So I'm still here, and I'm still determined to finish this story even if it takes me 10 years. (I really hope it doesn't take that long.) I won't bore you with excuses for not updating. As always, thank you so much for your wonderful reviews. You guys are way to nice to me considering my horrible track record for keeping up with this story. Your feedback is always appreciated. Happy reading! :)
Olivia and Emily looked from me to Anthony to me and took our unwavering attention from each other as their cue to leave the room. More of the same silence continued after they left. I wasn't sure where to start, so I was glad when he spoke first.
"How have you been?"
I shrugged. "Oh, you know. I was lied to, and then I spent a few hours in a jail cell."
He avoided my eyes when he spoke again. "I know you must be upset –"
"I really don't think you do," I interrupted. "You know, out of everyone, I expected you to be the one to always be honest with me."
"I wanted to be. Things just got more complicated," he said softly.
"Complicated? I was so worried. I thought the Administratio was going to kill you! Not to mention Emily. And now I'm in hiding and we have to kill Lucas and everything is so messed up and –"
"It's not all about you, Evelyn," he yelled, cutting me off.
I looked at him in shock. In all the time I'd known him, Anthony never raised his voice at me.
"Did you think about how worried I was when you just disappeared with Ethan? He was a newly turned, hungry vampire who could have killed you."
"This is about Ethan? You wanted to kill him. He's my best friend. I had to save him." I felt like this was the millionth time I was explaining this. "In case you've forgotten, I'm a vampire hunter. I can hold my own against a vamp."
"And while you were busy saving him, everyone else was worrying about saving you. It doesn't matter how much you think you can take care of yourself. Anything could have happened. Lucas is still out there. The Administratio doesn't trust you. I had good reason to worry and so did your sisters. Do you realize that my brothers are in danger because of us, and I worry about them too? Do you think I don't care about what happens to Emily?"
I didn't want to listen to what he was saying, any of it. "I didn't know that I was such problem in your life."
He sighed. "You're not a problem, Evelyn. But I don't think you realize that you do this thing where you always jump to do what you think is right, and you don't really talk to anyone about it first. You just…act. That's why you work so hard to keep Emily safe, and that's why you saved Ethan. And I love that you can do that, but can you see that it had us all worried when you just left with Ethan?"
I stood there, taking in what he was saying, and at the same time not really wanting to absorb it. I'd made up my mind half way through his speech that I was angry with him, and I wanted to hold on to that anger just because I was in a bad mood.
"Okay, fine. It was impulsive, but it wasn't wrong," I said. "I don't see what that had to do with not telling me about the whole plan for last night."
He took a deep breath before explaining. "When we planned out how best to face the Administratio, there was concern that you might do something…impulsive."
I bristled at this. "Concern from whom exactly?"
The expression on his face told me he knew he was on thin ice. "Mark expressed some worry, and Olivia was the one who suggested keeping it from you."
"And you agreed with them?"
"I agreed to go along with Olivia's plan in its entirety because I thought it would accomplish what we wanted. And it did."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "That's just a roundabout way of saying yes."
"You've been under a lot of stress lately. If things went badly in front of the Administratio…"
"So you don't trust me? That's just great," I said.
"So what is it that you want from me?" he asked, raising his voice again. "I'm sorry that you're hurt, I really am, but I can't really do anything but say I'm sorry. Which is something that seems to be impossible for you."
This was too much. I needed time to think. It wasn't lost on me that Anthony was upset with me for pretty much the same reasons as Olivia. I'd assumed that Anthony would be on my side through all of this, and now that he wasn't, I felt lost and betrayed and irrationally angry.
"Maybe we should be apart for a while," I said. I couldn't believe the words were coming out of my mouth, even as I was saying them.
Anthony's eyes widened. His mouth opened to say something, but he closed it before any sound came out.
"You're right," I continued. My voice was robotic, and the words just seemed to fall into place as if I'd known for a long time that I would be saying them. "With all this stuff that's happening, everything isn't about me or even about us. There's Emily and Ethan to think about, and we won't be able to stop worrying about Lucas until he's dead. So maybe we should get some space from each other to keep our heads clear while we sort through this mess."
There was a long silence while we just stood there staring at each other. It became more uncomfortable by the second. I wanted him to react, to say something.
"No," he said.
"This is exactly what I mean about you being impulsive," Anthony said.
"I'm not being impulsive," I said. "I thought about this."
I felt surprisingly calm, considering what I was saying. My voice didn't shake. I didn't have to hold back any tears. I felt cold, completely detached.
"You thought about it for what, ten seconds?" he asked, yelling again. "We were perfectly fine before, and now there's a problem and instead of working on it, you want space."
"It's just what's best for everyone right now. Us being together seems to cause more problems than anything else so –"
"You two need to finish this little spat you're having," Olivia interrupted as she walked into the room. "Although, Evelyn, I have to say, I completely support your decision to dump the bloodsucker. Really, you could do so much better."
I took a deep breath to try to hold on to my calm and not scream at her. "You were eavesdropping?" I asked through gritted teeth.
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, but even if I hadn't been, I still would've been able to hear you two from anywhere in this house. You weren't exactly using your indoor voices."
"Did you come in here for a reason, Olivia?" Anthony asked.
"Yes," Olivia spoke to me even though Anthony had been the one to ask the question. "Nicole just told me that Caroline found out about Ethan, and let's just say, she isn't happy her only son is a now a vampire. Also the Administratio is having a meeting. They're freaked that they still can't find you."
"Are they going to come looking for me?"
"I would think so, but they won't know to look here. I'm sure they still want to blame your boyfriend over here." She paused to throw a sly look in Anthony's direction, "Or is it ex-boyfriend now?"
"But they can't blame him…right?" I said before Anthony could react.
"No, he's safe. They're his alibi after all. They were the ones with him when you disappeared, and there's no way they'd suspect me. I think it's safe to say our plan is going perfectly."
"I'm glad you're pleased," I said. "Now can you go away? We were in the middle of something."
"No, I cannot go away. We think they're going to want to talk to Anthony and his brothers soon. They're going to think that you all know where Evelyn is," Olivia said.
"They do know where I am," I said.
"Well they're going to have to lie about that, obviously," she said. "Anthony, you should get back to your brothers. Nicole will come soon, and Emily's staying here so Evelyn will have lots of company."
"Can you give us a minute?" Anthony asked her. "We really were in the middle of something."
I wasn't in the mood to get into it again. I'd said what I needed to say to him. I really did need the space.
"You should go now," I said. "I've said what I needed to say. I guess I'll see you soon."
Anthony looked me straight in the eye, pain clear throughout his face. For a few moments I thought he was going to say something, and for one split second I thought he might kiss me, instead he just nodded and walked out of the room. Olivia had something that looked like approval in her eyes, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that. She followed Anthony out of the room without a word, leaving me alone with my thoughts, something I did not want to be left alone with.
I walked through the house and found Emily who was trying very hard to appear as if she were engrossed in a book she was reading.
"Hey, we haven't had a good one on one chat in a long time," I said.
She smiled at me. "We really haven't. I've missed that."
"I'm guessing you heard every word Anthony and I said to each other?"
She avoided my eyes and nodded. "I tried to block it out. You haven't had much alone time with him either. Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really. I'd rather talk about you. How've you been? How're things with you and Eric? Are you getting along with Ethan?"
"Good. Good. And yes," she said.
"That's it? That's all you have to tell me?" I asked.
"I'm not the one you need to be worrying about right now. You're the one who's in the most danger here, and I don't even think you realize it. And I don't think you should be shutting Anthony out in the middle of all this," she said.
"You know when someone says they don't want to talk about something, the socially acceptable thing to do is not talk about it," I said grumpily.
"But this is important. You can't really expect to work with Anthony to kill Lucas if you and Anthony aren't on speaking terms."
"I'm trying to do the right thing," I said.
Emily rolled her eyes. "It's a little late for that excuse, Evy."
"I wasn't thinking when I got into this mess with Anthony, okay? I never even thought about how things would work out in the long run because I knew they wouldn't. He's a vampire and I'm a vampire hunter. Those two things do not go together. Couples get together and then they break up, so that's what we're doing. We're breaking up."
Emily stared at me blankly. "So that's it? Relationship over?"
"Yeah, we'll fight Lucas of course. And then after that it would probably be best if we didn't see each other anymore." I said the words with the same dead tone in my voice that I'd used when I told Anthony we were done. I hated the way I sounded. It wasn't me, but I couldn't stop it.
"Are you even listening to yourself, Evelyn? You're seriously sitting here and telling me that you went through all of this over the past few months just to break up with Anthony?"
"The other hunters will be glad I finally came to my senses."
"But I thought you loved him?" she said softly.
I frowned. "I do. But that doesn't mean that it'll work with us. I should have paid attention to my instincts when he first talked to me."
Emily didn't say anything more to me. I got the feeling that she was going to take Anthony's side in this, and that made me angry for the millionth time in less than 48 hours. I left the room before I could have my third screaming match of the morning.
Time passed in that slow way it does when you're waiting for something to happen but you don't know what it is. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a huge mess, and not being able to do anything to get out of it. I felt like I was suffocating in the house, but I knew that if I left, even for a few minutes, my sisters and Anthony would freak out. And I really didn't want to give them all panic attacks again.
"I heard you broke up with Anthony," Nicole said.
I jumped a little at her voice. I'd been sitting in the living room by myself, wrapped up in all my problems like the self-absorbed teenager that I was. I didn't even know what Emily was doing.
"News travels fast," I said.
"So it's true then?" she asked. "When Emily told me I didn't believe her."
"Why is it so hard to believe? Didn't everyone say from day one that the whole thing was doomed? I don't see why everyone's so surprised that it fell apart."
"It doesn't sound like it fell apart. It sounds like you broke the poor vamp's un-beating heart," she said.
"I'm sorry, are you on his side here?" I asked. "I thought you'd be happy that I broke up with him. I know you think I was crazy for dating a vampire."
"Oh no, I think you're an idiot for dating a vampire," she corrected. "But that's not my issue here."
"You should probably get to whatever your issue is quickly then because, to be honest, I'm really not in the mood for a sisterly heart to heart. The only reason I'm not walking out of the room right now is because Emily's moping more than I am."
"Okay, first of all, Emily's moping because of you," Nicole said.
"Yes, you little brat," Nicole said. "Every time you start complaining about all your vampire problems, she takes it personally."
"That's crazy!" I said. "I wanted to help Emily. She shouldn't think like that."
Nicole sighed. "The only reason you had the opportunity to help Emily was because you dated Anthony. She was caught up in the mess with Juana and Lucas and she doesn't want to add to your stress."
I was shaking my head to everything Nicole said. "I've told her over and over again that she shouldn't feel that way. I chose to help her. I would've helped her Anthony or no Anthony."
Nicole shrugged. "Sometimes you can't help the way you feel no matter what anyone says. Isn't that what happened with Anthony?"
"I'm confused. Are you saying you want me to date Anthony?"
"Of course I'm not saying that," she said firmly. "But a large part of the reason we're all in this huge mess is because you wanted to date the vampire, it seems like a waste to throw away the whole relationship over one fight. As far as boyfriends go, I think you could do worse. At least I know Anthony actually cares about you."
Now I was beyond confused. I was actually quite certain I'd heard her wrong somehow. "I thought you hated Anthony."
"He's grown on me," she said.
I stared at her blankly for a few moments. It was not possible that those words just came out of her mouth – at least not in that order. She stared back at me patiently while my brain processed what she'd just told me. Then I stood up grabbed a pillow and threw it at her face.
"I hate you," I said.
"That was not the reaction I was expecting," she said.
"I've been dating Anthony for months, and you wait till I break up with him to give me your blessing?! Your timing sucks."
"He only thinks about what's best for you, Evelyn. Believe me, nothing would make me happier than if you would just get over him and move on, but I don't think that's what you're doing right now."
"So you want me to break up with him, but you don't think I should? Explain that logic."
"I think you shouldn't make the decision based on one little impulse. You're angry with all of us right now. Just give it some time."
I rolled my eyes. "It's not like I don't have a reason to be angry."
"We had a reason – lots of reasons actually – to be upset with you too, Evelyn. Now stop moping. We have other things to worry about."
She raised a brow. "Killing Lucas, for one. You do remember him, right? Or is all that dating angst clouding your memory?"
I rolled my eyes. "So when are we going to do it?"
"Soon, really soon," she said. "I just talked to Eric. The Administratio wanted to know if they knew anything about you disappearing. They were really hard on the vamps, but they don't have anything to prove the vampires were involved in your disappearing. Also…"
I frowned. "Also what?"
"Mom's worried about you," she said. "I caught her crying in her room."
The only time I'd ever seen my mother cry was after my dad died. I wasn't at all sure how to respond.
"My whole life is one big mess," I complained. "I don't even know where to start to fix it."
"Focus on one thing at a time. Right now Lucas is the priority. After that you'll know that Emily and Ethan and the Carsons are safe, and then you can worry about dealing with the Administratio," she said.
It was good advice. Or, at least it sounded like good advice. I loved the idea of only taking on one problem at a time. Unfortunately, all the problems in life tended to blow up in my face all at once…