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I don't know how long I stood there, shivering from both the cold and the fear of what was happening. What did Adrian mean when he said that he would thank him for this later? I could only assume that he was referring to Damien thanking him. Why did he do this? Where did he go? I had so many questions and no answers and the longer I stood there, shivering in the cold, the more scared I got. I knew what was out here; I had seen the rogue vampire not too long ago. Damien had explained to me how they operated, and I couldn't get the image of what would become of me if I was unlucky enough to get found by one out of my head. I could only hope that the death I would be given would be quick.

"Well, what do we have here?" A voice cut through my inner ramblings.

My blood turned to ice when I heard the voice because I knew the owner of it. I realized that I would take the rogue over the owner of that voice as they would have granted me a quick death. I knew this one would not be so nice.

I felt his presence behind me before his hands gripped my upper arms and yanked me flush against his chest. His body radiated heat and I unconsciously found myself pushing closer to him to heat my extremely cold body. He chuckled and I realized what I was doing, but when I tried to jerk away, his grip on me tightened.

"Damien get tired of you already, Casey?" Jaren's voice could barely contain his amusement at my predicament. "Do you want to know how I know it's you underneath that cloth, Casey?" he asked, but he answered before I could even open my mouth to form an answer.

"I know it's you because each human has a distinct scent which only intensifies when they are scared," his mouth was only inches from my ear and even though the cloth was covering my head, I was pretty sure I could feel his breath on my neck, "And you, my dear, are terrified."

I was shaking slightly... which I hoped was because it was really cold out and not because I was completely terrified of him and his intentions.

"You didn't answer my question, Casey." I could still feel his mouth only inches from my neck and even though the cloth protected my neck from his teeth, I still did not feel safe.

I opened my mouth to say something; though, I wasn't quite sure what it was going to be. I didn't get a chance to say anything because there was the sound of squealing tires, a car door slamming and the sudden realization that Jaren was no longer standing next to me.

The sound of skin hitting skin and grunting let me know that Jaren was clearly in a fight with an unknown person. Whether that was a good or a bad thing was yet to be seen.

I was in the middle of debating whether I should at least attempt to get somewhere away from the fighting (though, I don't know what I would have been able to do since I was blinded and didn't have the use of my hands) when there was a final groan of pain from somewhere to my right. That was bizarre because I'm pretty sure they were over on my left just a minute ago.

I jumped when I felt a pair of hands land on my shoulder. The only thing that kept me from struggling was the quiet voice that spoke close to my right ear. A voice I recognized.

"It's okay, Casey. I got you."

I don't know what was more surprising... the fact that Adrian had somehow gotten rid of Jaren or that Adrian was here at all after just dropping me off.

"What..."

"I'll explain everything later. We need to get going. I managed to knock Jaren out, but that won't hold him for long."

I was too confused to even protest as he led me to what I assumed was a waiting car not too far from where we currently stood. Once we were safely inside the interior of the car with the heat running full blast and I stopped shivering from the cold, I finally found my voice, "What's going on?"

Instead of answering, he instead asked me for my hand. At my hesitation, he said, "Unless you want Damien to be able to track you with that bracelet, Casey, I need to cut it off."

I held my hand and jerked when I felt his hand land on mine. It was warm which was bizarre since I was used to it being cooler to the touch.

"Now, you need to hold still, or I could cut you."

I nodded.

I heard metal bending before snapping altogether. The bracelet that Damien had attached around my wrist was remove and my wrist felt oddly naked which was bizarre.

"I'm sure you have questions but let me first tell you that there was some confusion in the plan, so I'll be taking you all the way as opposed to just halfway."

"W-what plan?" I asked, stuttering slightly. After him abandoning me the way that he did, I wasn't so sure if I could trust him anymore. Nor, did I feel all the safe, handcuffed and blindfolded in a car alone with him.

"And what did you mean by this was 'for his own good'?"

There was a long pause. It was so long that I didn't really think he was going to answer me before he actually replied, "Damien needs to learn a lesson and you're going to help him do it."

That statement did very little to ease the confusion I felt. If anything, it made it worse.

I jerked when a voice that I didn't recognize spoke up from next to me, "Don't worry, Casey, there's nothing to be afraid of. We're going to take you somewhere safe."

It wasn't until after this unknown voice spoke that I realized I was shaking. That voice didn't make me feel any better since I didn't know the owner of it.

"Nathaniel..." Adrian's voice growled from the front; presumably the driver's seat, "I told you not to say anything until we got her to the house. She has no idea who you are, and she's already scared as it is."

"Sorry, Elijah... you know how I am around terrified women." Nathaniel's voice sounded soothing and I found myself calming down at first.

It took me a few minutes to realize why his sentence sounded so odd. Who was Elijah? I thought that was Adrian speaking as it sounded just like him. I felt my heartbeat speed up; it was so fast I thought my heart may pop out of my chest at any moment.

"What is going in? Who are you people?! Where's Adrian?" I jerked towards the door, but with my hands tied, I couldn't get the door opened which may have been a good thing since being tied and blinded pretty much left me unable to fend for myself without any assistance outside anyway.

"Casey!" I felt hands land on my jerking arms and no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get them off, "Calm down." The grip while being firm, was in no way too tight. I could probably have pulled away had I really wanted to, but truth be told, I really didn't.

"Let me go. Please." The last word coming out a pathetic whimper.

"I will only let you go if you give me your word that you won't attempt to struggle again. You're just going to hurt yourself." This coming from the person who had the voice that I didn't recognize.

After a moment, I nodded.

"Good," the hands that were gripping my upper arms were suddenly gone and I could pull back into a full sitting position.

The bag was unceremoniously pulled from my head and I found myself siting in the back seat with Adrian (or someone who looked just like him) sitting in the driver's seat and another man –who I assumed to be Nathaniel- sitting in the passenger seat.

I glanced at the door debating whether I had a chance at all to get away, but the Adrian look-a-like apparently could read my intentions.

"The child lock is engaged, Casey. You're not going anywhere. Besides, it's not safe outside and I- we, mean you no harm."

I caught myself about to snort at that. I didn't even know these men and one of them looked just like Adrian. It was creepy.

I sat back in the seat and glared ahead. My eyes narrowed on the fake Adrian.

"You're not Adrian, are you?"

What a stupid question as I had just heard the other man call him by a different name. But all the stress and confusion was making it hard for me to think clearly and make easy connections.

There was a long, uncomfortable pause.

"No, I'm not." After the admittance, it became clear to me that he was telling the truth as the way he spoke changed every so slightly. I had always noticed that Adrian had an underlying accent of some kind; probably British, but this Adrian look-a-like was speaking without the accent. Obviously because his ruse was up and I knew he wasn't who he said he was. I was still wary though.

"Does Adrian actually exist or did you just make him up?"

"Oh, he exists," he said, "He is very much real. My name is Elijah. Adrian and I are what we call dopplegangers." at my clearly confused expression, he elaborated, "Doppelgangers are fancy words we use to describe twins within bloodlines."

"What?"

He sighed, "Did Adrian not tell you?"

I glared at him, "Do you think I would be asking if he had?" I snapped, I wasn't one to lose my temper, but fear and confusion tended to bring it out.

He closed his eyes for a moment before pinching the bridge of his nose "He was supposed to tell you before I picked you up."

"Okay? Well, he didn't."

"I'll tell you a little, but it needs to be on the way. We need to get moving."

"Where are we going?"

"Somewhere safe."

I didn't really believe him, but since I was locked in a car, I had little choice. I doubt they had plans to kill me as they probably would have done it by now or they would have let Jaren do it a few minutes ago.

"Adrian will be there when we arrive and if I don't deliver you safely and unharmed, he'll have my head. He made that very clear to me."

That confession confused me, but before I could ask him what it meant, he turned around, put the car in Drive and we pulled back onto the darkened road that was quickly lightening up with the sunrise. Well, that would explain why Adrian had to leave me. The two men with me were clearly not vampires as they seemed to be in no hurry to avoid the lightening sky.

After a few minutes of driving in awkward silence, Elijah spoke again, "Like I was saying doppelgangers are just fancy words used to describe twins within a bloodline. That basically means that they come from the same family line and usually are many decades apart. Every human has at least one... if the line lasts long enough, they will have several over many centuries. I'm the last known one from Adrian's line as he only had one child before he was changed into a vampire."

Well, that was something I didn't know before. Interesting.

"You also have a doppleganger." Elijah glanced at me through the rear mirror, "I don't know much about her... you'll have to ask Adrian that, but I do know that she is still alive due to being turned into a vampire. You'll see him soon."

"Oh, good. I have plenty of questions to ask him. One of which is definitely going to be why he left me out in the cold like that" I now knew that he left due to the rising sun, but he certainly didn't have to leave me tied up and blindfolded.

"Yea... that was not part of the plan. Unfortunately, he had some...business to take care of."

Why did I get the impression that I didn't want to know what he was talking about?

"I thought it was due to the rising sun?"

"Yes, that too," Nathaniel, who have remained silent for the past couple of minutes was the one to answer me.

The car was suddenly filled with a shrill ringing. It took me a moment to realize that it was a phone coming from Nathaniel's pocket. He glanced at the caller ID briefly before he answered: "You have impeccable timing, Adrian"

I don't know what I was more surprised about... that Adrian was calling at all or a human was referring to him by his first name.

"Yes, we have her." Nathaniel briefly glanced back at me, "Yes, she's fine. Just a bit confused."

A moment later, he handed the phone to me, "He wants to talk to you."

I took the slim phone from him and placed it up against my ear.

"Hello, Casey." Adrian's voice came through the speaker before I could even utter a word of greeting. How did he know I was there? I momentarily forgot that he was a vampire and could probably hear my breathing straight though the phone.

"H-hi"

"How are you doing?"

Well, that was a loaded question. One I really didn't know how to answer... I was cold, tired, and confused about pretty much everything. Before I could decide the best way to respond, Adrian spoke again, "I know you're confused and I'm sorry as that is partly my fault."

You think? I thought bitterly, thankful that he couldn't read my mind.

"I didn't mean to leave you, but I had to handle something, and it really couldn't wait. I wanted to call and make sure you understood that you were safe, alright? Elijah and Nathaniel won't hurt you. They are bringing you somewhere safe where you can start getting some answers. I made it very clear to them that if you arrived with even one hair out of place that there would be dire consequences. I need to you to cooperate with them. Can you do that?"

I glanced warily towards the front of the vehicle, "Yes."

"Good girl. I'll see you soon." Adrian said, "Give the phone back to Elijah please."

I handed the phone back to the driver of the car who carrier on a conversation a few more minutes before hanging up. I was too busy watching the sun come up for the first time in what felt like years to pay attention to his side of the conversation.

I was so focused on the beautiful pink and orange colors in the sky that I was startled when a blanket and a small pillow were suddenly shoved into my hands.

"Here," Nathaniel said, "We have a pretty long drive ahead of us, so you may want to take a nap along the way."

I nodded taking the items from his hands, "Thank you." However, I had no intentions of falling asleep in a strange car with two strange men. No matter what Adrian said, I didn't trust them. I really didn't trust Adrian all that much, to be honest. Even though he had been nicer to me than some of the other vampires I had encountered, he was still a vampire. And, if I had learned anything about vampires over the year or two since they had come out of hiding, it was that they couldn't be trusted. No matter what.

"You can start getting some answers"

I found myself thinking back to those words spoken to me only moments ago. I had no idea what they meant as I really didn't have many questions at the moment. Other than the obvious: where the hell was I going and what the hell Adrian was up to? Maybe this all had something to do with my doppelganger? Whoever that was. The whole idea of having someone walking around that looked exactly like me from years ago was just a bit odd. She very obviously must be a vampire since that the only thing that makes sense. For some reason, my mind suddenly went to thinking about Alexandria. I didn't know much about her other than that I looked just like her. I remember Damien clearly didn't like when people brought her up. Okay, now that I was thinking about it... I definitely had more questions than I originally thought I did.

I tried to fight down a yawn. It had been several hours since Damien had wakened me from that very bizarre dream after I had only been asleep for a few hours. Though, it felt longer somehow based on everything that had happened since. My body hadn't gotten the recommended six hours of sleep and now that the excitement of the evening/early morning was seemly over for now, my exhaustion had caught up to me.


Submitted: November 22, 2020

© Copyright 2020 sarabeth120. All rights reserved.

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