Chapter Ten

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"Why didn't you let me help?" Luke asked. A hint of annoyance tinged his words, but he still held my hand so he obviously wasn't too mad at me. "I could have handled him."

"So could I," I said.

"But I could have helped."

I stopped walking and faced him, not letting go of his hand. "You know what I'm trying to do here, don't you? I'm trying to open Leon's eyes, to show him that he's wrong about vampires. Letting my vampire boyfriend kick his butt doesn't really help that goal, does it?"

A wry smile touched Luke's lips. "I guess not. But I'm still not happy about you putting yourself in danger like that. What if he'd had a knife? He could have stabbed you."

"He could have stabbed you too," I pointed out.

Vampires could survive more physical damage than a human, but a knife to the heart would still kill them.

Luke frowned. "That's not the point. You can't do this by yourself."

"And I'm not trying to. You're still here with me, aren't you? I just don't want you picking fights with Leon when I'm trying to persuade him that vampires are the good guys."

Luke didn't say anything, but the stiff set of his shoulders suggested he still wasn't entirely happy with me.

I clasped his face with my hands, touching my forehead to his. "Luke, I'm trying to do something important here, and I really need you to not only support it, but to understand it."

His face filled my vision, the only thing I wanted to see. His eyes were like thunderclouds, but they softened as they roved over my face. "I do understand it and I do support it," he whispered. His breath warmed my lips.

"Then please understand why I didn't want you fighting Leon."

He trailed his fingers over my eyes, closing them, and then gently kissed my eyelids. "I do," he whispered.

The intimacy of the words shot heat through me, and my mind flashed forward to the future, when those words might carry a more significant meaning.

I could have stayed in that moment forever.

Luke stepped back from me, his face suddenly serious. "We need to go home."

I blinked at him, my mind slightly hazy, as if I'd been drugged by his kisses on my eyes and my private thoughts of the future. "Sorry?"

"We have to tell the others what's happened."

The potential harm that Leon's discovery had done really started sinking in. He didn't know what the other members of the clan looked like, but he knew my face and now he knew Luke's too. All he had to do was follow one or both of us home, and he'd know where to get the rest of the clan.

We were very careful heading home, taking back-alleys and streets that we wouldn't normally bother with. It made for a longer way home, but it was also safer.

There was still no sign of Leon.

When we got home, I called out Riley and Ethan's names the second I opened the front door. Walking in on them once was enough; I didn't want to do it again. The living room door opened and Riley peeked out. Her hair was dishevelled, her lips kiss-swollen, and the top buttons on her shirt were undone.

Awkwardly, I shifted my feet from side to side. It was a good thing I'd given them a heads-up.

"What's wrong?" Riley asked.

I sighed. "Something happened tonight."



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