Leaving the sea to their left, they began the long walk back across farmland and difficult fences. Fern held Dacian’s hand for most of the way and avoid looking at him. Her thoughts kept circling back to the same thing, I’m betraying Brook. It’s his own fault for leaving me though! Anything could’ve happened…
‘Thanks for…helping me back there,’ Fern said, breaking their ten minute silence.
‘It was nothing,’ Dacian replied, ‘just try to find better cover next time. I know that’s hard, but you really exposed yourself.’
Fern glanced at the muddy ground before looking back at him, ‘You killed the fisherman didn’t you?’
‘I had to. You hadn’t mesmerised or charmed him, so he would have remembered everything when he came too. Perhaps not all the details, but enough. You have to protect yourself.’
‘That’s how he tricked that boy…’ Fern thought aloud.
‘What?’ Dacian questioned.
‘The night we met…I fed off a boy that Brook found in the arcade. I thought he just wanted to touch…Well, I just believed Brook had talked him into it.’
‘I doubt it. He was most likely charmed. Really, you shouldn’t have done that either.’
‘I knew it was wrong,’ Fern gushed, ‘I’m sorry. Was he okay?’
‘Yeah, just. I looked after him then took him and his older brother home.’
‘I won’t do it again.’
There was a pause then Dacian asked, ‘Didn’t your Maker teach you how to charm?’
‘Well…’ Fern trailed off and paused in the middle of an empty sheep field.
Dacian came to a stop too and looked at her, his fingers loosing on her hand.
‘I’ve only been a vampire four days. We practised fighting though,’ she added on as she saw the look appearing on Dacian’s face.
Letting go of her hand, he brought his arms up and buried his fingers in his long black hair. Dacian sighed deeply in exasperation then pressed his hands to his face. He stood statue still as if had become a scarecrow in the field.
Fern nervously took a step back and glanced quickly around. She couldn’t see much as the darkness was really pressing down on the field, but she could hear the sea and birds calling. She tapped Dacian lightly on the arm and whispered his name.
He dropped his hands and grabbed her’s. He fixed a smile on his face and said calmly, ‘I really should get you home then.’
Fern nodded and let him take the led as they set off walking again. Her thoughts wiggled with questions, but she decided not to voice them as Dacian seemed very displeased. Instead, she listened to the sounds of their shoes and rustle of their clothes. Soon a new fence came into view and Dacian helped her over it.
With her feet firmly in the new field, Fern turned to him and said, ‘I’m getting use to this now.’
Dacian shook his head quickly, but didn’t say anything.
Feeling oddly embarrassed, Fern turned away and the eyed the new field. It was covered by tall green plants though she couldn’t guess if it was corn or wheat.
‘Are you tried of walking yet?’ Dacian cut in with a hint of laughter to his words.
‘I guess,’ Fern muttered.
‘Here. Get on my back.’
She frowned as Dacian crouched down before her.
He laughed, ‘trust me, Fern. It’ll be easier and faster this way.’
She opened her mouth to recall what Brook had said about her being too heavy, but changed her mind at the last second. Fern put her arms around Dacian’s neck and jumped onto his back. She felt him catching her legs and moving her further up, before standing. She nipped at her lip as feelings swamped her but then Dacian broke into a run and all her thoughts and feelings were swept away.
Fern felt the wind roaring passed her face, arms and legs. For a few seconds, she thought that a tornado had appeared and was whipping them away. Fighting away tears, she looked out and saw that she was still on Dacian’s back and it was definitely him racing the air. She pressed her head back to his shoulder and shut her eyes again. She snatched deep breaths which tasted like salt and soil, whilst she tried to stay calm.
It was only when Dacian began to slow down that she risked looking up again. Peering over his shoulder, she watched a patch of trees and a tall, green, window filled building developing ahead of them. She shifted upwards and looked over his head as she recognised the building. She felt Dacian moving his hands down her legs and grabbing firmer on her bare ankles. His fingers were warm and soft. Fern put her face into his hair and breathed in deeply.
Dacian came to a stop of the woodland edge and knelt down in the mud. He let go of Fern’s ankles and tugged at her tight arms around his neck. It took him a few seconds to convince her to let go and stand up. Getting up himself, he wiped off his jeans and turned to check on her.
Fern shot him a wobble smile, before looking up at the apartment block. She could see no lights in the windows and as she sniffed the air no fresh scent of Brook. Tucking her hair back, she turned to Dacian, who had followed her gaze.
‘This is the place. Are you okay?’ Fern asked.
Dacian nodded, he didn’t even seem out of breath or tried.
‘I don’t think Brook is here,’ she added.
‘Are you all right?’ Dacian spoke, his eyes studying her.
‘Yeah. Just tried and in need of a shower. I’m going to go. Thanks.’
‘You’re welcome. I’ll see you to the door then be off.’
Fern paused, but let him trail behind her as she began walking. Once again, she found it difficult to navigate the woodland ground and grew worried that Dacian would say something about it. However, he didn’t open his mouth till they had reached the front door. Fern walked straight up, aware he had stopped on the path behind her.
‘Did he give you a key?’
Fern stopped at his voice, her arm about to reach out of the door handle. She turned back at him and pulled a face in response, realising he had a point. Still though, she tried the door. It was locked. Sighing, she pressed her head against it and felt the cold glass easing the pain in her temples.
‘Move,’ Dacian growled and pulled at her shoulder.
Fern swung out of the way and put her back to the other door. She watched as Dacian pressed his hand to the lock then pushed up the door. She scrambled up and followed him inside.
‘How did you do that?’
‘It’s a simple trick,’ he replied, ‘I just willed the lock to open.’
Dacian hit the button for the elevator. The doors opened gently and they both got in. Fern hit the number six button, the doors closed and they went up. Fern lent against the green walls and spied on Dacian. He was leaning against the other wall, looking bored. He had put his hands into the pockets of his dirty jeans and rested his left foot on top of his right one.
The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened to reveal the corridor lined with the fake tropical plants and ending with the glass emergency exit door. Fern got out and led the way to the apartment’s door.
‘He didn’t give you a key for this either?’ Dacian asked coldly.
Fern didn’t reply, but watched as he unlocked and pushed the door open. He let her step inside and Fern hurriedly put the lights on above the short hallway and the living/dining room/ kitchen combo. Coming back to the door, she held it open and looked at Dacian as she debated what to say.
‘I should go,’ he said with a flick of his hair.
‘Wouldn’t you like to stay to meet Brook?’ Fern asked quickly.
‘Best I don’t. He wouldn’t want to hear what I’ve got to say.’
‘But, I want too!’
Dacian pursed his lips and eyed her inquisitively. He put his hands on either side of the door frame and his feet rocked on the edge.
Fern urgently thought of something else to say, ‘I don’t want to be alone. Please,’ she blurted.
‘All right. But I’m leaving before he gets back and if he doesn’t then before the dawn.’
Smiling, Fern let him in whilst praying her thanks.