Christina Mayer: Blood Kiss

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'This is your stop,' Eric told Christina as he pulled up outside her house. 'I promise I will keep you updated, just give Christopher a hug from me, okay?'

Christina smiled. 'I can promise you that.'

Her heart raced as she leaned in for a hug from Eric, but as she went to move her arms so they would wrap around him, he leaned in for a kiss. The warm meeting of their lips took her by surprise, but she quickly succumbed. Before she could truly enjoy the moment, he pulled away.

'I'm so sorry,' Eric told her. 'I didn't mean to do that; I don't know what I was thinking.'

Christina unbuckled her seat belt and smiled at him as reassurance. She wasn't sure whether or not to say what she really wanted to say. The kiss was everything she wanted from him for such a long time. It happened so suddenly, and was over just as quick. She wanted it to happen again, and again, and again. 'Don't be silly. I'm glad you did that.'

Christina reluctantly left the car. She wanted Eric to stop her from leaving, but he seemed just as confused as she was. She was confused, but there was some confirmation that she got from the kiss – he liked her the way she liked him, and that's all she needed to know.

The fog swallowed the car as she walked away from it. The bitter cold and dark pushed her towards the house quicker than she would have liked. She could still hear the car engine, and see the lights in the fog when she turned around. She found her keys without looking in her bag, and she hovered at the door, looking down the garden to the light where Eric was. She stopped to look back at him.

When the car drove away, Christina returned her attention to the door. She felt the handle and noticed it was warm. Paranoia set in – why was the handle warm? That would mean somebody had used it from the outside, when there should have been no reason for her father or brother to leave the house.

She tried to open the door, but it was locked. Christina partly took comfort in that before she slammed her key in the lock and opened the door. Instantly, she shouted for her family. 'Dad! Chris!'

Christina waited for a response before she locked the door behind her. She heard footsteps coming from the living room, and as her heart elevated, she saw her father and brother. They were safe.

'Something wrong?' Isiah asked her, rushing to his daughter. Christina ran to put her arms around them both. She could see that her actions had provoked some kind of worry in them.

'I'm sorry,' Christina said, her voice close to breaking. 'I'm just so grateful to have you both. I was just worried, is all. I didn't mean to startle you guys.'

Christopher, still so short even with Christina on her knees, pushed himself up on his tip-toes. 'I'm glad your back already,' he told his big sister. Christina tightened her hold on him.

After a long moment, they finally pulled away from each other. Christina wiped the tears from her cheeks and followed them into the living room. They had been watching a Disney film, with toys spread all over the floor. Fortunately, there were absolutely no clown dolls in sight; Isiah had burned them all.

The room was warm and light. Flames consumed the fireplace, and there was a sense of safety being in that one room. She wished her friends could join her, to share in it, so that they wouldn't feel scared. Her thoughts returned to Justin, and a worry infected her.

'So why are you home so soon?' Isiah asked. 'I didn't want you to go to work today, anyway, but I thought your friends needed you.'

Christina felt a twang of guilt. 'They did... they do. Well, they thought it would be best for me to spend time with my family. We just got Christopher back after he was gone a whole week. It was slowly tearing me apart, leaving him again. The café isn't important, but family is. And my friends, they've got things under control. Eric is going to check in later.'

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