Eloise swerved to face a gaping Collins. “Do something! She attacked me!”
Outraged, Collins went to speak, but Jared beat him to it.
“No, she didn’t. She defended our bond.” Folding his arms across his chest, Jared glanced at Collins. “You know how it works. Your colleague’s behaviour is considered a threat to the bond. She wanted a reaction. She got one.”
Collins clenched his fists. “It was a most violent reaction that could have left Eloise seriously hurt! My report?”
“Note it all down if you must,” I told Collins, somehow still masking my shock at what had just occurred. “But you’ll need to also note her provocative behaviour.”
Eloise curled her upper lip. “All I did was try to touch him!” Dexter hissed at her again, making her flinch.
“Ah, but it wouldn’t have been an innocent touch,” I pointed out. “Flirting with a Bound male is as good as signing your death warrant.”
“That is no excuse for your actions, Commander Parker!” maintained Collins. “And I believe it is quite clear that you do not deserve that title!” His raised voice earned him a hiss from Dexter.
“The session is over,” rumbled Jared, scowling, “so there are no more notes for you to take. I suggest you both go.”
“The session may be over,” allowed Collins as he marched toward the door, “but this is not.” He strode out of the building with an outraged, complaining Eloise in tow.
Once they were gone, Jared turned to me. “How did that happen?”
“I honestly have no idea.”
He inhaled deeply. “Then I think we need to have a chat with Antonio.”
So we did. Well, Jared did. I just sat next to him on the sofa in the parlour room opposite Antonio and Luther, who hadn’t said a word. I was still in shock, and I was also shitting myself. My gift had gone haywire once before, and I didn’t like the idea that it could be happening again.
Sensing my unease, Jared shackled my wrist with his hand and massaged my pulse point comfortingly with his thumb. I hadn’t returned Dexter to his tattoo form, wanting to calm his overprotective state first. Plus, he strangely had a way of relaxing me. Curled up beside me, he was currently a brilliant blue, indicating that he had calmed and was pretty content. Well, at least one of us was.
Antonio looked at me. “I cannot say I’m surprised this has happened.”
I blinked rapidly. “Say again?”
“You are an expressive person, Sam. But you have spent the past few weeks bottling up your emotions, despite how hard Collins and Eloise have tested your patience. Anybody who strangles their emotions will eventually get to a stage where they ‘explode’. A vampire’s gift is tied to their emotions. As such, it was truly only a matter of time before your gift…had an outburst, shall we say.”
One of Jared’s brows slid up. “You’re saying that happened because she’s stressed? Her gift had a tantrum?”
“Taking into account recent events, I would imagine that Sam is a bubbling cauldron of various emotions, for want of a better phrase. Her gift of absorbing and harnessing energy is strongly linked to her emotions. As such, the energy inside her will be bubbling just the same. Pent up emotions will manifest themselves some way or another. They eventually find an outlet.”
“All right, I can accept that my gift ran riot because I’ve been keeping a lid on my feelings. But I’ve never formed a whirlwind of energy before. It was huge, and it was bloody powerful.” I’d always been able to call on the natural element of air, but that was totally different from actually forming a whirlwind of energy.
Jared shook his head in wonder. “I swear it was almost like it was alive.”
“Just as every human produces energy, every vampire produces preternatural energy,” said Luther. “Preternatural energy is the fuel that fires vampiric gifts. The preternatural energy that Sam now produces is hybrid energy. It is powerful, and it calls to the surrounding energy like a magnet. The two energies mingle together inside of her, creating one hell of a cocktail, and strengthening her gift. Have you ever seen a mixture of chemical substances bubbling inside a corked bottle?”
Jared nodded in understanding. “The cork came off.”
“I would say so, yes.”
I massaged my temples. “I blame the brothers.”
Jared gave my wrist a squeeze. “I should have made their deaths more painful.”
I went to assure him that their deaths had been satisfyingly painful enough, but then the doors were barged open and in marched Eloise and Collins. Oh bloody great.
They truly couldn’t have picked a worse time to piss around. Now that I fully understood the toll these ass**les had taken on Sam, I didn’t have the patience to deal with their shit. And of course Collins and Eloise had shit to dish out. What was new?
Eloise stomped towards where each of us had risen to our feet. She snarled at Sam before addressing Antonio, her head held high. “Your commander attacked me! I expect her to be reprimanded!”
“Oh you do, do you?” drawled Antonio. His tone was menacing enough to make Eloise take a cautious step backwards. It wasn’t often that Antonio was anything other than cool and collected, but right now he was clearly on the verge of snapping.
Dexter hissed from his place on the sofa, his scales now red once more. Clearly only just noticing him, Collins jerked away and involuntarily bumped into Eloise.
She went to snap at him but then gripped his arm instead and urged him toward Antonio.
“Fredrick witnessed the whole thing. Go on, tell him, Fredrick.”
Clearing his throat, Collins nodded. “I did indeed witness Commander Parker attack my colleague, and I will be reporting this incident to the Prelature. I will also be reporting that she has hindered my investigation several times. It is quite clear that she does not deserve her position, and I will be making that clear in my report.”
Sam gave a humorous laugh. “Mr Collins, I’ve cooperated with you even though your investigation is way too intrusive for my liking.” Her tone was business-like and brisk. “I’ve answered your questions, I’ve let you watch my training sessions, and I’ve let you shadow me. But I will not allow you to bully me, and that is exactly what you have repeatedly attempted to do. You have thrown your authority around, expecting me to hop, skip, and jump at your say-so.” She took a step toward him, wearing that haughty, all-knowing, school teacher look that always made me want to f**k her within an inch of her life. “As such, you should know that I’ll be making an official complaint about both of you.”