Charlotte leaned against the door, heaving. How had she managed to escape? She didn’t knw she had that strength in her. Before Aria could leave, Charlotte had kicked the woman forcefully, causing her to fall to the ground. It was a struggle to get the key from Aria’s crumpled body, but not impossible.
“Let me out of here!” Aria shouted, banging on the door.
“That would be dumb,” Charlotte answered.
“Altiere will not let you get away with this!” Aria shouted.
“I hope you rot in there!” Charlotte spat.
“You disrespectful brat!” She shouted. “Let me out now!”
Charlotte had to think. She needed to escape. She had to find her sister and escape.
Charlotte couldn’t run. She could barely walk. Taking one step caused a shot of pain to pulse through her body. But, she had to pull through. She couldn’t give up- “agh!” She let out a shout of agony as she fell to the floor. Her body couldn’t keep up. She needed blood. She wouldn’t be able to make it.
“Charlotte?” She was hearing things. Why had it taken death to make her realize how much she had wanted to be with Jeff? She was even hearing his voice now.
“It is her!” Adeline said. “She needs blood, and fast!”
There were footsteps, but Charlotte couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer. It was over. She would take a nice nap and hope she escaped the darkness. “Damn it!” Forceful arms grabbed her. Lifted her. Leaned her against the wall. All recieving no resistance from her. Why wouldn’t they let her rest? She was tired. So tired. “Charlotte, stay awake. Do not fade. It’s me. Jeff. I’m here.”
“Stop lying,” She mumbled to herself. “I don’t want Jeff here. It’s dangerous.”
“Well, that’s too bad. Because, I’m here anyway.”
“Is that what you say to someone who’s here to save your life?” Jeff asked.
She felt his warm hands on her cold face. It took everything in her to stay awake. “So stupid…”
“The only stupid one here is you. Why do you go off and do things without telling people?” Jeff willed her to look at him. “Don’t you know that people care what happens to you?”
She didn’t say anything, though she tried. “Keep quiet. Save your strength. I’ll need you to be at least awake if we’re going to get out of here.”
He was human. Why was he risking his mortal life to save her? He was so stupid! He didn’t deserve to die because of her! She wanted to yell at him, but she couldn’t muster a single word. Her limp hand lay across his chest. Slowly, she squeezed his shirt in her hands. “Stay with me,” Jeff said softly. “Come on. I’m here now.”
“She needs blood,” Adeline said, offering her arm out.
“No,” Jeff said, eyeing the staggering girl. “You can barely stand up straight. You’re too weak. You don’t need to lose any more blood. I’ll do it.”
“She’s starving, I don’t know how much blood she’ll take. She might take too much because she’s hungry.” Adeline held her head in her hands.
Jeff pushed Charlotte’s hair out of her face. “What did they do to you?” He murmured, tracing the dried up blood on her face with his index finger. He turned to Adeline. “She’ll die if she doesn’t get enough blood.”
“Jeff-” Adeline tried to protest, but she knew he was right. Any more blood taken from Adeline and she’d surely die herself. “Your arm, give her your arm. It’s the safest place.”
“Char,” Jeff began. he held out his arm. “Take some of my blood.”
“No,” She refused. “I can’t.”
“You need it,” Jeff urged. “Take some, I’ll be fine.”
“Charlotte, don’t be so damn stubborn. Please just take it, and be careful,” Adeline scolded.
Charlotte reached for his arm. She didn’t even have the energy to roll up his sleeve. She bit down into his sleeve, puncturing the leather with her sharp teeth and sinking into Jeff’s flesh. She hadn’t ever drank from a living being before. She felt his warm blood drip into her mouth and she shut her eyes tightly, taking in the nutrients. J=Without warning, she pulled away and slumped down against the wall. “That was like one drop…” Adeline said. “You need more.”
“No. That’s enough.” She felt some of her energy returning. Jeff’s blood was sweet. She never knew how good the real thing tasted, much more satisfying than the plasma packs in her fridge. But…if she didn’t stop when she had, she could have consumed all of Jeff’s blood, after he came to save her. “He’s just a human.”
“Just a human?” Jeff raised a brow. “I’m here, aren’t I? Look around us, just a human couldn’t do all this.” Charlotte smirked as she listened to him. He had overcome a lot of odds and risked so much. For her.
“Mother, stop it now,” Leia said angrily. “Do not hurt my twin.”
“Look who decided to join us,” Altiere said angrily. “A diversion. Smart for a human.” Altiere growled at Lorie. “No matter. You’re no match for us.”
“No match for you,” Charlotte mumbled. Altiere turned to the three who had staggered into the room. She was leaning on Jeff who had helped her walk into the room. There was only one exit, and they had to get passed the vampire to make it through. “Mom is tied up at the moment.”
“Excuse me?” Altiere demanded. “You Grays are adorable. But, time to end this.” He held his hand out, ready to launch an attack. Jeff positioned Charlotte so that she was shielded behind his body.
“Stop,” Charlotte mumbled. “Let me protect you.”
“Next time,” Jeff said. “It’s my turn. Don’t be so selfish.”
“Aww, cute!” Altiere rolled his eyes at the picture. “I knew I should have gotten rid of you from the very beginning Charlotte.”
“You’re not touching my daughter.” All eyes turned to the new voice.
“Dad?” Charlotte choked.
“Sorry,” He apologized. “I should have gotten rid of this asshat from the beginning. That’s what I get for listening to your father.”
“Dad?” Millie asked.
“Forget it.” Alistair brushed her off. “I’m going to end this now.”
“This is dangerous,” Lorie nearly shouted. “Why can’t you guys just stick to a plan?”
“My family was in here,” Alistair said. “I’m not sitting back and letting Altiere destory them any more than he already has.” Alistair aimed his wand at Altiere.
Altiere was chuckling. “You can’t kill me with that little wand.”
“I’m not trying to kill you,” Alistair said. He unleashed an ice spell, freezing Altiere in place. He turned to Cora. “We’re leaving now, and you better not try to stop us.”
“You can’t take my daughters!” Cora argued. Alistair sighed and froze her as well. “Let’s go back home. We have a few minutes until Altiere thaws out. He’s stronger than we give him credit for.” He held his arm out for Adeline to take it, while Millie and Jeff supported Charlotte. They would run now, Alistair thought, and attack later. When the necessary preparations were made.
Charlotte sat up and stretched her arms over her head. It was a long night. She couldn’t sleep at all. She kept tossing and turning. She watched Jeff’s sleeping figure on the couch. He had stayed the night in her and Adeline’s room. Given the circumstances of the day before, Alistair instructed Jeff to keep watch for any irregular patterns in the girls. Charlotte felt fine, a little achy, but fine. She had replenished her nutrients. Being purebred, Adeline recovered much more quickly and was wandering around the house, Charlotte bet. It was just her and Jeff in the room. She tried to stand up, but her legs hurt. She groaned in pain. She’d have to stretch them out. She wasn’t used to physical pain. Never had she been pushed this far before. “Charlotte, you should lay back down,” Jeff instructed. “It’s only been a few hours.”
“You’re up?” Charlotte eyed the groggy male. “You look like you need more rest than me.”
Jeff looked up at her lazily. “I’m fine. I just needed to shut my eyes for a few moments.”
“Sleep,” She instructed. “You did a lot yesterday, and I took some of your blood. Maybe go have some sugar.”
Jeff shook his head. “I’m not leaving.”
“Why’s that?” She asked. “You’ve already saved the day. You don’t have to push yourself.”
Charlotte watched Jeff curiously as he stood up and walked over to her. He gently pushed her so that she was once again sitting on her bed. “Everytime I leave,” He began softly. “You do something dangerous.”
Charlotte raised her brow. “That’s not true.”
“It’s not?” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Rosalia, Dionysus, this.”
“Those were just coincidences.” Charlotte bit her lip. “Besides, the Grays always get themselves into trouble. Even goody two shoes like my twin.”
Jeff leaned in and placed his hand on Charlotte’s cheek. “Can you try not to get yourself in so much trouble next time?”
“No,” Charlotte said. “Trouble is exciting. It’s what makes me feel alive. But, maybe not yesterday’s kind of trouble. That was too much.”
Jeff agreed. “You could have died.”
“Why were you even there?” Charlotte asked. “How many times do I have to tell you not to involve yourself in supernatural matters?”
“You were in trouble,” Jeff stated as if it was obvious. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because, it’s dangerous and with the way I’ve been treating you, I’m not worth risking a life over,” Charlotte said. “That’s why.”
“You’re my partner, remember?” Jeff asked. “I’d fail your dad’s class if I let my partner die.” Charlotte stared at him, dumbfounded. Partners. That’s right, they were partners. She had forgotten all about that. Jeff continued talking. “Moonlight Falls would be so boring without your constant insults. I mean, who else is going to throw in my face that I’m a human every five minutes?” He teased.
Charlotte shrugged. She wasn’t smiling like he had hoped. He wanted to divert her attention from the matters at hand, but of course she lived it. She wouldn’t forget it so easily. “Stop being so nice to me,” She said finally. “I know this is out of pity and a sense of duty to my father.”
“It’s not,” Jeff said. “I promise that it’s not.”
“Yes it is,” She argued. “Just stop pretending that you like me. I’m a terrible person. A failure. I’m going to turn out to be just like that vile woman thats supposed to be my mom.” She backed away from him and covered her face with her hands. She had thought about this over and over and over again while she was locked up. She would turn into that delusional woman. She’d hurt him.
As Charlotte took a step back, Jeff took a step forward. He grabbed her by her waist and pulled her closer to him, stopping her in her tracks. She stared at him in shock. “Let me go.”
Jeff ignored her. He needed her to listen to him, to hear him out. “You’re not like her. I’ll tell you that as many times as I have to. You’re not like her.” The second time he said the word, he had thought of his wife in a previous life. Lisa. No, Charlotte was not like her. Charlotte didn’t work well together with Jeff. She fought him on everything. But, he had figured out, it wasn’t because she wanted to. It was a defense mechanism. She was afraid. No one had ever taken the time to find out the real reason she was so standoffish. She was beautiful and full of life. She was incredibly rude to him, but none of that was ever meant in malice. Because if it was, he had decided, he’d have been gone a long time ago. He knew evil when he saw it. His father’s ex wife shot both of Jeff’s parents. The hatred in that woman’s eyes as she held the gun….no, that was not Charlotte. She was compassionate and she cared about everyone who had bothered to break down her wall. She wasn’t like Lisa, or her mother, or even his father’s ex wife. Charlotte was just Charlotte, and no matter how hard he tried to push her out of his head, the thought of losing her overwhelmed him.
“Yes I am,” She protested. “I am like her. You should have let me die.” She felt his grip on her waist tighten. He was angry, she could tell. He tended to show his feelings more than he wanted to admit.
“Let you die?” He had raised his voice. Charlotte didn’t flinch as she watched him. She didn’t know there was any room between the two, but she was proved wrong as he pulled her even closer to him. She could practically feel the beating of his heart. Or…was that hers? “How the hell was I suppose to let you die when every time I close my eyes I think of you? This wasn’t my intention. I didn’t want to fall in love with you. But, that’s your fault for being everything I didn’t know I wanted.”
Charlotte widened her eyes in shock. Had he just…he did. He dropped the L bomb. He loved her. More than that. He wanted her. She had never felt wanted in her entire life, not even by the family she so adored. She didn’t know what to say, and Jeff looked like he was done talking. He slammed his lips onto hers in a passionate rage. “How dare she,” He thought. “Make me fall in love with her and then want to die.” To hell with that, he’d never lose someone he cared about again. Even if she ended up not returning his feelings.
When he pulled away, he heard her small whimper. “Jeff…”
“Hmm?” He mumbled, forehead against hers. “What’s the matter?”
“I didn’t know that humans could kiss that well.”
“Seriously?” He rolled his eyes. “I give you all of my pent up emotions and that’s what you say?”
A smile rose on her lips, and it made his heart jump. He had kissed her, and she smiled. He hadn’t felt this giddy in a long time. “You said,” She began. “That you needed me to throw it in your face that you’re human every five minutes.”
“Idiot,” He whispered, planting another kiss on her lips. “You’re so aggravating.”