For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.
If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.
This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
Though the vampires returned from an early gas station break, looking warmed and fed, it was nearly eight o’clock before Oren remembered his promise to “feed the human” and stopped at a fast food place. It was after they parked that Oren mentioned drive through, but Jorick assured him it was fine.
“I don’t mind going in.” He swung the heavy car door open, and addressed Katelina, “I’ll be right back.”
She thought about going with him, but she didn’t want anyone to see her all banged up, so she tried to pretend that she was comfortable being left alone with Oren and Torina. Not that she thought they’d kill her, particularly, but she didn’t know what to say.
She watched Jorick lope across the parking lot, his hands in his pockets, and disappear inside the building. The door was decidedly uninteresting on its own, so she stared down at her folded hands and willed Jorick to hurry.
Oren was equally stiff. He stared through the windshield at his own secret world. Silence settled over the three of them in a deep mantle, and only Torina was brash enough to break it. She turned around, glared at Katelina, and said pointedly, “Jorick has done much on your behalf. I hope that you appreciate it.”
Katelina’s mouth opened, but no reply came. It was like a scene from a bad date movie, only the characters were all wrong.
Oren cut in, “Leave it.”
“I only think someone should mention it,” Torina purred softly. “It isn’t every day that one of the old Executioners – and Jorick, no less – sacrifices anything for a…” she paused. “Mortal. He hasn’t had a lover in many years. And she wasn’t of the mortal variety.”
“I said leave it!” Oren snapped firmly.
“Well, think about it! The way that ended, who would think he’d ever look to a mortal for companionship?”
“Torina,” Oren hissed without looking at her. “Stop.”
“Why?” Torina demanded. “You didn’t tell Kateesha what not to say!”
“Because I’m not responsible for Kateesha or the foolish things she says.”
Katelina tried to disappear into the upholstery of the backseat, and it seemed to work as they continued their battle.
Torina snorted sarcastically “The same as you were responsible for Jesslynn?”
Oren’s eyes grew hard and skipped away from her and back to the windshield. “Yes, Torina,” he replied, his tone as cold as his eyes. “The same.”
Torina’s voice softened, though her words didn’t. “You have no one to blame but yourself, and you know it. You should never have allowed her to turn the children.”
“Enough!” Oren roared. “We’re finished!” He turned his head and stared through the driver’s side window, his face white with fury.
Torina growled low, and muttered something under her breath before she turned to face the front. She sat with her back rigid and her arms crossed over her chest, glaring at the night outside.
Katelina tried not to think about Torina’s words. A pang of jealousy tore through her chest at the word “lover”. She tried to talk herself out of it, but it only made the gnawing in her stomach worse, so instead she turned to logic. “Jorick is obviously…” she paused as she tried to find a description that didn’t bother her, and settled on “old”. Yes, Jorick was old, and it was stupid of her to assume he’d always been single. Still, the thought of him with another woman made her feel queasy. And then Torina’s other words didn’t help. Actually, it wasn’t just Torina, but everyone. Their surprise when they saw her, the sneer in their voices when they remarked that Jorick had a “human”, like she was a diseased house pet that shouldn’t be taken in public. And then Kateesha had gone out of her way to remind her that, even as humans went, she was pretty much just a garden variety woman. It made her wonder what Jorick saw in her; if, in fact, he saw anything.
She was still musing on these dark thoughts when Jorick returned with a “to go” bag in his hand that smelled of hamburger and soggy French fries. She took it gratefully, and started eating before the car was even in gear. She’d never been so tired of being hungry before in her life! It was like the near starvation diet she’d gone on right after high school, except there didn’t seem to be a way to give up and eat a whole carton of ice cream. Jorick was the only one that remembered she needed food, and he seemed to think she only needed it once a night. Feeding once nightly seemed to be the vampire standard; but she wasn’t a vampire.