Madeline is warming up to Brendon quite quickly.
The sound wasn’t exactly what I expected. For such a little girl she made quite a bit of noise. It even shook her body.
I glanced down at her, listening to the noises she made in her sleep. It wasn’t just snoring. She kind of grunted too. Her lips were parted, and her breathing heavy.
Vampire women were a bit more classy in their sleep, though that was probably from the lack of breathing and vital signs. Being alive made you a little less civilized in my opinion.
I moved quietly and effortlessly away from Madeline right as I heard a light creak on the other side of the room. Madeline stayed comfortably in place upon the couch and I moved the blanket over her more.
Ryan was cautiously watching when I turned to face him.
I placed a finger to my lips to signify he shouldn’t speak. I didn’t want to risk waking Madeline. She’d been exhausted lately, though she’d said nothing and I had a strong feeling that the most she’d slept at once was the other night with me… and still she’d tossed and turned.
Ryan’s quiet footsteps left the room and I took the chance to gaze down at Madeline again. The noises continued on and I couldn’t help but smile.
“What’s up? I have a feeling you didn’t come in just to watch us sleep.”
Ryan’s attention snapped up to me. “Jack called.”
“And?” I tried to sound bored but I really did care. It was hard not to when he was putting so many in danger, for such a stupid cause.
“Six deaths.” Ryan replied icily. “They tried a straight forward approach. Jack barely got out alive, but his hate has grown. One of the deaths… Well, it was his brother.”
“He was a fool.” I couldn’t feel much sympathy for the idiot, but I did feel for his brother. He was a good man, but had always been very impressionable.
“It’s sparked outrage in the vampire community, and in the werewolf community.” Ryan was stressing out, as was usual. He was very tuned in to each community, watching for any shift. Evidently a big shift had occurred.
“It has nothing to do with us.” I made eye contact with Ryan. “We’re musician’s now man. We’ve got great friends that are like family. Once we start touring again with Spencer and Jon all of this will fade from your mind, and you’ll realize again just how different from our people we’ve become.”
Ryan looked lost for a moment. “Spencer has already started noticing that we don’t seem to age.”
“It’s the Hollywood life.” I replied easily, “No one ages. Just start naming off random surgeries.”
Ryan didn’t seem convinced.
“We’ve made this our life Ry. We fit in so well here, and it’s changed us. You know that it’s true. We don’t kill … much anymore, and we’re as blended as can be. This is our life. We don’t belong out there in the coming war. It’s got nothing to do with us as far as I’m concerned.”
Ryan chuckled, but there was no humor. “You know I totally believe you… and that makes liars out of the both of us.”
I could do nothing but nod, because I knew this would change everything for us.
This war would test everything we’d build up, and potentially break it all down.
We could no longer hide behind the music which had redefined who we were.
“Brendon?” Madeline’s voice startled me- I had completely zoned out, unable to hear her loud footsteps. I was growing so out of touch with who I was. I was barely even a vampire anymore, though so far from a human.
In the end what would I be, if I fit in nowhere?
“Hey.” I weakly smiled in her direction. “Why aren’t you asleep? You need to rest.”
“I’m young.” Madeline joked. “I’ve got life in me still.”
“Did I wake you?”
Madeline gazed at me for a few seconds before continuing to step closer. “Yes Brendon. As you sat in here still as a statute, making absolutely no noise, you woke me.”
This time I cracked a genuine smile. “My sincerest apologies.”
“What’s wrong?” As Madeline reached me she gently lowered herself to her knees in front of me. I gazed down at her from my position in the chair.
I reached out and gently brushed a strand of hair from her face, only to watch more strands fall loose. I could spend all day pushing them back if she allowed me. She wouldn’t though. It wasn’t often that she let me touch her, or gaze at her… or even talk to her. “Nothing.” I finally answered, though I had no conviction behind the word.
“I’m not stupid.” Madeline softly replied as she gazed up at me. “I know something is wrong, so we can either spend all day arguing or you can just be straight with me.”
My hand fell away from her face. “Jack’s team died.”
“He’s alive, and angry.”
“More fighting.” I nodded.
“You know, you can spend all your life worrying about things that you can’t change or…” Madeline trailed off, breaking eye contact.
“Or?” I would love an alternative. Wouldn’t everyone? We all wasted so much time going over the things we could never change. It was a part of humanity I’d never outgrown.
Madeline hesitated before once again looking at me. “Or you could spend your life loving me. I kind of like it, I think.”
I moved quickly off of the car, slipping down so that I was face to face with Madeline. Once our noses touched I inhaled her sweet scent, and regretted the fact that I couldn’t feel her warmth the way a regular guy could. I was limited in loving her, and that tragedy was not lost from my view. “I will always love you.” I informed her.
Madeline chuckled nervously, “I sounded pretty corny, didn’t I?’
“Kind of.” I admitted, with my own smile. “It feels nice to be corny sometimes though, doesn’t it?”
“It does.” Madeline agreed as she pressed her forehead against mine. “Is this all my fault?”
“This whole stupid fight, and the fact that those m- vamp-guys died. Isn’t that all my fault for this stupid treaty? It just doesn’t make sense. How could I start a war? I don’t know about any of this, or I didn’t.”
I knew this was coming, though I’d hope the guilt would miss her because she certainly didn’t deserve it. Jack had filled her head with the stupid idea. “They’ve always wanted a war Madeline. You just gave them a reason. It’s a stupid reason but it’s a reason. It gives them something that they can believe in. It’s where they can put their hate to fuel their fight. War doesn’t need a good reason, not really. It’s the blood and death that they crave. We’re all just monsters at heart, and that’s what is coming out to play.”
“I wish this wasn’t happening.”
“It’s been happening for years.” I informed her, though I didn’t really want her to be involved in any way. It was a bloody mess, and something that no one should be subjected to. “And it probably won’t stop for years.”
“So-” Madeline laughed as she gazed in to my eyes. “With all of this feuding, and all of the bloodlust… You decided to become a vampire musician?”
I laughed as well. It felt good. “Yep. Ryan and I decided the musician life was more flattering than the vampire life.”
“Well, we’ve both been vampires for so long… believe it or not all of the death and torture eventually gets old. Killing people loses it’s charm.” She rolled her eyes and I continued. “We wanted something more, and what’s a better place to fit in than a place where no one fits in? We found two incredible musicians and joined forces.” I cracked another smile. “The rest is history.”
Madeline seemed to think over my words, before she blurted out something I didn’t quite expect. “I’ve never really taken the time to listen to your music.” Her cheeks turned bright red.
“Damn. You sure know how to wound a man.” I frowned. “Did you even want to, or are you like in to country or something?”
“I- I don’t really know.”
“You don’t know what you’re in to?”
“Not really.” Madeline admitted. “I’ve never really taken the time to develop tastes in music. I’ve always had to keep my ears sharp so I didn’t waste my time on unnecessary noise. I’ve heard radio tunes but…”
“Tonight we will have a music night.” I declared with a crooked grin.
“Really?” Madeline sounded kind of excited. It was new, and wonderful.
“Really.” I nodded. “But as for now… You really need to get some sleep.”
“Only if you do.” Madeline replied.
With a laugh I quickly stood, extending my hand. “Bed it is.”
And so she came to bed with me.
I didn’t try anything. I didn’t really want to. There was just something so valuable about Madeline’s innocence. I didn’t want to stain her by using her in such an indecent manner.
I just wanted her, here by my side.
It was the romantic in me, which I’d shoved away for years.
And it was about fucking time.
I woke up to loud snoring and rolled over to see Madeline’s face smashed in to my pillow. Her nose was scrunched up, making her breathing come out … well, louder.
Madeline… Maddy, Maddy. My Maddy. I liked the sound of that. I liked her. She was interesting, and alive- and it presented so many possibilities. Ryan would never get it. Maddy would never get it. Hell, /I would never get it/.
Effortlessly I pulled myself up from bed and soundlessly walked to the bedroom door. There wasn’t a break in Madeline’s snoring as I shut the door behind me.
The television was on downstairs, blaring loudly through my head. My senses were in overdrive after sleeping so well. It had been a while since I‘d slept well. I just hadn’t realized it until I actually got a good nights rest.
The minute my foot hit the living room floor Ryan’s words pierced through me. “She’s dead.” They sounded cold, but with emotion. It wasn’t something I’d expect from Ryan.
“She? Who?” I glanced towards the television screen just in time to see Madeline’s picture flash, along with clips from her father’s admission of guilt. It just didn’t piece together in my mind fast enough.
“Madeline’s mother… She passed away.” Ryan replied.
Silence hit me hard and I had to shake it away in order to tune in to the televised spectacle that was going to blow up in my face quite quickly if Madeline found out.
“Madeline Parker was missing for six weeks before her step-father confessed to killing her. The evidence in his apartment substantiated his claims, breaking Mrs. Parker’s heart right before she passed away from the illness that had been tormenting her.” I listened to the words numbly, knowing that it would be replayed again and again because of the sensationalized story of Madeline’s disappearance and… then her supposed murder.
“Shut it off.” I closed my eyes, suddenly losing all of the pep I’d woken with.
Ryan shut the television off with a simple click from the remote. “We can’t hide it forever.”
“We made so much progress.” I spit out. “She just started letting her defenses down.”
“Brendon- she’s going to pissed off if you keep this from her. I hate to suggest this given the circumstances but she’s going to, well she’s going to want to go to the funeral and pay her respects and… if you stop her from doing that then things between the two of you may never be civil again. These things mean a lot to humans. Death is a big deal to them.”
“Did it say when the funeral was being held?” Ryan was right.
“That hasn’t been released yet.” Ryan mumbled. “She just passed away last night.”
“Damn it.” I angrily clenched my fists, knowing that this could ruin everything I’d slowly built up with Madeline. Time between us was measured so differently, but I felt as if I’d been waiting ages for her.
Ryan paused at the exact same moment that I did, just as we heard the creak of my bedroom door opening. “She’s up.” Ryan muttered, as if I didn’t get that.
“Thanks, but I’m a vampire too.” I snapped.
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You are. Don’t forget that.”
“Ever think over the consequences of acting like something you’re not? You’re not a human Brendon, and you never will be one- not again. You already lived that life. It was Madeline’s turn but you took that from her. Is it really… good for you to just string her along like this? We both know the outcome. Why not cut the cord before it becomes too long?”
I could hear her footsteps in the back of my mind as I took a deadly step forward, quickly closing the distance between myself and Ryan.
What he was suggesting was out of the question.
“I don’t ever ever want to hear you talk about killing her again. That will not happen. Do you understand me?” I didn’t have to lay a finger upon him to make myself crystal clear and I knew it.
Ryan stared at me for several seconds before spitting the word out. “Yes.”
“Morning boys!” Madeline entered the room with a bright smile, which caught me off guard. I happily accepted it however, since it was better than the alternative. She could fall back in to hating me at any moment. I don’t even know how I got her to stop hating me, or if she even really did. For all I knew she was just giving this all a try and didn’t mean any of it. I felt like she meant it though. I felt like she was really happy, and that made me really happy. It was interesting- the idea of living for another person’s happiness, and caring more for them than yourself. It wasn’t something I was used to and that’s why I was so interested in it. I wanted to be different. I got so sick of being the same thing for years and years. Things were changing for me, and Madeline was my road.
Ryan’s eyebrows rose questioningly towards her but he said nothing.
I rolled my eyes once again, feeling like a petulant child. “No Ryan, we did not have sex.” I hissed.
Madeline glanced between us in confusion, “How- what, did I miss something?”
“He’s assuming that since you’re in a good mood we had a … good night.” I informed her whilst once again rolling my eyes in Ryan’s direction.
Ryan didn’t deny it, as Madeline once again looked between us with confusion. “Guy talk, without even speaking? I’m impressed, and hungry.” She rubbed her stomach as it loudly growled. “What shall breakfast be?”
And it was simple just like that.
She didn’t suspect a thing, and neither Ryan nor I said anything.
It could be this simple forever.
It could be.
I’d just have to hide the truth from her, and that- well, that would be a lie.