I can hear the hum of the car in the tunnels below as we make our way to the library. Juliet is nervous, and I can feel it rolling off her in thick waves. I pull her into my arms and it calms her some, but it’s not enough. I wonder if this is the right decision, but she has to know. We are connected so deeply that I don’t know what will happen if she rejects this life.
The twins are the first to reach the library, followed by Ravana and Bishop. They all smile and say hello as I formally introduce them to Juliet.
“We’ve heard a lot about you,” Bishop says as he shakes her hand and then takes a step back. I know he’s doing it to be respectful and also to ease some of her tension. I’m sure everyone in the room can feel her fear.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Juliet says, and she lets out a breath.
I pull Juliet close beside me on the couch as we sit across from the twins, and Ravana and Bishop take seats at each end. The fire is going and the room is quiet. I try to find the words to begin.
“The reason I wanted everyone to meet you tonight is because I have something I need to tell you. Something that I feel you may suspect, but I want to confirm your suspicions and answer your questions,” I say as I take Juliet’s hands in my own and look into her eyes.
“Whatever you’re going to tell me, it’s okay,” Juliet says and looks around the room. I feel her courage now, and I hope that what we tell her won’t crush that.
I think for a moment on how to say it but can’t summon the words. I look to Ravana, who nods and then comes and sits on the other side of Juliet.
“I know we got off on the wrong foot, but I want to make things right. You see, we’re vampires.” Ravana pauses and waits for Juliet to say something, but she doesn’t. “It’s difficult for us to accept change. Much less when my brother mated to you, which I thought was impossible.”
“Do humans and vampires normally not go together?” Juliet asks, taking me by surprise.
Bishop sits forward and answers her. “I’ve been studying it for the past few days. Since Kane told us that you were the one. It’s happened in our history, yes, but it’s not the norm. You are quite the exception.” He looks at her in wonder and then back to me.
“Do you understand what she’s saying?” I ask as I stroke my thumb across her wrist. “That my family and I are vampires?”
“I knew something was different. I’ve never felt a voice inside my soul before. One that tells me what you feel and that it would feel good to have you bite me.” I see the blush creep across her cheeks, and she’s thinking about all the times I’ve tasted her when we’ve made love. “Do you all kill people?”
“No,” the twins pipe up in unison.
“We only need the venom we’re given when we’re created to survive,” Erik says.
“And you live forever?” Juliet asks as she looks at me.
“Our life span is two hundred years, unless you are mated. Then it’s for eternity,” Ravana says and then looks between us. “If you choose to stay with Kane, then the two of you will be immortal. But if you decide to leave him, I’m afraid we don’t really know the consequences.”
Juliet nods solemnly and bites her bottom lip. Her emotions right now are so scattered I can’t tell what it is she’s thinking.
I look out of the corner of my eye to see Ezra on his phone, and I’m annoyed he would check it during this important discussion. He begins to whisper to Erik, and I miss a question that Juliet asks Ravana.
Bishop leans over to the twins and Ezra shows him the phone. I see the line between Bishop’s eyebrows crease, and anger shapes his face.
“What’s happened?” I finally ask, needing to know.
“There’s a slayer close,” Bishop says and glances to Juliet. “There are humans who have hunted our kind for centuries. They pass down the legends from father to son and think that our kind needs to die.” Juliet brings a hand up to cover her mouth as Bishop continues. “He’s too close to our family and he needs to be taken out. Ravana, can you stay with Juliet and protect her?”
“No,” I say and stand up. Bishop stands and the others follow.
“We need your strength, Kane. We can’t take a chance of him slipping away from us and then making his way back here, to Juliet.”
I tighten the hold I have on her hand and close my eyes. I can’t just leave her with a hunter on the loose. But wouldn’t it be better to stop him before he gets too close?