WARNING: Some language.
Full moon he had said though it was already shifting with the tide, clouds a mere vapor across its ghostly surface. Cold, chilly Autumn with Winter just around the corner and the wind carrying the bite of her kiss, promising snowfall and ice. It was late, so very late and there was a silent hush that had fallen over the forest, even the nocturnal seeking shelter and sleep.
Still the Gypsy prowled along her porch lost to all sensation, her mind swept up in a whirlwind of turmoil. So she paced and turned, her head tilting from one angle to the next, her movements far from Grace though she strove for some Peace, her eyes all but feverish bright. The glow from the now waning moon still somehow lighting up the fire in the ambers housed in the new pallor of her face. Piercing and feral as any wolfs and with her lips curling back in a voiceless snarl of agitation this didn?t help dispel the image of savagery she presented to her woodland refuge.
How dare he, the short son of a b*tch bastard!
She had long since thrown her jacket off to the porch floor of her cottage home, like some forgotten rag despite its pricy designer label. Sneering she kicked it from her path, stalking around one corner only to sharply turn and start all over again like a windup toy. Toy! It was how the nosferatu saw her, a pretty doll to play with and discard just like before all those years ago.
Why ? Why now ?
Andor was gone, killed by Lobo, the assassin she had scorn for so long until it was nearly too late. Funny how she had such things still in her life, assasins, vampires, half demons, and witches, oh my! She had done much in her mortal life, dug her way through fire and blood, and had somehow slipped by Death Himself despite her penchant for playing with Monsters.
Finally she came to a stop at the edge of her steps, planting her hands on her hips while glaring out and into nothing.
A dark shade coming back for a visit ?
It was a quiet night but isn?t that how most things that go wrong start? It has to be a quiet night before everything you?ve worked for gets shot all to hell. That?s how it?s played though in every book or movie you come across so why be different for the Gypsy? She was sitting outside despite the chill in the air, going through yet another old dusty tome. Fallen autumn leaves danced at her feet as the wind blew through the trees dotting the street, a few in front of the coffee house she was sitting at.
Minding her own business for once, working with a frown on her face.
Like a specter he appeared as though right on schedule, his cool breath playing across her ear and cheek from behind as he leans down close.
?Little gypsy girls should be careful on the night of the full moon.?
He said with a smirk, his dark suit melting into the shadows that weren't deep enough to conceal him, but did so anyways, only the blood red tie standing out like a warning, danger: deadly, stay away.
Giving a start and sputter Vera whipped her head around, her heart suddenly amping up its speed. Like some old forgotten nightmare stood the man, the creature rather, she had known for more than ten years. Two of which they had played some strange game of cat and mouse but then inexplicitly he had let her go.
Quickly she looked him over, finding that for the most part despite the suit he now favored, he hadn?t changed. He was a vampire, some part of her screamed in her mind. They never change. She herself hadn?t much for a human, despite being older. They hair was still its same tawny shade, though tamed into a French braid, the ends curling around her face, her eyes still the color of dying ambers, that mixture of hot molten gold. There was still traces of a tan, lingering memories of hot summer days, days long since denied to this creature ....
Pulling in a deep breath she forced herself to relax her sudden still posture, saying only in her lightly accented voice, ?Jacob ??
She didn?t feel compelled to say more.
His smirked widened for a moment, showing the barest hint of the elongated canine that revealed him for what he truely was. At the same time, the backs of his fingers began to trail lightly down her opposite jawline; the smooth, cool fingernails sliding her skin. He stepped out from behind her, following his hand. And there he stood before her, his fingertips under her chin to lift her gaze up to his own with a gentle, irresistable strength.
"I'm disappointed, little Gypsy. Your reactions were always so much more... interesting."
Memory seemed to taut her, playing havoc with her mental state. She was not seventeen anymore, lurking about in places she shouldn?t have, dealing with creatures better left to ?professionals.?
She had been foolish, very young, and had garnered attention for it. Of course, threatening to drive a stake through someone?s heart tended to do that. Licking lips suddenly dry, ire flashed in her eyes as she jerked from him, standing to her feet and knocking her wicker seat over. It tumbled to the ground, catching a few glances but no white knight showed up for her rescue.
?Why exactly are you here??
And why now, after all this time?
She left that question unvoiced, not caring for an answer she knew she wouldn?t like. Stupid vampires.
He let his hand drop to his side as she surged to her feet to confront him, his eyes rising to follow her own and the smirk staying firmly planted on his lips.
"You're making a scene, little Gypsy. Sit."
His other hand rose for a moment to indicate a nearby table which had been occupied not long ago, hadn't it? Two steaming cups of coffee still sat upon it, abandoned. "Sit." So casually said, with all the force of a command behind it. He didn't wait for her to obey before taking his own seat, lounging in that boneless manner of his.
Son of a b*tch bastard.
Wrinkling her nose she took the time to causally look around. Make a scene? Oh, he should remember the scenes she could, and would yet again, create if he didn?t make his point. And leave. Sighing she picked up the chair and set it right before once more engaging with Jacob a staring contest.
Vera wanted to make a snide remark on his height, just for old times sake, but held her peace. Running sweaty palms down her fine linen pants she tugged at the matching jacket. Her outfit was comprised of a soft, baby blue linen with a cream blouse beneath. Being a translator for the library she quickly found they didn?t care for her more traditional mode of attire. So no gaudy red skirts and loose peasant shirts, no silver bangles studded with amber stones. She looked like an everyday business woman but Jacob had a long memory it seemed.
?So polite now are we?? She muttered and to create less of a spectacle she sat down across from him, a fair brow rising up in time to the mockery in her tone.
Jacob was never polite.
"There is never any excuse for bad manners." His face didn't register any reaction to her tone of voice. He continued to watch her as she sat, one hand reaching out to play with the rim of his coffee cup, one finger running slowly along its rim, circling around and around.
"You look well, yes? Very professional."
She wanted to laugh at him, she wanted to throw a screaming fit to the whole world that this wasn?t fair. She had finally got rid of Andor for good, and of course him being permanently dead did tend to make that easier. Watching him she could all but feel her lips curl into a sneer but smoothed the expression. He had let her go, despite all the grandeurs she had made up in her mind. He hadn?t hurt her, really.
Still, he always set her own edge, always ?
Just like all the other monsters.
She had to suppress the urge to squirm in her seat. ?Yeah, got tired of dodging bullets, I had been stealing for a while and decided to go legit.?
Deliberately she controlled her accent, making it light and airy as if it were every day she talked to her former "mentor" of her old life of crime. And she hadn't yet shared her old escapade in Sweet Surrender -- as an "exotic dancer," not one of the more adventurous moonlighters. Of course it wasn't what she put on her application when she interviewed as a consultant on rare tomes. Something had told the Gypsy the stuffy librarians would have frowned on that sort of thing. Pity.
She only causally talked about her former life to irritate Jacob. He had an unexplainable view of what was honorable and what wasn't. Assassin for hire was one thing but a petty thief? Well, add to that sentence a young, Gypsy girl who had been a "petty thief" and it would only get better.
Vera felt hot and frozen all at once, her senses on alert.
Why was he here? Did he know about Alyssa?
The very thought terrified her to the point when breathing became a chore. She above anyone else knows how territorial vampires could be, to the point they obsessed over it; things, land, or people it made no difference when it came into terms of mine. If they had a claim or felt there was a claim, not even time could take it away, always it would be to the vampire theirs and woe be it to anyone in their way.
He had fancied her a student of his before becoming unmanageable as he had put it. Her supposed loss must have been trying for a time but what if he finally came for ? compensation? Swallowing a bit against her tight throat she picked the coffee cup up, her air was defiant as it had ever been.
?Actually no, books is one thing but aah, jewels is another. I did have a specialty than as I do now. And you? Still keeping girls locked up?? Sweetly said around a sip of coffee.
Another flash of amusement. "Hardly ever."
"Truly? I would be surprised." Lifting an eyebrow she looked around again, hoping for an escape of some sort. "Its been a long time, right? You've kept away until now ...."
This brought a grin from him, slouching languidly, "Yes, long time, I felt the need to visit," he trailed off, lips curling anew, "And I'm afraid I'm too busy murdering people to work kidnapping in my busy schedule ..."
Finally noticing the sparse people left and more still leaving, accompanied by sirens in the distant she shot him a hooded look. ?Yes, well, we all have to eat don?t we??
Baring her teeth in a parody of a smile she leaned back in her chair, slouching as she did so to mirror him, appearing comfortable and at ease. She had always been an accomplished actress.
?How is the coffee, by the by? I love this place personally, though I can understand how it might not be much to your taste.?
See? She had grown up, just ignore the poison in her tone.
He returned her smile with one that could have seemed more genuine if the effect wasn't completely ruined by the fangs.
"Coffee unsettles my stomach, little Gypsy. I prefer richer fare."
The tip of his index finger dips for a moment into the cooled liquid of his cup before raising to let the few drops fall back down to rejoin the rest of the beverage in a slow drip, drip, drip.
"The years have instilled only so much caution, it seems."
Bristling at the thin threat she heard, Vera tipped her chin up, her eyes narrowing down to cat like slits.
?The years have been fine and besides, I always found being too cautious boring and in the end, fruitless. You can take all the measures in the world and still, find a monster at your back door.?
Setting the coffee aside she leaned in, the gesture almost intimate if it wasn?t for the tension visible in her body, the quiet menace she couldn't mask.
?Either state what it is your doing here or get bent and leave.?
Okay, so, she was still a bit childish but it was his fault, he always brought this out in her.
"Only too true." His smirk settled back in. "Does one need a reason to visit an old friend? To reminisce about old times?"
"Sure, sure, no reason at all if you had been a friend or even a cell mate with me ..." she all but growled, leaning away from him. Remembering too well the sharpness in his smile.
"Of course, you weren't a friend and you had been the warden, not the prisoner. What is it that you want to reminisce about?"
.... And thought maybe she should have thought better of asking that particular question.
"Nothing in particular, you're far too amusing without a topic of discussion for me to interrupt your performance. Did you have something particular in mind?"
There was a saying, get out while the getting was good. Pushing away from the table she stood up, once more making a pretense of straightening her clothes, tugging at the suit jacket.
"This is no performance Jacob, this is me tolerating your short statured self. Alas though, I fear I must cut short this reunion. I have a real life to live now and can't afford bringing in old ghosts. If you will kindly excuse me ..."
He wasn't there anymore. Just gone, as if he never was, until he stepped into her from behind, one arm draping over her shoulder as he settled his weight against her. "Going so soon, little Gypsy?" His voice a cool, gentle whisper against her ear.
She would need to put a damn bell on him still.
Being a respectable five foot seven didn't seem to deter him when it came in terms of dominating her personal space. The man was only what, five foot five? Yet she was keenly aware of him and the hard strength honed over how many years before joining the ranks of the undead.
Shivering Vera tried to shrug his arm away even when she knew it wouldn't budge. "I have to get back to work, lunch break is over."
Weak as it was, it was also somewhat true. Even now Vera knew the dangers of lying to him. Of course she didn't have to leave right then and there but she didn't say as much.
"I'm sure you have better things to do."
He chuckled softly, and she was right that his arm wasn't going anywhere, it was like a statue had drapped itself across her back.
"Perhaps, but perhaps not, hmm?" His tongue snaked out for a moment to flick against her neck and there was a pause... but his teeth did not follow. Instead, his arm pushed her gently, but firmly, back down into her seat.
"But don't be in such a hurry, little Gypsy, there is so much to catch up on..."
She felt fear and confusion, finally allowing herself to be resettled in the chair though she knew she had no way of putting up a fight.
Put a struggle, sure, he acted as though he enjoyed it at times and irritated at best. In the early days he had been confused, or so she thought, when she refused to accept her ?new station in life.? Bastard. Sighing she carefully noted that for the most part they were alone, making it ineffective if she did decide to scream fire for help. How nicely orchestrated on his part.
?From what I remember the only catching that occurred was you, catching me, you know? When I was able to run screaming into the night.?
And why was he being so ... physical? He hadn't before, not much anyway. He had always been cold and ... cruel. Not so much in terms of physically harming her. But he had been cruel and even know she could see it, the monster beneath all that fine polish.
Seeing her seated, he circled around to his seat to once more lounge upon it. "You keep bringing up your captivity. Do you miss it so?"
She gave a bark of a laugh, looking at him as if he had just sprouted horns. "Your mad if you think that," her tone incredulous. "So sorry if that's how I remember you but that's how things were. You're not here to rectify that, are you? I have to say, if that's the case you might really find a kitchen tables leg in your chest."
"Oh? You have always had spirit. Would you care to try?" He extends one hand, revealing a small wooden stiletto. "A chance to free yourself, perhaps?"
Well. He did offer, right?
The proverbial angel on her right shoulder screamed to run, run far far away. The devil on the other hand already had the Gypsy leaping across the table, scattering the cups of coffee to crash to the ground, porcelain littering the pavement. Long fingers reaching for that stiletto, all caution forgotten because in this moment it was adrenaline and fear driving the Gypsy. She would never go back to that single room again, kept away like some secret. She didn't trust him and maybe she never would.
How could she? While she had long since cultivated and even maintained some relationships with other vampires Vera never forgot the predators they were. He didn't stop her as she snatched the wooden blade from his hand, made not even a move to try, he only watched with that smirk still firmly in place on his lips.
Quickly she backed away from him, eyes wild as she took in the now deserted street. Where the hell was everyone? Gasping she put a good five feet between them, placing a wall to her back.
"Just leave, go Jacob, you didn't just release me only to come back and kill me did you?"
"Were you not going to kill me with that, little Gypsy?" He still hadn't moved.
Oh, she knew better, already feeling the trap closing in around her. She felt overcome with the urge to laugh insanely, to curse and otherwise make an utter fool of herself. Had she been a weaker woman she might even now be crying, sobbing for release from this lucid nightmare. The shadows grew around them both, writhing tendrils promising safety in the void. Yeah, right. Safety in the dark of night with a creature born from its very womb. Already feeling better, the Gypsy thought to herself, her mental sarcasm on full. He wanted to play another game but she wasn't here for his goddamn amusement. She gave a mental scoff, vampires.
"You haven't done anything as yet so I'm being gracious. Leave me and ... " she stopped short of finishing the sentence. God, she had too much to lose this time around.
"Just go Jacob."
Shuddering she shook her head, as much at that creeping helplessness she felt as at him. "Why ...?"
She wouldn't say it, not to him and not ever.
She wouldn't say please ... the one thing he might listen to.
"Because you amuse me, little Gypsy. Is this the game you want to play, though? Running and hiding, your back to a wall with a shadow haunting your trail? Perhaps that would be fun, hmm?"
She gave a groan and nearly closed her eyes, tilting her head to rest it against the stone of the cold wall behind her. But better the wall then him, her heart picking up again in rhythm, wanting to slam its way out of her ribcage. She could all but hear her own blood roaring in her ears and thought, he could hear it as well, smell it despite the skin that housed it.
"I am done with playing games or haven't you noticed? Get to the point Jacob!"
"The game is the point." He voice came from right in front of her, carrying its own hint of mockery. "So focused on the points, you brief mortals are. I prefer to enjoy the moment and not worry about how it will end."
This time in spite of the foolishness of it she closed her eyes but held the wooden blade all the tighter, her body trembling, a shiver dancing down her spine. The cold didn?t affect Vera, being born in Eastern Europe and rather use to harsh Romany winters. Still she found herself feeling chilled to the very bone.
?Get. To. The. Point.? The Gypsy fairly snarled at him, confusion still at war with good ol? self preservation.
He chuckled softly. "Always trying to skip to the end, to see the ending without the beginning or the middle. Perhaps you need some... perspective?"
The amusement was thick in his voice and that smirk was probably widening again, as well. But with her eyes closed Vera couldn't see that, or his hand raising up to rest his fingers on her throat, the pressure making the beating flow of blood beneath the skin stand out like a beating drum.
All coherent thought leaked away from her, eyes flaring open and wide in realization to the fact she had placed herself very neatly in the trap. Cold, immovable stone at her back and now, an apparent hungry vamp in front of her; the whole thing brought new meaning to that hard place quip people were so fond of.
Swallowing nervously she narrowed her eyes, more tendrils falling free of the French braid she had so painstakingly placed her wild mane, curling around her face. ?So what, your hungry? All this trouble for a freaking meal??
Yes, leaping to conclusions, it was business as usual for her, really.
"Mmm, perhaps. Dinner and a show?" He held his fingertips against her throat, cold and immovable. She wasn't pinned per se, she could get away to the side perhaps, but the impression was still there that he was pinning her to the wall.
"What is the point of your game, little Gypsy?"
Sidling a bit to the left had Vera at least trying to get away from him, her arm holding the stake winding up to her chest to offer what meager protection it could, even if it was nothing more than an illusion.
?My game is survival Jacob, it always has been. As for your dinner and a show? Try up main street, they cater to ? People of your ilk.?
He chuckles softly and shakes his head. "Survival... but you stay. And you try to defend yourself with a wooden knife." He withdraws his hand as she moves along the wall away from him. "I think you are playing the wrong game, hmm?"
Stay? Like he would allow her to just up and leave. Oh, wait, she tried that and he stopped her. She had the overwhelming desire to scream in his face.
"Truly? And why don't you tell me what game should I be playing, hmm? You always were fond of telling me what to do. I was always fond of not ..."
"...not?" He completely ignored her demand, settling back on his heels in a relaxed posture that left his chest wide open, that smirk still twisting up the corner of his lips.
Unable to stop herself she let her eyes stray down to his chest, knowing he was provoking her. Once again she found herself assaulted by memory. It had been like this that first time so many years ago. Of course he had given her a real knife then, no good against a vampire. But she had been so young then and determine to not be taken away from her new life of freedom.
The knuckles of her hand went white clutching the wannabe stake. Did she dare ...? Gulping her focused again on his dark face, sneering, "Of not listening to you, you son of a b*tch bastard."
So much for that polite mask she had been wearing.
"Now now, little Gypsy. There is no excuse for bad manners." One hand raises up to waggle a finger back and forth at her in admonishment.
"But lets talk of me leaving. Would that relieve you? Would you be glad to see me go and move on with your life without worry? I wonder, hmm?"
She shook her head again feeling her hair fly away from her, once more slipping along the wall and looking around for any sign of life. It would be like him to tease her, to offer her something like that only to take it away with a laugh.
Cruel. Business as usual for him.
The feelings he roused threatened to choke her. "I know you won't, so stop your games Jacob. You did leave, remember? Well, I left but we both know you just got bored and let me leave. Your back now and there is a reason for it. I only want to stop all this ... nonsense. Get to the point. What made you seek me out? Did you miss me?"
Doubting that she focused on him, wondering how far he would allow her to go.
"I really think you should find someone your ... own size."
He ignored her last statement. "A coincidence, though you'll never believe it. But isn't it more fun to play your game, of stalking and threats?"
Something snapped within her and suddenly Vera felt all the muscles in her legs tense, coiling before she sprang at him like some enraged lion, the wooden stiletto going up in an arc of motion before descending down; taking aim for his chest, her frame colliding with his.
Oh, she knew it was a mistake, she knew it was just like last time but she couldn't stop herself or the attack. It really was the perfect set up. Too bad she fell for it once again.
He didn't make even the slightest move to stop her, the tip of the wooden knife digging through his suit and cutting a scratch into his skin before snapping under the pressure of her strike. And then she crashed into him like hitting a wall. But before she could rebound, one of his hands snaked up and wrapped gently around her throat, pushing her back against the wall and pinning her there.
"Hello, little Gypsy, it has been a while. Hasn't it?"
Hysterically she couldn't stop herself from musing; this sh*t didn't happen to Buffy, now did it? Too bad this wasn't a famous sitcom show, too bad she wasn't an all powerful Slayer. Cool things like that just didn't seem to happen for her.
Struggling she brought her hands up, pushing, striking, doing anything but achieving nothing. It was like hitting a wall, her hands hurting, the knuckles bruised now. Gasping she stared at him, saying through gritted teeth, "Son of a b*tch bastard, you short evil fanged fiend, monster, let me go!"
"Such language. This will be the third time I've told you there is no excuse for poor manners." He sighs theatrically and shakes his head.
"Children these days, such a hassle to their elders."
There's that smirk again.
Oh, she was through with being nice. "You know what Jacob?" She said sweetly, her smile all but serene. "F*ck you."
He chuckles again. "Wrong game, little Gypsy."
That had her swinging her leg up to try and plant a knee in between his legs even though she would hurt herself more than him. "Let me go!"
It didn't hurt him at all, for a variety of reasons, and he didn't try to stop her, either. "Manners, little Gypsy, manners."
He was shorter than her and holding her against the wall on her tip-toes, but still managed to loom, impassive to her blows.
She snarled, twisting her torso, her arms between them now and pushing, "F*ck you, f*ck your manners, go to hell Jacob! You should find yourself a garden gnome to trouble, at least it would be on equal footing!"
"Such cruel stabs at my ego. However shall I weather such injustice?" He chuckled again. "Perhaps a punishment of some kind is in order. How are unruly children disciplined these days?"
"You listen to me, you little dark skinned imp of Satan, you will not be punishing anything! The only thing you?ll be doing is getting the f*ck out of my face and the f*ck out of my life!?
This last part was nearly screamed in his face. True, Vera was a bit vulgar but he asked for it. And this wasn?t anything knew, she had yelled far worse at him before. This was fairly tamed by her standards.
She was more creative in Romany.
"Shh." He said with a finger over his lips and a tightening of his hand on her throat. Not enough to actually silence her, but enough to make a point. "If we aren't going to be civil with each other, then the game is going to change."
It was like some other kind of force had taken a hold of the Gypsy because the next thing she knew, before she could even gasp, she found herself slapping him full across the face. For a time, it felt as though the whole world had come. To a crashing. Stop. Not even the wind whispered through the streets, the leaves on the ground were still, and her eyes wide in fear at her own daring.
She had never ...
And this did break her a little, cracking through her mania, piercing the red veil of anger that had clouded her head. Gasping she twisted and twitched anew, all but shouting, "I'm sorry Jacob, I'm sorry, please, please let me go! God, I'm sorry, I didn't ... just let me go!"
The smirk was back, full force. "Well, at least we've improved your language. Now then, what game will we be playing now, hmm?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" And she was! Hell, she felt as though she might have shattered her hand. She had forgotten how old a vampire he was. And she knew that while he might be able to smile at her, she was in trouble. Big trouble.
"Let me go, I am sorry, I didn't mean to do that." Of course it was almost hilarous really, she had tried to drive a stake through his heart but there was a difference, it came down to certain aspects of respect. He had offered her the makeshift stake as a test, he had not offered his face up for abuse. And she had just deliver a disrespect she knew his very nature wouldn't allow to go unanswered.
"Such games you play, little Gypsy. Fine then, what should my move be, hmm?" His hand at her throat shifts slightly, tilting her head to the side and exposing her bare throat beneath the thumb pressed against her jaw. "Recompense, perhaps?"
"No, nonononono, just let me go Jacob, don't you remember all the trouble I caused you before? I was a nuisance really! This isn't a game you want to play," she rushed out, knowing he could feel the erratic rhythm of her heart beneath his cold fingers.
"An interesting argument, little Gypsy, but what are you struggling against, I wonder?" His free hand raises to brush a bit of her hair back from her exposed throat, tucking it behind her ear.
?Goddamn you, fine! You want a meal, a bite to go, perhaps? Then take it and go.? She stopped her struggle and let her body fall almost limply to the wall, her arms resting at her side.
He still wanted to play the game but she was becoming tired, closing her eyes in a compliant sign of defeat. Maybe if she made it boring he really would just go. She had always thought it was the struggle that enticed him and with that theory in mind, it equated to terms of; no struggle, no temptation, right?
He chuckled as she went limp, his cool breath washing over her throat followed by a long pause...
...and this his hand left her neck, leaving her supported only by the wall.
Triumph filled her at the moment and she had to stop herself from grinning in victory. Keeping her face impassive she opened her eyes to try and look at him from beneath her lashes, trying to remember how she had handled him in the past. Not bothering to examine the brief flash of disappointment she felt when he didn?t partake.
Vera never had any problems in the past with being bitten, playing the pomme de sang for him and a few others; it was just the possessiveness she had baulked at. Oh, that and you know, being locked up in a room ?for your own good.?
Admittedly she had been a bit reckless as a younger girl.
?Are we done here??
Blinking she saw he wasn't anywhere to be seen, only the deserted coffee house cafe and the broken cups and toppled furniture from her leap across the table at him as evidence that he'd been there at all.
Well, that worked better than she thought, surprise written across her face. Taking a small step away from the wall she approached the table she had been occupying before Jacob had decided to make his reappearance in her life. Picking up the old tome she had been working on she took the time to look around. Playing dead did work outside the movies, she thought, curling her lips into a smirk at the irony.
"A pleasure as always, little Gypsy." The voice was at her ear, but Jacob remained nowhere to be seen. "We'll have to do it again, some time..."
Jumping Vera swallowed up the scream threatening to tear its way from her throat. Wildly she looked around, clutching the old book to her chest as though it had transformed into a shield. The voice trailed off to nothing with the last word, leaving her alone in the dark cafe that shouldn't be closed quite yet.
Yes, definitely had to get a bell on him.
Reliving the event that had taken place that night, turning it over and around, upside down in her mind she shied away from shadows. Rubbing her hands down her arms she shook her head, once more going over the wards she kept on her cottage, pacing, smelling the ozone in the air now.
She was secure for the time being, he didn't know of this place, her own private fairy-tale kingdom kept safe in the woods, reinforced by protective layers of the varja she had forced herself to learn. Old ways, old lessons, and spells from women who wore gaudy skirts and carried dark secrets. Wise women with black hair, dusky skin, who smelled of trees and all things wild. She had been such a huge part of that, once upon a time, her feet still calloused from days roaming, an amber eyed nomad Princess. She still had the love of her people, could still seek out their counsel despite no longer indulging in her own restlessness. Pulling in a deep breath and closing her eyes she imagined the spices, the incense, and the hum of an old lullaby to lure the young to sleep in patchwork wagons.
And it brought a calm to her storm.
Turning smoothly on her heel she finally entered her home and closed the door firmly behind her, locks clicking into place. A futile effort but it brought with it some comfort. Collapsing on her couch she fished in her pants pocket, slowly pulling out the string of beads she had lately carried with her.
She had felt this malice, this discord that left bitterness as an after taste in her mouth for a time now. It had been building up but without seeking out one of her own the Gypsy couldn't say for sure, if Jacob was truly it. Trouble came threefold and how the tale would play out she couldn't predict. There were no visions for her, no true telling sign for the Gypsy. Only memories that brought to mind cloak and dagger fears, hidden meanings held within if she could only riddle out the mystery.
Fumbling the rosary she lowered her head, the wild mane of hair falling and forming a curtain, hiding her face and muffling her words. The calm had settled but she knew the Game wasn't over. It was just another futile effort on her part. All the same it did carry some comfort, a throwback to her childhood before monsters came calling. When she could laugh and sing, pray by a camp fire and cuddle into the downy furs of her bed. Vera might have been born in the early nineteen eighties but she had lived a life in the sixteen hundreds. Raised by people who were tied to the land even if it was no longer politically correct to call them serfs.
Now was she surrounded by some very fine things but they were things. She could leave this cottage and go out to seek a new fortune, a new life and escape Jacob again except ....
Meu fiica. My daughter. Alyssa.
Her prayers increased though her voice never raised, the words whispering across her lips in a broken litany. It was calm but it was not over.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.