Part: 9 of 10
A/N: I've read the preview chapters too many times for it to be healthy and I'm so loving A Perfect Blood! Loving it! Or something. It seems like one of the better books anyway. If you want my two cents. But I kind of love all Hollows books. Me B Hollows. Hey they should put that on a T-shirt. Oh and Happy Valentine's Day for real!
The snow outside the passenger window kept on falling faster and heavier in the dark night as I stared with growing horror at the little dot that symbolized the van I had, after some quick calculations, predicted Rachel was in. The dot on the GPS hadn't moved in nearly ten minutes. I imagined it might be a good sign; the van had clearly stopped on a road and not near any building. Perhaps Rachel had gotten her memory back and the knowledge of how to use magic along with it. She could have fought them or at least put herself in a circle. I hoped she had done that, but even then the danger of being out in the cold night made me imagine horrible scenarios where I arrived too late to save her. Arrived to find only a frozen body. Or maybe she had tried to fight them and was hurt, bleeding out. Or I had picked the wrong van and Rachel was in another state and about to be sold off to someone as a blood toy. Or they could have stopped to change to another car, which would make my chances of finding her drop significantly.
Cole drove calmly and with great skill and speed making me thankful the big vampire was with me. Not only was he a fast driver but would also get me there in one piece, something I wasn't sure I would have managed in my own worried condition. So I was thankful because getting there safe and fast would give me the best chance to save Rachel. And I was going to save her, god damn it.
"Relax," Cole said with his deep voice. "We'll be there in a minute."
As if that should make me feel better.
Only it did and less than a minute later I saw the gray van off the side of the road, smoke coming from the crashed car. Thankfully there didn't seem to be a fire. The back was open and looked like it had been thorn open with great strength. I swallowed as I realized Rachel wasn't in the van; she was out in the snow. But she had probably been in the van when it went off the road. I swallowed; her body had been through enough traumas, for something so frail, in the past few days. I should have found her sooner. For a second I went blind and could only hear my own heart beating, then the world seem to come back in-focus only much clearer.
"Wait Ivy," Cole said as I opened the door before the car had fully come to a stop, but I had already leapt out of the car. I took long strides over to the turned over van. I saw the blood before I smelt it, which was strange in itself. But it was Rachel's blood alright. I could also smell Slime hair and I turned to follow the smells and tracks that led towards a small cluster of trees some ways off from the road.
"Rachel?" I cried as I got closer to the trees and saw someone on the ground. Only when I was a dozen feet away I noticed it wasn't Rachel but Slime hair. He had a large gash on his head and was clearly unconscious. I felt relieved and pissed off at the same time. I had wanted to kick Slime hair's ass - and the rest of him for that matter – to mars.
"You stay back," someone yelled and I turned around as the someone stepped out from behind a tree. I blinked as I realized it was Rachel and dropped my sword. Her hair was standing on end and she held her hands out stretched like she could shoot fire out of them. I was fairly certain not even My Rachel could shoot fire out of her palms, but she could kick out a nasty blast of ley-line energy. That was probably how she had taken Slime hair down.
"It's okay Rachel, it's me. I'm not going to hurt you," I coaxed and wondered if this was My Rachel or the Other Rachel. I guess from how frightened she looked she was Other Rachel. My Rachel wouldn't be as freaked out by a vampire attack. Probably.
"Ivy, it was-oh god," Rachel lowered her hands as she blinkingly looked at me as if not having realized who I was until just then. I slipped off my duster and wrapped it around Rachel because as soon as she realized it was me and not another vampire she had gone completely still and very pale. Her adrenaline would soon be back to normal and when that happened she would be freezing. Sighing, I took inventory of her injuries and while no of them were life threatening they were probably painful.
"It's going to be fine Rachel," I said softly as Rachel's eyes went out of focus. "Just take a few deep breaths." She did as she was told, and then looked up at me with wet eyes.
"I was so scared Ivy," she whispered and then quickly leaned forward to hug me. I let her knowing she needed it almost as much as I did. She was alright. It hadn't sunk in until just then that she was safe. Rachel was safe. I had rescued her. Or more like she had rescued herself.
"Try not to get kidnapped in the future," I scolded her as she pulled away slightly. "It's not good for my health."
"Sorry," she whispered her face inches away from mine. I took a quick breath about to step away from her but she reached up and touched my face and I froze. This wasn't like all the other times I had been this close to Rachel, this close to kissing her. This wasn't a game or an attempt to prove something. This was Rachel leaning forward to kiss me.
Rachel's lips were cold but tasted vaguely of the strawberry lip balm she sometimes wore and kissing her was beautiful. All the fear and adrenaline of the last hour combined with the sudden hormone release made me feel dizzy. Or maybe that was just the kissing. I wanted to pull her closer, touch more of her, but I was afraid of hurting her. And afraid she would, like always, step away from me. One step forward, two steps back. That had always been the Rachel way. But tonight was different in so many ways and she kept kissing me.
"Ladies?" Cole said and I wanted to strangle him for interrupting us. Rachel took a few steps back, her cheeks slightly flushed but her skin still looking disturbingly pale. She needed to get warmed up and while the cut on her face looked fairly clean it probably wouldn't hurt to put a band-aid on it.
"This is Cole," I said turning slightly towards the big vampire but still keeping close to Rachel. I didn't want to look away from her because I felt like she might disappear from right underneath me.
"Where is the vamp?" Cole asked looking around the clearing. I spun around, looking at the place where Slime hair had been and then to where I had dropped my sword. Both were gone.
But I didn't have to wonder for long where they were, because the sword came rushing towards me a second later. I flung both myself and Rachel back and down and watched as Cole stepped forward and with an karate move I doubted even I could have pulled off managed to kick the sword out from Slime hair's fingers. I scrambled to my feet just as Cole was kicked back with impressive force, and Slime hair turned to me.
"Ready for a re-match?" the vampire asked with a grin I couldn't call anything other than sadistic. I didn't bother with a response as he dove for me and I dove for the sword. My hands fund the blade's hilt just as Slime hair grabbed my arm, yanking at the same shoulder he had dislocated a few days earlier and as if I weighed nothing more than a ragdoll tossed me back on the ground.
"You stay away from her," Rachel cried momentarily distracting Slime hair, that had bared his fangs and was about to dive for my neck. I watched in slow motion as Rachel reached her arms out, as if expecting magic to come out of her palms, but nothing happened. Then I watched Slime hair smirk.
As Slime hair turned towards Rachel I pushed off the ground and forced the sword - that I somehow had managed to hold onto - straight into his back. He fell down on the snowy ground, dead.
For a minute no one moved or spoke. Rachel stared at me with surprise and then relief. I was surprised she didn't seem at all upset over seeing me just kill somebody but then again, it had been him or us. I wasn't sure what I felt, but numb was probably the closest. It had been a long time since someone had died at my hand. But I had done what I had to be done.
"What now?" Rachel asked and I shrugged looking at the body of Slime hair.
"I'll put him in the trunk," Cole offered helpfully as he got to his feet looking winded. "I'll make sure he gets taken care of when he wakes up."
"I'll make sure someone gets the car back to you tomorrow," the big vampire in the front told me as I scooted after Rachel out from the cramped back seat.
"Thanks Cole," I said before quickly closing the door. "Let's go," I told the shivering Rachel that had stopped to wait for me.
"I'm really cold Ivy," she whispered as I opened the door to the church. "I'm really cold."
I could tell she was, even though we'd had the heat on in the car and I was sweating even without my duster. I reached forward to rub at her arms but she hissed in pain, and I took a step back. "I'll run you a hot bath and then we'll get you bandaged up," I told her, looking at the bruise on her cheek and the cut above her eye. I betted she had a few bruised ribs and was feeling sore all over. She at least wasn't frightened and with all the injuries on her I didn't feel a twinge of hunger.
"No," she reached out for my sleeve. "I don't want to," she looked around as if worried someone would hear. There were no pixies around but I knew that didn't mean much if I wanted real privacy, Rachel didn't though, and continued. "I just, I just want to stay near you," she said with her green eyes clearly showing worry. I felt bad then; Rachel was scared, but just like My Rachel she didn't want to admit it. She had no means of protecting herself - even if she had managed to somehow use ley-line magic against Slime hair - so she was counting on me to keep her safe. Not that I had done a very good job today. "Besides I'm too tired for a bath, I might fall asleep and drown," she tried to smile but her slightly blue lips didn't seem to want to cooperate.
"Alright, no bath, come on." I took her hand and pulled her with me, stopping to think where I would take her. Her bedroom? Mine? It was clear Rachel was about to fall asleep on her feet and the couch would be too small for comfortable sleep. I remembered how My Rachel once said she knew my smell and guessed she would know it wasn't supposed to be in her bedroom – once she got her memory back, if she ever did – so mine might be better. I'd deal with my room smelling of Rachel's and my mixed scent somehow. I knew Rynn had a lot of special connections in cleaning companies – maybe I could get a deal for them to clean my room. Magic and an industrial vacuum cleaner would probably take care of it. Yes, my room was better.
"Pretty," Rachel said slowly as she looked around my room, simply having stopped when I let go of her. Pretty wasn't what I had been going for but it didn't really matter at the moment.
"Sit down," I ordered her as she seemed lost and she limped to the bed. "Up," I said softly tugging on her left foot. She obliged and I pulled the wet boot off her foot and then repeated the process.
"Ivy," Rachel mumbled sleepily. "It smells really good in here," I smiled as I pulled my wet duster off her, then the slightly muddy hoodie too. Rachel's arms looked bluish against her white tank top and at that moment blue was not a good color for her. "Could you remind me to put this in my letter, that after I kissed you took me to bed, I'm sure other me will love that," she muttered, swaying with exhaustion and tense with cold. At least she wasn't shaking, something she had been doing for parts of the car ride. Her chattering teeth had made me really worried something was wrong. Vampires didn't ever get cold enough for our teeth to rattle.
"Come on," I pulled the covers back, thinking getting her jeans off would have been good but Rachel's eyes were drooping and the damp jeans were of the tight variety and would take some work to get off. Rachel climbed in to bed; her movement reminding me a bit of a three-toed sloth (me and Rachel had watched a documentary about one a few months back.)
"Ivy," Rachel said her eyes closed as she reached for my hand as I pushed the covers up around her. "With me. Keep me warm." I felt about as tired as Rachel looked and while I had been planning on sleeping in a chair next to the bed, the king sized bed was a lot more comfortable and at that moment much more tempting than the chair. I walked around to the other side of the bed and lay down on top of the covers stiffly. Rachel opened an eye and moved across the bed closer to me. I looked at her bruises and was almost glad for them, because with them on her face I didn't feel the need to sink my teeth into her. Not even with her this close. But that still left a whole lot of other desires unfulfilled.
"We're just sleeping next to each other Ivy," Rachel said as if knowing I was a little worried. "And I'm too hurt for you to want to bite me. And since we're just sleeping, other me can't object, right? We're fine," and with that Rachel put her head on my shoulder and fell asleep.
Thanks for RxR! What you think? Is Rache EVER going to remember? And what about Lucy? Will there be anymore kissing?