13 A bad soulmate (Julia)

I can't help but wince when I see Leo grabbing the knife. I clench the armrests and try to stay calm, to erase my presence completely. Maybe, they'll forget about me. If I don't move, they won't remember that I am here, listening to their plans to kill me.

Regardless of my resolve, my arms start trembling, and my eyes tingle, wet.

I don't want to die now, not after everything I've done to survive.

«You won't be able to resist, Leo,» Amadeus continues. «Not only the bloodlust but also other types of feelings will crumble up. This is just the beginning...»

«You said you wouldn't kill me,» I whisper, trying to look as composed as I can. «We have a contract...»

Amadeus narrows his eyes, and I keep my breath when Leo moves forward. He's so close to me that I can feel his presence even with my eyes shut.

«Stop scaring her,» Leo says.

I open my eyes, and he looks at me with a reassuring smile and moves his hand towards me. I wince, and he retreats his arm.

«Well, you can just go with the flow,» Amadeus utters with a bored expression. «That way, you'll be back in control in a few months.»

«Are there any drawbacks?»

«Not really. You won't kill her. You already noticed that, didn't you?»

Noticed what, exactly? I observe Leo nodding, but I can't calm down yet.

«Why are you talking about killing, then?» he inquires.

«Because you're too kind to assault a girl against her consent. Would a hunter let a vampire do what he wishes? I was worried about it, but I guess this is not the case. To my surprise.»

«Amadeus...» he murmurs, somehow menacing.

«I wanted to help you reach your goal, but it looks like you already had a plan in mind. You're cunning, using a contract as an excuse... You don't have to worry about her consent anymore.»

«Consent?» Leo smiles.

Somehow, I feel my cheeks blush. I already know that I'll agree with his next words.

«Why would she reject me when she feels worse than I do?»

Still, saying it out loud with this natural tone is a bit unsettling. My face must be all red by now, from the hair to the chin.

«She feels what?» Amadeus asks, dropping his jaw. I know, right? This pupil of yours is totally shameless.

«Isn't it double-way?» Leo utters, surprised. «Why are you reacting like that?»

«Let's start from the beginning,» Amadeus decides. «When you want to bite her, she feels it as well?»

«Yes,» Leo confirms, and I nod.

«You want to bite him?» he repeats, doubting.

«No, I want to get bitten,» I confess and look at my fingers, embarrassed.

Amadeus passes a hand through his hair, visibly shocked.

«And what about the rest?» he inquires, analysing my expression with suspicion.

«I feel suffocating, and my body aches everywhere. Until I can hold Leo's hand or...» My voice dies down, and I inhale deeply before continuing to talk. «Or kiss.»

«How is it possible?» he asks, this time more focused. «Humans aren't so sensitive. They don't usually respond to the link between soulmates.»

«I'm a hunter,» I point out before he could start doubting everything. «I have vampire blood in my veins.»

«The amount is so small that we can't even notice it,» Amadeus exclaims.

In fact, I do look like an ordinary human. Even the hunters didn't see any potential in me.

But this link... Does it really explain everything?

«How do you know that this is a soulmates' bound?» I ask, curious.

«Because I can recognise it. I also met my soulmate two centuries ago. She was human as well...»

«Two centuries,» I repeat, dumbfounded. How lonely Amadeus must have felt all these years... He couldn't hold his other half for so long, and he won't meet her again. How sad.

I'm impressed that he didn't fall into despair.

«You think of it as a mere number, but it's really a long time. It was the best time of my whole life. Too bad that humans live shortly. Still, it's something you can't fight, even if you want.»

«And your woman didn't feel anything?»

«Not at the beginning. Only after a few bites. Now, you didn't have time for that.»

Yeah, unfortunately.

«Do you think that feeling every single time, though?» Amadeus utters.

«No,» Leo answers quick. «Not always.»

Amadeus nods, and I feel more puzzled than before.

«You might be affected by the bound,» he explains to me. «Leo is too, but he has other urges that you don't. It's at least twice worse than for you.»

I glance at Leo with a sorrowful expression. I only know what I felt this night. I can't even start imagining his suffering...

«Why are you holding back, then?» I ask, not really conscious of my words. Still, I can't understand why he prefers thirst. Am I really that bad of a soulmate?

«Don't make that face,» he utters, covering his eyes with a hand. «We'll talk later, okay? We'll reach an agreement.»

«Will killing me really help you?»

«I won't kill you,» he scoffs, annoyed. «Don't listen to Amadeus's jokes. He's just messing with you.»

I turn to the other vampire, and I find him with the expression of someone watching his favourite soap opera.

«It's almost impossible to kill a soulmate,» he says, and I sigh, relieved. I might actually survive this conversation. «What you want to do is to protect your other half. It's true for you as well, girl, isn't it? You don't want Leo to suffer.»

«No, but I'd like to keep my life as well.»

I am a bad soulmate... what a pity.

«Leo won't hurt you, don't worry.»

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«I wasn't worried,» I utter, keeping my eyes still on Amadeus. I don't know anymore if he's trying to mess with me, but I can't let him play with my mind.

«What will happen in the next few weeks will be so powerful that you both won't be able to stand it. There really isn't any point in resisting.»

Leo's face is that of a man sentenced to death, and I can't help but frown. He could at least try to hide his thoughts, damn it! I haven't chosen this, just like him, but I don't act all disgusted at the idea.

All of a sudden, I can't help but want to tease him.

«I won't let you suffer,» I exclaim, tilting my head and smiling tenderly. «You won't have to endure it on your own...»

Just as I predicted, his face loses colour.

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