Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 22
“You haven’t expressed your anger with me,” I said to Eli. “About the whole telling Hunter our plans thing.” I kept my eyes fixated on the dry bushland that rushed passed us. It would be harder for me to get through this conversation if I looked at him. “You can blame me, you know,” I added.
“Blaming you is pointless. It won’t change anything. So our plan was compromised, big deal. We’ll find a new way to handle the situation.” His voice was strange, like he was annoyed and holding back what he really wanted to say.
“That’s not what I want to hear,”
“What do you want to hear, then, Ruby?”
I glanced at him. His expression seemed indifferent but his voice gave him away. He was frustrated.
“You don’t have to tip-toe around my feelings. I’m not going to get mad and absorb too much sun and explode. I’m half Heelian, so I probably couldn’t even if I wanted to. Besides, I can control it. So tell me, yell at me, chastise me … do something, because this whole cool and calm demeanor you’re putting on is worse than anything you could possibly say to me.”
He scratched the shadow of stubble on his face and exhaled.
“I’m just —” He paused and exhaled again. “I’m disappointed that you took something I told you in confidence and told another guy, who happens to be a vampire, and sides with our enemies. I knew you cared for Hunter, I did. I just didn’t know you cared about him more than me, more than our lives.”
“Eli.” I placed my hand on his shoulder and squeezed slightly. “I care about you more than I’ve cared about anyone in my entire life. It has always been you, it will always be you.”
“Sometimes it takes a little more than words to prove it.”
I crossed my arms across my chest. “I gave you more than words yesterday.”
A slight smile hinted at his lips. Then he ran his index finger over his bottom lip.
He didn’t comment any further on the subject and neither did I. I understood his feelings about me betraying his trust and telling Hunter. What I didn’t understand was the whole ‘more than words’ thing. I was willing to give him all of me … Wasn’t that enough?
“When all of this is over and before we go any further, I want to make sure we’re both on the same page.”
“And what does that mean?” I spat with attitude.
“It means we should make sure our wants, needs, feelings, etcetera, are on the same level.”
I turned my stare back onto the dull trees. Was I the only one that thought our feelings were on the same page? I recalled telling Eli I loved him yesterday. He didn’t say it back and I didn’t expect him to, but now I was starting to think that was because he didn’t love me.
A bright red, orange, and green service station became visible about fifty meters down the road. I exited the car after we parked and pulled my address book out of my bag. I scrolled through the pages, trying to locate Mila’s name sprawled somewhere amongst the bad handwriting. It was only Mr Aleksandrov’s home number, but if someone answered, then maybe they could forward us to his cell phone.
There, written in blue, was Mila’s name. I tore the page from my book and handed it to Eli.
“Here.” Damn. I thought I’d be able to keep the attitude from my voice. He took the paper from my hand.
“You’re mad? You were the one who wanted to know what I was holding back.”
“I know, but I thought that it would be about being impulsive and stupid. I didn’t think it was because you don’t have the same feelings for me as I do for you.”
“What? How did you get that out of what I said?”
I looked down at my feet. “You didn’t say I love you back yesterday, which, by the way, I’m totally fine with. But then you said you wanted to make sure we’re on the same page … I assumed you meant —”
My words were cut off as Eli grasped the sides of my face, pushing his warm, full lips onto mine.
“I love you, too,” he whispered as our lips parted.
I stood there in shock for a moment, his statement catching me off guard. A smile that felt too wide for my face spread across it. “You’re going to need more than words to prove it,” I said frankly, trying to play it cool.
His strong arms wrapped themselves around me, holding me as close as possible while he bent his face toward mine, kissing me gently.
“This,” he began, planting a small kiss on the tip of my nose. “Doesn’t change what I said about Hunter. You need to decide where your loyalties lie.”
“I know. I just feel responsible for what happened to him.”
“You didn’t force him to fall in love with you nor did you make him come after you the night we were leaving. These were all his decisions. It was also his decision to tell Lucian about our plans. He chose to betray your trust. Not to mention that he almost bit you, he isn’t the same anymore.”
Unable to find a response, I nodded.
“Think things through. When this is all over, we’ll talk. I’m going to make the call.”
I sat in the car, twirling a dark lock of hair around my fingers. If I made it out of this alive, the first thing I was going to do was get my hair trimmed. I’ve got so many split ends. I jumped slightly as the driver door opened and Eli climbed in.
“Here, I got you some breakfast.”
He handed me a bacon and egg roll and an orange juice. I was too nauseous to eat but I took it anyway. I didn’t want to come off as rude.
“Did you get a hold of Mr Aleksandrov?”
He nodded as he took a bite of his breakfast roll. He swallowed. “They’re still coming.”
My stomach dropped into my shoes. “What? No, they can’t. Are they insane?”
“They’re confident they can take all of the vampires.”
‘But Lucian is coming with twenty vampires and we don’t know how many vampires the leader of the Gerald Harbor sector has …”
“Mr Aleksandrov is coming, Ruby. I tried to change his mind, but he won’t budge. The plan is going forward. There’s nothing we can do.”
I slumped further into my chair. If anything bad happened to Mr Aleksandrov, then I’d lose Mila. She’d blame me for it.
“Do you know what you have to do?” Eli asked, interrupting my stream of consciousness.
“Tell me. I need to know that you understand exactly what to do.”
Eli was worried about me. If I messed up, what I was supposed to do then? There was no doubt the Gerald Harbor vampires would kill me. “I’ll enter the warehouse and use my powers to kill as many of the vampires as I can. Sounds simple.”
“Let’s just hope it works out.”
“But when I use a lot of my sun power I get weak. I’m not strong enough yet.”
“It’s okay, you just need to kill as many vampires as you can. Every dead vamp increases our odds of survival. As soon as you use your sun power, we’ll come in to protect you, killing as many vampires as we can on our way in. When you and I get a chance, we head for the car and we drive until daylight. Sage Sanctum is twelve hours away from Gerald Harbor.”
I took a bite of my roll to ease my nerves. I couldn’t taste it. There was too much on my mind, so much that my brain couldn’t register the taste of the egg or bacon.
“Will we make it?”
“We should be able to. I don’t think a vampire can speed-run faster than one hundred kilometers but I guess we’ll find out.”
The conversation ended. We were both too busy thinking about the night ahead. Thoughts about losing Eli consumed me. He would die for me, he’d already proven that.
As the car rolled to a stop outside the dilapidated warehouse about one hundred meters from the neglected harbor, a shudder rolled down my spine. The sun had almost set, the last of its rays were warming the land before the cool air of night began to blow. No one else was here. The vampires wouldn’t appear until the sun had fully set. As for Mr Aleksandrov and the others … I didn’t know where they were.
Eli cut my words off by covering my mouth with his hand. He pointed to his ear. It was a gesture letting me know we were in the ear range of vampires.
“Don’t talk about it and get ready. We have approximately six minutes before the sun sets.”
I nodded and opened my door. In the backseat was my bag. I had stashed two stakes at the base of it. I poured a few items of clothing onto the floor of the car as well as the photo of my mother and I. Adrenaline and nervousness pulsed through me. I grasped the two stakes and tucked them nicely into the back waistband of my tracksuit.
“Two minutes,” Eli called.
I closed my eyes and slowed my rapid heartbeat, focusing on the sun. I needed to absorb as much energy as I could. I didn’t know if it would do any good, but it was worth a try.
When the warmth that usually filled my chest from the sun faded away, I knew it was time.
I rose to my feet and joined Eli, who was leaning on the front his car.
“Are you nervous?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. Nerves don’t tend to pop up anymore.”
We watched the warehouse, waiting for movements or noise. For several minutes nothing happened. Then, Lucian stepped out from behind the warehouse. Hunter and Liam followed closely behind. I was confused. Why had Lucian showed up with only two extras? Where were the other eighteen? Lucian wasn’t dumb, I suppose. He probably had them surrounding the place, watching his back. I wasn’t going to be able to kill them all. I needed them to be inside the warehouse with me.
“Let’s go,” Lucian called.
Eli and I walked over to him and he pushed us forward, so they were walking closely behind us. I wanted to kill them now, but if I did, I’d miss any vampires that were inside the factory I would have wasted my power. There was no way Mr Aleksandrov and his guardians could take on forty-plus vampires.
We stepped onto the cracked concrete of the rundown warehouse. The distinctive odor of rusty nails and mold filled my nostrils as they urged us over to the other side of the room.
I stopped in my tracks. “Perhaps Eli should wait outside?”
Lucian chuckled. “No.” He pushed my arm, hinting for me to keep walking.
“I just want this to go as smoothly as possible. If the Gerald Harbor vampires get frustrated over something and get lippy or physical with me, Eli might try and intervene. You have at least eighteen vampires surrounding the warehouse. Eli won’t be able to do much and I doubt he’d leave without me.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Eli said, playing along. He knew I could never use my full powers if he was in the room, it’d hurt him and I wouldn’t risk that.”
“Fine. Liam, take Mr De Luca outside please. The last thing I need is for puppy love to spoil my plans.”
Eli and Liam headed back toward the small opening in the wall. Lucian prodded my shoulder, forcing me to the other end of the factory floor, where we stopped in front of an elevator. Lucian pressed the barely intact button to call for the elevator. With loud clanks and screeches, the old elevator responded.
“You’re not serious?”
“Get in,” he ordered.
I stepped inside the elevator and it wobbled unsteadily. I clasped the wall desperately to keep myself balanced. Hunter clicked the button that had number three carved into it. With a large clank and a frightened gasp from me, the lift rose. It swayed slightly, causing me to grip the wall harder. Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die, I chanted silently.
Lucian and Hunter watched me in amusement. Of course they didn’t care if the lift was dodgy, if it broke, it’s not like they’d die.
With an abrupt yank, the elevator came to a stop. My legs were weak and wobbly, I needed to get out of this lift. Hunter pulled the door open and we stepped out onto a mostly empty floor. A few chairs and desks littered the room but that was it. The windows were boarded up with thick sheets of plywood. The only light came from the barrel to the left of the room. Inside it was a small fire, that cast freaky shadows on the walls and floors. The floor was concrete mostly, but a layer of cracked linoleum covered the floor sporadically. All those things combined weren’t the creepiest thing in the room, believe it or not. The black eyes that watched us approach were creepier. I counted ten vampires, including the big bad one that sat all high and mighty in his chair behind them.
One by one I saw the vampires inhale my scent. They knew what I was. Immediately a few of them scattered, putting out the fire and tearing the boards from the window for moonlight instead. Surprisingly, the moon lit up the warehouse better than the fire did.
“You bought me a gift, Lucian? How kind of you.” The leader’s voice was deep and husky.
“Not this time, brother,” Lucian replied dryly.
“Then what is the purpose of your visit?”
“I have a proposition for you.”
The leader laughed and it echoed around the room. “You have come to try and make some kind of arrangement with me? No thank you.”
“What if I’m not giving you a choice?”
The Gerald Harbor vampire leader shot out of his chair and over to Lucian. Up close I could see him better, he was a big man standing at least seven foot high. His arms were thick, like a body builder.
“You may be the previous higher power, but I’m older than you, therefore I’m stronger.”
“Ruby?” Lucian spoke not taking his eyes off Bigfoot.