Following My Fears, Letting Go of My Heart

July 11, 2008
I hugged my sister with all my might.
“Maria... I can’t believe that you were right here... Right here in this world all along! I spent so many years trying to figure out how to get you back... And you were right here!”
“Alexandria! Alexandria! Alexandria,” Maria sobbed, which was the only word she’d been able to say through her tears.
Finally, after a few moments of reunion, I finally noticed: “You’re blonde!”
“Lucifer’s idea...” she replied, scowling. Then she asked, “How did you find me?”
“Do you remember, about a year or two ago, when a vampire came to visit you in here?” She nodded. “Well, his name is Conner, and he’s helped me a lot," I revealed, meaning in more ways than the obvious.
I reached into my tiny clutch handbag, and removed both our necklaces. Through my tears of joy, I slipped my rightful moon necklace on, and handed Maria her sun. We hugged again, and suddenly, I remembered Conner.
“Maria, we’ve got to get out of here,” I told her, wiping my face and praising the Lord for waterproof makeup.
“Where are we going,” she wondered, absentmindedly fiddling with her rightful necklace.
“We’re going to save my boyfriend,” I said with confidence, not realizing what I’d just said.
Maria raised an eyebrow at me. “Boyfriend?”
“Uh, I mean... I mean Conner! We're going to save Conner,” I fumbled.
Maria laughed. We’d been apart for so long, and yet, she knew me so well.
We scrambled onto a large tree, whose branch extended close to Maria’s window.
“You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to do this, but was to afraid,” she told me as we escaped down the giant oak.
I took her hand and ran around towards the back of the large house, miraculously, there wasn’t a single person loitering around outside. I guess they were all enjoying the feast. There were some dense woods around back, and I instructed Maria to hide in them while I searched for Conner. She obeyed and, to my horror, I found our vampire friend.
Two metal poles jutted out of the ground, and connected at the top in a triangular shape. I immediately recognized it as a whipping post. A dark figure was chained to it in the middle, by both arms. He was bent over, in exhaustion and pain. I rushed over to the figure.
“Conner,” I cried, and fell to my knees. “What happened?”
“You’re alright,” he cried, brightening.
“Yes, yes, what happened to you?”
“Where’s Maria? Is she okay?”
“Yes,” I said impatiently. “She’s hiding in the trees over there! Now what happened?”
His right wrist was chained up with a manacle to the right pole, and his left was connected to the left pole. He was on his knees, so his arms were spread out as far as they could go. I could tell that being in this position hurt him, but he was too weak to stand.
“They caught me,” he answered simply. “Seconds after you left, Vincent, Reeves, and Marcus caught me. They turned me straight into Lucifer, and he ordered me whipped.”
It was then that I noticed his nice white shirt had been turned to the grimy color of dirt and blood... I could tell he’d been thrown about. His back had been reduced to bloody tatters, and I could see some oozing cuts on his arms and even on his face. His black coat had been removed, his hair was hanging in his face. Deep wounds bit into his flesh where the whips had slashed across him. I sucked in my breath.
“Oh Conner... I’m so sorry,” I cried. “This is all my fault!” He laughed dryly.
“Somehow, I knew you’d think that. You’re wrong. I could have backed out of this at any time. I chose to help you. I chose this.”
“Oh... Oh, Conner. They’re going to kill you!” He looked solemn.
“Get out of here while you still can. Run!”
“No,” I scoffed, stubborn as always. “Not until you can come with me.”
“Well, don’t hold your breath for that, Love.”
How could he be sarcastic at a time like this? I pointed at the manacle around his wrist. “How does this thing work?”
“It’s made to withstand all magic,” Conner answered, hopelessly.
“Is that it,” I asked. “Only magic?”
“Only magic,” he laughed. “Alexandria, magic is the most powerful force on this Earth! Everyone and everything is magic...” He trailed off. “Hold on... Everything is magic... Except you!”
“Now you’re catching on,” I said, approvingly.
I tried to grab the chain, but my hand slipped through it like air. I gasped.
“It works!” Conner began laughing, but stopped abruptly.
“Only one problem.”
“What,” I asked, still waving my hand through the chains.
“You might not contain magic, but I do. I can’t pass through the chains.”
“Oh.” Well, this is a predicament. Conner seemed to accept his fate.
“Alexandria... Love, I don’t think we have a lot of time. Vincent will be coming along now any minute to take me inside and turn me over to Lucifer. I... I don’t think I’ve got very long to live.”
I nodded, my throat constricting painfully. “I... I just wanted to let you know a few things. The first... I was made a Night Walker because I stabbed another vampire.”
I gasped, and Conner winced. “It wasn’t like that! It wasn’t... He almost killed my sister!” I gasped again. “He was her ex-boyfriend,” Conner continued. “I walked in on him shouting something about how she was a slut, and that she should never date anyone but him. He drew a knife, and so I did the only thing I could think to do. I wrestled it away from him... and in the scuffle, it pierced his shoulder. I didn’t do it on purpose, but there was no way I could prove that, so I became an outcast.”
“Conner-” I began, but he cut me off.
“No. Please. Let me finish. The second thing that I want to tell you is the reason I didn’t admit to kissing you last night.” I blushed.
“You really don’t have to-”
“I didn’t kiss you because I was afraid of you. I was afraid of getting close to someone besides my sister. I loved Abigail. I loved her with everything I had... And when she died... I lost everything I had put in her.”
“Oh, Conner-” I started again, but was cut off again.
“Lucifer knew how much I loved her, and that was why he killed her. I thought... I thought that if Lucifer knew how I... feel for you, that he’d kill you too. He destroys everything I care for.”
“Conner,” I cried.
“I know! It’s not true. It... It just seems like it is. The truth is, and, trust me, I’m only saying this because I only have a few minutes to live, that I like you. A lot. No! I love you! I love you.”
“W-W-W...” I stuttered, not really knowing what I word that started with a ‘W’ that I was going to say.
“I loved you since the day we got married,” he revealed. “I know that sounds a little off, but that’s when it happened. That second kiss...”
“Reach into my pants pocket,” he ordered.
“Love, hurry up,” He glanced over his shoulder. “It’s in the left pocket.” I reached in and took out a folded piece of paper. “That is what I drew last night.”
I inhaled sharply. It was us... kissing. That’s when It hit me. Conner loved me. Conner loved me! Me!
“It’s beautiful.” He smiled. “Conner, I just need to tell you-”
"Please, just don't say anything," he interrupted. "Just let me die knowing that I’ve gotten everything off my chest. Please."
“But I was going to tell you-”
“Please! Love, just... Be quiet!”
“No!" He winced, knowing that I couldn’t be silenced. “I wanted to tell you that I lo-” His eyes widened, and he realized what I was going to say.
“No!” I stopped.
“No? Why not?”
“I know what you’re going to say. Don’t say it.” I almost laughed.
“Do you realize what you're saying? Let me try again: I lo-”
“Stop,” he cried, and I rolled my eyes.
“What’s the matter with you, dip shit?!”
“Whatever you do, don’t say you love me.”
“Why the hell not?” I was getting annoyed. Conner was being a baby, as usual.
“Because you know it isn’t true,” he scoffed.
I was stunned. How could he think something like that?
“I’m a vampire! My kind are the horrors in storybooks! I’m the boogeyman, the creature that hides in closets, the thing under your bed!” He looked close to tears. “You should be afraid of me, Alexandria! You should be running like mad in the opposite direction of me!”
I winced, knowing what was coming next. “I’m... I’m a monster.”
“You are such a dumb ass...” I mumbled. He ignored me, and continued his rant.
“You should scream when you see me! You should be gathering townspeople to kill me, plotting my downfall, hating my guts! The very last thing you should be doing is... is...”
“Loving you,” I finished. He flinched.
“I told you not to say it...”
“No offense, Conner, but you need to get with the times. I stopped being afraid of the dark when I was ten. This isn’t a black-and-white monster movie. This is real life,” I instructed. “And, whether you like it or not, in real life... I love you.”
His eyes met mine. “I’m letting go of my heart and following my fears,” I told him. He smiled.
“I think you mean letting go of your fears and following your heart.” I smiled too.
“No. I don’t.”
Slowly, I grasped the back of his head, and pulled his closer. Our lips met, and we began kissing, gently at first... but then we released the pent up passion that we’d been harboring for each other. He couldn’t move his arms, as they were still chained to the whipping post, but that didn’t stop him. He leaned his face into mine, fighting to get our lips pressed harder together.
I moved my hands from the back of his head, up into his hair. For the first time in my life, I was running my hands through his hair. I loved it. My fingers now traced little circles on his chest, and, amidst the kissing, he shivered.
Our tongues explored the other’s mouth, and we didn't pull apart this time when we sighed in happiness. My hands traveled from his chest onto his back. I put pressure on him, to pull him closer, but he suddenly winced in pain. We pulled apart.
“Watch the wounds, huh, Love,” he asked jauntily. I gasped.
“Oh! I forgot! Conner, I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
“No, no. I’m fine,” he said quickly, and leaned in for more kissing. I pushed him back.
“I should probably take a look at your cuts,” I told him, worriedly. “I hope I didn’t do any further damage.”
“No, really,” Conner protested impatiently. “I’m fine, Love.” I knew he was eager to get back to the romance, but I was genuinely sorry for hurting him.
“Just let me take a look...”
“Love,” Conner shouted, exasperated. “I just professed my love for you, and there’s a distinct possibility of my dying later tonight! My back is the thing I’m least worried about!”
“Shut up and kiss me!”
I did so, post haste. This time, it was Conner who broke the kiss a few seconds later.
“My wrist!” I looked over to the chain that led from his wrist to the pole. It looked fainter, almost as if it were becoming see-though.
“W-Why is it doing that,” I asked in awe.
He seemed to think for a moment. Then he let out a cry of realization. “It’s you!”
“Yes! When you kiss me...”
“I take away your magic!”
He smiled broadly. “Yes!”
“But... But Conner?”
“Yes, yes? What?”
“Are you sure you want to become entirely human again?” The smile slid off his face.
“Answer me truthfully,” he ordered.
“If I’m human, will you allow me to visit you?” I didn’t even have to think for a second.
“Well, yes, but-”
“Kiss me.”
“You said yes, right?”
“Kiss me.”
“But... Conner...”
“Kiss me, damn it!” I laughed and, for the third time, I leaned forward.
Overhead, the moon slid out of view. I assumed it was behind a cloud, but I didn’t turn around to check.
Big mistake.
Our lips crashed together, and I snaked my arms around Conner’s waist. I could feel him smile, and I smiled too. We started laughing amidst the kissing. All of a sudden, Conner pulled away slightly. He was panting from the lack of air.
“My head...”
“Should we stop,” I questioned.
“No... No, it means its working.”
“Are you sure?”
“You look smashing in that dress, you know,” he said weakly, changing the subject with a smirk.
“Oh, quit trying to earn brownie points,” I giggled. “You’ve already got the girl.” I laughed.
He really was one in a million. He smiled, showing me all his teeth. I noticed that his usually pointed canines had considerably shrunk in size and sharpness.
We began kissing again and it didn’t take long for something to happen. A few more minutes passed. All of a sudden, Conner cried out in pain. He turned his head, and our lips parted with a soft suction-cup sound.
“I don’t... feel so good...” he mumbled.
His wrists slid through the chains as if they were not even there, and he collapsed onto the ground beside me. I gasped.
Color rushed into his face. All the sun that had hit his skin, and had not been able to be absorbed was now showing up. He had a nice, deep, olive-looking tan. Flesh color played about his normally white cheeks, and his lips became blood-red. He was beautiful.
“Conner," I whispered, shaking him a bit. “Conner, wake up!”
He was perfectly still. Then, I remembered how the moon had gone dark. Slowly... I turned my head around to face the sky. The moon looked like a circle with a big black hole in the middle of it. The Solar Eclipse had happened.
He was lying on his back, so I pulled back the collar of his partially unbuttoned shirt back. His tattoo was the color of blood. I lifted a shaky hand to touch it, and, under my fingers, it turned to real blood. It dribbled down his chest and soaked into his already filthy shirt.
Maria rushed over. “What happened to him?”
“He... He’s dead.”
A tear landed with a splash on his nose. Another landed on his cheek.
He didn’t flinch.

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