Mercurial Ends Ch. 03byTalyisBagley©
CHAPTER 3 -- ABANDON DECORUM
His eyelids weighed a ton, yet he stared distantly in the dark. Shy was restless after Tabor had woken him up and then nearly blasted him—and quite possibly the entire apartment building—into nuclear ash. Nothing could distract his mind from the stress headache that throbbed in his temples, neither the big elephant-in-the-room wedding nor the Internet searches for hideouts in Helsinki. Only the haunting image of Tabor's veins alight with blue electricity, illuminating their dark bedroom, was etched upon his mind. This terrifying knowledge was his uninvited bedfellow, and he couldn't shake it. He closed his eyes, rolling as much tension out of his shoulders as he could, and listened to the quiet tapping of his laptop keys in the living room.
Shy ran his fingers through his hair and unconsciously reached for Tabor's still-warm side of the bed, as he had many times in the night when he felt burdened. His fingers glided over her nightmare-haunted, sweat-drenched pillow and felt it sting his heart. He quickly abandoned that coping idea and instead massaged the contours of his eyes, withdrawing to his mind's situation table for a solution. If she were to find out about that the Institute was still a very present problem, how would she handle it with her past still volatile in her present? How could he continue down a path with her? Was it a cruel charade of having a future together?
My God, what was she really capable of doing? Shy trembled.
It was becoming clear to him that Ilsino was right; he didn't know enough about power auras. However, he knew that a fiend like Ilsino would not be the best trainer for Tabor. Shy chewed on his nails as he weighed his options, a habit he'd picked up during the Roaring 20s. He considered another trip to the Horn of Africa, to search the ancient vampire texts. No, he quickly nixed that thought; it was an opening to getting sidetracked, which he could not afford. He had too much business with the wolves, Ilsino, Genevieve, and the always-haunting ticking Helsinki bomb that would rock their world.
Eventually, the sun brightened the room, and Shy surrendered to the state of wakefulness and crawled out of bed to survey the damage of last night's war.
The birds chipped, the wind was still, and this sunny fall morning was the epitome of perfection. His living room shared space with a small kitchenette, accented by two large bay windows that brightened and heated the room. Amidst this picture of tranquility, Tabor was curled in a ball and sleeping, her face etched with worry. His computer lay on the floor next to the couch, its screen still on. He picked it up, expecting to find that she was trying to hack into his history. Instead, he rolled his eyes and huffed "hypocrite" under his breath. She had been reading romance stories online all night. He tried to steady any jealous feelings and resigned himself to the fact that she had only been trying to forget whatever dream she'd had.
Shy rolled his eyes as he turned off the computer and tucked it away under his coffee table. He didn't want to wake her, so he quietly made breakfast and brewed tea for her. He turned on the TV and watched with subtitles; his admitted guilty pleasure—morning talk shows with cooks for hosts. After last night's thoughts about massacring his neighbors and his lover nearly destroying him, he was spooked to the core. At times he could only stand at his kitchen counter, hands tightly gripping the edges, not daring to move, further trapping himself in a daze, his eyes clouded over with fear. Neither cooking nor TV could pull his mood away from the dirge to which his heart beat. He was awash in desperation; he wanted to cling to Tabor, yet knew it to be futile.
Tabor's phone buzzed in the bedroom, and then his own phone rang. Shy swore as he rushed to his grey military pea coat on the couch, to fetch the phone before it woke Tabor.
Before looking at his phone he already knew who it was. Tabor's mother had developed a habit of calling Tabor; when Tabor didn't answer by the second ring, her mother would immediately call him.
"Is she there?" The actress on the other end of the line asked the moment he pressed the talk button. Shy squeezed the bridge of his nose; it would have been a simple enough question if it hadn't had such a horrific history.
"She's sleeping." His voice was gravely from lack of moisture.
"Ah." Her mother immediately calmed, and Shy knew she would now talk to him for hours if she could.
"I don't want to wake her. She had a rough night."
"Dreams, huh? Well anyways, don't talk; just listen. I've been wondering about you two. Are you getting on well? I only ask because you've been through a lot; with some couples that can bring you closer, and with others further apart. You two were still in the early days of your relationship when you first met, so this may be a strain on your relationship's potential. I know Salome seems like a dramatic girl, disappearing and being..."
Tabor's mom always got choked up with certain parts she refused to forget, even though Shy's spell allowed her the peace of forgetting the torrid details of what happened to her daughter.
"Kidnapped. But she really isn't a handful. She's low-maintenance, more down-to-earth than any other child who has grown up in Hollywood, if you ask me. If anything, Salome is probably pulling back right now, not letting you in. She's like that, like a dying dog leaving its owner to spare its feelings.
Salome really loved Declan. She loved that guy with her whole soul. Salome loves with her whole being. She's like that woman, the one that went to the ends of the earth for love - I forget the story - but she's like that."
Yes, she was. Shy was comforted remembering how beautiful her soul was when his vampire nature touched it, and the immensity of her love for him. No matter how he was to talk to the actress initially, she really did have a way t of making him feel better.
"She's a good girl. Shy, I know you mean the best for her, but what are you doing?
Shy grunted, his voice dry from not speaking.
"Don't answer that." Tabor's mom corrected herself. "And don't wake her, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. Shy, you seem...."
She was searching for the right word that wouldn't insult him.
"You're a man of the modern world. I don't want my daughter to be one of those women who never marries, even though they wait and want to marry, but they settle for less just to have these... men in their lives in this charade of sorts, of what they truly have dreamt of. I don't know if I am making myself clear." The actress's summery voice frosted over. "Simply put, Shy: I know how much she was dedicated to Declan, but I will not put up with that mess again.
"Salome deserves someone who will return her love equally, and I will not tolerate anyone giving her less again. He nearly destroyed her before she was even kidnapped and tortured by those crazy people."
Shy could hear her rubbing the stress from her face to try to calm the fury, which he shared on this topic.
"Salome has dreams of getting married, having children, and growing old with the one she loves. She's been planning her wedding, like most little girls, forever."
Shy smiled and shook his head. He knew that the actress had plans for an extravagant wedding, not Salome. But then he did paused with the thought that Salome Tabor did want to marry him, and was very clear on her desires for a traditional union. The idea of marrying after hundreds of years, after so many women and chances for true love, just seemed like he was asking for all the goddesses to punish him more than the famed house of Atreus.
"Anyways, she may have a funny way of showing it, but she really trusts you. She loves you so much. I've had a successful marriage in Hollywood. The key was to have no secrets and have absolute trust, even when we were afraid of how the other would react. Whatever it is that's keeping you two in limbo is better dealt with together. My daughter is strong, I know, but she will always be my baby. Just don't underestimate her."
"Shy... Shy? Are you still there?"
"Yeah," he replied, rocks in his throat.
"Listen, I've got to go, darling. I love you both. I am really looking forward to spending more time with you. Also, please remind my lovely daughter about the Gala at the museum this week. If she gives you any grumpy gruff, remind her that we've talked about this in emails for over a week.
"Also Shy, please get her to the dressmaker on Madison Avenue, she already missed her appointment three days ago. So I will see you Thursday. Love you, Shy. Tell Salome I love her too."
Shy couldn't help but chuckle about Tabor's mother. He liked her a lot. He couldn't imagine the woman as a Power Aura with her temperament, but even though she seemed easily fooled she was a spitfire.
The cab ride to the doctor's was relatively quiet because Tabor was in a sulk about the gala that clouded any happiness she might have had about the removal of her cast. Shy hoped that, once she could move on her own again, their moods would brighten. To make their already bad day worse, the last persons either of them expected or wanted to see were Menefer, Ilsino, Genevieve, and Menefer's daughter, Julisa.
Shy's face went rigid with contempt immediately at the sight of the gaggle of vampires sitting in the doctor's waiting room when they arrived.
"Tabor, go sign yourself in," Shy ordered, not taking his eyes off of the vampires.
"What are they doing here?" Tabor shifted her heavy purse from one arm to the other.
"Tabor, just do as I say for once." He winced, regretting how harshly it had come out, but she, in her Tabor-like way, hid it by biting the inside of her bottom lip.
She hobbled over to the reception window to sign her name on the clipboard, knowing better than to wait for the receptionist to pay attention to a patient instead of her gossiping chatter with the other medical data workers.
"What are you doing here?" Shy spat quietly.
Ilsino wagged his shiny Italian shoe, as if showing off inconspicuously. "You send your little girl off to school, it's a family affair. We see our little aura get her cast removed..."
"It's not the same thing."
"Oh, come now. We'll celebrate, go out to dinner at a horribly themed dinner buffet with fat men in floppy cowboy hats, and then have a quiet cognac at my townhouse."
"Leave," Shy snarled.
Tabor clunked her way back to Shy and slumped into her chair. She wrapped her arms tightly around her body to shield herself from the blasting air conditioning, and the fact that Ilsino was here when she was again at her most vulnerable. A mischievous smile pulled across Ilsino's face; if it weren't for the fact that she knew he was an 'enemy,' she might have fallen for him. He was handsome with exotic features that had disappeared with throughout history. Characteristic high cheek bones that extenuated Ilsino's cunny yet charming bright eyes had become extinct today after centuries of war invasions, nations usurping nations and nomadic journeys. Mystery shrouded Ilsino, not only because Shy refused to talk about him, but because it was hard not to be entranced by his uniqueness.
"Oh Salome, come here dear," Ilsino beckoned. Tabor froze. "Oh come on now," he pulled a magic marker from the inside of his coat. "I didn't get to sign your cast."
"Don't bother; it will be removed within the hour," Shy muttered.
Tabor cautiously sat down next to Ilsino, who leaned over, his tongue playfully stuck out to the side like a little boy enraptured by his art project. Tabor couldn't help but smile and looked to Shy, who was not amused.
"See, all done. Pretty, huh?" Ilsino announced.
She was shocked. The calligraphy was amazing, like vines and flowers, but it was weird because it still formed into words.
She stared at it, impressed but skeptical. "I went to school at the Champs Elysee with my friend Vincent, last name Van Gogh; you might have heard of him. I think I drove him a little nuts with my taunts, but it all worked out for the best."
"Thank you, my dear, but can you see it?" Tabor's eyebrows knitted together and she looked to Shy, who only rolled his eyes and huffed. Ilsino only egged her on to look, so she inspected it more closely.
Tabor held her breath as she followed the curling and tossing flowers crawling up her cast leg. She focused on the vines that wrapped around the blooms, and her eyes popped delightfully with clarity.
"But not aloud dear, to yourself." Ilsino said. Tabor was grinning ear to ear. "It's a spell. It can cause all men to fall at your feet, rapaciously in love with you, if spoken aloud." She crinkled her brow and smirked, darkly. "We want the doctor to focus on his job." Ilsino's smirk was charmingly wicked. Shy folded his arms and towered over Tabor, trying to read the design himself, but all he could see were flowers and vines.
"You can read it, correct?" Ilsino asked Tabor, but he peeked through his silver lashes to check Shy's disposition. Tabor nodded with a stitched-close grin to suppress her bubbling excitement.
"Magnificent," Menefer choked.
"Can you read it, Shy?" Ilsino asked he wagged his shoe, leaning forward with his tongue massaging the burgeoning smile of victory from forming to soon.
Shy squinted, and with each passing second his face filled with more frustration.
"Can you read it, Shy?" Tabor smiled.
"No," he gave up and glared at his enemies, feeling more exasperated and cornered.
"Let's try this." Ilsino giggled and again began to scribble on Tabor's cast and this time
Tabor laughed with him.
Suddenly the tension in the room cracked with an explosion. Shy snatched the marker from Ilsino's hand, and cursing in ancient vampire and not caring who heard.
"Shy!" Tabor scolded him.
"Why are you here? Leave her alone!" Shy snapped.
"You can't read the language of a Power Aura?" Ilsino said in a faux shock. "Tabor can read it and she has never seen it before."
"And this proves?" Shy sneered, his fangs threatening to un-sheath in public.
"Do I even have to say it?" Ilsino added to the electricity sparking between them that threatened to combust. "Bravo, Salome! You are already excelling under my tutelage." Shy snapped his jaw and hissed at Ilsino.
"Salome Matthias," a nurse interrupted.
"Ready, dear?" Ilsino said helping her to her feet. "Let's go get this cast off."
"No, you won't." Shy said literally dragging at Tabor's body out of Ilsino's support and pulling her towards the clinic's doors. Tabor fumed; she felt like a prehistoric wench under misogynist control. "When I come out I want all three of you gone."
"Stop, stop. No one's going in there except me." Tabor pulled her arms away from Shy and strongly clutched her crutch, moving away from the vampires that infuriated her.
Give me my privacy. I decide who gets to come in. It's my fucking body! And stop ruling me. Her eyes shot daggers at Shy.
The room went immediately silent but Tabor could hear Shy arguing with Ilsino, raving with anger. Then Menefer joined in. The three vampires' verbal conflict would soon escalate into a physical brawl, no doubt. Tabor was glad to be out of the middle of it, for the most part.
The nurse had Tabor sit on the examination table to take her vitals. It was a simple task, but the nurse rolled her eyes; she had no patience for the beads of sweat that formed on Tabor's skin in unison with the speeding beat of her pulse. The nurse smacked her lips after she was finally able to get a semi-normal reading and thankfully left the room so Tabor could escape to the adjacent chair. Immediately, the panic attack stopped.
"You don't have to be afraid, you're a freaking power aura," the teen frozen in time since the 70's remarked as she ushered herself into the room. Tabor adjusted herself self-consciously; she felt smaller in the ridiculous paper gown.
"Julisa," Tabor remarked. She had never really official met the vampire; what she knew of her was from Daemoric's mind.
"I only have a short time before my father realizes I have left his side. He thinks what I
have done is an abomination. I love Galief; he and I did not chose to be what we are."
"What do you want?"
"Please, come with me to the wolves' den. Warn them of the war Shy planning to wage. Please, talk to Daemoric; he won't listen to me, but he will you."
Tabor laughed incredulously, "Why would I want to help him or the any of the wolves?"
Julisa's mouth dropped open. "He helped get you out of that place."
"What I do know, crystal clear, is that you are the root of all of their problems. And I am not sure I quite like you." Tabor clenched her fists and her veins began to thicken under her skin.
"Please, there is more to the story. You want to know what you are - the wolves, they know. Their history is as old as the vampires', and they know of you. They know the truth about what happened to the power auras."
"Why would I believe you? You betray your own kind."
"And you yours if you don't seek out the truth. My uncle knows a lot, but Ilsino doesn't know the whole story -- not all of it. And Shy, he doesn't know anything. I know more about your kind than your master does."
That was it. That was enough to push Tabor off the edge. She stood up and squeezed her crutch tightly.
"What are you going to do, Salome? I may look young, but I am older and stronger than you. I am a vampire. You don't join my side then you are my enemy. "
Decorum could no longer belie her feral aura that rolled like rumbling thunder through her body. She took only one powerful step forward towards the young vampire and the cheap linoleum flooring seemed to turn to rubber from years of wear and tear.
"Ah, Miss Matthias, time to finally get that cast off. Oh-," the doctor ran into Julisa and finally looked up from Tabor's chart, "Is this one of your classmates from Brown?"
"No." "Yes." Tabor answered, but Julisa countered.
"Well kinda, I went to a neighboring school. My name is Julisa." Tabor clenched her teeth in fury; she was fed up with how all these ostensible vampires weaved their constant lies with such ease and charm as they manipulated their way through centuries. And now this bitch decided to pose as one of her college friends, who actually did worry about her disappearance and had paid for her missing person PSA.
"I'm glad to have you back safe at home, Tabe Babe," Julisa said chipperly, and impudently fait la bise-ed Tabor. "Please think about it, okay? I'll arrange a pickup so you can see Daemo this weekend; then, drinks to celebrate your cast removal!"
With that, Julisa pranced out in the same flighty way that made Tabor's skin crawl; it was so similar to Genevieve. Tabor didn't like any vampire associated with Genevieve and, frankly, she couldn't trust Ilsino either. However, she had no choice than to use him to get what she needed. She would have to tread carefully.
"We'll do an x-ray afterwards. You'll have to work on strengthening your leg as soon as possible and wear the brace if you need extra support," the doctor announced, then motioned for Tabor to lie down on the table. "So are you set to have this cast removed? This will be quick and painless. Just relax."
The doctor smiled kindly, but the kind things that happen on medical tables were the furthest things from her mind. As soon as Tabor lay down she was overcome with anxiety, but she willed herself to stay still and brave. The spinning sound of the saw immediately transported her to the past.
Her chest burned, the air evaporated from her lungs, and she fearfully clutched at her chest, desperate to keep the air in. The wet blood was smooth on her fingers as they glided over each healing rib bone that had been cut in order expose her living heart. She regretted shifting her sight to where she heard the sound of draining water; it was a red river of blood falling from her body onto the floor. The sound became deafening.