I didn’t know where else to go and so I’d ended up in Annapolis with Reynolds. He was kind to me and I stayed there for a long time helping out in the tavern, waiting for Raven to come back.
After a while I met another girl and we became close. She had run away from home where she’d left a mentally unstable mother, an abusive father, and two younger sisters whom she missed severely.
She was pretty, chestnut hair and brown eyes. She looked a lot like me, I realized, and within a few weeks of our being friends the others in Reynolds Tavern began mixing us up. We became interchangeable.
I cared about her. She was the first friend I’d had in a long time.
I confided in her that I was waiting for someone important to arrive.
“When do you expect him?” she asked.
I shrugged. “I hardly know. But he’ll be able to tell me where to find Blue.”
“Who’s Blue?” she asked.
What a complex question that was! Who was Blue indeed?
I deferred with a smile and she grinned back. “He’s your love,” she said.
“True love?” she asked because she was still very young and believing in such things is a luxury of that age.
Blue and I had been in love, certainly. In some ways that love had been as pure as it could possibly be. This far along, though, we had damaged and broken the ties that bound us a dozen times. I was hopeful that we could renew our love and I felt ready for forgiveness, ready to be reconciled.
“Raven will help me find him,” I said. “They often travel together.”
“Then I hope he comes soon,” she said. “So that you may be reunited.”
My new friend was hopeful for me and I felt the camaraderie of a shared wish.
She had hopes of her own, among them finding a way to New York City so that she might become an actress. She was beautiful and people noticed her as she moved through the room. She performed effortlessly, flirting and schmoozing customers out of tips.
When she decided at last to leave Reynolds and Annapolis and move further North, she gave me her parents’ address and the names of her sisters. She’d told me so much about them by then that I felt as if I’d known them my whole life. She promised to write when she was settled and send a forwarding address.
We hugged tightly and then she was gone.
Months later, as I was missing her terribly and about to give up hope that Raven would ever return, he arrived. My own destiny was as wide open as my friend’s had been. I ran to him, excited for recognition and kinship.
But he held me away from him, staring in wonder at what I’d become.
I ached for the broken bond between us, he my Blue’s sire and I, his truest love.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I’ve come to find you, and Blue,” I added, looking past him as if my love might be over his shoulder.
“He’s not with me,” Raven said sadly.
“Where is he?”
“You’re not meant to find him now,” Raven said. “There is another for him first. You must let that story unfold.”
“But it’s been decades,” I said. “And we’re meant to reconcile, aren’t we?”
Raven smiled at me and laid his hand on my cheek. The touch was intimate and I ached for the friendship and love in it. I closed my eyes.
“Sweet Asta,” he said softly.
“Lila!” a shriek rang out from across the room. I turned just as a young blond girl flung herself into my arms.
“Lila, Lila!” she cried into my ear and held me tight round the neck. “It’s me, Sara.”
I pulled back and looked at her. She was the green-eyed siren of my friend’s photographs, her middle sister. I smiled in spite of myself.
“Sara,” I said and I heard my own voice echo. I looked and Raven was staring at us both. He had said her name, too. Then we both looked at her.
She was beaming, blonde curls bouncing, green eyes twinkling, full cheeks pink with the cold outside. Here she was, my Blue’s first love. My Blue’s first wife. Still human.
Raven and I exchanged glances. He looked hard at Sara and then again at me and as if the realization came to us both at the same time, he said, “Lila, who is this lovely creature?”
And I answered, though Lila had been my friend’s name, not mine. I answered because the story suddenly revealed itself and I was to begin a new life here and now with this new sister.
I was to be the reason and the way she came to be my Blue’s love at all. I would turn her.
“This is my sister,” I said. “Sara.”
Raven stuck his hand out and shook Sara’s. She smelled so sweetly of honey I thought I might betray myself with a pulse of my eyes. I felt dizzy, light headed, just being near her.
“I’m glad to meet you,” he said.
But Sara was staring at me. She glanced his way, smiled and then said, “Lila, sister, I’ve missed you. Why have you stayed away so long? Say something.”
I looked back at her, that fresh face, those green eyes, her perfect lips and smile and knew my Blue would love her the minute he saw her.
“You’re different,” she continued. Her hands were on my shoulders and arms, then my cheeks and in my hair. “You’re changed somehow. What is it? What’s happened to you?”
I smiled at her, took a deep breath of her honey scent and said, “I’m a vampire.”
Lila turns Sara and takes her to Kansas where they meet up with Blue. But he has not yet learned he can travel, has not yet gone to Switzerland, and he does not know Lila.
He falls for Sara. Lila reminds herself that’s how it should be. Theirs is a story that must be written before Blue ever comes to Asta in Switzerland. And yet every minute in which Sara and Blue are together, Lila is miserable.