"Bryce, dear, it's so good to hear your voice again!" his mother exclaimed. Bryce didn't respond and merely held the cellphone to his ear. He wasn't angry at them anymore, but he felt like they had grown apart so awfully far. Especially after the past year. Before that, any type of reunion would have been, well, possible, probably. But not anymore. He wasn't even human anymore. "Bryce?" "Yeah.. glad to hear from you again as well mom," he muttered, leaning against the wall, his head tilted backwards and his expression agonized. "We need to chat up soon, your father really wants to talk to you as well. He misses you dear. We both do, so very much," his mother said and she sounded like she was about to cry. "Sorry mom, I can't. I.. I'm going to be off to Atlanta soon. I'm sorry," he replied softly. He clenched a fist and stared at the ceiling. As he had spoken the words, regret had overwhelmed him. God, how he wanted to go in on that invitation, embrace his mom again, joke around with his dad, just like the old days. She hung up. Leaving her son brokenhearted. The cellphone slipped from his fingers.
Vampires were real. It was official. It had made the news and there had been enough time for even the most cynical of people to adjust to that fact. Amanda Logan looked at the newspaper on her lap. It was a good thing she'd always been a tad on the easily conviced side. For most, it scared her. The fact that apparently mythical creatures like vampires were real and were deemed a real threat according to the government because of that. She was about to go get herself another cup of coffe after which she intended to iron some clothes until her husband would come home when the phone rang. Amanda picked up. And listened. And her eyes widened. "Your son is suspected of vampirism madam. Is Bryce Logan there?"
"I'd like to have a chat with you." Well I don't. I mean, honestly, don't we both know I'm not gonna talk to you? That I'm not going to truly trust you? We both know I'll lie and hide, just as I did last week and the week before. How about we give up this retarded charade and you let me do my thing an use my time for useful things? Sounds like a plan to me. "Okay."
"So I.. I kinda made a deal. He'd get you two out of hell, my addiction gone-" "Who?" Liv asked sharply and she narrowed her eyes. "A demon," Bryce muttered quickly. "A demon. A demon! Bryce, what has caused us all of this?" "Technically that was me, but I see your point. Now if you-" "Guys," Amo tried. Liv merely raised her hand. "Not now. He's being stupid again." "Hold the fuck up, Liv," Bryce said, getting irritated as well and raising his voice. "You're gonna shut up now and hear me out. Yeah, I made a deal with a demon. I knew that wouldn't be a walk in the motherfuckin park. In case you forgot, my experience with Lucian goes just a tad further than you two. You know, about a full year of my life, kinda filled with addiction, violence and humiliation. I'm not trying to get sympathy, I'm just saying; I know demon's are bad news. But you know what? Without this deal the two of you had still been in hell." He took a deep breath. Liv said nothing. Amo seemed like he was about to say something, but he too was quiet. Bryce looked from one to the other. When he spoke again, his voice was calmer. "Besides, there's more to the deal and it concerns all of us. I traded in my soul for this, but I can get it back. One of the conditions of all of this was that we're going to find information on creatures. Kind of what Lucian did, but our way. For two years." Another silence fell. It was probably the first time Bryce was relatively open over his time under Lucian's control. "So.. so basically we gather information for two years, and you get your soul back," Amo confirmed timidly. Bryce nodded. "That's about it, I guess."
Footsteps. Bryce slowly opened his eyes. In the dim light he could barely see the other person, on the other side of the celldoor. His body didn't allow him to get up, to have a closer look. "Did you learn your lesson, boy?" a painfully familiar voice asked? Bryce didn't answer. His throat was soar and his head was aching. The blood was all he could think of. How many days had it been? It felt like years, fucking years. He coughed. "Answer me boy, or I'll let you rot in here for another few days and trust me, the withdrawal will only get worse. So. Did you learn you lesson?" "Yeah.." Bryce muttered, his voice barely audible. His body was sweaty and he was cold, icecold. "Yeah..?" "Yes, Lucian, I did," Bryce said, hating himself for every word that came over his torn lips, that he had nearly bitten to pieces. "Good boy. And will you obey me from now on? Without any more resistance?" "Yes," Bryce said. "I.. will." "Here," Lucian said indifferently and he tossed a small plastic bag into the cell. Bryce' nails scratched the concrete floor as he hurried to grab it. He heard the man laugh. He felt so relieved and so humiliated at the same time, as he tore the package open and drank. But it wasn't enough. Not nearly. The bag had been nearly empty to start with; only a few drops fell into Bryce's mouth. He could still hear Lucian laugh as the demon walked away and said over his shoulder; "I'll come and pick you up tomorrow."
Zijn hoofd tolde, maar de grijns op zijn gelaat was triomfantelijk. Lucian's greep om de voorkant van zijn bebloedde shirt verstrakte. "Wat is er zo grappig?" snauwde de demoon. Bryce moest moeite doen om op zijn gelaat te kunnen focussen; zijn ene oog zat dicht en een wond op zijn voorhoofd zorgde ervoor dat er bloed in de andere terecht was gekomen, dat eveneens de zijkant van zijn gelaat bedekte. "Je verliest, Lucian." Nu was het Lucian's beurt om te lachen. Hij keek met minachting naar de jonge vampier. "Ik? Ík?! Laat me niet lachen Logan. Kijk naar jezelf, een beetje de held proberen te spelen. Je weet toch hoe het afloopt met mensen die dat doen?" Hij gooide Bryce van zich af, die met een klap ruggelings op de eikenhouten koffietafel landde, waardoor magazines alle kanten op vlogen. De lucht werd uit Bryce' longen geslagen en hij hoestte. Lucian kwam voor hem staan terwijl Bryce zich moeizaam opwerkte. "Je bent geen held Bryce, je bent zwak en dit bewijst maar weer dat je me niet aankan- wat. Is. Er. Zo. Leuk?!" Hij trok Bryce opnieuw omhoog. "En je vroeg.. je geen seconde af.. waar Liv en Amo zijn..? Die weerwolf die jij wilde ondervragen... zij waren je voor.. En de informatie.. gaat rechtstreeks naar Shen" Lucian's vuist trof hem vol tegen zijn kaak en zijn hoofd sloeg hem achterover. De demoon raakte hem opnieuw en opnieuw. Bryce kreunde, maar de triomfantelijke grijns leek op zijn gelaat vastgeplakt te zitten. Hij spoog bloed uit. "Terwijl jij je.. op mij uit hebt zitten leven.. Zijn zij je te snel af geweest," bracht hij uit. Hij zag Lucian's woede groeien en voelde de angst opborrelen, zich afvragend of het uitdagen van de demoon wel een goed idee was geweest. Hij en zijn grote mond. Lucian trok hem dicht naar zich toe. "Ik was best verbaasd, toen ik Liv die poort doorgestuurd had, jou nog in leven te zien. Ik maak dezelfde fout niet nog eens," zei hij zacht, recht in Bryce' lichte ogen kijkend en grijnzend toen hij de angst erin zag. "Je hebt een grote bek jongen, maar ik ken je. En jij mij. We hebben de tijd. Met een paar uurtjes komt de zon op, wat vind je daarvan?" Bryce ademde scherp in, maar antwoordde niet. Hij wist dat Lucian het meende, dat hij het zou doen. De zon zou het vlees van zijn botten kunnen schroeien, als hij er lang genoeg aan blootgesteld werd. Hij probeerde zich los te maken uit de greep van de man. "Ik vind het geen goed idee. Je moet efficiënt met je tijd omgaan," zei een koele stem achter hen. Lucian keek om, geschrokken. Toen snoof hij. "Kijk nou eens, Bryce, ze schieten je te hulp," zei hij spottend en achteloos liet hij de vampier op de grond vallen, om kalm op Liv en Amo af te stappen. "Waar is die weerwolf?" "Niet hier," zei een derde persoon, van om de hoek van de deur opening. Zijn stem droop van het leedvermaak. Liv grinnikte om de verwarring op Lucian's gelaat, die veranderde in woede toen een man met donker haar en een ingevallen gelaat breed grijnzend de hoek om kwam. Lucian vloekte. "Shen," siste hij tussen opeengeklemde kaken door. Hij keek hen alledrie aan.
Liv glimlachte hooghartig. Lucian's bloed deed het koken; zijn gezicht verried het allemaal. "Dat ben ik," hoorde ze Shen geamuseerd zeggen. Lucian leek iets te willen zeggen, maar in plaats daarvan stapte hij naar achteren, over Bryce heen. Hij glimlachte. "Ik moet jullie mijn complimenten geven. Ik had niet gedacht dat jullie zo laag konden zinken dat jullie hem als lokaas achter zouden laten, maar jullie zijn beter hierin dan ik had gedacht." Liv slikte. Ze keek naar de jonge vampier. Hoe hadden ze kunnen weten dat Lucian...? De reden was geweest dat ze niet wisten of ze voor de ochtend terug zouden zijn. Bryce keek haar kort aan en glimlachte moeizaam. Liv fronste. "Maar goed, ik wil Shen's spotlight natuurlijk niet stelen door de belangrijkste demoon in de ruimte te zijn-" "Wát zei je daar?" snauwde Shen scherp. "Dus ik ga maar. Ik kom terug, onthoud dat." En weg was hij. Nog voor Liv iets kon doen was Amo al bij Bryce neergeknield en hielp hij hem overeind. Bryce leunde zwaar ademend tegen de bank aan en glimlachte vermoeid. "G-gaat het?" vroeg Amo nerveus. "Kan ik iets voor je doen?" Maar Bryce schudde zijn hoofd. "Nah.. Al zou een biertje niet gek zijn," zei hij met een scheve grijns. Amo glimlachte voorzichtig. "Doe mij er ook maar een," bromde Shen, terwijl hij verder de kamer in liep, die de nodige schade op had gelopen. Liv verdween met een diepe zucht om terug te keren met vier biertjes, waarna ze een verbandkistje ophaalde. Ze zette het op en rommelige koffietafel neer en keek naar Bryce. "Wist je dat hij hier zou komen?" vroeg ze koel. "Ik.. had m'n vermoedens." "Waarom bleef je?" "Om 'm af te leiden," mompelde Bryce, niet erg op zijn gemak. "Bryce," zei Liv scherp. "Je had dood kunnen zijn. Hij had je vol in het zonlicht gehouden. Hij zou je met plezier een paar uur hebben gemarteld, dat wéét je, je ként hem, en alsnog doe je zoiets. Leer jij ooit van je fouten? Denk jij eigenlijk wel ná voor je iets doet?!" Bryce haalde slechts zijn schouders op. Hij pakte een van de flesjes bier van tafel en nam een slok, waarbij hij zijn ogen sloot alsof hij het van zich af probeerde te laten glijden. Liv snoof geërgerd en ging op de bank zitten. Haar blik gleed over de ravage. "En hoe leggen we dít uit aan de roomservice?" Shen had zijn biertje al op en gooide het lege flesje achteloos kapot in een hoek, om aan die van Amo te beginnen. Hij leek buitengewoon nors op dit moment. "Nou ja, het is in ieder geval goed afgelopen," mompelde Amo voorzichtig. Liv trok een wenkbrauw op. "Voor ons wel ja." "Je zei het zelf.. het had een stuk erger gekund," zei Bryce met een matte grijns. Liv haalde diep adem. Die jongen was niet te geloven. "Volgens mij kan alleen jij zo stom zijn, of niet?"
Roya looked up when the door opened and smiled. "Goodmorning," she said, after a quick glance at the clock that showed 3 AM. Bryce grinned. Roya cocked her head. "Have you even been drinking?" "Hardly. I wanted to show the nunnery some respect," he said, chuckling. He walked into the room and sat down on the bed. Roya sat up and giggled. "You'll never stop calling my room that, will you?" she said, shaking her head. "Nope," Bryce said cheerfully. He looked at her. "In all seriousness though, what are you doing up so late?" Roya just shrugged. "Couldn't really sleep anymore. Bad dream." Despite the fact that she knew Bryce was reckless, she was still a little surprised when he responded by just pulling her close and giving her a big hug. "You sure you're not a little tipsy, Bryce?" "Maybe," he said, his voice soft and playful. Though he loosened his embrace, Roya didn't move away from him. She could smell the tobacco and alcohol, but as much as she did not want to use any of those, with him it smelled of the moments he had tackled her, the times they'd laughed so hard her stomach would ache and the countless times she'd had to take care of him when he could not, because he would be just that wasted. "Thanks," she muttered. Bryce rested his chin on her head. "Whatcha dream about?" "Vampires. Bad ones," Roya mumbled and she tried not to remember the images that had woken her up so abruptly, for they still made her feel scared. It had seemed so real. "Don't worry, I'll protectcha," Bryce said and she chuckled. "Don't you need to be sober for that kind of heroic stuff?" Roya said smiling faintly. "Pff, not me. I'm tough as nails," Bryce grinned and Roya just shook her head. She got up. "I know it's not what you're used to, but how about some hot chocolate?" she said. "I know I can use some." Bryce laid flat on his back and folded his arms under his head. "Sounds good," he said. When she returned with two steaming cups of chocolate, topped with whipped cream, Bryce sat upright again immediately. And so they sat eventually sat, side by side, sipping the chocolate. "Are you really that afraid of the vamps out there?" Bryce asked. Roye shrugged lightly. "I dunno.. It's just that they seem so much more agressive as of late. The attacks on random people have doubled.." She stared at the dark drink in her mug and sighed. "Maybe it's just the knowledge of not standing a chance against them. If someone like that would want to hurt me, I would not live to see the next day." She didn't like it, this pessimistic talk, but she had to get it off her chest. That nightmare was basically a summary of what had been subconsciously bothering her for a long time now. "You ever been afraid of me?" Bryce asked, sounding more vulnerable than she'd ever heard him sound before. "Of course not. You can say what you want Bryce, but to me, you'll never be a monster." -----
"Well, what brings you to the brothel?" Bryce asked with a broad grin, as he lay on his bed in nothing but black boxers. Roya walked in, seemingly noy fazed in the least by the nearly naked guy on the bed. "The landlady's gonna visit this afternoon," she said, her expression worried as her eyes scanned the room. Bryce sat upright quickly and swore. "Ah Goddammit, seriously?" "Don't worry, I'll help you clean up this mess," Roya said quickly. "Put on some clothes and take out those.. every single bottle in this room. I'll see to the clothes lying around." Bryce blinked a few times but then nodded. He scooped a pair of jeans from the floor and put them on. "Dressed," he said, as he began collecting empty beer bottles.
I DONT KNOW WHY I SHIP THEM SO MUCH. I KNOW IT'S OVER BETWEEN THEM BUT.. BUT... *breaks down sobbing*
"Is there anything else you can tell us?" Amo asked calmly. Roya shrugged, staring at the floor and fidgeting with the bandage around her upper arm. "Anything goes, even if you don't think it's relevant," Liv added. "Well, earlier that day mr. Fitzgerald had died.." "What? Roya, that sounds pretty relevant to me," Liv said, a little startled. "How'd he die?" Roya seemed taken aback. "I- I don't know, police said they didn't know yet.." Liv looked at Amo. "Sounds pretty suspicious to me." Bryce leant forward a little. "Anything else, Roya?" he asked carefully. It was the first thing he had said after they had shaken hands and sat down. Liv had the idea Roya looked him in the eyes longer than necessary, before shaking her head and looking at the floor again. She got up and looked at the men. "I'd say we're done here," she said. Amo nodded hesitantly. "Yeah.." Bryce muttered. He took Roya's hand and squeezed it briefly before getting up. "We'll take care of this, I promise," he said shortly, after wich he took his coat off the back of his chair and quickly putting it on, storngly focussing on the zipper while Amo thanked Roya for her cooperation.
The huge knife, pressed against his throat, was enough for Bryce to be fairly obedient. That and the blood dripping from his nose and in the corner of his mouth. Fuck, he thought. He groaned. "Shut up. Or I'll cut of your head," de man holding the knife snapped. There were two of them in the small, windowless room they kept him in, tied to a chair. "Who are you with?" "Two other hunters, we're on the same side, I swear," Bryce said. "Their names." "Amo La Mour and Liv White.. Amo's number's in my cellphone.." Bryce hoped he would not get them into trouble. The blade resting right below his adams apple really made him nervous. These guys meant business. The man took the phone out of Bryce's pocket and searched for the number, after wich he called, keeping his eyes on Bryce who tried to seem calm. "This Amo La Mour? Nice name there bud. Are you acqainted with a certain Bryce Logan..?" The blade got pressed against his skin a little harder and Bryce closed his eyes. "He's here. If you wish to see him again, head attached, you better give us a real good explanation on why you guys travel with a fucking vampire." Bryce opened his eyes again. They really were intend on killing him. He felt the blood drain from his face.
"We'll wait! We'll just fucking wait until he.." Bryce didn't finish the sentence. Liv merely nodded and here eyes flashed from the dark-haired man, laying motionless on the old bed, to Bryce, who's face was distorted by worry. "I'll stand watch for now, okay?" Liv proposed and Bryce nodded. She left the cottage. And so Bryce just sat there in the dark room, beside the bed. He closed his eyes for a moment and slowly breathed out. And for the first time in years, he felt tears form in his eyes. Because deep down inside he knew there was a chance Amo would not wake up. He opened his eyes. The skin around them had become a little red. "Don't give up man.." he said in a broken voice. "Please... Remember how many times you saved my ass? That one time I was so fucking wasted.. and the other time, with the werewolves... You were pretty badass with those witches too you know.. And- and let's not forget back then, with Lucian. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't even have gotten away from him.." Bryce fell silent and clenched his jaw. "I mean, for real dude.. If it wasn't for you guys, I'd probably be dead by now.. It's just that, well, you can't just die, you know? Not after all we've been through. You, me, Liv... We're a team." He cradled his head in hands. His lower lip quavered and he pressed his lips tightly together, allthough it didn't stop a tear from rolling down his cheek. "Goddammit man. I guess this all sounds so fucking gay but.. Really, I mean it. Just stay with us, ok?" A couch made him look up and he saw Liv standing in the door opening. He didn't even try to hide what he felt and saw her eyes shimmer as well. "S-someone's coming," Liv muttered. Her unsteady voice spoke volumes. Bryce nodded lightly. He looked back at the man and gave him a light pat on the shoulder. "Please man, don't go," he whispered and he got up. He walked over to Liv. "Well, let's prepare the welcoming committee then, shall we?" he asked flatly.