Read The Blood Bargain Online

Authors: Macaela Reeves

The Blood Bargain (7 page)

“It's time to go, hold on to me girl.” He extended his hand.


Liv
.” I crossed my arms. Bloodsucking freak or not, no one talked to me like a little child.

“Excuse Me?”

“My Name is
Liv
. Stop calling me girl.”

“Live is not a name, it is a state of being.” He motioned for me to join him. “Come. Waste not the time.” I could hear the moans echoing outside, it would not take them long to wander up here. At the moment I had to choose between the lesser of the two evils it seemed. Taking his hand I was surprised his skin neither hot nor cold. He was room temperature, like a desk or my

favorite jeans.

Then he threw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and jumped out the window.

I

m not exactly sure how we got from that battered house and the banging dead to Junction. All I know is one moment we were there, and then we were here. Standing outside the old city hall under the moonlit sky.

He said nothing to me as he sat me down. Then nothing after. He merely inclined his head and took a step in the direction of his homestead. In the blink of an eye he was gone, leaving me in the dull cloud of his scent.

For a dead thing he smelled fantastic, a strong masculine musk with a hint of pine. I couldn.t help but stare as he walked off, legs moving with the fluid motion of a predator. He was a strange one. Not as conversational as Caius
was according to accounts I had heard
, not that any of them were decent at small talk.

I turned toward the building, a sense of dread growing yet again in my gut. I know why he had dropped me here, and who waited inside for my entrance.

Opening the doors I found a lone man waiting for
me. He wasn’
t tall, but he was stocky. Grayed hair perfectly combed, although his shirt was marred with sweat stains around the armpits and collar. He was pacing till he saw me. He stopped, eyes watering as though he had seen a ghost.

“Daddy...”


Liv
. Oh thank God.” He held me close for what felt like an hour. Then he pulled back, his face morphing from relief to anger. Crossing his arms he raised his voice. “What were you thinking? Why would you do
s
uch a thing?” He hollered at me. This was the side of him I feared, the commanding military man. I thought of going into details...there were so many answers I could

give him. In the end, there was only one that mattered.

“All I can say is I’
m sorry.” I answered him flat.

He looked at the little chain around my neck.

“You went home?” He breathed no more than a whisper. It was that word. Home. When he said that word, the tears fell from my face. That wasn

t home anymore, it was once. I couldn.t respond through my tears, I just nodded. With a curse he gave me another hug.

“She would have wanted you to have it.” Dad mumbled to me. He went on to lecture me on all the reasons what I did was horrible. It turns out Cole had made it back to town. Then went straight to my Dad. Who then went straight to Caius. Next came the laundry list of reasons why I endangered Cole and how furious his mother was.
I bit my tongue when I wanted to interject how he caused my endangerment. Still, I said not a word, just nodded. He was after all, right in every syllable. My actions had been rash. I had almost caused my own death. Frankly, I was still in shock that I was not dead.

Perhaps I was, and this was my purgatory.


Liv
, you can.
t
go home tonight.” My eyes whipped up at that sentence.

“What?”

“Charges have been brought to the council for your actions. I

m going to have to escort you to a cell until tomorrow morning.” The pain in his face was clear.

“Charges?!”

“Evelyn, you violated every law we have. Even though you are my daughter I cannot disregard our laws. It is not my vote alone.” I took a deep breath, wrapping my arms around my sides. This was the other pill to swallow. The new-age legal ramifications of my actions.

Hell, when I made my decision, I hadn.t even thought about this part.

“I understand.” I tried to give him a small smile.
All arrests should have been made by the colony watch, yet Dad was here himself. It was obvious he was trying to keep this as under the table and non-aggressive to me as possible.

He did not cuff me as he escorted me through the building to the old holding cells in the building. This was a
s
mall town, city hall was combination police headquarters, jail, firehouse you name it. There were only two cells in the place. The eight by eight rooms sported a metal plank

for a bed and a thin slotted window. Classic.

I didn’
t fight when he opened the door, or when he led me inside. I could tell it broke his heart to do so. I sat on the bed-plank and looked back at him.

“I love you.”

“I love you too Daddy.”

“I will do all that I can to ensure you are not...expelled from Junction. See you in the morning.”

With that the door closed and locked, and I was once again alone.

As I lay against the cool metal of the jail cell, I pondered my fate. There was only one case of someone being forced to leave the colony, almost five years ago. It was less than a month until his recently turned body was shot and killed at the marker. Leaving Junction meant the closest colony was 271 miles away, with nothing but two days ration of food and water. There was no nice way to put it. It was a death sentence. I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes.

This had been one hell of a night.

 

Chapter 4

 

 

I’
ve never been filled with a greater array of fear and relief to walk into the council chamber. This room had once been used for town hall meetings, with its half circle desk and ample back seating. The desk that once served the city council now served ours. The American Flag still hung in the corner, the back wall still painted with a tribute to Washington crossing the Potomac.

All seven members were accounted for, including Zack who was seated right alongside his father. I walked into the center of the
semi-circle
desk, feeling surrounded. Thankfully most were stone faced
,
a
side from my least favorite members, Ellis and
Shive
. Both
were looking at me like I murdered their favorite kitten.

Both men glared at me from the right corner of the semicircle. Not that they

d ever been my fans to begin
with. Ellis didn’
t think it proper for a woman to be on city watch. He didn.t think much of my Dad either.

I remember countless arguments over winter preparations that would bring Dad home slamming on the table, cursing Ellis and his mother. The other one,
Shive
, didn.t have a unique thought in his head. Supposedly he had gotten his council nomination eight years ago after several ridiculous acts of bravery.

The rumor around town was he saved many lives, fending off deadheads with nothing but a lamp base. The only thing that gave the stories any accreditation in my book was
Shive

s
muscle tone. Alex
Shive
was not a small man, he was probably the closest in size to Caius we had human side. However true or untrue that had been, these days he was a parrot for Ellis. Nodding and agreeing with whatever the other man came up with.

It was obvious the time for the theatrics had come. With me in place at the center, the council settled down and Councilman Graham began his speech.

“Evelyn Younger. You left the colony, breaking the cardinal rule of our community. Further you did not request permission nor convene with the council on this supposed distress signal you detected. Your actions further endangered the life of Cole Marshal another member of the city watch whom you coerced into joining you on this little escapade. It is only by the gracious

assistance of our vampire comrades that you stand before us alive today. Your actions have put this colony and every man, woman and child within it in mortal danger.” He paused for dramatic effect.

“What say you in your defense?”

With a deep breath, I responded. “I have no defense. I broke the law.” I raised my eyes to my dad. “And I accept whatever the council decides is right for me.”

“The council will now vote on the motion brought forth by Councilman Ellis, the expulsion of Evelyn Younger.” Councilman Graham banged his gavel on the table.

“No.” My father was the first to refute it.

“No.” Zack seconded the motion.

“Yes.” Our resident doctor, Albert Torren, glared at me as he voted for my certain death. With those little wire rimmed glasses and just a hint of gray in his hair he was what I always imagined a doctor to look like. But then again, I had thought him to be kind and compassionate.

Apparently not.

“No.” Councilman Mineral chimed in next.

“Yes.” Ellis declared, with a pound on the table.

“Yes.”
Shive
parroted Ellis word. No surprise there, whatever Ellis said,
Shive
always agreed. The last to weigh in would be Daddy Grah
am himself. I stared at the man’
s
face, he was as hard to read as any politician. My heart stopped beating in my chest as I awaited his word. So far

it was fifty/fifty I would be an undead snack in a week.

“No.” Graham hit his gravel on the desk surface.
“Majority has not favored this action. Therefore you are released from the expulsion charge put forth.” Ellis leaped to his feet.

“I hereby demand the secondary request of stockades be discussed. This girl

s actions cannot simply be ignored! I don

t give a damn who her father is.” He pounded on the table and shot my dad a deathly glare.

“Understood. Calm yourself Councilman Ellis, we are not done here.” Ellis sat back down and I shifted my feet. There was more?

“Still the council must recognize the years of service put forth by Evelyn Younger and other factors that have recently come to light.”

“Other factors?”

“Your recent engagement to Councilman Zack Miss Younger.” My eyes whipped to Zack,
w
ho shot me one of his million dollar smiles. So that was it. My father had swung their votes using the only leverage he had. My future.

Before I could work myself into being pissed off he continued. “As all members of the council must recognize the continuation of the human species is our prime directive. Any issues that lead to procreation must be treated in high favor.

However, I cannot have your actions go without some reprimand. Councilman Younger has requested you be removed from city watch effective immediately. A motion I will grant.

Secondly, we have received a...request from Caius on the behalf of your rescuer. Dimitri has requested your company as his blood liaison for the next term. I am inclined to approve this request. That is, unless there is objection?” He looked pointedly at his son, my new fiancé. Zack did not offer any protest to the motion.

Great.

“Evelyn, I trust that you have learned from your actions and will not repeat this sort of behavior in the future. After all, I cannot have my daughter-in-law endangering my future grand-babies.” A low male chuckle filled the room. With a superior smug smile that revealed years of well paid for dental work when we had dentists, Councilman Graham concluded the meeting. “All right

then, session adjourned.”

With that the assembly disbursed. Several of the men stopped to chat about this or that. My Father didn.t leave, he stood at the sidewall conversing with Richard Mineral about the harvest. After about five minutes of me fidgeting on the sidelines I interjected.

“Dad can I talk to you?” With a sigh he turned to me.

“Not now, I

m very busy.” I crossed my arms prepared to wait, but he followed up with words that hurt.

“Please...just go home.” His voice wasn't angry as much as it was tired and annoyed. With that he turned his back to me, continuing his discussion with Richard. Dad had never ignored me; ever.

Double g
reat. Now I

m a pariah.

I took one last look around the room; Zack was standing with his dad nodding his head like a good little boy. He must have felt my eyes on him, he gave me a smile and a half wave. Bottling my rage, I returned the gesture. Then promptly exited the hall.

Their nerve. Organizing my future like that. Yes, I know I screwed up. Bad. Still, didn.t I get the right to pick my destiny? No, it seems my Dad had decided the safest place for me was
barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I can just see it now, kids underfoot while I peeled potatoes to make dinner for my wannabe leader of a husband. The good life.

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