Fire and Ice Ch. 04-05byMisBehaved©
Sorry about that cliffhanger, I tried to get the next chapter out as quickly as possible. Also, I apologize that it seems to be taking so long for these two to get together. They have a mind of their own, and I guess they don't like to rush into things. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
As I drove home that night, my fingers gripped the wheel tightly, white knuckled. I didn't fear for my safety—something inside of me trusted Adam, although I had no real reason to. The fact of the matter was, he could have killed me at any time during any one of our interactions, but he hadn't. That seemed to say that I was safe.
It occurred to me how strange it was that Adam was the last vampire on earth. Wasn't it possible that there was another one, somewhere? I would have to ask him when I saw him in class tomorrow.
I understood what he had told me about vampirism—it made sense that it could be considered a blood-borne disease. In fact, he had presented the argument so logically that I felt a little miffed that I hadn't thought of it on my own.
As I pulled up in front of my apartment, I parked, locked my car, and walked inside the building, traipsing up the stairs to my front door. I pressed my key into the lock, jiggling the handle a bit to open the door, and stepped into the darkness of my living room. I'd forgotten to leave a light on in my hurry to leave, and I fumbled around a bit, searching the walls for the light switch. Once I flipped it on, light flooded my small apartment, illuminating the old thrift store furniture surrounding an ancient TV set.
A small dining area was to my left, divided by a counter extending towards me that started the kitchen. It was a small little place, clearly decorated in the 70's, with brownish-red counter tops and brown oak cabinets, no dishwasher, and no washer and dryer.
I had always liked my apartment—I thought it was well-furnished for me being a college student, and I was proud that I had always been able to afford to live on my own by simply using my work-study money wisely. But after visiting Adam's apartment, the light shining overhead made it look dismal, dingy, and unworthy of the amount of time I had put into it. I sighed and slung my bag from my shoulders, dropping it on the floor next to the door.
I slipped out of my clothes as I walked to my room, uncaring that I was leaving a trail from the door to the bedroom, and when I had gotten everything off except for my bra and panties, I sat on the bed, staring silently at the wall.
So. Adam was a vampire. That didn't mean anything, right? He was still my friend; I was still going to hang out with him. We could still study together. He would still help me pass my classes. No big deal, right?
Except, it was. Everything that I had started to find out about Adam suddenly seemed small and insignificant compared to the major detail of his race. I had always prided myself on being open-minded and accepting, but as I sat on the edge of my bed, I found myself judging someone simply because of what their DNA looked like. I groaned in frustration and laid back, my legs still dangling off of the bed from my knees down. One thing was certain—ever since Adam had come along, my life had become a lot more complicated.
The next morning
I shouldered my bag as I walked into my 8 am Microbiology class. I yawned, scanning the room for Adam, as I contemplated at the fact that this class would be much easier to pass if they would only offer it at a later time.
A pair of gorgeous hazel-grey eyes locked on mine and I made my way over to go sit with him. I set my bag down next to me and pulled out the chair, sitting next to him.
"No chai today?" He asked as he noticed me yawning again.
I shook my head 'no'. "I didn't have time. I had barely even rolled out of bed 30 minutes ago."
Adam smiled, "Gotta stop with those late nights, Em."
I smiled, and conversation ceased as we both sat, silently reviewing the events of last night. As awkward as it was, I was just glad that Adam had still shown up and was sitting next to me. A small burst of uneasiness had welled within me when I had walked into the class room and not seen him right away.
My thoughts were interrupted as our professor walked into the classroom. Dr. Benita Benton was a small, frail looking old woman with pure white hair and coke-bottle lenses. Her back hunched over, almost as if it was tired of supporting her altogether-too-large brain. She was a brilliant scientist but a poor teacher, unable to convey the wealth of information that mulled in her mind simply because she couldn't possibly understand how we didn't understand. It was like she was Sherlock, I was Watson, and what was 'elementary' to her required a severe amount of explanation for me. Thank god for Adam. She was wearing her normal color, brown; a brown cardigan sweater buttoned up all the way with a white blouse underneath it, the collar poking out, and a brown pencil skirt. She was the epitome of boring, and her voice matched perfectly. She spoke in a dull monotone, quiet enough that you had to strain to hear her, which also meant that she was quiet enough to be ignored.
I diligently took notes on everything Dr. Benton said; Adam sat back with his arms crossed over his chest and just listened. I stifled the urge to roll my eyes; the reason it was easy for him was because he had been alive for so long—it must have at least been a little difficult the first time!
Class was let out early so we had a break before our 10 am Organic Chemistry. Adam stood idly by as I packed up my things then tilted his head a bit.
"We've got over an hour. Want to go to Espresso'd?"
I shrugged, fiddling with the strap on my bag, trying to make it more comfortable.
"Let's go. We can even take my car, if you'd like."
I hadn't realized that Adam had a car. I'd never seen it, so I nodded, "Alright. I guess I didn't get my chai this morning anyways."
We walked out of the building into the parking lot and Adam pulled out a set of keys that I hadn't ever seen before. Of course, he had the remote unlock feature, and I heard the soft chirp of his car as he pressed the button.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at his car. I mean, I already had seen his apartment. He'd obviously had a lot of time to accumulate the money required to live like he did, but still! His car was inconspicuously expensive. A black, sleek looking BMW sat in front of us. I don't know too much about cars, but his looked like it could go fast. He looked back at me and grinned. I sighed—my little 1990 Honda Accord looked like nothing now.
I opened the passenger door, stepping into the car that seemed to practically ooze comfort. Adam was watching my face as I sat down.
"You like it?"
I bit my lower lip, "Yeah, it's nice."
Adam studied my face a bit longer then sighed, "I can't tell if you're lying or not." He started up the car and it hummed with untapped potential. Honestly, it gave me goosebumps.
"Yeah, I like it. But everything you do makes what I have look like shit. I'm getting a little tired of it, truthfully."
Adam just looked at me, using the clutch and shifting as we pulled out of the parking lot.
"That's not true, Emma. Nothing you have looks like shit."
I sighed, frustrated, and began counting on my fingers, "One: You pass micro effortlessly, and I'm wasting my life slaving away at it, even with you as a tutor. Two: My apartment looks dingy, brown, and dull compared to the sleek one you have tucked away in the nice area of town. Three: You've seen my car. Enough said. Four: There's never a hair out of place on your head. Your outfit is always completely put together and I'm pretty sure you could pull off a sweatsuit if you wanted to..." I trailed off a moment as I tried to think of more to say, but I couldn't.
"There's more, I just can't think of them right now," I conceded.
Adam shook his head, then using his fingers on the steering wheel, began to do the same thing, "One: You have goals and you work towards them. I take micro because I'm bored. Two: There's never a hair out of place on your head, either. I've seen you pull off sweats. Three: You're supporting yourself, which is something most of these college kids have never even heard of. Four: You're not a freak of nature."
I winced internally at his last statement.
"You're not a freak of nature, Adam."
His face didn't show any emotion, "All of the evidence seems to point towards that conclusion, Emma."
We pulled up in front of the coffee shop and he turned off the engine. We sat quietly in the car for a moment before I looked over at him.
"You're not a freak, or creepy, or evil Adam. You should know that by now. You shouldn't need me to tell you this."
Adam looked over at me and his eyes locked on mine. "Somewhere along the line, there was a mutation in the genetic code of an individual. That mutation coded for the protein that I have in my blood. That mutation made vampires. It was a fluke, a flaw, made even stranger because that individual didn't die, but passed on this...illness to every one of its offspring. I'm a fluke, Emma. I'm a flaw that nature couldn't erase quickly enough."
I placed my hand over his, "If that's the case, then everyone is a flaw. So, then I'm a flaw. All humans are flaws. The entire universe is made of flukes and flaws that weren't supposed to exist, but they do, and they thrive. You're not bad, or evil, or a freak of nature Adam. You're just a guy, who's a friend, who likes to eat weird stuff. Personally, I think you're more normal than a vegan."
Adam let out a wry laugh, "Yeah, maybe." He opened up his door and stepped out of the car. I did the same. We walked into Espresso'd and I ordered my usual chai; Adam got a water. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"You drink other stuff besides..." I cleared my throat, "...your usual?"
Adam smiled, "You can't have life without water, Emma. You're a science major, you should know this."
I blushed a little, "Right."
We walked back out to his car and got in. As we drove back to campus, I sipped my chai. It was hot and it felt good as it ran down my throat. I was glad I had something to concentrate on—being in a small, enclosed space with Adam made my hormones run wild.
"So, final's next week—you ready?"
I shrugged. "I think so, actually. I'm just glad that winter break is almost here. I'm so tired of school, and I miss my family."
Adam nodded silently, and I realized that Adam hadn't seen his family in milennia. It physically hurt my heart a bit. I put my hand over his on the shifter and he looked at me and gave a sad smile.
"I'm fine, Emma. Don't worry about me. I've gotten along without a family for this long. It's not as big of a deal anymore."
I didn't say anything; I could hear the hidden sadness in his voice. I cursed myself internally; I needed to be more careful of my words around Adam. That cocky little grin of his was a perfect mask to what he was feeling, and the more that I found out about him, the more I realized that he was actually a bit insecure about who, and what, he was. Not that I didn't blame him; if I was a vampire, I'd probably be pretty freaked out too.
We pulled into the parking lot and Adam parked his car. We sat there, me sipping my tea, Adam sipping his water, in silence. Suddenly, Adam cleared his throat.
"I'm not coming back next semester, Emma."
I looked at him, struggling to comprehend the words that he had just said. "You're leaving?" It seemed impossible—I had just started to get to know him!
He nodded, "After talking to you last night, I realized that I still have a lot of questions about who I am. I need more information. So, I'm going to take a year off. I'm going to travel, search the world for any evidence of others like me. Maybe I wasn't the only one to survive. I'm going to go back to Europe, especially to Greece. I really need answers."
I stared at the lidded cup of chai in my hands. All of Adam's words seemed to make sense, but as a whole I couldn't seem to process them.
"So...next week, finals week, is the last time I'll see you for...a while?"
Adam nodded, "But I'll come back. You're the only real friend I've got in the world right now."
I shouldn't be upset that he was telling me this. I shouldn't feel this bonded to him. But I could understand what he was saying. If I were him, I'd want to know everything I could too. I sighed, running a hand through my hair.
"Well, have fun with that, I guess."
Adam looked at me, his eyes pained, "You could come with me, Emma."
The world seemed to stop as he said that. He wanted me to go with him? I couldn't just drop everything that I'd been working towards, my entire life, for a guy that I had met last month! I felt angry that he would even consider me to be that type of girl.
"I can't go with you, Adam. I have a life here, I have responsibilities, I have goals, and I don't have eternity to achieve them."
Adam grimaced as my words struck a chord within him, "I know, I didn't mean to imply..."
"That I would just follow you around, like a puppy? Your 'pheromones' don't have that much of an impact, Adam." I spit out harshly.
He winced. I felt a little bad, but I was more mad than anything. I wasn't just some little human pet that he could keep on a leash.
I opened the passenger door, grabbing my book bag, and started walking back to the building, across the parking lot. Adam followed, walking quietly next to me. He opened the door for me and I strode past him, into the hallway, then into my classroom, where Organic Chemistry was getting ready to begin. He didn't hold that door for me, or follow me through it. When I turned to see where he was, he was nowhere to be found.
I didn't see Adam for the rest of that week. We didn't study together at all, and when the weekend had come and gone with no word from him, guilt started to eat at me. I had been a little harsh. It wasn't like he was forcing me to do anything, he had just asked me to come with him on a trip that most people would have jumped at. Now it was Monday morning and I had been stressing more about Adam than about my finals.
The micro final started at 1 pm. The class filed into the room nervously when Dr. Benton unlocked the door. I rummaged through my bag, getting out my pens and pencils. I kept scanning the room, but Adam was nowhere to be found. I stifled the disappointment rising in my gut and focused on the test that Dr. Benton had just placed in front of me.
I passed all of my finals that week, and my second to last semester of college was completed. One more to go and I would be a graduate. As I walked out of my last final, Evolution, I noticed a figure leaning on my car.
I felt my heart flutter slightly. He was here, he was waiting for me. He was looking at me, having heard me open the door to the building a while ago.
"I just wanted to say goodbye before I left."
"And I want to apologize."
"No need, Em. I understand."
I stood in front of him, just watching his facial expressions. They were carefully guarded, which meant that he was hurting, at least a little bit.
"I really am, though, Adam. I wish I could come with you. It sounds like something I would love to do. I've always wanted to travel. But I only have one more semester, and then I graduate. I just have things that I want to do..."
"I know, Emma. I'm sorry. Sometimes, I forget what it's like to be human, to not have unlimited amounts of time. I miss that sense of urgency, that driving feeling to complete a goal." He sighed, and his hand reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. I shivered at the contact. His touch lingered, caressing my jawline, running down my neck. I felt my eyes close involuntarily as I trembled against his touch. I opened my eyes, and he was looking at me, focusing on me, concentrating like I was the only important thing in the world.
I felt warmth envelope me, from my noes to the tips of my toes. His hand lingered on my neck, his touch becoming firmer, drawing me closer to him. I let go of my bag and it hung on my shoulder limply as I wrapped my arms around his waist, pulling him close. My cheek rested against his chest and I could hear his heart pounding behind his ribcage.
His long arms came around me, his hand stroking my hair. I felt him press his lips to my forehead and a spark of electricity ran down my spine. I sighed into him, breathing him in, and let myself relax against him for a moment. I'd never been this close to Adam before, but now that he was holding onto me, and I him, I didn't want to let go. I heard him sigh painfully before he lifted his chin off of the top of my head and used a finger to lift my chin.
My eyes met his and he gave a little smile, "I'll be back, Em. I've just got some searching to do."
I nodded, my eyes not leaving his, and a sad little crooked smile twisted my lips, "I'll miss you, though."
His grin was genuine, and his eyes seemed to glow with a happy sadness, "I'll miss you too, Emma." He gave a wry chuckle, "I haven't heard those words in a long, long time."
I buried my face back in his chest, "You're worth missing, you know."
Adam was silent, quietly stroking my hair. I wondered what was going through his mind. He spoke up suddenly, "You're really something, you know that, Em?"
I gave a wry smile and looked up at him, "Gee, what every girl wants to hear. I'm 'really something'".
Adam gave a frustrated groan, "You know what I meant, Emma."
I nodded quietly and struggled to release him, trying to let him go. He seemed to sense that I was loosening my grip and held onto me all the tighter. I looked up at him with a puzzled expression on my face and suddenly, his lips were on mine.
He pressed against mine with a firm softness, a gentle persistence, and I melted underneath him. I felt my legs turn to jelly as I clung to him, my arms coming up, wrapping around his neck. I felt his fingers twist through my hair and he breathed in deeply through his nose, pulling away. He gazed down at me with an intensity that I could feel within my soul.
Why was I letting this man go?
I squashed the small voice in my heart as we pulled away from each other. I was flushed, taking deep breaths, the intensity of the kiss shocking me. Adam gave a small grin.
"That's what I meant, Emma."
I looked up and saw him. I saw his eyes, the compassion and sadness lingering behind that easy grin. I saw the perfection on the outside covering a broken man who had spent 1000 years alone. A man who was my friend, who knew that I liked chai but couldn't seem to remember that I hated coffee; a man who had blood pumping through his veins just like me. I saw a student, a tutor, a listener; my friend. Taking a deep breath, I ran my fingers through my hair.
"I'm really going to miss you, Adam. Come back soon, please."
He just nodded and smiled, "I will. You won't have to wait for me too long."
I adjusted the shoulder strap on my bag and stepped away from his car as he got into the driver seat. As soon as he was 5 feet from my body, I felt the cold chill of the December wind weasel it's way between my clothes, chilling me to my core. His car started with a roar, then quieted down as it idled. He looked up at me, gave me a small smile, then a little salute and put the car in gear, shifting into reverse, backing up and the pulling forward, out of the parking lot.
I watched him go and my heart cried out. I knew that no matter how long I had to wait, I would. I would wait as long as I needed for him to come back to me.
I turned and walked to my car, pulling out my cell phone. I needed someone to talk to, and since I couldn't talk to Adam, I was going to call my mom.