The notes are usually light-hearted, playful. Teasing invitations to walk on the wild side, a sexy poem or intriguing suggestion, but this one is different. He’s not paying homage to some favourite part of my body or asking me to go to a club or out of state for a few days. Hell, he’s not even asking, this is a command. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to glimpse the man who had a soul and hopes and dreams for a future that never happened.
My hand’s trembling as I continue to read. Partly with anticipation and at the sheer privilege of being let into the last private spaces of Dane’s life. But partly, too with fear. What if I don’t like what I see? Or, even worse, what if I do? What if I end up resenting Dane for becoming a vampire and start fantasising about the man, instead?
He wants me to take leave. To go with him to England. To some ruined mansion on a remote cliff-top bordered by wild moors and an angry sea. There, he says, he’ll tell me the story.
When we next meet, I tell him I can’t go.
He looks angry, resentful and a little disappointed. Or is that hurt I see? Don’t do this to me now, Dane. I have enough on my plate without the emotional blackmail.
“I asked. Big Cheese said no. Too much going on with this Marc business. Three Hunters lost this month. Fewer recruits coming through to replace them. Says he can’t spare me.”
“I’ll call in a few favours. Arrange for it to go quiet for a while. Aren’t you due leave?”
I can’t help a snort of laughter. “And some, but that’s not the point. He said no.”
I fall back onto the bed and cover my eyes with my arm. Trying without success to hold in the laughter because I’m not laughing at Dane and his efforts to let me in, although he probably thinks I am.
“You find this amusing?”
“I’m sorry,” I tell him because he is looking hurt, now. “Not laughing at you, Dane. It’s me, my life or lack of it. When I asked him this morning I actually felt like an ordinary girl in an ordinary job planning a week’s vacation to get away from it all.” I sit up, thinking about the interview with the boss, the look of sadness in his eyes when he told me no. He knows, you see, that if I go I may not return. And if I don’t return then he’ll have to send someone for me…
I feel Dane shaking me lightly from the reverie. See the question in his eyes. I knew this day would come, of course. Knew that, one day, I’d have to make a choice.