Whew, last one. I hope I did at least an ok job filling in gaps and explaining things. If I didn't, oh well I tried. Thanks to any who reviewed. Enjoy the last chapter.
I remained where I was; I wanted him to see. I didn't want to lie anymore; at least not to Owen. He picked up one of the really old puzzles I owned.
"What's all this stuff?" he questioned. I turned to face him but stayed where I was. I kept my distance because he did the same.
"I like puzzles," I explained simply. He turned it around in his hand and then set it down in favor of something else. I knew it was the picture of me and Thomas back when he was twelve too. Back when we first met. He turned it around and a look of realization passed over his features. He looked back at me with a mixture of fear and uncertainty. He quickly put the photo down and rushed back towards the door.
"I want to go now," he said hurriedly on the way. I backed up until I blocked his way. I didn't want to scare him further but I didn't want him to leave. He stopped before he even got close.
"I want to go. Are you going to let me?" he asked in a softly wavering but surprisingly stern tone. I watched him in conflict.
"What are you going to do to me?" he demanded. I almost flinched at the question. I had no desire to hurt him but the fact that he suggested something of the sort broke me.
"I told you we couldn't be friends," I whispered as I moved to let him pass. He stalked out without a single look back. The door slammed behind him. I looked down at the floor and held back the tears. I was almost certain I had lost the best thing I had to a friend. Or maybe he was more than that? Either way, Owen wouldn't come back. I had scared him off. The same negative thoughts ran in a circle in my head until the sun came up and I had to sleep. By the next night, I spent my first few hours pacing back and forth, deciding whether I should confront Owen and show him how much I cared. I didn't want to lose him. This was the best I could do to make things better between us. I hurried over to the door and left. I found myself standing in front of his door and wringing my hands. I had never felt this nervous in a long while but I found Owen brought out a lot of emotions I thought I lost. I lifted my fist and knocked. The door opened slowly and Owen peeked out. I offered him a small smile but he didn't return it.
"Hey," I greeted in a small voice.
"Hey," he replied. I waited for him to invite me in but instead he opened the door wider so I could enter.
"You have to invite me in. It's your home," I reminded him.
"What if I don't? Why can't you just come in? Is there something in your way?" he wondered. I looked at him, the sadness resurfacing. He wanted to know so I had to show him but a voice in my head seemed to warn me against my next action. I had only ever entered a home once to horrible consequences and never did it again. This time, I did it knowing the pain it would cause. But, I trusted him to save me, so I took a deep breath and walked in. I heard the door shut behind me but the strange prickling in my skin was starting to begin and I waited anxiously for it to get worse. I stopped in the middle of the room and turned to face Owen who followed me in. The pain was steadily worsening. I bowed my head, trying to concentrate but soon blood began to flow just like before. I shook from the pain but listened to Owen's scared breathing in front of me to keep me focused.
"No, no, no stop! You can come in!" he cried out, grabbing me by the shoulders. I looked up at him, the pain twisting my face into a grimace. He pulled me into a hug and I let my head rest on his shoulder. My body immediately stopped its self-destructive progression the second he invited me in.
"What was that?" he whimpered.
"I don't know. I just know that this is what happens if you don't invite me in," I replied honestly.
"What if I didn't say anything? Would you have kept bleeding? Would you have died?" he interrogated me in a voice filled with concern and fear. I continued to answer truthfully.
"I knew you wouldn't let me," I told him softly. He held me tighter and we stayed that way in silence. If Owen saved me he must care. Maybe I hadn't driven him away. He pulled back and looked at me.
"You can use our shower. It's down the hall right there," he told me quietly. I left in the direction he pointed out. I pulled off the bloodied clothes and left them outside the door before stepping in the shower to rinse off. I shifted the red water around the floor of the shower and wondered where our relationship would go from here. I turned off the shower when I was done and pulled a towel off the rack. I dried myself off and then wrapped it around myself before stepping out. As I worked, music came on. I smiled and opened the door. I walked out to see Owen waiting for me around the corner.
"You can borrow one of my mom's old dresses if you want," he offered, looking in the direction of her room. I followed his gaze and went in. I quickly found a dress in the closet. It was close enough to fit. I walked out and shyly turned around for Owen to see. We were both smiling.
"Hello? Owen?" a voice called through the music. Both Owen and I went wide eyed in panic. His mom was home. He rushed me down the hall by the hand to his room. I bolted for the window as soon as he shut his door.
"I'm in here! I'll be right there!" he called back. I fumbled with the window but I finally got it open and climbed out. I leaped for my window and slipped inside. I peeked back outside to see Owen doing the same except he was looking down. I smiled and laughed when he realized I was looking at him from my window. He laughed too. I hadn't been so scared to be caught in a long time. Owen made me feel many things I hadn't since I was a human.
"I'll be there," he told me.
"Here?" I asked. He nodded.
"Ok, see you soon," I said and moved back inside to wait for him. He knocked on my door not too long later and I ran to open it. He entered without hesitation, a big smile still on his face. I offered to show him how to solve my many puzzles and he agreed. The time spent between us was the most fun and comfortable we had since we met. I didn't think I would ever be able to leave Owen behind when the time came. But the more we opened up to each other, the more I felt he would choose to leave with me. After all, he had seen me at my worse and was still sitting here like nothing of the sort happened. I was happy but afraid he wouldn't want to stay with me. But when the time came would I be able to remove him from his life? I kept my doubts hidden and enjoyed the time until I had to retreat to the bathtub.
"What's wrong?" Owen asked as I stood with a sigh. He looked up at me questioningly through sleep clouded eyes. He had stayed up the whole night with me and was probably beyond tired. I felt touched that he cared.
"I have to sleep," I replied. He tilted his head in further puzzlement and I smiled.
"It's almost morning and the sun will be up. I have to hide and sleep," I told him slowly. Understanding lit up his gaze.
"Ok," he mumbled, getting up from the floor. I gently pushed him back down.
"You can sleep here if you want," I told him. He nodded and mumbled a thank you before curling up and falling asleep before I could say anymore. I searched the house for a slip of paper and a pen and then wrote out a note for Owen when he woke up. I set it close to him, kissed his cheek, and then headed into the bathroom. I piled on the blankets that would encase me in darkness and then curled up with a smile. I couldn't help but feel lucky to have met Owen. The next time I woke up was unpleasant. Something didn't feel right, and the sudden jolt of burning pain on my leg made me immediately wake up mad.
"No, no, stop!" I heard Owen yell. I looked up to see a man pointing a gun at Owen. He was a threat. I launched myself at him and latched onto his back. My teeth went straight for his neck. He screamed and threw me off but I grabbed him and threw him into the door forcefully. He fell to the floor and I dragged him over to bite directly into his throat. His blood splattered and I fed. I was only vaguely aware of Owen witnessing everything but I didn't care. The hunger was in charge now. The next thing I heard was the door closing. It snapped me out of my daze and I looked up then back down at the man under me.
I made sure to break his neck and then stood to go to Owen. I opened the door slowly and then carefully walked down the hall and pulled Owen into a hug I hoped showed him that I was sorry and that I was trying to comfort him. He remained unresponsive in my embrace and I rested my chin on his shoulder sadly. I didn't know what else to do. After a few minutes passed I let him go with a sigh and walked into the living room. He followed behind. I turned to face him, his posture uncertain, but I had to tell him what needed to be said. I cared about Owen enough to let him go. He didn't deserve what I brought with me. It was time I left.
"Owen, I have to go away," I told him softly. I kept my eyes on the floor, afraid to see his reaction, but he didn't respond. He was staring at the floor when I finally looked up. He looked so lost at the moment. I moved closer and took his hand in mine. I leaned in to give him a kiss that left blood when I pulled away. The contrast of such a mark on him made me look away. He didn't look at me so I went to open the door. He collected what little he brought and then stepped out without another word. I returned to my sleep and woke the next night conflicted as always. I busied myself hiding the dead cop in the underground room Owen had showed me. Like he said, no one knew about it.
When I returned, I packed all that I would need in my trunk, which wasn't anything more than a few pieces of clothing and all the money I took from those we killed plus my puzzles. I sat on my trunk deep in thought until I had to call a taxi. I cleaned up and threw on an old long sweater and a skirt. Once the taxi showed up I left. I didn't let myself look back or even think about Owen. I knew I would try to go back to him, but I couldn't. It was better this way. The taxi pulled away and I couldn't help turning to look out the window to distract myself before the tears showed up. I was almost out of Los Alamos for good when a single thought occurred to me. What if Owen ran into trouble again? What if he wasn't able to get out of it this time? I had told him I would be there to help but I wasn't there for him now. Panic began to set in.
"Stop the car," I told the driver.
"What?" he questioned.
"Stop, the, car!" I almost growled, saying it slower so he would get the hint. He slammed his foot on the brakes and was lucky no one was behind him.
"Wait for me right here on the side of the road. Don't Leave. I'll be back. If you do this I'll pay you double," I told him as I unbuckled the unnecessary belt and popped open the door. He looked beyond confused but nodded when he heard about the money. I took off back into town right when my feet touched the ground. I sped through the streets, not remembering the last time I ran so fast. All I knew was that Owen needed me. I cautiously checked the complex for him but I couldn't find him. Instead, I followed his scent back out to his school. A fire raged in a dumpster out back with a man hurriedly running out to it. I passed him, careful to stay out of sight, and peeked into the window. A pool was inside and inside the pool was Owen.
A boy held him by the hair. I felt a growl rumble through me. They were threatening Owen. I jumped and began climbing the building, intent on finding another way in that caught them off guard. I quickly found a sky light and looked in. The boy pushed Owen under the water and I snapped. I let my rage go. I smashed through the glass with a roar and flew at them. I snatched the nearest one off the floor and dragged him through the water, throwing him to the ground in favor of one who was trying to get away. He spluttered for air while I stopped the other boy in his tracks and tore him apart. The three remaining looked on in fear as they watched the other die, screaming until he couldn't anymore. One boy fell to his knees and started begging.
I fixed them with a glare full of fury and snarled before I shot forward and effortlessly tore the head off the one trying to drown Owen. His body went slack as I tossed the head in the water. The sobbing, soaked, boy cried but I grabbed him and dragged his body through the water once more. When I landed, I took him apart and threw the remains in the pool. I forced the last boy to his feet, still begging, and sunk my teeth into him. The sound of his body giving way to my sharp teeth only satisfied me. They were all out of the way and Owen was safe now. I heard choking and deep breaths behind me. Owen had surfaced and climbed halfway out of the pool for air. He was gasping on the soaked floor when I walked over to crouch down in front of him. I reached out and gently touched his cheek. He looked up at me with his wide searching eyes.
"You're here," he said. I nodded.
"I told you I would help you," I replied. He moved to pull himself out of the water and I helped him. I watched him stare at me. I knew I must have been covered in blood but I was happy he was safe.
"Abby, are you still going?" he asked me. His gaze was hopeful and he softly held my hand in his. I looked down at our joined hands and answered truthfully.
"Yes," I replied. He nodded but his grip tightened.
"I'm going with you," he stated. I looked back up at him in shock.
"You will?" I questioned happily.
"Yeah, can I?" he responded, his uncertainty creeping back into his voice. I could tell he was just slightly shy and not unsure about his decision.
"I really want you to but Owen…things may not be easy," I warned him.
"I still want to," he assured me. I smiled and he returned it.
"Thank you," he mumbled before running off to get dressed and grab his back pack. It sounded so sincere I didn't know exactly what he was thanking me for but it made me feel like for the first time I did something right. He returned to my side and we hastily left. We made our way silently back to the cab which drove us to the nearest train station which was a little bit far. I gave Owen the money to get himself a ticket and then got into the trunk.
"Morning will come and I have to be hidden. I don't want to draw anyone's attention either. You will be ok won't you?" I told him. The trunk was open and I was getting ready to get in.
"I think I'll be fine," he replied, his eyes never settling on one thing again. I held his face in my hands so he would look at me.
"I'll always be right there if you need me. Just knock," I reminded him. He nodded and I released him to get in the trunk. A few minutes later and the trunk was picked up and carried onto the train. I listened to Owen run his hand over the trunk and occasionally sing some tune. As the train ride continued I could feel the sun begin to rise. Sleep threatened to drag me under but I knocked out a message on the lid of the trunk.
H.I. I tapped to him. A second passed before he answered.
O.X. He tapped back. I smiled happily and leaned back against the trunk. I fell back into the familiar darkness knowing I would never leave Owen's side again.