from my hip, along my ribs, before resting at the strap of my bra.

“It’s cold,” I say in protest.

“Yes it is, isn’t it,” Ethan replies, fixing my top back down, buttoning my coat and pulling me up to stand beside him on the small boat. He helps me back onto the board walk and we start walking again, this time away from the river and down a populated street. He’s holding my hand now, and although I’m absolutely terrified of his potential to kill me with those lethal fangs of his, it’s a pleasant sensation just to be walking down the street, holding a man’s hand. I haven’t done it in such a long time. The contradiction in my feelings towards him makes me feel unstable.

We pass by a pub and I peer inside at the people socialising merrily over a pint or a glass of wine. I could definitely do with a drink to calm my nerves right about now. Ethan pulls me along, and it’s hard to keep up with him. I’m sure he’s going slower than he normally would to allow for my pathetic ‘human’ speed, but still, my legs hurt walking so fast.

“If you cannot go any faster I shall have to resort to carrying you,” he says with an evil grin. I wonder if he’s serious. I probably would let him if it weren’t for what the people passing us by would think. I’m lazy like that. Soon we get away from the populated shopping streets and find ourselves on a quiet residential road.

It’s full to the brim with expensive town houses that are reserved solely for the upper middle classes. People who work in high end jobs. In my case I’d have to win the lottery to ever be able to afford one of these houses. Sometimes I like to play a game when I’m walking by people’s homes, I create stories in my head about the families who live in them, like soap opera story lines.

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