15 August 1958
Ellie swore under breath. Where is the damn box? Sister Catherine always kept a small box full of important papers with the various names they used. Ellie didn't have much time before the nun returned from her afternoon prayers. She got down on the ground and stretched her arm out as far as it would go under the bed, her fingers scraping against a handle. Sensing victory, she pulled at the handle with her nails until it was close enough to grab fully.
Mixed in with the falsified documents were remnants of Ellie's rapid childhood. It was little more than six years ago that a mysterious figure carried her as an infant to a Catholic orphanage in Boston. She didn't remain there long, however. Sister Catherine, motivated to save the world from the hell-spawn she told Ellie she would soon grow to become, or to save Ellie from something even darker - Ellie never could be sure which - absconded with the girl after just a few weeks.
Ellie knew from the time she was small that she was more powerful than the humans around her, and she saw her moment to break away. Rifling through the scraps of forged documents, she found a passport with her photo, a birth certificate that matched the name, and a few other things that might be useful. Dashing back to her tiny bedroom, Ellie tucked them carefully in her small pack. She could already hear the click of Sister Catherine's heels as she started climbing the stairs of the two-story walk up to the little apartment they shared. Ellie swallowed a pang of guilt, hefted open a window that faced into the alley, and gracefully dropped. By the time the nun reached the opened window, Ellie would be several blocks away, having boarded the Charles Street streetcar just seconds after her feet touched the pavement.
Later that afternoon, as she stepped to the counter to purchase her airline ticket - Baltimore to Los Angeles - she glanced at the forged driver's license she held in her hand. When the ticket agent asked for the name she would be traveling under, she handed over the ID and replied, "Eleanor Jones."
1 October 2018
"Excuse me, Doctor?"
Eleanor MacDonald slowed her pace instinctively, sensing the figure standing just steps ahead. Her brows pulled together in annoyance at having to pause her frantic train of thought, saving the message she had been typing on her phone while hurrying toward the coffee stand.
"Can I help you with something," she asked with a slight edge to her voice, but her expression softened as she looked up, her senses catching up to her all at once.
"Christopher!" was all she could manage before the man who had stopped her wrapped one arm around her waist, pulling her in for a gentle, if not entirely appropriate-for-work kiss. Her fingers tangled in a mess of dark brown curls, combing them back from his face before resting her palm against his cheek. She pulled back to look at him. His eyes held hers as he turned to press his lips to the inside of her hand.
"You're back," Eleanor said, looking away only to scan the miraculously empty corridor. No one seemed to notice the brief spectacle of their reunion.
Christopher nodded, holding out a small cup of coffee that he had purchased before tracking her down. He handed it to her with a grin while sweeping back a loose strand of hair and tucking it behind her ear.
"I thought maybe I could catch you for a few minutes between patients," he said, scanning her face with concern. "You look tired, Ellie. When was the last time you got any sleep?"
Grimacing before taking a swig of the drink, Ellie shrugged. He always worried too much when he went away.
"I took a few extra shifts." There was no point in lying though, he knew she didn't sleep well when he wasn't there. "We've been short-staffed all week, and one of the residents came down with the flu."
Christopher raised an eyebrow, one corner of his mouth curling upward as he shook his head slightly. When Ellie rolled her eyes at the familiar look of disapproval, he cupped her face and pressed his forehead to hers.
"You should come with me next time." There was no trace of admonishment in his tone, he knew she could handle herself. "I missed you."
Ellie arched her head upward, bringing her lips close enough to brush against his. "Maybe next time." With another quick kiss, she stepped back from him. "I have to get back to work. I'm supposed to be presenting to a group of med students later, and I have to prepare."
"In the auditorium? What time?" Christopher knew the hospital well. He'd spent a lot of time there since they moved back to Boston five years earlier when she was offered a position as an attending physician in the Emergency Department. The fates certainly had their fun, pairing a vampire with a half-human who found herself called to practice medicine and one of the bloodiest possible specialties: trauma.
"5:15," she answered, checking her watch.
He smiled. "Perfect, that gives me plenty of time to clean up and get back. Do you mind if I listen in?"
She rolled her eyes, laughing a little. While they often shared a laugh at the comedy of their relationship, Ellie knew he loved to watch her, in his words, dazzling colleagues and students with her expertise.
He squeezed her hand and smiled again. "I'll see you later then."
Christopher MacDonald walked briskly across the quiet residential street toward a long row of brownstone homes. He was grateful for the overcast skies that made his journey more manageable, but the crisp fall afternoon would have made it simple enough to cover up with seasonable outerwear, and he had planned accordingly when he left to hunt just over a week earlier. Slipping his key into the lock of a house that only shared one wall with neighbors and the other with an alley, he stepped quickly inside the home he and Ellie shared.
He shrugged out of the jacket that was only necessary for appearances or occasional breaks of sunlight outdoors, hanging it neatly and advancing up the stairs to the master bedroom. It didn't take long to wash off the remnants of his journey. Moments later, dressed sharply in a pair of dark trousers and a white button-down with sleeves rolled up to his elbow, he went back downstairs to make sure the house was in order before it was time to return to the hospital. Ellie was an impeccable housekeeper, but he never wanted her to feel like that was her job, so he took a quick pass at tidying up some dusty shelves, cleaning out some remnants of food she'd ordered while he was away, and taking out the garbage.
These little glimpses of domestic normalcy amused him just as much as the nature of his relationship. The pair had lived together as a married couple for several decades - only separating for brief periods when he left to hunt. In the early days, she would sometimes live apart from him for fear that her constant exposure to blood at work would be too uncomfortable. She gave up the practice many years ago, but he'd never quarreled with her about it. He was happy as long as she was.
With his chores completed, he noted the time. He had at least an hour until it was time to leave, so he slipped down to the basement. While lights weren't necessary for him to find his way around, he flipped them out of habit, revealing a host of state-of-the-art studio equipment that any modern recording artist would envy. While Christopher and Ellie kept a rather comfortable standard of living, Christopher had been just as content without human trappings. But the advancement of technology surrounding the creation and distribution of recorded music always amazed him.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Christopher had amassed a significant fortune profiting from his own music, both recorded by him or sold to other artists under various noms de plume. A new melody had been toying with the edges of his brain since he completed his hunt and started his run back to Ellie. If he was lucky, he could get the basic structure down to return to another day.
Often, once he was sure Ellie was asleep and unlikely to notice his absence, he would slip down to the basement to work. He doubted he would be returning to the studio later tonight. It had been too long since he held Ellie in his arms, and he intended to set that right as soon as he could coax her away from the hospital this evening.
When he was satisfied that he had completed enough to quell the anxious muse in his mind, at least for now, he saved his work and headed back upstairs. He glanced at the array of keys hanging by the door to the garage. The hospital was close enough to walk, but, remembering Ellie's tired eyes when he saw her earlier, he grabbed the car keys.