My eyelids shot open. I don’t know why. I just woke up very fast. I sat up to find Edward no longer lying next to me but he should have been because that’s where I left him last night. I looked around my room thinking he’d pop out randomly from anywhere and say ‘BOO!’ but he didn’t.
That’s when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I suddenly felt like I was being watched. I looked around my room again. There was no one here. So how could someone be watching me?
I pushed the covers off and got out of bed. The hairs on the back of my neck were still standing up, warning me someone was here. But there was no one in my room. I looked around again to be triple sure and no one sprang out to attack me. My eyes passed the window and I saw it was still open. I walked over to it very slowly for some unknown reason. It just felt like the right thing to do. I stood at the side of it and looked out. I scanned the surrounding area trying to find something out of the ordinary. I felt like some sort of MI5 spy or as I was in America – a CIA operative.
I almost missed it. The eyes in the dark of the forest. Gold eyes glinting, watching. It was her. I knew it was. No other vampire watches the house anymore. Edward wouldn’t watch us from the forest. He’d do it from inside the house.
Oh my God. Charlie was being stalked by a vampire.
Charlie didn’t leave the house all day. He phoned into work and said he was ill and someone covered for him. He didn’t look ill to me. Maybe he was just feeling lazy. I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure. He did not step outside.
He sat on the sofa, looking but not watching the TV. I did not pry into his mind. He needed that for privacy. So to find out what was wrong with him, I went the old fashioned way.
“Did you find anything last night?” I asked him. I was standing at the sofa as he ‘watched’ the TV.
“Not really,” he replied, still staring at the screen.
“So you didn’t find anything then? Not even another carcass?”
He shook his head.
“I was trying to be subtle about this.” I sat down next to him. “But you’re being difficult.”
“Are you okay?”
“Are you actually feeling sick?”
“You just feeling lazy?”
I took in a deep breath to calm myself. He acted like such a teenager at times. What the hell was he upset about? Was it the fact he found nothing last night and felt incompetent as a police chief or did the vampire freak him out?
Why wouldn’t he just talk to me?
“Because you wouldn’t understand,” he said. “You just wouldn’t understand.”
Oh my God he spoke.
“Why wouldn’t I?” I asked him.
“You think vampires are amazing. You worship the ground Edward walks on and you’d do anything for him. You believe that they are all somewhat harmless and you try to see that in them even when they’re lunging at you to drink your blood. You still don’t see, after I don’t know how many vampire attacks, that they can be dangerous. Even if they don’t drink human blood.”
He said this without looking away from the TV.
“So what you’re trying to say is that I’m an idiot for believing that even creatures that are portrayed as being Satan’s little helpers can actually have an ounce of decency in them.”
“No, what I’m saying is that you’re a fool for believing vampires can love you.”
“Are we going to start this again?” I stood up angrily. “Twelve weeks before my wedding you start all this crap again. I thought you were okay with it.”
He stood up too.
“I was until some vampire tried to seduce me in the forest last night. Don’t you see, Kayla? They’re only after one thing.”
“Blood. I told you that your blood smells different from normal blood. So it’s only logical to assume that it would taste different.”
I couldn’t believe he was actually saying this. Where had he been for the past two years? Had he been on some desert island with no communication from the outside world?
I walked away from him. I was not going to stay there a minute longer and have him accuse Edward of such things. Edward loved me. He wasn’t with me so he could have first dibs on my blood. He wasn’t marrying me so he could drink my blood on our wedding night.
“Don’t you walk away from me!” Charlie shouted.
“I’ll walk if I want to!” I shouted back but my legs didn’t want to anymore. I stopped abruptly and everything went blurred. Oh no. Not another one. Not now. Not when I was trying to storm off. This was so gonna make me look bad.
It didn’t last long. Nothing to cause any lasting damage to me physically. It was ten seconds of utter mental horror for me as Charlie’s daughter. My father passionately kissing the female vampire who was stalking him. It was utterly disgusting to witness. It was a waste of my precious gift. I did not want to see that. No child should see their parents kissing. It was weird. And nasty.
When it was over, and pray to Jesus it didn’t happen again, I found myself looking at the floor. Great. If it weren’t bad enough I stopped walking, I fell over too.
“Kayla, are you okay?” Charlie’s voice in my ear.
“I’m fine,” I said, getting up onto my knees.
“Another premonition?” He looked me over once, checking for injuries.
“No, I just have a knack for falling on flat surfaces,” I said sarcastically.
He gave me the no-cheek-from-you-missy look.
“I think you might want to know about this one,” I said. There was no point standing up so I sat on the floor. If I stood up and Charlie took this the wrong way I didn’t want to fall over again when he threw something. He looked down at me, his face serious. He was expecting bad news. Well, depending how he looked at it, it could be bad.
“I saw you in my vision, Dad,” I said, cheerfully. “And a woman.”
He nodded. “And?”
“You were...well...how can I put it?” This was awkward. “You were...kissing her...very much kissing her...”
He suppressed a smile, trying not to look too ecstatic but he failed because his whole face lit up.
“Really?” he said. “What did she look like?”
“Well,” How could I describe this woman without saying the word ‘vampire’? I couldn’t so I just came out with it. “Vampire-ish.”
“Vampire-ish?” he repeated. His whole face dropped. “How can she be vampire-ish?”
“Because she’s a vampire.” I closed my eyes hoping that if i couldn’t see him he couldn’t see me and i would be spared in the explosion.
“She had dark hair, didn’t she?” he asked, sadly. “And her skin was pale gold.”
“Yes,” I answered. I didn’t understand him. Was he sad to hear that he was kissing this girl? Last night I thought he’d be happy to find someone. Even if she wasn’t exactly human. But now, when he hears he’s kissing her, I’m beginning to doubt he even wants to know her.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” I pulled on his hand like I used to do as a little kid. It was a way of showing we wanted to listen and help.
He sighed and shook his head.
“Don’t tell me I wouldn’t understand. I’m a very open minded person.”
He looked at our joined hands and then sat down next to me.
“Kayla, I’m not very attractive. I’m not someone that women fall head over heels for and swoon whenever they see me. I’m old.”
“You’re not that old,” I scoffed, trying to be nice. “You’re what? Forty?”
“Forty-five,” he corrected. “And not getting any younger.”
“That’s not old, Dad,” I said, patting his hand. “That’s like the prime time in your life I think.”
He shook his head.
“Look at it from my perspective. You’re forty-five, divorced and a single parent. This beautiful, young woman comes out of nowhere and starts hitting on you. You saw her last night, Kay, you know what she was like.”
“I didn’t see-”
“You’re not very good at disguising your thoughts, hon.”
Yeah, I needed to work on the mind blocking thing. I couldn’t keep it up for long and sometimes I just didn’t bother. I had nothing to hide from anyone. Well, nothing I was thinking at the moment anyway. Charlie smiled at me, obviously listening to my ramblings, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. He was really upset about this. If only he’d tell me more.
“I could see into her mind and I saw how she saw me. I knew every little thing she was thinking about me. Everything she was doing and thinking pointed to that she liked me. But she isn’t a person Kayla. If she was a human then maybe I could believe it. But she isn’t.”
“Dad, she’s a vampire. That ain’t exactly an alien from Mars, is it?”
“But vampires aren’t people to me and they shouldn’t be to you either. I know the Cullens are exceptions because you’re marrying one and they are very nice people but vampires in general are predators.”
Something Edward once told me flashed in my mind. I’m the world’s best predator. We had been discussing once about the differences between my kind and his, about who would technically be the better hunter, and this is what he had said.
I’m the world’s best predator, aren’t I? Everything about me invites you in. My voice, my face, even my smell.
Edward had me beat. I couldn’t compare with that. His prey ran to him not away like mine would. Damn his insanely good looks.
“I’m supposed to protect people from predators as are you, Kayla. I’m not supposed to date them. But I wanted to stay in that forest and talk with her until I couldn’t stay awake. I wanted to stay there and just stare at her. Thank God a rational part of me took over and I walked away. I didn’t go to work today because I knew I would have to go outside where she is. Where I would go straight over to her and talk with her because she makes me feel so....I can’t explain it...but she is just so... I’m making up these excuses as to why she wants to talk to me and why I shouldn’t talk to her. That’s why I snapped at you and said those things. Can you see what’s happening to me?”
He looked at me earnestly, willing me to understand. I looked into those brown eyes and saw nothing but complete and utter adoration and devotion for this stupid vampire. Oh I knew what was wrong with Charlie.
He was falling in love.