As predicted, Pablo has no problem talking Gabriel into agreeing to Alyssa's plan. It was by far the best way to keep everyone safe in one spot, far away from the hostile forces that just took out Denver. Sean was excited to start a new practice, something that Alyssa was sure her mayor would do somersaults over. Doctors were in high demand in every city and town, the key was convincing the mayor of Alyssa's town of that without dictating terms to him. Pablo came up with an idea that that Gabriel seemed to agree with as it seemed the best way to approach integrating into the small town without ruffling too many feathers. As Pablo had also predicted, they had two trucks packed up and ready to roll by sun down. Pablo had his own truck just like Sean's, a tank to help him evacuate if he ever needed to get the hell out of dodge. So with two trucks available, it made things more comfortable since everyone didn't have to pack into one like a can of sardines. Sean and his family went with Pablo and Alyssa, while Gabriel flew ahead and cleared the roads of any issues. As the sun was coming up, Gabriel found a secure spot for them to crash and then he flew off for a quiet place to rest during the daylight. Despite the secure position they found, Alyssa wasn't content to stay in the truck as she found a tree to climb into to look around their perimeter and keep a look out. Pablo sat on the roof of his truck and took in some rays while watching her look out.
"Is that really necessary?" he asked her.
"Do you want to take any chances?" She countered, "You?"
"Fair enough," Pablo said, smiling. "I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little paranoid on occasion."
"A little?" Alyssa asked, smiling back at him.
"Mock away," Pablo replied, "But this paranoia is what's kept me alive all these years. I trust my gut, and it's never led me astray."
"Can't argue with results," Alyssa conceded, "I just feel better making sure we keep an eye out."
"I put motion detectors out there before Gabe left." Pablo told her, "This little thing in my pocket will buzz if there's any activity near us, but Gabe also cleared the area. If he says we're clear, we are. And if he's wrong, he'll come back and take care of it for us."
"How will he know?" Alyssa asked, "He's not here right now."
"Ahhh, I get it." Pablo said as he took a deep breath. "He hasn't told you."
"Told me what?" Alyssa asked, not liking the tone his last comment had.
"It's the blood," Pablo started to explain, "Usually vampires hen the take someone it's just one quick shot and that's all she wrote. In the past they didn't used to feed from one person more than once, so it was never noticed until now. They had to ration blood since food is scarce for them. That's when some of them started to notice what was going on. Vampires who fed from the same person for a long period of time started to develop a connection with the person they were feeding from."
"What kind of connection?" Alyssa asked.
"Best way to describe would be a psychic connection," Pablo replied, "I first noticed it a few months after he started drinking my blood. I could sense whenever he was around, or if he was feeling strong emotions like whenever he was angry or feeling something else."
"I haven't felt anything," Alyssa informed him.
"You guys just started," Pablo reminded her, "But I've also seen some cases where nothing ever developed. It's not an exact science. We have no idea what causes it or what even triggers it. It's entirely possible you might never feel anything."
"What about Gabriel?" Alyssa asked.
"Like I said, Vampires feel it a lot more and for them it develops quicker." Pablo answered, "In other words, he feels if first and feels it strong. If you're ever in trouble or need help, then he'll feel it, even if he's hundreds of miles away. That's when he'll drop whatever he's doing and fly to you. He's not feeding off of Sean or anyone in his family, so that's why he had no idea what was going on in Denver."
"He's not feeding off them," Alyssa started, "But they know what he is?"
"They do," Pablo confirmed, "He and Sean have been friends for some time now, and they hide nothing from one another.
"Oh," Alyssa said, as it was rather ignorant of her to assume that Vampires didn't have any friends. Gabriel seemed in control of his craving to feed, so it would be no issue for him to hang out with and have a few human friends. There's always the possibility that Gabriel was saving them as a feeding backup, but she didn't think he was that cynical. She could be wrong, but if he was helping Sean as much as he was helping her, Alyssa could understand how Sean and his family would be a last resort backup only to be used in case of emergencies.
"He's one of the good guys," Pablo said, as if he could tell what she was thinking. "It's the other Vampires that give their kind a bad name."
"You've met other Vampires?" Alyssa asked.
"Unfortunately," Pablo confirmed, "Many of them are nasty, hostile, and look at you with a total lack of empathy, like how we would look at a cow. We're food to them and nothing more. Gabriel never got along with the others and refused to pick up their way of thinking and he's better off for it. He broke away with his own kind a long time ago, before this whole zombie thing even started."
"If you don't mind me asking," Alyssa said, as she saw an opening, "But do you know how old he is?"
"Gabriel?" Pablo said, teasing her. "He's pretty old."
"How old?" Alyssa asked again.
"We're talking at least a few hundred years." Pablo answered, "I've seen an old picture of him with Abraham Lincoln. So he's been around for a while but I don't have the exact number. He's pretty mum about that one. If you ever find out, please share with the class because I'm rather curious about it myself."
"Sure," Alyssa said, as she turned away to keep her look out.
"There's nothing around." Pablo told her, "Gabriel cleared the undead for at least a few miles in all directions."
"How does he do that?" Alyssa asked.
"You haven't seen him engage them yet," Pablo replied, "Vampires have two things that make them useful to wipe out the undead. First they're very fast, and move too quickly for the zombies to catch them. Then we come to the claws, as a Vampire's finger nails can extend into razor sharp weapons that can tear a zombie's head off in less than a second. I've see Gabriel take out as many as two hundred undead in less than a few minutes."
"Damn," Alyssa said, thinking about it. "That's how he saves me. He killed all the zombies and then took me out of that mall."
"Fortunate for you," Pablo said, "I can tell you're good at killing them. Your town would have lost a good fighter if you had perished."
"They didn't care," Alyssa replied, "Especially that horrid mayor."
"That's also why I like this plan," Pablo told her, "Not only do we get a good place to take shelter in and contribute, but you'll have people in town you can trust. Gabe and I will have your back. You don't have to fear that mayor anymore."
"I can't be sure he'll let you in," Alyssa warned him.
"I'm sure he will." Pablo disagreed, "I've been dealing with men like him all my life. I know how they work and like my favorite movie infamously said; I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."
"What movie is that from?" Alyssa asked.
Pablo responded by slumping his shoulders. "I realize the apocalypse is upon us, but you've never seen the Godfather?"
"I'm kidding," Alyssa said, laughing at him. "My Dad loved that movie. I've seen in a few times."
"There's hope for you yet, Alyssa." Pablo said, "A shame your father is no longer around, I have a feeling I really would have liked him."
"I'm sure you guys would have been besties," Alyssa agreed, "He was also a very good hunter. He preferred to hunt with a bow though."
"Truly a loss the world will not recover from soon," Pablo said, sighing.
"Are we really going to wait here all day?" Alyssa asked.
"Getting impatient?" Pablo countered.
"We could try to cover more ground." Alyssa suggested, "And if we come across trouble, we just back away and then wait for Gabe. He'll know where to find us when he wakes up."
"That's true," Pablo concurred, thinking about it.
"Why does he keep up the facade?" Alyssa started, "He told me back in St. Louis that it was all an act."
"Because it's not a facade," Pablo replied, "Vampires may not burn up like a firecracker in the sun, but it definitely weakens them. They find it harder to function by day, unless they're indoors with all the windows covered. It's not a brutal as the movies portray, but it's still very unpleasant."
"We good to go, Pablo?" She asked.
"Let me talk to Sean, see what he thinks." Pablo said as he went back into his truck and closed the lid behind him. Moments later he came back out to consult with Alyssa about it.
"What did he say?" she asked him.
"He's game as long as we don't take any chances." Pablo said, "If we can cover some ground before Gabe wakes up, he can catch up and we might be able to make your town before he needs to rest again."
"Sounds like a plan," Alyssa said, smiling back at him. She was looking forward to getting back to town, and to her sister.