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.She stopped when the water was nearly touching her boots.She unslung the backpack and procured a water bottle.She took a long draught and capped the lid.Only then did she turn to Kaleb Sainvire, the man who knew nothing about her.“I’m glad you handled things, Sainvire,” she said matter-of-factly.She saw him sit beside her from the corner of her left eye.“I was out of my league.Next time I’m bringing backup.”Sainvire was surprised.Everyone mentioned the fury Julia Poe could unleash when annoyed.Instead the woman sat straight back and gazed calmly at the blue ocean.“I’ll be your backup,” he said, laying his thick hands on his knee.“Because you’re muscle, too?”“That and because I love you.” He stared into her brown eyes when she turned to look at him.Poe laughed a powerful belly laugh that shook her shoulders.“You don’t have to say that because everyone keeps telling you that you used to love me.Seriously, I’m over you.”Sainvire rubbed his temple as if he had a headache.“I hope that’s not the case because I’ve never been over you.”Poe’s laughing eyes flickered and became serious once more.“You remember?”“I never forgot.”“What do you mean?”“I willed those bullets not to leave my temple, Poe.I pretended I was dead.You nearly ruined my grand plan by delaying a burial.It was damn hard to keep those bullets from popping out for the 11 days you kept me above.”The old Poe would’ve become furious, but the new Poe forced herself to listen.She studied the scar on his upper lip and felt a pang of hope.“Why?”“Because of you,” said Sainvire simply.“Time and time again, I made you my last priority because of circumstances that forced me to choose between one person and many.I told myself that you will never get hurt again and I will never abandon you.“People and other beings have become too reliant on me.They think I can save them all.They think I can solve everything instead of taking care of problems themselves.Many had reservations that they wouldn’t be able to run a government without me.They wanted me to be president, head council, or what have you.I never liked politics, yet I was always thrust in the middle.”“When you were gone our lives ran smoothly with very few bumps,” said Poe, understanding.“You wanted to show them that they can lead a democracy without your help.”Sainvire took Poe’s small hand and massaged it lightly.“You visited me everyday.You read to me.You talked to me about your childhood and your parents and sang Pixies songs to me.And you told me how good Maclemar was.Each day you reminded me that you loved me and that you knew I was alive.Lying in a tomb is no picnic, especially because I was biding my time.Many times I was so sick of the dark and the cramped space that I wanted to punch a hole through the marble.But then I’d hear your voice, unfailingly, for three hours a day.Sometimes you’d nap on your lawn chair and I would listen to your breathing.”Poe bit her lip then said snidely.“I knew you weren’t dead.Julia Poe is almost always right, you see.”“I see,” said Sainvire.He wrapped an arm about her shoulders.“I told Joseph about my plan a couple of months ago.And now you.My secret will remain.I will be the dodgy, perhaps incompetent master vampire returned from the dead.I’ll take muscle jobs with you as my partner.We’ll protect each other.And most of all we’ll always be together.”Poe reached for his neck and brought his mouth down to hers.They kissed softly then with passion.When their lips parted, Kaleb said, “I promise never to leave you again, Julia Poe.I promise you will be first in everything.”The vampire killer couldn’t help but cry, and she covered her face with her hands.It had been a long road, and the world had changed before her eyes.She could not deny that she had a big hand in the changes, and so did Kaleb Sainvire.But they’d given every ounce of their spirit, and it was time for the two underground resistance fighters to live their lives.The lovers held hands like they were holding onto dear life, waiting for the infamous Southern California sun to set.The End [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]