When Erin first woke, it was to complete silence. She opened her eyes slowly, unaware of where she was, the dimly lit room unfamiliar to her. As she sat up and blurred shapes became clearer, she took in the large studio apartment, sparsely furnished, with rich wooden panelling along the borders. She looked down at herself, noticing for the first time that she’d been stripped of most of her clothing and for a moment panic overtook her as she scanned the room for her clothes. Seeing them folded neatly over a bar stool near what appeared to be a kitchenette, she pushed off the duvet and stepped down from the bed.
Immediately she felt dizzy and allowed the bed to catch her as she fell back. She breathed in deeply and gathered herself before trying again, wanting to attempt self-healing, but not trusting the use of so much magical energy when she might need it for something else. Like killing whoever brought me here.
Broken details of what had happened became clearer. Jiao’s fearful expression before she ran away, feeling high that was never going to end and the utter calm that had eventually settled upon her as she floated away. Erin launched herself up again, using her arms to gain some momentum and in a strange fashion, propelled herself across the room in a few quick, but shaky movements. When she reached her clothing, she grabbed onto the kitchen’s bar counter, holding her head down as she tried to collect herself again. She raised it as the door to the apartment opened.
Erin remembered the man that stepped through it immediately. He was the same one who’d been talking to Zach after their Kentucky assignment. The one who’d sent them after the wolves. He smiled at her warmly and gestured to the bags he carried in his hands.
“I’ve brought you something to eat. I knew you would wake soon.”
Erin didn’t know what to say. She had millions of questions, but none of them seemed quite right in the moment, so she stood there, in her black bra and panties, staring at him dumbly.
“Why do you not come and have something to eat. You have been asleep for many days,” he informed her, setting the food on a tiny dining table.
Many days? Erin wondered shocked and found her tongue. “What day is it?”
“Your voice graces my ears again, it is a welcome sound,” he said with a wistful smile, then answering her question, “Sunday.”
“It can’t be. You’re saying I’ve been out for nearly a week? How is that possible?”
“It is common to forget the kiss of the incubus and he kissed you well.” The man’s eyes, a bright spring green, seemed to darken and his expression turned sour as he told her. Remembering, Erin wrapped her hands around her body, the feeling of being violated a delayed response. She considered the stranger as he opened containers filled with bao and noodles.
“I guess you’re the one who saved me?”
He turned to look at her with an amused expression. “Many years ago it was you who saved me, this time, I have been able to return the favour.” He returned to his table setting, meticulously placing all the food and drinks he’d brought in an orderly fashion, before removing any waste products. It was only when he walked past her into the kitchen, that Erin remembered her state of undress and hurried to rectify it. She did not feel threatened by this man, but that didn’t mean she should parade her body before him.
“What do you mean I saved you?” she inquired, dragging her jeans on. “No, no, before all that, what’s your name? I know nothing about you and you’ve obviously seen way more of me than I have of you.” He grinned at her happily and though Erin was unfamiliar with his personality, something in her told her this was strange. He didn’t look like the type to smile much, let alone show rows of teeth.
“Let me make it even.” Before she could say anything more, he’d moved with a speed she knew only vampires possessed and in split seconds his clothes were in a neat pile next to him.
“Fuck, I didn’t mean it that way,” she exclaimed, keeping her true feelings to herself. He wasn’t an eyesore in the least.
He dressed himself just as quickly and smiled at her, coming closer. “My name is Jacob, and now we are even.” He took her hand and Erin resisted only for a moment, before shaking it firmly and releasing it. She moved away from him, being that close making her feel decidedly uncomfortable.
“Thanks for the food,” she said, taking a bite into a chicken filled bao. She always enjoyed this steamed version to bread and wasted no time polishing off a few more before she spoke again.
“I know you work for the organisation, what I don’t get is what you were doing here, did you just happen to know where I was?”
He shook his head, “You were in trouble and I helped, is that not all that is important?”
Erin was stone-faced, “No, I’m afraid it isn’t. I’m beyond tired of people trying to keep everything they can from me, if you’re going to be one of those people, you should leave now.”
He gave her a crooked smile. “I watch over you, protect you, let you stay in my home here in Hong Kong and still you wish to be rid of me. You are just as I remember you.”
Annoyed by his avoidance, Erin thought about him crashing into the far wall behind them, but before she could do so, he gripped her neck tightly, his eyes peering into hers tenderly.
“It is me, the one you vowed never to hurt. Stop it.”
Erin gagged as his grip tightened, but she nodded, wondering how he’d even had an inkling of her intention. His fingers loosened their hold and he touched her gently now, stroking the place where they had left a slight impression behind. She touched her neck when he sat back.
“What is this? What do you think we are to each other?” she managed to get out, understanding escaping her.
“You are mine and I will always be yours. It was I who protected you when you first awakened, and I have done the same for many centuries. Each time you are a little different, your mannerisms, your name, nevertheless, the blood flowing within you, it makes you the same. The fifth priestess of The Rising. I am yours and you will always be mine.”