“Who was that man?” The fourteen-year-old was clearly awestruck by whom she had seen.
Broni gave her a frowning glance. “That is Vlad.”
“He looks cool. Is he nice? He waved back.”
Broni didn’t seem to know how to answer the curious question. Destiny didn’t have the same problem. She had known him since before he had become an immortal.
“Vlad is very nice to children. They all love him.”
“Can I meet him?”
Destiny’s lips quirked as Broni and Abby stared at Zandra aghast. The teenager wouldn’t be the first who was drawn to Vlad’s imposing visage, but that it did Zandra was surprising. The teen had been on both her and Fate’s radar since she had been a young child. Her soul was filled with a gentle beauty that her outward beauty hid. Nothing about her could be classified as pretty. Her lips were too big for her face that was too thin, yet her eyes kept her from going unnoticed. They were azure blue. It was the color of the ocean, and when you stared deeply into their depths, you could see the beauty of her soul within.
“No!” Broni and Abby both answered at the same time.
Zandra stared at them in incomprehension. “Why not?”
“Vlad is busy right now,” Destiny answered for them. “Zandra, would you mind making me a sandwich?”
The helpful young girl went to the small kitchen, leaving the adults alone.
“Vlad wouldn’t hurt her.”
“I agree.” Broni put an arm around Abby’s shaking shoulders as Balder came through the door.
“It no longer matters. They left.”
“I have seen people go crazy for no reason. I believe what you have told me about you being a Moirai, and even about Rhys and his friends being immortal, just please don’t make me believe that vampires are good guys.” Abby’s statement had them smiling, breaking the tension that the vampires being so close had raised.
“I wouldn’t go that far. Broni is merely saying that Vlad and his men would never harm a child.”
“But they’d hurt the rest of us?”
“The vampires are unpredictable right now. They are cornered, and a vampire needs a safe place to rest and feed, or their basic instincts will come out. Time has made them less of a threat to mankind, but when they and their young are threatened, they won’t hesitate to revert to their old ways.”
Abby looked around as if one of them would come out of the shadowy corners of the clubhouse. “Are you sure all of them are gone?”
“I’m sure,” Destiny reassured her. “I would know if any of them were still here.”
“Okay. Does anyone want something to eat?” Abby asked as Zandra brought Destiny her sandwich, setting it proudly down in front of her.
“I made you a peanut butter and jelly. I put extra jelly on it for you. I hid a small jar when Rhys brought the last supplies in.”
“Thank you.” Destiny stared down at the unappetizing sandwich. Under the girl’s watchful eyes, she took a small bite, then another. “It’s good.”
“It’s the grape jelly. I prefer strawberry, but it’s better than nothing.”
Destiny chewed the gooey mess, trying not to choke. The teen had known hunger when she had grown up in what most humans would call a home, but she knew that where Zandra had been forced to live was no home. It was a structure that housed two people who had no concept of what being a parent entailed. She would have died as a young child if Fate, Broni, and Rhys hadn’t interfered.
When the Road Demons had captured her after her so-called parents had been killed, they had used her like no child should ever be used, then locked her in a closet when they slept.
If Broni hadn’t found her in that closet, she would be food for one of the vampires tonight. It was a good thing for the Road Demons that she wasn’t, or the vampires wouldn’t be leaving with their food supply. Vlad would have killed them on the spot.
“Next time I go out, I’ll try to find you some,” Adam offered, and Abby gave him a look that had Adam reaching for his glass and moving away. The flustered girl made an excuse to go into the kitchen.
“She’s in love with him.” Destiny made the mistake of trying to wash down her sandwich with her whiskey, gagging. Broni hit her on her back.
“She is. Adam is, too, but he thinks it’s just because Jace was killed and she needs someone to protect her. He may be a good leader, but when it comes to women, he has a one-track mind.”
“Nothing wrong with that.” Rhys smirked down at his wife.
“That reminds me of something, Warrior.” Broni angrily stared back, taking his hand before leading him to their room.
“What’s that about?” Rocque stared after their abrupt departure as he took the sandwich she had no intention of finishing.
“Broni is probably planning on discussing a few trysts he had before they were married.”
Destiny arched a delicate brow. “She’s nothing like me. I would have neutered him during his first life. It took Fate to whip him into shape.”
“Fate makes any male want to cover his dick.”
“Are you saying my sister is a bitch?”
“No, I’m saying she’s worse than a bitch.”
Rocque’s eyes went over her shoulder. Then he bounded over the bar, and Destiny found herself pulled from her stool and into his arms as he snarled at whoever was behind her.
“Down, Cujo!” Fate’s mocking voice had Destiny giggling.
She tried to turn around to give her sister a welcoming hug, but found herself gripped tighter.
“She’s not going with you!” Rocque snarled, his body tense. She placed a hand on his chest to calm his racing heart.
“I have no intention of taking Destiny when she doesn’t want to go.”
Destiny managed to turn her head enough to give her a killing look.
“She doesn’t want to go with you?”
“No, for now, she’s content to stay with you.”
Fate’s words had Rocque staring down at her questioningly. “You are?”
Destiny refused to give the telling answer. Unfortunately, her sister had no such qualms.
“Your furry hide must be growing on her.”
She peeled Rocque’s hand off her, grimacing at the sticky mess on her arm. “I’m covered in peanut butter.”
Rocque blushed, embarrassed that he had reacted so strongly at Fate’s appearance. “I’ll get you something to wash it off.” Giving Fate a distrusting glance, he went behind the counter, searching for something to clean the mess.
“Allow me.” Fate waved her hand before taking a stool at the bar.
Both her and Rocque turned red. They hadn’t thought to do that themselves.
“That’s why immortals cannot stay near humans for long—they start to adapt their habits,” Fate said matter-of-factly.
“Maybe so.” Rocque raked a hand through his long hair. “We’re leaving in the morning, unless you’re staying the night, then we’ll be leaving now.”
“Relax. I just wish to speak to my sister. Then I’ll be leaving you to go on your merry way.”
Rocque crossed his arms against his chest. “I’m not leaving her alone with you.”
Fate shrugged. “Suit yourself. With those big ears, you could hear us, anyway.”
“Rocque!” Destiny glared at him.
Fate waved his comments away as if she were brushing away a pesky fly. “I’m trying to be polite. Keep it up and I won’t,” she warned. “You may be growing on Destiny, but to me, you’re more like a flea that I can crush between my fingers.”
“Try it and see what happens.” He bared his teeth at her.
Fate gave her a considering look. “You sure you don’t want me to rescue you? It would be worth it just to see the look on his face.”
“I gave him my word.”
“In that case.” Fate waved her hand, making Rocque disappear.
Destiny was alarmed. He was going to be furious when he returned.
“Don’t look at me that way. That ass deserves more than I gave him.”