*Peeks head out from behind door*
So, hey guys :) How've you been? I know it's been a while and what not. My sincerest apologies that I abandoned you guys in you time of need, but I hope I can make up for by posting this ridiculously awesome chapter. Please don't hate me, because I love all of you.
Edward didn't take a real breath until he closed the door behind him. Elvis was staring out at the landscape surrounding the old house. The shadow cast over the ground beyond it looked menacing; he recalled egging on Frankie's fears when they were kids. He didn't turn as Edward took up the rocking chair to his left, and Edward didn't bother to say anything because he knew Elvis would fill him in when he was good and ready. After another moments silence, Elvis faced him fully.
"The Gemini Project." His voice was low, and Edward couldn't tell if he was simply speculating or if there was a question in there somewhere. He crossed his arms over himself, and listened to the sounds of the outdoors until Elvis decided he would clarify. As it turns it was three hundred and thirty seven cricket chirps, and two minutes later the Elvis felt the need to relieve the weight of their companionable silence, "Do you know what the Gemini is?" He asked, rubbing his clipped fingernails over his freshly shaven jaw. Throwing a glance over his shoulder briefly, as he took up his smokes.
"Like Astrology?" Edward knew very little other than his families signs. He knew he had an aunt and uncle on his father's side who were big into things like of that nature. Remembering very clearly the one, and the only time they ever came to visit, the incense had very nearly choked Frankie, and a death omen was place over Edward, their mother had seen fit to ask them to cut their stay short. His aunt hadn't seemed as into what had happened as his uncle had, and Edward told himself it was his aunt who shared a portion of his blood but he had no proof.
"Yes, Gemini is the story of twins. To keep it short and sweet." Elvis was picking indifferently at his nails, and Edward was listening to Audrey humming from inside the house. He could barely hear plates clinking together and he thought she must have been cleaning up dinner.
"Okay," He said, turning to focus on Elvis again, and trying to turn off his sense of hearing. But either it wasn't working or the sweet sound of her voice was haunting him. Either of these was a possibility, but neither seemed to make much difference, "What does that have to do with anything?"
"There was a project like that; way back when I was one of you, called it Gemini. Name came from the idea that twins have a unique connection, you know finishing each other's sentences, feeling when the other is in pain and other bullshit like that." Elvis was leaning into Edward and both men had stopped moving, even Elvis didn't stop to flick ash off the end of his cigarette. With the moment so tense, "Only this project meant a link from the brain of one, to the brain of another. With one brain…dominant over the other." He said this slowly, seeming to choose his words then change his mind and choose others as he went.
"Mind control?" Edward said, with inadvertent sarcasm dribbling out unexpectedly.
Elvis leaned away from him and fixed him first with a look of mild disappointment and second with exasperation, "And I suppose you came out of the womb believing everybody would be a vampire before you were forty, did you?" He shook his head, gave a particularly violent shove of his rocking chair, and a deep pull of his cigarette. While Edward moved suddenly uncomfortable that he had challenged Elvis' information. However unintentional it might have been.
"Sorry." He coughed quietly and glanced away from Elvis' face, which was still trained out on the yard. A shadow passed over them, and Edward adjusted in his seat to look at the window. Audrey was watching the backs of their heads carefully. Elvis shot her a look when she sat down to open her book, but she didn't bother to acknowledge it. When he gave a small shake of his head, and turned away. She looked up making certain Edward caught her eye.
"Tonight." She mouthed, and Edward's stomach churned. Looking to Elvis who was eyeing his, before he nodded carefully to her.
"Yes," He barked suddenly at Edward, who risked only one more glance at Audrey, she was smiling to herself like a nervous teenager, and he hoped beyond hope that she would still smile that way when she thought about him tomorrow morning, "Mind control! Or something nears enough to it. It was intended to be made an implant into all new vamps. To try and keep them from going rogue and murdering every human in sight, this was back when the strain was only for the rich. After it was release to the public the government thought it would be a useful tool to help track down humans for capture. Fresh vamps, or vamps deprived of blood can track humans much faster than a well feed vamp that's had time to…adjust."
"Sounds like they thought of everything. Why scrap the project?" Edward was trying to turn it over in his head. But Audrey's foot was bouncing up and down in his peripheral vision, and she was humming again. Everything about her being within a twenty foot radius from him was making it difficult to process anything. That and the smell of Elvis' cigarette were getting into his head, and it dawned on him for the first time, it had been almost two weeks since his pack and run out.
"Well it didn't work. At least it didn't when I left; I was on my way to sign papers to scrap the project myself when I crashed. I had a few human friendlies on the inside and when I got into contact with them a few months later. They said they had found my car, and pronounced me incinerated at the scene. Not even and investigation can you believe that bullshit!" Edward cocked an eyebrow in his direction, and he saw Audrey lean forward to peer out the front window at the sound of raised voices. But he threw on a small smile for her benefit, and she backed away, her foot taking up its previous rhythm.
"Yeah, an outrage." He replied dryly and Elvis shot him a thoroughly withering look.
"I'll have you know, I was a staple in the vampire community, and was well loved by most who knew me personally." Elvis shot tersely, as he started to rock again, digging into his pocket to retrieve his lighter. Staring angrily at the end of his cigarette which had gone out.
"I bet my death would have been investigated of…" Edward stared, smiling as he did.
"Anyway," Elvis cut in harshly, looking out at the yard and pretending he hadn't just interrupted, "My contact told me after that the project was scrapped as planned. As far as I knew it had never been picked back up again, there was no point. The test subject ended up finding and killing more humans than they managed to capture." For a moment Elvis lowered his head, and Edward looked away from him uncomfortably. By the time he looked back, Elvis was staring at him, and had procured a fresh cigarette, his fingers twitched tantalizingly, he knew if he asked Elvis would fork one over to him. "But your man at the winery, Donovan. There is no way he could have walked into that place if he wasn't being controlled somehow. If you hadn't mentioned Gemini I would have never remembered, as far as I knew it had been permanently shut down."
Edward was nodded to him, trying to keep his brain following a straight line. Mind control, it may be something out of his childhood cartoons, but if it had been somehow made into a reality. Then he feared for the small remaining human population. It would be a blood bath, eh glanced at Edward as Audrey's swinging foot caught his attention. For a moment he pictured her covered in blood, bites covering her delicate skin. Her eyes snapped open suddenly and her amber eyes stared at him, his hand came down to help her up, and she smiled at him. Leaning in to kiss his bloody lips. He nearly cried out as he came back to the present, he wouldn't let it happen.
"Why not say all this in front of Audrey?" Edward asked the obvious in hopes he could cover up the lapse and hopefully scrub the image from his mind. Elvis looked sharply back at the window and Audrey looked up in time to see them both watching her, abruptly she stopped humming and turned pink. AS they sat back looking at each other again, Edward heard her start to hum, but much quieter now.
"Because," He said quietly, "The man who first came up with the project was Audrey's father, Graham." The air stiffened around Edward and he gave a small tilt of his head to one side, like he might start to shake his head, but he stilled before it went too far.
"Audrey's father died, just after the outbreak." Edward parroted, Audrey herself had told him so, not but two weeks ago. The day after his last cigarette, he cringed. It couldn't hurt him he knew, but Audrey didn't like the smell he could tell whenever he came into a room she bit back her initial disgust if he smelled like smoke. Also he couldn't be sure what kind of example he was setting for Samuel.
"No, Graham was one of the members of my team who helped develop the virus. He was a geneticist in high standing with most of the medical community; he hadn't been allowed to inform anyone outside of his team what he was working on, only that it was for the government. When it came out, Audrey was horrified; Graham hadn't known what to do, so he lied. Telling her they would meet a rendezvous far outside the city, and he made sure to keep officers clear of her route until she was gone. He could continue her work, and Audrey could remember her father fondly. Everybody wins." Elvis held his hand up, his shoulders scrunched, as if to say 'what can ya do?'
Edward felt ill, was this what his mother had died for? At the hands of the man who fathered a daughter that Edward himself might…
He shut his thoughts down there, and he berated himself for even trying to take it there. Audrey was nothing like her father, the same way he was nothing like his father. This calmed him a little, and he rocked back in his chair, "I won't lie to her."
"Dammit Edward! It's for her own good, for the sake of her happiness." Elvis whispered harshly, glancing over his shoulder to make sure he hadn't been too loud, and then fixing him with a stern glare of disapproval.
"If it were my mother alive, I would want to know." He told him quietly, he hadn't wanted to play the dead mom card, but he needed Elvis to know how serious he was. There were enough lies in the world, and enough liars to fill the universe, he wouldn't be one of them.
Lionel's brown eyes softened, and he looked sorrowful, "Yes, but you're mother isn't alive, and neither is Audrey's father."
"You don't need a heartbeat to be alive." Edward said exasperatedly, he wouldn't lie to Audrey even on a technicality.
"I know that dammit, I mean Graham killed himself just before my accident. His project was in the shitter, and with each new vamp he sent out, more humans were being slaughtered. Every time it happened he would shut himself up in his room till the scouts got back, convinced it was Audrey he had gotten killed. When the project shut down, he snapped, he had no idea where his daughter was or if she was even still alive, or accepts him as he was. The same daughter he had given up so that he could finish a project that hadn't worked. It was more than he could bear. Walked outside in broad daylight, so he ain't alive now. He ain't even in one piece." Elvis hung his head and Edward reached out a hand to place on his shoulder. He hadn't thought about all the people he knew from the vamp world since he had left with Audrey, except for Frankie. But he hadn't thought about his lab tech, his neighbors, the few friends he had. The young female bartender he had agreed to make a date with. They had all fallen into shadows since he and Audrey had been on the run. He realize now he hadn't missed them at all, and he didn't mind being without them.
But clearly it hadn't been the same for Elvis. He had cared about the vampires he knew, he had cared dearly for them. And in one fowl glance, he had lost them. Edward couldn't help but link the similarities in his mind. He wanted to apologize to Elvis at once, how many times had they sat up at the vineyard those first night, Elvis listening as Edward vented his frustrations over an unhealthy amount of alcohol. Now he saw he had suffered nearly the same separations from everything he had loved dearly.
Elvis pulled out from under Edward's hand, and he let it fall roughly back to his side, "I promised Graham that I would find Audrey. That I would make her see the good in vampires and once she understood that they weren't all mindless bloodthirsty monsters then I would tell her what he was, and arrange for them to meet. But he never gave me the chance to; I still went to find her thought. I thought she deserved to know the truth."
Edward looked over his shoulder and watched her foot bouncing lightly, in tune with her insistent humming, So much loss. He thought wearily, it wasn't right.
"I ran into trouble trying to find her, I forgot what it were like to be human, warm breezes, open roads, sunshine. I was wandering in a field when some teenaged vamps snuck up on me. Her and her crew found me just in the nick of time, but I was tore up pretty bad. By the time I was patched back up, and well enough to tell her anything. She had already gone all Audrey on me, I knew she didn't trust vampires still, and if I tried to tell her then. It would have crushed her. Even when I told her my story about turning back into a human, she didn't talk to me for a week. She worked it out eventually but I gave up hope after that. I had just settled for keeping her out of harm's way, and Graham's secret to myself until you showed up."
"Me?" Edward asked quickly, tearing his eyes away from Audrey to look at Elvis, who fixed him with an unyielding expression.
"Yes, you," He said hotly, "I see the way that you two are with one another. Hell she's living with you Edward! That means something, the two of you are the image we want to project to the human community. That humans and vampires can work with one another, live with one another; fall head over heels for one another."
Edward swallowed thickly, Elvis was bringing his mind into dangerous territory, he had made it a point to keep far away from these kinds of thought himself and here Elvis was all but begging him to admit it to himself.
"The other members of the council and I have been talking, we have been thinking about bringing you and Audrey out together," He held up his hands in defense against Edward's imminent protests, "Just to boost morale, most of the people we've got know Audrey they trust her implicitly. They'll let the newbie's know they can trust her too, and if they trust her they trust you, and if they trust you…then who knows what kind of possibilities we could open up to them."
He wanted to shake his head violently against the suggestion. What Elvis was asking would mean a lot of time together, a lot of time alone together, and the last time they had been alone together they had been in his bathroom. About to do something very stupid and he couldn't risk her, anything else, anyone else, just not her. Elvis watched him carefully, twisting another cigarette out of his pack, and lighting it in the silence.
"It would only be for a couple of weeks, you just go around and show people that not all vampires are bad. Nothing too crazy, Sam can even come on the road with you guys. I'm sure he would love to get out of the house." Elvis made the whole thing sound so simple, like all they had to do was spend every waking moment for the next two weeks with each other, and nothing would change. That wouldn't have moments together, just the two of them, which would raise good bumps on her flesh, and turn his judgment to jelly. The way he said it, it sound like Edward was going to enjoy every good damned second of it.
Sad part is, Edward thought to himself ruefully, if she's with me. It will be the frickin time of my life.
So lots of information in this one. I kind of wanted to give backstory while still making headway with Edward and Audrey, plus I love Elvis' character and delving into the deep underbelly of his brain. What his past experiences might have been, how or why he chose to be a vampire, all that good stuff. So leave me a review if you want, showering me with praise, or dashing my hopes and dreams. Both are accepted and appreciated.