Under Orders(14)

By: Doris O Connor

The bond they had created could not be broken. Every time Jonathan drank from her, her life span extended. Already she could feel the changes in her body. Her hair was softer, her skin smoother, and that niggling back injury she’d carried for years after a riding accident did not plague her anymore. Her hearing was sharper, and she had perfected her mind conversations with Jonathan to such a degree that folks looked at her funny when she burst into peals of laughter at something he’d whispered to her consciousness.

The dratted man loved to tease her, and many a boring business meeting had taken on an entirely different meaning in her head. Anna had been deliriously happy for the last month in fact, but her time was up. She had to tell Grand-pops about Jonathan, and not even to herself would she admit how nervous she felt at the possibility that the two most important people in her life could end up hating each other.

Somehow she got her feet to move, Jonathan’s hand a reassuring presence at her back, and she pushed open the heavy door left open as usual. Jonathan clucked his disapproval.

“I know. I keep telling him, but he won’t listen. Anyone could walk in.”

“Hardly anyone, Anna.”

Her eyes widened in the gloom of the long hallway, as she stared down the barrels of a shot gun. Her beloved grandfather stood on the bottom of the unused stairs, his grey eyes trained on Jonathan with unwavering directness. The heavy gun in his hands was rock steady and ready for use, she noticed.

“Grand-pops, what on earth are you doing?” she asked, instinctively moving in front of Jonathan to shield him as much as she could. Not that he was letting her.

He stepped around her putting himself in the direct line of fire.

“Wooden shot I take it? Enough to bring me down and enable you to take my head?” Jonathan put his hand up to silence Anna, and she complied immediately. He was in full alert don’t-mess-with-me-mode, which was sexy as hell in the bedroom, not so much when he was facing her grandfather who seemed intent on killing him.

“I told you fifteen years ago if I ever saw your kind near my granddaughter again I’d kill you with my bare hands. I have enough of the slayer’s weapons left. I may be an old man, but I will not let you corrupt my Anna.”

“Grand-pop, I—”

“Let me handle this, little one. Go and wait in the car for me.” Jonathan interrupted her.

“No.” Anna crossed her arms and stamped her foot. “I am not going anywhere, and you two can stop this macho bullshit right now. Grand pops, put that gun down before you fall down. I’ll make you an Earl Grey, and we’ll discuss this like reasonable people. There is no need for violence, and if you kill the man I love, I will never forgive you.”

Two pairs of eyes settled on her, one blue, one grey, eyebrows raised in disapproval, and Anna glared at them both.

“I love you both. You’re the most important people in my life, and this is my fault. I should have told you straight away, but I knew you would react like this. I’m not Mummy, Grand-pops, and I’m not under the influence or whatever you want to call it. You’ve raised me to know my own mind, to know right from wrong, to make my own choices, and my choice is Jonathan. He isn’t like the others. All the things that Dad drummed into us were half-truths at best. Jonathan helped me to research him. He wanted to be turned, you know. But the vampire he loved said no. It’s against the rules to turn a human, so he killed her. And then he couldn’t stop killing. He became obsessed, turning against the ones he once wanted to be like.”

She ran out of breath, having rushed the words as fast as she could, needing to make him see sense, and slowly that barrel lowered until it pointed to the floor. Jonathan stepped forward palm up.

“May I?” he asked, and Anna blew out the breath she’d been holding when Grand-pops nodded. He swayed, but before she could do anything Jonathan had him propped up against him. Grand pops looked old and frail now that he’d surrendered the weapon, and allowed himself to be led to his favorite spot in front of the Aga.

Anna sank to her knees and rested her head on his thigh, like she used to do as a child, whilst Jonathan stood back to give them some privacy.

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