“She is like the wind, open and free. If I cage the wind, would it die? If I don’t cage it, can I trust it to stay beside me?”
Windenburg Home of Abigail & Jay Cameron, and their five children Esmeé, Ewan, Emmy, Silas and Sophie
Ripping her window open, Emmy heartily reached out and pulled hard, after a light struggle, Connell jumped into her room.
“What the heck is wrong with you? Do you always crawl around girls’ windows at night? Creep!” she whisper-yelled at him.
“What the heck is wrong with YOU? Are you in the habit of dragging men into your room at night? Creep yourself!” he retorted in kind.
“Keep your voice down!” she warned.
“My voice IS down, YOU are the one yelling at me!”
“What are you doing here?”
“Nothing. I was just … passing by and … “
“Passing by? On my aunt’s rooftop and then ours, or what? There is NOTHING nearby.”
“Okay fine. I came by to check on you.”
“Check on me? I am not Sunday’s roast; I don’t need checking up on. In case you mean you came to see me, as in visiting, then why don’t you do it like normal people, by coming to the front door, you know, knocking or ringing the doorbell, during normal hours? Like civilized people do.” Emmy told Connell.
“You’re kidding, right?” he responded with arched eyebrows.
Looking into his mesmerizing purple eyes, contrasting his pale face, framed by long, silvery blond hair the color of moonbeams, Emmy halted. He had a point. If a boy like him were to come to the door asking for her, possibly forgetting to hide his fangs, her mom and dad would have heart attacks, and she would end up interrogated. Worse, if her bio-dad, Elliott, happened to be there, he’d probably chase Connell up and down the fields with a rifle. Ever since the triplets reached their teens, especially the two girls, he had become extremely protective, sometimes leading to somewhat amusing arguments between him and his brother Jay, about raising the teens. Come to think of it, Jay was a little overbearing too sometimes, so it would probably be two dads chasing poor Connell with anything they could lift. Maybe even homemade wooden stakes.
Visualizing that in her head made Emmy snort out laughing, which generated a puzzled look by Connell.
“Sorry, just thought of something funny. You’re right. I guess this is how it has to work with us. Sooooo, what have you been up to since I last saw you? Obviously, you are all better.”
“Yeah, all healed up. Ahem … what have I been up to? Oh, you know … vampire business. With my father. He’s training me, still. Another year maybe and I should be done. Graduated.”
“Training you to do what?”
“Well, to be a Punisher, like him. And what it takes to be a proper Prince of Darkness. Most of that comes from my grandfather though.”
“Oh … right … nothing. Never mind. I said too much. And you? What have you been doing since?”
“School, what else? I am a simple girl from a simple family living in a simple town. Nothing ever happens here. Seriously, what’s a punisher? Sounds dangerous and cool. And you’re a prince? Are you being serious right now? Like with a crown, throne and all?”
“I … ahem … am not really supposed to talk about that. Yes, I am a prince, second in line, my dad is before me, the crown prince, but you know how that goes with vampires. Positions don’t normally vacate, it’s more an honorary title system really. It’s … I shouldn’t have said it. Can we not talk about it?”
“Maaaaaaybe … IF … you make me a promise.” Emmy smiled.
“Promise you what?”
“I want to see you again. Next week is Spring Break. So, I will have lots of time and my curfew is later. Means, we can hang out. Unless you are too busy punishing and princing.” Emmy tilted her head slightly, smirking at him, while Connell felt hot and cold. She wanted to see him again! Play it cool. Calm and cool.
“Why would you want to see me again?” Connell asked as calmly as he could muster, a rhetorical question really, secretly he really just wanted to hear her say out loud that she liked him. If only once …
“I don’t know. Maybe because I like you. As a friend, I mean. I am definitely intrigued, Prince Connell. Or is it majesty? Highness? I honestly have no clue.” Emmy said casually, shrugging, but belied by the flush that appeared in her cheeks which made Connell feel a special kind of way. Score!
“Friend?” he asked, ignoring her obvious teasing, equally as casual, pushing his luck, hoping she’d say more.
“Don’t tell me you do not know what a friend is.” Emmy said instead, giggling, bursting his little bubble of hope for some secret romantic confession. Then again, the sound and sight of her little giggle, amused and cute, not ridiculing him, was enticing to him as well.
“Of course, I know what that is. I am just … okay, I know this will come as a shock, but I am not the most sociable. I don’t have friends.” he admitted freely.
“No friends? Who doesn’t have friends?!”
“I guess I am just not very personable and outgoing. I usually never talk as much as I do when I am with you. There are entire days that pass without me ever saying even one word. Plus, my kind … it’s just complicated to explain. Few of us have what you would consider casual friendships.”
“Yeah, I get that. To be honest, I get wanting to be on your own sometimes. And I kind get not feeling like you really fit in. Everyone says I am a dreamer, head in the clouds, kids at school sometimes tease me about it, like when I totally zone out in the middle of class, it happens, and I don’t even realize it until I hear everyone laughing and my teacher stares at me. The only reason it’s not worse is because they all know my brother Ewan would kick their asses if they were mean to me. Wow, why am I telling you all that? Super-embarrassing, nice going, Em! Can we add that to the ‘let’s not talk about it’ list?”
Connell couldn’t help chuckle at her little frenzy, also not something he usually did. Something about her brought out a lot in him that usually never surfaced, which was probably the reason he stalked her as much. She made him feel good, alive in a way. If he could help it, she would never find out how many times he had been at her window since they last saw each other, just watching her sleep. Tonight, he couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to hear her voice, interact. Here he was. Interacting. And it felt so good.
“You know I won’t tell anyone, and not only because there isn’t anyone to tell. Or maybe it’s because we are friends now. Do you think we are? Friends, I mean?”
“I’d consider you my friend. Otherwise you would just be some random vampire in my room at night and THAT would REALLY not be good. Wait, do you have a phone? Let me give you my number. It’s what friends do.”
“I do have a phone.” Connell felt strange as he pulled said phone out. The only numbers in there were family.
Emmy took the phone from his hand, typed around on it, then her phone buzzed over on her desk, before she rustled through her hair, smiled and took a picture. A few more button pushes and she handed the phone back to him. With awe, Connell stared at the new entry, plus profile picture of the girl who was blissfully unaware of how much she had upended his entire existence without even trying. He couldn’t help a small smile, when she called his name. As he looked up, she snapped a pic of him, then typed around on her phone.
“Emmy, you think that is a good idea? What if your parents look at your phone? Or your many siblings?” he cautioned.
“Good point. Hmm … I guess I am going to have to hide you. Well, your contact, I mean. Do you have to hide me too? In your phone, I mean?”
“No. Nobody snoops in my things. So, how would we meet? For your party, I mean. And where?”
“That’s why we traded numbers. I will text you when the next secret teen party at the ruins is announced. It will be dark and super easy to sneak away. Those are usually near Everett Heights on the island. You know where that is?”
“I think so. Come here …” he grabbed her, pressed her body against his, breathless by the sudden closeness Emmy allowed it, when he released her seconds later, they were at Everett Heights.
Thunderstruck Emmy looked around while Connell was fighting to regain his composure after having felt her so close to him.
“No way! How did you do that!? This is so cool! I love it! This is amazing! YOU are amazing. Oh, I know. Come …” she took him by the hand, an unusual contact for him, and he allowed her to drag him along with her to a pond.
“Can you swim, Connell?” she looked at him, smiling excitedly, pointing at the swimming hole.
It was hard for Connell to deny her request, as he really wanted nothing more than to see her, probably in her underwear, there in the water next to him, but he didn’t trust himself around her. Being near her did something to him, something he didn’t have the right words for. All he knew was that she was too young and too pure for him to desecrate her, yet she was too addictive for him to stay away. When he was with her, he felt like a completely different person, even though he was constantly torn between wishing she would kiss him and holding her in high regards that she wasn’t as easy as some teen girls he had encountered. No, she was special, he had felt it the moment he laid eyes on her for the very first time. Apparently, he was taking too long for her taste to react, so she started pulling her sweater over her head, quickly he pulled it back down, holding her hands steady, shaking his head.
“No, no, no. It’s too cold for that for you. We’ll swim when the weather is warmer. I’ll take you back home.” he said, with an annoyed sigh she pulled away from him, turning around, he reached for her, but she slipped out of reach.
“Okay, you’re right, it is pretty chilly, I didn’t even notice, this is all too exciting. Oh – I know! We can make a fire. Over there! Come!” she pointed, and like a butterfly she fluttered away, her perkiness only fueled his addiction of wanting to be near her, her liveliness contrasted his inner numbness, making him feel. He felt a jolt of electricity when he finally carefully caught her, wrapping his arms around her, then ported back to her room with her, forcing himself to let go of her, which he regretted for more than one reason, as she instantly protested bitterly until he silenced her with his hand over her mouth.
“Shhhhh!” he made, eyebrows drawn, while shaking his head at her.
Peeling his hand off her mouth, she gave him a look that made him feel guilty and wanting to smile at the same time. Like the cutest stuffed animal you can imagine trying to look angry, resulting in it looking just more adorable.
“Don’t you shush me! I wasn’t done! I wanted to stay a little longer! Why did you take me back home already?!” she whisper-scolded him.
“Soon, Emmy. It will get warmer at night, then we’ll stay longer. I’ll take you back and we’ll swim, promise. And I’ll come to that party you talked about, too. You have my word. I never break my promises.”
This appeased her, she smiled a sweet, slightly coquettish smile, that had the power to make Connell agree to anything and everything, if only she asked.
“Fine. You’re probably right. Oh, and Connell? Thank you. For showing me that. That was really cool. You are really cool. Coolest guy I have ever met for sure. You make me feel kinda … I don’t know … special, I guess. I am glad you came back to see me, I was wondering if I would ever see you again after you left last time.”
“You will see me as long as you want to. Now you have my number, this beast here before you is at your beck and call.” with a slight flourish, he bowed slightly, making her giggle about his exaggeration.
He smiled as well, his guard was down, maybe she sensed his vulnerable side, as she stood up on her toes and quickly planted the sweetest little kiss on his cheek, then looked away, blushing deeply. Innocent, maybe, but to Connell it was a game changing gesture. To him it was the proof he longed for that she DID like him. More than just as a friend. You didn’t kiss friends’ cheeks and blush so much.
Connell’s smile vanished; his head snapped towards the door.
“Someone’s coming. I have to go. I will see you soon! Promise!” a black cloud was all that was left in his wake when her mother knocked on her room door.
“Bye my dark prince …” Emmy sighed, as she turned to open.