“Don’t forget to get me something nice!” I screamed at my parents, waving as they backed out of our driveway. They smiled and waved, in a bit of a rush to get on what they had been affectionately calling their “second honeymoon.” They needed it, especially after the surprises they’ve had to deal with lately. I grinned to myself as I watched them retreat.
I waited until the car was around the turn in our driveway before turning back to the house, flicking the heavy front door closed with a jerk of my hand. With another flick of my fingers, I slid both the lock on the door and the deadbolt home.
Ah, the joys of being able to use magick with no restraint for two whole weeks, I thought as I threw myself down onto the couch. I looked around to see where I would begin with my telekinetic exercises. It had been six years since Rhea, my best friend, and I had our powers unbound. We had been friends since we were little, and Marie, Rhea’s mother, being a witch of great power herself, realized that at just five years old, we could move objects around the room with just a glare. We also started answering questions that weren’t asked yet or responding to the thoughts of others before they were verbalized. So she bound our powers until she thought we were ready to be trained how to use them. Personally, I felt both Rhea and I had made a lot of progress as far as control went. Of course, neither of us have really tried to take off the charmed bracelets Marie made for us either. I fingered mine as I thought of the quirky little thing. They were bands of leather with charmed brass buttons beat into them, the charm working not so much to bind our powers, but to make using our powers a more active process. That way Rhea and I didn’t accidentally hurl someone against a wall just by thinking about it.
Focus Ethan! I thought, resuming my search for things to move and removing myself from the past.
My eyes caught on my family’s family portrait hanging above the mantel. My mother was beautiful, with long wavy strawberry blonde hair and green glinting eyes. She was smiling sweetly, happy to finally have our family portrait taken after fighting with me about it for weeks. My father was standing next to her, close cropped dark hair, with a small nervous smile. They were like night and day. And of course there I was, seated before and between them.
I had grown and straightened my red hair to about shoulder length, and had large brown eyes that sometimes, as they did in the portrait, look to be the same color as my hair. I was staring at the camera, my smile not quite reaching my eyes. Though I loved my parents, they had recently told me that I was not their child, that I had been adopted. I had been in the hospital, and thought it was odd that neither of my parent’s blood types matched my own.
They told me that my birth mother was young and died in childbirth, and that no one seemed to know who my father was. They had wanted a child so badly, and when a friend of theirs explained what my situation was, they fell in love with me immediately. They thought they could get by without telling me, without knowing my past. I looked so much like my mother, why would I question it?
That night, I came out to my parents for a second time. This time as a witch.
I didn’t really have a choice. My powers, while for the most part controlled by my mind, can be triggered and fueled by my emotions. Obviously, the news of my true heritage shocked and angered me, and I accidently blew the doors and windows on the first floor of our house out into our yard.
But… we’re putting it all behind us. I knew that they were just doing what they thought was best for me, and I was trying to tone down things for them so that they can adjust to my life. Ironically, they handled my “witch” thing a lot better than my “gay” thing.
With a sigh, I shook my head, shaking these idle thoughts from my head and got ready to practice. I stood and stretched my arms out at my sides. Looking around, I saw the candle holder on our low coffee table and waved it into the air. Once the only thing on the table was air borne, I flicked the table against the wall so I would have more room to work. As I moved to the center of the room, I looked around and caught more objects with my mind. Another candle holder, a book, a lamp, the remote control, a couple magazines…
My collection grew larger and larger until I had a whole plethora of objects bobbing in the air around me. My charmed bracelet had grown warm, a warning that I was pushing my limits as far as control was concerned, but I kept everything in the air anyway. I closed my eyes and let the world fall away, just me and my collection floating in the Abyss. The Abyss is what I called my core of power. Other people had flowery meadows bathed in sunlight, I had an endless night sky. It was a place I felt the most powerful and at peace. When I opened my eyes, I could still see the Abyss, as if it were super-imposed upon reality. I looked over at the closest object and smiled. I was deep enough into the Abyss to see a shadow of my aura glimmering around the objects I held in the air. All around me the air was shining in deep purples with flashes of silver. Swirls of green and the occasional shadow of a darker color whizzed past my head as I started to move the objects faster and faster around me. Soon I was surrounded by multi-colored planets, myself acting as the sun of which they revolved. I could feel my power swelling, and a dull ache started between my eyes. My wrist with the charm was tingling enough to make my hand twitch but I kept it steady, wanting to test my limits.
I scrunched up my face and really started to focus, stretching my powers towards the larger furniture. My blood was pounding in my ears and the ache was getting more and more intense. I’d let go in a second. Just a little further. Just a little mo—
I jerked with a start, and my concentration broke.
Everything crashed to the floor with a thud. Including the two couches, a chair, table and, oh yea, myself. The pounding turned out not to be just the blood rushing through my head, but someone at the front door, grew louder.
“Ethan! Are you okay?! Ethan!” an all too familiar voice called.
Clay. I could feel my heart do its usual flip, and my face warmed. I waved a shaky hand at the door and felt the locks release. The door swung open and Clay was at my side immediately, startling me back onto the floor.
Clay was probably my best friend aside from Rhea. He had transferred into our school a year ago and I was immediately drawn to him in a way that scared me. I avoided him at all costs even if everything in my body was telling me to go to him. That was until the day I attracted the wrong kind of attention.
Despite my sometimes obvious avoidance tactics, Clay actually came to my rescue when a couple of our classmates thought it would be funny to try to beat the crap out of me. I couldn’t use my powers to defend myself. The boys, being norms, would have been defenseless. From that day on, Clay and I have been good friends. There was only one problem. I was in love with him.
Clay was beautiful. His thick wavy blonde hair was well on its way to being as long as mine, only much easier to manage than my frizzy red curls. Clay also had the bluest eyes, and flawless skin. I felt like a huge, awkward, freckled troll next to him.
“Are you alright?” Clay asked, looking around at all the clutter around us. “Were you being attacked or was this one of your telekinetic games Ethan?”
Another thing about Clay was that I didn’t feel like I had to keep secrets from him. Of course, that didn’t mean that I told him everything. I know he had his secrets, just as I had mine, but it was he that told me that he was a vampire. He told me that he had dabbled a bit with magick before his transition, but unless the spell involved blood, he had trouble casting spells now. He’d only been a vampire for about twenty years, quite young by vampire standards, but it gave his youthful appearance an air of maturity that drew me closer to him. I who thought my power to be so strong was helpless against how I felt about him.
Hollywood got it all wrong. The sun, while close to setting, was still beating strong and Clay had not burst into flame. All the sun does to him now is make him irritable. Crosses do not repel him, and he eats more garlic than I do.
Truly, the only drawback to being a vampire is that the older you get, the more blood you have to drink to stay sane and maintain your body. Looking into his face, it nearly broke my heart to think of him slipping into insanity. The real tragedy though, is that even though I felt so strongly for him, whenever I felt we were getting too close, I pulled away, afraid that I would mess it up somehow.
I realized at this point that I was staring at him, so I inched back and scrunched up my eyes into what I hope was a glare.
“Yes, so wipe that smirk off your face!” I snapped at him. I sent a silent prayer to the Goddess that my cheeks weren’t as red as my hair.
Everyone knew I was in love with Clay except maybe Clay himself. While pretty Clay may be, he wasn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. But even if he did know, he was a good friend to me, and I wasn’t going to enlighten him unnecessarily and possibly make things awkward between us.
With a grin, he stood up and offered me a hand. I growled at his hand and levitated myself up to my feet, ignoring the pain in my head.
The light glared off of Clay’s necklace and my hand instinctively reached for it.
“Hey, what’s this” I asked, my fingers tingling as I touched the pendant around his neck. “It looks like a mix between an ankh and an eye of Horus”
I traced the looped cross and eye idly with my thumb before letting go. Clay grinned at me in a way that made my chest feel like it was going to explode.
“Just a gift from Tessa,” He answered, giving me a quick inspection to make sure I was fine. Did I imagine it, or did his eyes linger a little too long…?
“It’s a symbol to protect someone from witchcraft,” I added, trying to catch his eye. “What kind of trouble have you gotten into now?”
Clay laughed it off, “You act as though I am the trouble maker here. It was just a gift from a higher ranking vamp. It would be disrespectful for me NOT to wear it.”
Turning from him so he couldn’t see the look that crossed my face, I started walking towards the back of the house, specifically to the kitchen. Clay was so obsessed with vampire politics and where he stood in the vampire world, he would probably wear a frilly pink tutu if an older vamp asked him to. Or wear an almost ineffective charm. I couldn’t suppress my sigh in time before it slipped out.
“What?” Clay asked, a glimmer of mirth reflected in his eyes, knowing I was going off on my tangent about vampires, if not out loud, at least in my head.
I stopped and turned to him, gesturing towards his pendant. “That pendant, while an ancient symbol, will do very little against a determined witch. It hasn’t been charmed properly. The most it would do is maybe dilute a spell aimed your way, if anything at all.”
“Oh.” was all he said as I entered my families kitchen, making a bee line for the fridge. “Pepsi?”
When he didn’t answer, I stood up and turned from the fridge to face Clay. He was staring at me, with the strangest look on his face. Before I could ask him what was up, he had me backed up against the counter, standing far closer than he normally would.
“Ethan,” he murmured, staring at my shoulder and avoiding my eyes. “Why haven’t you made a move yet?”
Clay’s question completely threw me for a loop. Weren’t we just talking about his necklace? And why was he so close? I could feel my breathing grow more strained and my heart rate accelerate to a level I knew could not be healthy for me. Was he seriously asking what I thought he was asking? He couldn’t mean what I hoped. Could he?
I just laughed, wincing when I heard the nervousness in it. “What are you going on about?” I tried to step past him, but he put his arms on either side of me, successfully pinning me to the counter.
Clay frowned and said in a soft voice, “You don’t have to be so tough for me.”
I knocked him back with a twitch of my fingers, giving myself room to breathe, but not strong enough to throw him through the wall.
“This isn’t happening,” I muttered, turning my back to him and setting my drink on the counter. I started to focus my breathing letting the tension filter down through my body and out of my feet into the earth below. I felt Clay move behind me, hands going to my shoulders.
“Why haven’t you acted yet?” he whispered in my ear, the feeling of his breath near my neck causing me to shudder. When I didn’t respond, he continued. “I’ve been waiting for you to make a move, to finally, truly let me in.” His hands started to slowly massage my neck and shoulders, his slender fingers gentle yet firm. “You have to know how I feel about you…
His admission and tone made me see black around the corners of my vision. Oh great, I’m going to pass out right when Clay finally admits that he cares for me. He turned me around then to face him, pulling my chin up to look him in the eye.
No sooner did I hear his thoughts and his lips were against mine. I felt everything stop, my heart, my breathing, even time itself stood still as we kissed. The kisses were soft at first, but then as his arms encircled my neck they intensified. My repressed hunger for Clay uncoiled, as my hands roamed across his back, trying to bring him closer to me.
Gods this is better than I imagined.
Clay jerked back, breaking our kiss and for one heart wrenching moment I thought I did something wrong. Until I realized he was grinning at me, and I flinched.
“I accidently sent that, didn’t I?” I blushed.
Clay grinned even wider, making my blush deepen, “You mean you didn’t want me to hear that?”
I pulled away, a nervous grin twisting my mouth much to my embarrassment.
“I still don’t have the best control over my powers,” I mumbled, trying to explain it away, “You know that mine and Rhea’s powers are triggered by strong emotion and my telepathy is the hardest one for me to control. I’m sorry Clay, I rea—“
Clay kissed me again and it felt as if something deep inside me was beginning to churn and unfurl, as if some hidden part of me was awakening from sleep and was reaching out for him. The sensation had barely registered before Clay pulled away again.
With a boyish grin he asked timidly, “Do you want to…move this upstairs?”
Oh Goddess. I had been dreaming about this moment since I realized I was in love with him. The hunger almost led me up those stairs, but my brain won that battle. Barely.
“What changed Clay? Why now?”
He took my hand in his and searched my eyes for Goddess alone knew what.
“I know it may sound corny, but… I think I’ve always felt it at some level,” he stepped a little bit closer to me, “Ethan, you’re one of the strongest people I know. Your smart,” he kissed a corner of my mouth, “ quirky,” he kissed the other, “and oh so very powerful…” he whispered before kissing me so intensely I was left breathless.
The next thing I knew, I was leading him up the stairs towards my attic bedroom. This was everything I wanted for the longest time. I had found someone I loved and that I could be myself with. Someone that was attracted to me for ME, not the front the rest of the world got to see.
I was so overjoyed, had I not heard Clay gasp, I never would have realized that I had levitated the two of us a good three feet up into the air. I laughed, placing us on the stairs before my door and pulling Clay into a deep kiss. As we fell onto my bed, I struggled to keep my hunger leashed. I could feel rhyme and reason slip away as the hunger grew stronger.
“Are you sure Ethe?” Clay panted, fingers entwined within my hair, eyes looking slightly glassed over in the poor light of my room. Without answering him, I flicked my wrist and surrendered to impulse as my bedroom door clicked shut on the rest of the world.
I waited until I felt Clay’s breathing slow and deepen before rolling over onto my back to think. My first time. It was different than what I expected. I grinned to myself as I gingerly touched my healed but still tender shoulder where Clay bit me. Ah, the healing powers of vamp saliva.
I know I had nothing to fear as far as becoming a vampire went. The process wasn’t easy, and there was a huge blood sharing ritual that had to be done for someone to be turned. Regardless, I had no intention of becoming a vampire, and part of the ritual, as is a major part of any spell or ritual, is intention and will. So even if he wanted to, Clay couldn’t turn me.
I rolled back over and draped an arm over Clay’s chest. I was happy and lying next to someone I loved. With a contented sigh, I pushed down a feeling that something was wrong and drifted off to sleep. Clay and I were together. What could possibly be wrong about that?
I awoke with a start, realizing two things very quickly. First, that I was physically unable to move my arms or legs, and secondly, that there was a strange, painful pulling sensation at my stomach.
Above me, I saw Clay, eyes closed as he continued to chant. In one hand he had braided a lock of my hair in one of his fists and in the other he held a very familiar dagger. My athame. My athame with my blood on it.
Quickly trying to wake my sleep weary mind, I realized what was seeing. Clay had put a binding spell on me, using a bit of my hair and blood as a focus so that he not only inhibited my powers, but control of my body as well.
Luckily, Clay’s spell seemed to have been cast in haste, and seeing me awake seemed to break his concentration a bit. I couldn’t move my lips, but I felt an opening and seized it.
CLAY! STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!YOU’RE HURTING ME!
Clay stumbled back, a frown on his face. “You shouldn’t still be able to use your powers.”
The pulling sensation had decreased when he stopped his chant, but the realization of his words caused a whole different kind of pain.
“What are you saying Clay?” I fought out, feeling his binding spell begin to weaken.
With a coarse laugh, Clay smiled down on me, much as a predator would its prey. “Your power Ethan. All that glorious potential, wasted in a goody-two shoes geek.” He kneeled beside me to whisper in my ear. “Did you really think I’d love someone as pathetic as you? Someone who pined after me for nearly a year, someone that never had a real chance?”
The words hurt, but the look in his eyes is what really killed me. He meant every word he said. And still more venomous words were falling from lips that just a few hours ago had been kissing me.
He redoubled his binding spell and went on. “You have so much more power trapped within you, and instead of tapping into it, instead of being THE most powerful, your content to be an almost exceptional witch. Did you ever stop to think of the possibilities your powers can give you?” He laughed again. How could I ever think his laugh was charming? “No, you didn’t. You’re too weak willed for that. You could never stand being in the spot light anyway. But I can. And I will.”
He took the athame and started to trace it over my chest, right above the small cut he made to get my blood. Clay was drawing designs in my blood that seemed familiar, but he was distracting me with his words.
“With your powers, I will be THE most powerful vampire in this country. No one will be able to stand against me and survive.”
His blue eyes, the same eyes that were radiating such affection earlier, were nothing but ice-cold stone. It dawned on me then what had been feeling so wrong. Despite his very convincing act, my powers were trying to tell me that he was after me, that I was in danger.
I closed my eyes as he started up another chant. I quickly started my descent into the Abyss. Clay didn’t love me. He never loved me. He just wanted my powers. Or maybe he had loved me…and I had done something…
Clay placed his hands on either side of my face and I felt something inside of me snap. My fingers began to tingle. I could taste my own blood as my mouth filled with the sensation of chewing on aluminum foil.
And then all the discomfort was gone.
Clay’s failing bravado and fear filled my senses, leaving me an almost sickly sweet flavor on my tongue. The hunger I had been feeling in the pit of my stomach unfurled like living tendrils and wrapped around Clay. Immediately, the binding spell he had on me broke, the braided bit of my hair falling to pieces on the floor. I stood up quickly and caught Clay before he fell to the floor. A strange feeling crept over me where my skin touched his. It was empowering, almost intoxicating with its intensity. With every breath I felt like I was drawing in Clay’s strength. Something had changed within me, and it was Clay’s fault.
“What have you done to me?!” I snarled, my mouth moving awkwardly. With almost no effort I dragged Clay with me towards my full length mirror.
I had fangs. My canines had grown and were more sharply pointed. I saw that my nails had also grown longer, thicker and sharper.
“You turned me into a vampire,” I breathed, knowing that he couldn’t have, but forgetting why. When he didn’t answer I turned to the still silent Clay and screamed, “YOU TURNED ME INTO A FUCKING VAMPIRE!”
I let him go to fall to the floor. I was hyper-aware of all of the objects in the room, feeling their weight with my mind and straining to keep from lifting anything.
The color had drained completely from Clay’s face and he was visibly shaking as he tried to inch away from me. I could feel him trying to fortify his inner barriers, the mental blocks that kept his thoughts his own. With a growl, not even bothering to look for a spot where two of his mental plates over-lapped, I tore into his mind. I ignored his screams as I sorted through the cacophony of thoughts swirling around to find the information I needed.
I stepped back, dimly aware of the objects floating around the room and of the tingling sensation I was feeling from Marie’s bracelet on my wrist.
I was wrong. Clay didn’t turn me into a vampire. I would have found that almost reassuring if I hadn’t also learned that he was willing to sacrifice me in a ritual that may not have succeeded in giving him my powers. No, Clay didn’t turn me into a vampire. I was born one.
A psychic vampire. That must have been what he was going on about feeling trapped within me. Extremely rare, the only way to become a psychic vampire, or psi vamp, was to be born one. The psi vamp usually does not show signs of his powers until the dormant psi-vamp genes are Awakened. Once Awakened, the process can not be reversed.
While blood is still attractive to psi vamps, it is not necessary for their diets. Psi vamps consumed something more subtle and easier to get a hold of. They fed off of the life force via the aura of a person.
“You knew didn’t you?” I asked, already knowing the answer but feeling the need to ask anyway. He didn’t know, at least from what I got out of his head.
This explains a lot, I thought, blinking back tears. I had never felt like I fit in. Even among other witches, I felt like I was standing on the outside looking in, someone they tolerated because of my power. Everyone I had told about my feelings dismissed them, marking them as a typical teenager feeling.
I swore one day I will learn to listen to my instincts.
I hadn’t been looking at him, but when he didn’t answer, I knelt down to Clay’s level to look him in the eye and felt sick.
Clay’s eyes were dilated and completely glazed over, no recognition or reaction seeming to register on his face.
I realized then that I may have very well damaged the only person who may have had the answers I still needed. Tentatively, I reached out for his mind. Clay clutched his head as if his hands were the only things keeping his head together. Whimpering like a wounded dog, he backed himself into the corner closest to him. As far from me as he could physically get.
I pulled back and finally let the tears flow freely. Tears of what I had done meshing with the tears of what I had become.
Rhea! Marie! I need your help!
I felt my telepathic cry jolt both of them awake. For a moment, I feared I had done to them what I had done to Clay. The only two people that could help me out of this mess, the only two people that I knew loved me and I may have…
We’re on our way, I finally heard from Rhea, far more timidly than I ever remembered Rhea ever being with me.
With that done, I sat on my bed as far from Clay as I could and tried to compose myself and gain control of the telekinetic storm I had created.
Sometime later, I felt Rhea and Marie coming up the drive.
Upstairs. My room.
Not so loud Ethe! Gods, we’ll be right up! Now that was more like Rhea.
While waiting for them, I had sunk into a deep meditative state. There was nothing to think about there, just the beauty and power of my starry sky and the comfort the darkness gave me. With Rhea and Marie here though, I felt myself tense up. I could hear some of the things I had flying around the room earlier begin to vibrate, seeming to long to be airborne again.
What had I done? What had I become? I was becoming little more than the demons Rhea and I killed or sent back to their hell dimension.
No, not quite. The demons at least had the luxury of not feeling the guilt. They had never had a normal life before.
It was only when I heard Rhea and Marie coming up the stairs to my room did I remember I was still vamped out. I stepped back into a darker corner of my room.
“Ethan? What—Clay? What are you doing here?”
Marie. Though the light was dim, I could still see her short hair sticking up, obviously too rushed to have bothered with a brush. The shadow of her nightgown looked almost like a ceremonial robe in its self. The silk fabric billowed around her as she knelt next to Clay.
“Don’t touch him Marie.”
Marie’s head whipped around in the dark as her fear wafted over to me, enticing me. I could feel my nails draw blood from my palms as I fought against the urge to release my psychic tendrils.
Rhea’s unmistakable form sidled next to her mother, her gaze seeming to pierce the shadows to where I was immediately.
This has got to be a dream, I told myself. This can’t be real. This isn’t my life. A dream. Yes that made sense…
“Ethan, I’m going to turn on the lights,” Rhea said calmly, lifting her arms in the universal “I’m not going to hurt you” gesture. Though Rhea’s exterior façade was exuding calm, cool, and collected, my senses were telling me completely different. Her fear was sweeter than Marie’s, the promise of power making me dizzy. I bit my lip to keep myself intact, the taste of my own blood both relaxing me and setting my senses on hyper-aware. When the lights came on, it chased away any hopes that this had all been a dream.
My own friends were afraid of me. They saw me as a threat. I hurt them by being different. I hurt them by existing. I heard something crash against the wall to my right, but I didn’t care. I tried to out run this pain, diving deep and fast to my core, but the ugliness followed me, like a bloodhound on the scent at my heels. I thought I could hear Rhea in the distance, much further than the mere fifteen feet she had to be from me, but I couldn’t bring myself to answer. She was far away. Safe from the monster.
And then my arm was on fire. It felt like a thousand knives had pierced my wrist, my every nerve wracked with pain. I pulled myself out of the Abyss to find myself in a wrecked version of my room. I looked at my agonizing wrist, surprised to find my hand still attached. There didn’t appear any physical damage, but the bracelet on my wrist was glowing with some strange inner light. I gingerly brushed it with my other hand and felt myself pitch forward. The last thing I saw was Rhea rushing toward me before everything faded into a blissful, painless darkness.
I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but I knew two things without opening my eyes. The first was that my fangs and nails had gone back to normal human size, and that Marie was chanting healing spells, presumably working on Clay. Rhea on the other hand…
“What happened Ethe?” she whispered softly, rubbing a cool rag across my forehead.
I cracked open my eyes against the glare of the overhead lights, looking up into a face almost as familiar as my own. Rhea’s long curly hair had been put into a messy pony tail, giving me a clear look at the worry and concern written over her face. Her brown eyes bore into mine, but I knew she was staying out of my head, respecting my privacy.
“I can’t Rhea,” I croaked, my mouth and throat seemingly full of sand. Rhea grabbed a glass of water from somewhere and pressed it against my lips. With a sidelong glance over at her mother, Rhea sat back on her haunches and took a deep breath.
Can you show me Ethan?
I caught her gaze, our minds syncing together in a second. I drug her through the dregs of my memory, knowing she was absorbing all of it while I blissfully only caught the odd blur here and there. The softness of Clay’s lips. His blue eyes. The way the color had flushed from his cheeks as I started to drain his life force. I rattled off my fears, my fears of being hurt by other people, of hurting her and Marie.
I closed my eyes near the end, unwilling to see Rhea’s reaction, despite the fact that her fear was already coating my tongue. Marie’s chanting had stopped and a sort of pregnant silence had taken its place. With a sigh, I forced myself to a sort of upright position, my wrist not giving me even the slightest protest.
“You ripped apart his inner barriers,” Marie started, with no preamble, her hazel eyes taking inventory of any injuries I had. After seeing nothing that needed any immediate attention, she continued, “I was able to piece some of them together to quicken the healing, but it is going to take some time before he will be back to his old self.” Marie paused for a moment. “You took a lot of energy from him. That is going to slow down the healing by about a week or two if my speculations are correct. Feeding will probably even it out, but that remains to be seen.”
I looked over at Clay and released the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. He was asleep, looking peaceful laying in the wreckage of my room. I hadn’t done any permanent damage. Part of me was overjoyed, but another part of me was still upset. He used me. He used my feelings against me and was willing to kill me in an attempt to get my powers. He was going to kill me in a ritual that has had no proof of success just for the chance to get my powers. My bed then flung itself up against the wall, knocking the mattress off and splitting the frame. I took a deep breath and tried to reign my power back in.
Rhea, not missing a beat stood up, her unruly hair falling heavily down the length of her back. With a sigh, she straightened her posture and raised her arms before her like a maestro before and orchestra. As her arms danced in the air, things around my room began to pick themselves up and find its place back on its shelf or on my desk. Pictures righted themselves, clothes made their way to the hamper, everything went back to where it belonged.
“Thank you,” I murmured, my throat still feeling a little raw. Rhea just nodded, still dancing in place as she moved this and that in patterns around her before settling it somewhere to rest.
Marie had been staring at me the entire time, and I was afraid to meet her eyes. I didn’t realize I had been fiddling with the bracelet at my wrist until she put her hand above mine to stop my movement. At last, I looked at her.
She sat there, smiling a motherly smile. “I’m afraid tweaking the charm just isn’t going to cut it this time my dear. I’ll have to make you a new one.”
Then she was hugging me, surprising me as I felt what I now recognized as my fangs recede. “You are still our Ethan,” Marie whispered, squeezing me tighter, “no matter what happens. But now, more than ever, we are going to have to work on your control.”
I know I looked stupid just staring at her, but she did notice that my bracelet broke, right?
“Everything in this room,” she waved her arms around her, “moved because you wanted it to. Some part of you wanted and needed an outlet, and that part damaged the charm on your bracelet Ethan.” I must have still looked confused because she put my face between her hands as she said “Your powers didn’t go wonky because the charm malfunctioned, but more like your powers MADE the charm malfunction.”
Rhea came up behind her mother, done with her task. She had a strange twinkle in her eye as she grinned at me. “You must remember young grasshopper, that with great power comes great responsibility.”
I rolled my eyes and groaned despite myself as Rhea giggled and dodged her mother’s impending attack. It was so tempting to let it stay at that, to let it be just another mess up that one of us made that we can all learn from and let it pass. But I had to know. So I took a deep breath and asked the question that I was still not sure I wanted answered.
“So you both know about… me and Clay? About before the Awakening? About what he was trying to do?”
In that second, the weakly constructed happiness slipped out of the room as I stared at them as they just nodded and stared at the floor.
It was Rhea that spoke first, her voice stronger than anyone looking at her would have expected.
“It is not your fault Ethan.”
I glanced over toward where Clay was laying but Rhea grabbed my chin and made me hold her gaze. “It is not your fault.”
I tried to let Rhea’s words sink in, but I couldn’t. I loved Clay. I had wanted him to be in my life forever, and he had used me. He played upon my feelings to try to get to my power. Part of me felt responsible for what happened. If I had just stopped and thought with my head instead of my heart… maybe things would have been different.
I knew the pain would lessen over time, that I would learn to deal with the betrayal of my first love and with the fact that I could no longer be considered fully human. But tonight, well, tonight would not be that night. So as my room began to lighten with the approaching dawn, I let Rhea and Marie pull me into their embrace. I took what comfort I could from it, but I knew deep down in my heart of hearts that this was only the beginning.