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Accidents Happen - Chapter four

Sometimes, even when you are careful, things happen that you can't predict, or prevent...

Chapter Four: Well isn't this just peachy? 

I stared at Daniel Whytikker on the doorstep, then tilted my head to the side in curiosity.

"Why not? He's been missing for over a year, and if he didn't run away, wouldn't he have turned up by now?" The boy nodded firmly.

"That's right, and thats why I know he didn't run away. We're very close, closer than anyone else in our dysfunctional family, so I know him better than anyone. I think something else happened to him."

I narrowed my eyes, trying to cover up the chilled feeling in my stomach. It was probably due to me being unsettled about this recent development, brought up with still slightly frayed nerves I'd suffered from since the year before, that I just lost it.

"Like what?" My expression turned into an hard glare. "Look, I'm sorry about Caleb. He was a very good friend of mine, better than any I've had in a long time, but I don't appreciate you coming here and bringing that mess up again. Whatever you’re doing, I would ask you to please leave me out of it. Goodbye, Daniel Whytikker." Without waiting to hear his reply, I closed the door and leaned against it, breathing heavily.

That was very strange, and too close for comfort.

"What was that about?" came Theo's voice, followed by Theo himself as he rounded the edge of the wall, stretching and yawning. He was followed closely by Caleb, who was rubbing his eyes sleepily.

"Who was it?" he asked. I blinked, trying to decide whether to tell them, and more specifically, to tell Caleb about his cousin's surprise visit.

During my short silence, the two guys noticed my jumpy movements. They glanced at each other, then looked at me in concern.

"Are you alright, Anna?" Caleb came up to me, while Theo pulled me away from the door, his face full of brotherly worry. But, finally coming to a decision, I shook my head and smiled.

"I'm fine, guys, really. I...I just managed to get rid of a pushy girl scout, that's all."

Theo stared at me, his worry deepening, while Caleb burst out laughing. "Oh , I know what you mean. Those damn scouts can be just plain scary sometimes. I remember once when..." as Caleb rambled on, I saw Theo's expression.

I knew that my excuse hadn't fooled him at all. He knew all my habits and tricks, and it was just by looking at my face now, he knew.

Even though he didn't know who was really at the door, he could tell that whoever they were, they had managed to unsettle my normally calm personality.

A week later, I drove down to the cafe, not feeling up to my usual walk. Ever since the unsettling visit of Caleb's cousin, I'd been too nervous to leave the house. Theo had tried to get me to tell him what was bugging me, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him. He had enough to worry about with keeping himself under the council's radar, due to him only having one year of his sentence left. If he could last these last months, then he was home free.

Even Caleb noticed my strange behaviour. He suggested coffee, and a long walk. But the problem was, that we had run out of ingredients for the coffee-maker that I had bought, due to all of us becoming addicted to the stuff. And being vampires, it didn't have any of the usual bad effects on us like it did on mortals.

So, deciding that Caleb was right, I decided to go out and do a short grocery shop, while getting us all some yummy mochas from my favourite place. I doubt that they even minded me leaving for a while; in fact, they would probably welcome being alone for a couple of hours.

I shuddered as I thought about them, as I neared the cafe. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't banish the image of them on the bed, playing tongue hockey. I groaned to myself.

I'm scarred for life now, I thought miserably.

I hopped out of my car, and strode into the warm, pleasant cafe. I came up to the counter, and the manager, who was busily going through old receipts, looked up and smiled when she saw me.

"Hello, Anna dear. How are you?"

I smiled back. "Good afternoon, Denise, I'm good thanks. And you?"

She waved her hand casually. "Same old, same old for this old biddy. The usual for you then?"

I nodded. "That would be great, but make three of them and I'll have them to go. My roommates are dying for some caffeine." The older woman laughed and moved off to make my order herself.

As I waited next to the counter, I heard a voice behind me. "Fancy meeting you here." I whirled around, to see Daniel Whytikker a mere metre away. I let out a surprised huff.

"Oh great. Just what I need," I grumbled, turning back around. Not to be dissuaded, he came around me to my side.

"Look, I'm not trying to hurt you in any way-"

"Good," I snapped, sending him a glare, "because in a fight with me, you would come out second best."

He raised an eyebrow at my not-at-all-empty threat. "I just want to find my cousin," he said gently, finishing his sentence.

I felt a little guilty at letting my irritation get the better of me, so I sighed and glanced at him apologetically. "I know. I'm sorry."

Denise came up to the counter, holding out a cardboard cup holder contained three tall disposable cups. I paid for them, and left the shop, with Daniel trailing close behind.

"All I'm asking is a few minutes of your time. That's all."

I unlocked my car, setting the drinks on the passenger's seat. I turned to him. "I said I was sorry, Whytikker, but don't expect me to tell you anything I don't want to." With that said, I got into my car and turned the ignition, hearing the engine turn over, rumbling into life.

Before I took off, he leant against the roof of my car, staring at me through the open window. "Just one question then. Why are you living at his old house?"

I couldn't help it. My eyes darted to his, and his intense brown eyes cut into me like a knife. I dragged my own green ones away and pressed my foot to the pedals. Daniel Whytikker got off the car as it drove off, and I could see him watching my escape in the rear vision mirror.

I knew he had seen the flicker of guilt in my eyes, the same flicker that had crept into my heart.

I also knew then, that I couldn't keep this from the guys any longer.

Whatever happened from now on, it would affect all of us.

"Dan's here?" exclaimed Caleb disbelievingly. He had leapt to his feet at my confession, his face a mask of shock. Then Theo had pulled him back down onto his lap.

Theo also couldn't believe it. "Why didn't you tell us sooner, Anna?"

I fidgeted. "I didn't want to worry you. Especially you, Theo. You have enough on your plate, with the Council still thinking that you're locked up in the basement. You have one year to go, and I didn't want to mess it up." Theo frowned, while Caleb still looked shocked.

"I haven't seen Dan since before I moved here. We...wait; he said that he didn't believe that I would run away?" His brow crinkled. "Actually, it makes sense."

"Why?" Theo and I asked. Caleb shifted slightly in Theo's lap, getting more comfortable.

"Well, as much as my parents drove me up the wall, I would never leave them, at least not without leaving a note. Well, except for what actually happened...Dan knows me well enough to know what I would do."

I nodded slowly. "Great, so now we've got a determined relative of yours, trying to find out what really happened to you, bugging Anna, the only one of us safe enough to leave the house," drawled Theo, summing up our little dilemma. He paused, then glanced over at me, a small apologetic smirk on his lips.

"Sorry sister dear, but sucks to be you right now."

My reply was to chuck a pillow at him, while Caleb ducked out of the way.

“Now, now, is that the way a sister should act to her dearly lover brother?” He snickered.

"Bite me." I hissed, and Theo asked if I was serious.

In the next few days, whenever I went into town, for whatever reason, I always seemed to run into Daniel. I figured the little devil had taken to following me, just to catch me off guard.

What he was waiting for, I had no idea. What possible clue could I give him to make him think that I knew what had really happened to Caleb? I had spent half a millennia hiding things from people, and half that time doing it by myself. How hard could it be to hide something like that from another mortal? I mean, how long would he stay here trying?

Apparently, over two months.

Sometimes, I really wished that there wasn't a vampire law prohibiting attacks on humans.

Shortly after another such encounter with the determined mortal, I arrived back at home, and after entering, I slammed the door shut behind me, a scowl on my face.

"Your face will stay like that if you keep it up," commented Theo, coming up to me, with Caleb following, his arms wrapped around my brother's neck. When he saw my expression, his own flashed to empathy.

"Dan again?" I simply nodded, sighing while running a hand through my hair, which I had left out today. When loose, my hair tumbled all the way to my knees. I hardly ever had it down, it was so damn long. But I couldn't be bothered cutting it, as it would just grow right back to exactly the same length. As a vampire, if I tried to cut my hair, nails, my skin, it just reverted back to the same state it was when I was turned.

I think there was a book written kind of like that, by a woman called Rice or something.

Theo shared a glance with Caleb. "Sooner or later, he's got to back to his family, right?"

I gave a groan and moved around them into the kitchen. "I'm trying to make myself believe that, but somehow, I doubt he'll just give up."

Caleb gave a snort. "Sounds like him. He could be the most stubborn, annoying person when he wants to. Glad to hear he hasn't changed."

Theo raised an eyebrow, and Caleb let out an embarrassed laugh.

"Sorry, not helping." I shook my head.

"No, it's ok. Nothing we can really do about it. Theo's right anyway, he can't stay for much longer right? I mean, I'm pretty sure that the school term is starting up soon, and he has to leave."

They both looked at me, then at each other. Slowly, they both nodded. "Sure," they said together.

But somehow I knew that Daniel Whytikker would not give up that easily.

* *

The next day, I came home, not a little pissed off. As per usual, I'd been hassled by that damn mortal, and I was getting tired of it.

Seriously, if he kept it up for much longer, I may not be able to control myself.
I plunked myself onto the couch and just when I picked up the remote to turn the television on, heard a knock. Sighing irritably, I dropped it onto the couch and levered myself up. I plodded back to the front door and yanked it open.

Once I saw who it was, I let out a loud groan.

"You again? I thought there was a rule about bugging someone more than once per day?"

Daniel Whytikker raised an eyebrow. "Am I really annoying you that much?"

I narrowed my eyes at him. "No," I said mockingly, "what was your first clue?"

He let out a sigh, adjusting his bag strap. It was then that I noticed that he was carrying a large bag in his other hand.

"You leaving?" I asked.

He nodded. "Yeah. My parents called me today, after I saw you, and said it was time to come home. So, I'm catching a bus tonight." He gave me a small grin. "So I won't bother you anymore."

I frowned. "Something tells me that you'll be back. You don't strike me as the person who gives up, simply because his parents tell him to."

He smiled. "I'm not, but I really don't see how they'll let me come back next break. So, I just came here to say goodbye, and that I'm sorry for bugging you these last few weeks."

I stared at him, feeling my mouth twitch a little. Then, I let the smile curve my lips.
"Apology accepted, Whytikker. It'll be kinda quiet without you here."

He laughed. "Yeah well, I'm also sorry about thinking you knew what happened to Caleb. He was your friend, and I didn't have the right bringing him up again. So, again, I'm really sorry, and see ya."

That would have been the end of our problems, right then and there. But, of course, I have the worst luck.

Because right then, Caleb came hurtling down the stairs, yelling at the top of his voice.

"Anna! Heeeelp! Theo wants to-" but at the sight of his cousin at the door, he froze.

"Oh shit!" I heard him breathe hoarsely.

"Caleb?!" Daniel's face was a mask of confusion, surprise and happiness. Caleb just stood there, locked in place.
 
Of all the bloody things that could happen! I screamed in the confines of my mind.
 
"Caleb," I hissed through gritted teeth, "you have the worst timing!" With that, I reached out and grabbed the collar of the stunned mortal and dragged him into the house. I slammed the door behind me, just as Theo came down the stairs. He stopped in his tracks when he saw us.

"I'm going to hazard a guess, and say that whatever I've just missed isn't good."

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