"I'm the insufferable one?" Lance asked, "You're the murderer, but I'm the insufferable one?"
"Don't make me slap you again!" she cried, "I've never met a man who has made me feel.. So.."
"Alive?" Lance offered with a grin.
"Ooooh!" she cried out, "No, angry!"
"At least you're feeling something now!" Lance said and crossed his arms.
"You think I don't have emotions?" Lilith shouted.
"I think you have them, you just keep them in the nightstand next to the condoms," Lance chuckled.
"You think this is funny don't you?" Lilith asked, "To you it's just one big game!"
Lilith stomped her foot and had to fight back the urge to punch the wall.
"No, I don't think life's a game, but you do, don't you?" he asked.
"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked.
"Well, you kill for sport," Lance said.
"I do not," Lilith said.
She slid down onto the floor and banged her head against the wall in an attempt to relieve some of the frustration she was feeling.
"If it bothers you so much, love, I think it's time to rethink your career," Lance said as he sat down next to her.
"Yea,okay," she rolled her eyes, "What am I supposed to do to make money?"
"Groom dogs?" Lance teased.
"Do you know how much money I make?" Lilith asked.
"Do you know how many vampires you've helped to murder in the last ten years?" Lance asked, "Let me clue you, just in case you've lost count. Two-hundred-fifty lives, Lilith!" Lance said.
Lilith felt the blood drain from her face. She swallowed hard trying to clear her throat, but was still unable to speak. For a moment she sat with her head in her hands and cried. She knew what she had been doing, but she also knew there wasn't a way out of it, at least, not if she wanted to live.
"I'm sorry," she managed to squeak after a few minutes of crying, "but what was I supposed to do? If Hunter is as bad as you say, wouldn't he have killed me if I refused to work for him? If I had to decide to quit wouldn't he have killed me? Killed me dead, just like he tried to do today?"
Lilith searched the vampire's green eyes for answers, but found none. There was understanding and compassion, but no answers.
"But you don't have to do it anymore, Lily," Lance said and wiped away a tear that was on her cheek.
"What am I supposed to do then?" she asked.
"We'll figure that out, but for now just stay with me," Lance said and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
"But what if I'm not her?" she asked him.
"You are," Lance grinned, "I'd know your soul anywhere, Lily,"
"How can we be sure?" Lilith asked.
"There's always Ginger's ritual," Lance shrugged.
"What's that like?" she asked.
"To be honest, I don't really know," Lance said.
"If I do the ritual, will you promise not to go chasing after them?" Lilith asked.
"Okay," Lance nodded.
"I want to hear the words," Lilith said locking eyes with him, "I want to hear you say that you promise me you won't chase after those damn werewolves."
"I promise," Lance grinned.
"Thank you," Lilith said.
"Why don't you take a hot bath to relax and I'll go tell the others what we've decided," Lance suggested.
"Okay," Lilith said and kissed him on the cheek.
Lilith knew that it was silly, but she made Lance leave the bathroom before she undressed. She had never met a man that made her feel sexy, shy, and powerful all in the same breath.
Lilith sank into the hot water and sighed. Her body ached from running for her life, but the water soothed more than her sore muscles. Lance had added strange herbs and oils to her bath and the scent soothed her worries and fears. She caught herself grinning like fool, on more than one occasion. Her laughter filled the bathroom and bounced around the room. It had been a long time since she had laughed for no reason.
A knock on the door startled her and she nearly slipped all the way under the water.
"It's just me," a female voice called from the other side of the door.
"Whose me?" Lilith called back.
"Ginger, we've met once before," the woman replied.
Realizing it was Richard's girlfriend, the woman who had given her the ring that was still on her finger, Lilith sighed.
"I'm a little busy right now," Lilith answered.
"I know that, I just wanted to talk to you for a minute," Ginger said, "and Cinnamon's demanding to see you. She doesn't believe me that Lance didn't eat you."
"You can understand her?" Lilith asked.
"Only from what the gems tell me, but they're usually pretty reliable. Can I come in?" she asked.
"Hang on a second," she sighed.
Lilith sank under the bubbles until her breasts were hidden and took a deep breath
. She knew most women wouldn't be so modest around others of their genders, but Lilith had been raised to respect and honor her body.
"You can come in now," she said.
Ginger walked into the room and sat down in the arm chair next to the far wall.
"I wanted to talk to you alone, while the men aren't around," she grinned.
Lilith arched an eyebrow and motioned for her to continue. She wasn't sure what to talk about with the witch, because she had never thought much of most magics.
"I know you think that Richard brainwashed me, but he didn't. I promise you," Ginger said, "I was with him long ago, even before you met Lance. I died giving birth to our son and only found him again in this life time. I dreamed about Richard from a very young age. My mother thought I was crazy and she was a witch too. I'll admit that I must have sounded a little crazy when I told her that I had to leave home to look for my vampyric life mate. Most witches avoid vampires, because they seem to have a taste for our blood. My mother didn't approve, but she gave me her blessing. She was a good woman. When I finally found Richard it took some time to convince him that I was indeed Charlene. It doesn't happen often like it did for you, having the same name in two lives, but I guess you're lucky that way."
"Why are you telling me this?" Lilith asked.
"Because I want to share my experience with you. I want you to know that you're not the first person to experience this. It's scary, but it can work," Ginger said,
"What about the ritual?" Lilith asked, "How does that work?"
"I remembered my past lives so easily because I was born with the blessing of being able to communicate with gems, stones, and such. They hold memories. A rock never forgets. I've helped the mortal police solve crimes even. I helped investigate my own mother's murder," Ginger told her.
"Your mother was murdered?" Lilith asked.
"Yes, she was," Ginger nodded sadly, "by your previous employer in fact."
"But she wasn't a vampire?" Lilith arched a brow.
"No, my mother was a healer. She worked with a lot of the other kinds and one night she found a vampire nearly dead after a Lingston attack. Witches don't usually donate to vampires, but my mother made an exception, because the man had a family waiting on him. When the Lingstons found out they killed her," Ginger said, "The mortals wouldn't do anything about it, because Lingston runs most of the city."
"I'm so sorry," Lilith said.
She had spent many years protecting her mother, but in the end had lost her to breast cancer.
"It's not your fault, Lilith," Ginger smiled softly, "It's the fault of the wolves and of course the cowardly mortals."
"Why do you refer to other mortals that way?" Lilith asked, "Like they're a different species or something. They're not any different from you or I, genetically speaking."
"But, dear, they are," Ginger said, "Once you become a life mate to a vampire your DNA changes."
"Because of that decision?" Lilith asked in disbelief.
"Yes and no," Ginger laughed, "Once you accept a vampire as your life mate, you become their donor. Their venom extends the normal mortal life to an unusual degree. It becomes more difficult to kill us, we don't get ill the way others do, and many other things. The venom repairs the very cells of our being, and after living so much longer than those around us we do become different."
"Weird," Lilith nodded.
"Indeed," Ginger grinned, "most of your new life will be weird. The ceremony or ritual as you call it will allow memories of your past life to surface to your conscious mind. It is a very emotional ordeal. Most take off weeks from their jobs or switch careers all together after the experience."
"I've always been told that we should leave past lives, well in the past, and focus on the one we're living presently," Lilith said.
"I thought you didn't believe in reincarnation?" Ginger asked.
"I don't," Lilith admitted, "but I like to eves-drop."
"Fair enough on both accounts, but for some of us, especially those of us with vampyric life mates the past has a way of catching up with us," Ginger told her.
"Makes sense," Lilith nodded.
The more she listened to Ginger speak the more believable the situation became. She wondered if it had something to do with the witch's magic or the herbs and oils that were soaking into her skin, but she didn't care either way. Lilith wanted to find out for herself if she had indeed made a wedding vow to Lance.
"So what's the ceremony like?" Lilith asked.
"You'll see," Ginger smiled.