The wedding wasn’t going to be anything spectacular. Just a private ceremony between Tyler and “Jessie” in father’s bar. Nonetheless Tyler insisted everyone dress up for the occasion and who was I to deny his request? At the very least it gave me a reason to cover up every inch of my body, from neck to ankle. I’d never realized how many tattoos I had until I’d tried covering them up with whatever I happened to have lying around in my closet.
Finally though I’d found something to cover up with. All that was left was to see if it passed Tyler’s inspection.
“It’ll... do.” He muttered, after checking to see if my birthmark could be seen from any angle. “And it does look like something Janice would wear.”
“I took it from her closet.” I admitted before looking down at my sleeves. “She’s downstairs waiting for you, by the way. As soon as your father’s officiator arrives we can begin.”
His face softened, looking at me with those sad eyes. “I truly am sorry for what all this. I just wish you would’ve given marriage a chance. I could have made you happy you know.”
“I wished to be loved by another.” I admit. “But I desire no man’s pity. Especially not yours.”
“I wasn’t trying to pity you. I was just-”
I silenced him will an eye roll. “Just stop it Tyler. Your father’s officiator should be here by now. Let’s get this over and done with, and then we won’t be each other’s problem anymore.”
Scratch that. Stupid vampires. I took a seat as he ordered, hands clasped on my lap. “Yes?”
“You’re a moron, you know that? This is NOT what I meant when I talked to you about leaving.”
“Would you have preferred me to just leave my family in a ditch?” I asked, honestly curious. “Mr. Campbell I don’t know how things work in your family, but I couldn’t just abandon them and run. I need to at least try and make sure they’ll both be alright without me.”
He sighed, seemingly contemplating his next words carefully. “I will not tell Mr. Stone on your switch... but he will still find out. Do not wait to leave. As soon as the wedding is over... just go.”
His face fell. “Just trust me, Jessie.”
I tucked his words away when my sister came into the room, looking stunning in an old dress I’d bought months ago but never worn. Identical or no, I had the sneaking suspicion she looked better in it than I ever would. Tyler seemed to think the same as his eyes never even turned to look for me while they said their vows to each other.
Jude took off almost immediately after to inform Mr. Stone that the marriage had taken place. I had my bags packed, money in hand and plane ticket to Champe le Sims bought. The only thing left was to say goodbye.
My sister’s face almost broke my heart. “I just wish you’d stay until the baby was born...”
“I wish I could...” I answered, Jude’s words ringing in my ears. “But if I don’t leave now I never will.”
A strange expression came over her. “Well then it looks like you’ll never be leaving.”
For a moment I thought she was threatening me, but then her hands flew to her stomach and a groan from her lips.
Oh shit. The baby was coming.
There were two hospitals in our town. The main one was where visitors were taken, and human children when they were ill. The second was a tiny underground clinic where human wives were taken to give birth to their vampiric children. The doctor had assured us that my sister and the baby would be fine, but he thought she was Jessie. He didn’t know the mark on her neck had been drawn by me the night before.
The curtains covered nothing but bare walls, no view of the outdoors to judge the time. How long had we been here? An hour? A day? Time doesn’t seem to pass here: It just is. We were three stories underground and the room smelt of death. How many women had lost their lives here?
Although the wall between us was too thick to allow noise I could hear Janice’s screams in my mind, could feel her fear. It was too much for me. I needed to leave, but I couldn’t bring myself to abandon my sister in her time of need.
I didn’t remember standing but I found myself standing in front of Tyler. “Everything will be fine.” He promised. “You need to calm down.”
“I can’t...” My voice broke before I could finish my thought. “I just... what if she dies?”
“We’ll make it through.” He said with a smile, taking my hand before I could object. “We’ll raise the baby together, and maybe I can convince you to stay with me forever.”
My resolution was weakening and faintly I wondered if he was using some sort of mind trick over me. “Tyler-”
“Her death will be for the best.”
“Tyler you piece of SHIT. Don’t you dare say that! You have no right!”
His face fell. “Jessie, I’m just trying-”
“Just stop!” I begged. “You have my sister, you have my past, my ties to everything I’ve ever known. Once I leave I won’t ever be allowed to come back! Just leave me with the belief that maybe, just maybe everything will come out alright! Stop trying to force me into this life!”
I could tell he was losing his patience with me, but to his credit he didn’t raise his voice like I had. Instead he spoke in a pained whisper. “You’re such a moron, Jessie. You’re never going to escape this, no matter what. The only reason father hasn’t personally intervened yet is due to the fact that he finds your antics amusing.”
I felt my heart drop but I didn’t want to believe him. “You’re just saying that.”
“I wish I were! Dammit, Jessie. Why are you so stupid! Mr. Campbell tried to get you out when you still had the chance, why didn’t you just take it?”
I was about the speak when the familiar squeak of the clinic doors opening attracted my attention. I turned, perhaps too suddenly as instantly I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, an emptiness where my heart should have been.
It was not my sister who left the room, nor was it the doctor. Instead an ancient vampire who I’d only seen in photos before. In his arms the boy who belonged to my sister.
Behind me I heard Tyler groan. I tried to keep my face emotionless but I knew the fear was showing.
The old vampire cleared his throat, his piercing eyes staring at me until I had no choice but to look away. “I would love to hear an explanation for this... who will give it?”
Tyler spoke before I could even consider telling a lie. “It’s my fault. I accept full responsibility for the child, father.”