Avery did his best to concentrate on the pages of the airplane magazine in front of him. The light above his seat was dim, and he only had it on to blend in with the others on the plane. People around him were sleeping, reading, or staring out the window of the plane. It was quiet; they had gotten lucky that there were no babies on this flight to cry piercingly into his ears.
He was flying to Toronto from Seoul and so far the flight has been terrible. They had flown right into the head of a pacific storm half an hour into their thirteen and a half hour flight and it had been non-stop turbulence ever since. Once again he silently thanked whatever gods that there were no children on this red-eye flight.
The young woman next to him took a deep hissing breath through her nose as they drop a few hundred feet in yet another air pocket. Her left hand gripped the armrest next to window as she tried her best to keep her right relaxed. Avery had noticed that the woman was doing everything she could to pretend she was fine. She looked to be in her mid to late-twenties and had started off the flight with a pile of important looking paperwork but had long abandoned it to the seat pocket in front of her.
“Not a fan of flying?” Avery asked her softly, the older man on his right snored softly and he didn’t want to wake the man. The man had talked Avery’s ear off the first two hours before finally nodding off.
“Not a fan of turbulence.” The woman sighed with her eyes closed for a moment as she took another deep breath. “Flying, I don’t mind.”
Avery smiled at her, “Is turbulence not just part of the package?”
The woman glanced over at him and Avery’s breath caught at her gorgeous bright hazel eyes. They were currently the color of the storm that was outside their airplane. He could read her emotions through them so easily. She clearly was currently very uncomfortable. When she locked eyes with him she also seemed to pause to notice his silvery blue eyes.
“This is my first international flight.” She finally admitted, “I’ve only ever done regional stuff before this, not too much turbulence going city to city in North America. At least not on any of the flights I have been on.”
He offered her a crooked smile, “I promise that you’re going to be fine. A little storm is not going to deter the pilots.”
“I wish that made me feel better.” She admitted to him.
“What would make you feel better?” Avery asked.
“Being on solid ground.” The girl snorted as she quickly closed her eyes through another bump.
Avery studied the crease between her eyebrows, waiting for her to calm herself down again. After a few more deep breaths she opened her eyes again and looked back at him.
“I’m Rebecca.” She told him.
“I am Avery.” He told her and offered his hand.
She quickly took her left hand off the arm rest to shake his hand then immediately placed her death grip back onto the arm rest.
“It is great to meet you.” He told her and something in his stomach said he truly was. “Pardon my assumption, but I am assuming you are not from Seoul.” He said to her. “May I ask what brought you there to be here now?”
“Work, of course.” Rebecca sighed, “I work for a small Canadian software company, we’re expanding our reach internationally and I volunteered to meet with prospective clients in Seoul.”
“Are you one of the programmers?” Avery asked intrigued.
Rebecca shook her head, “I’m in the marketing department.”
The plane shook again and Rebecca hissed a curse under her breath. Her foul language made Avery’s smile wider, this woman seemed to not have much of a poker face. He watched her reach up and flipped her long light brown hair to her opposite shoulder.
“What about you?” Rebecca asked through her teeth, he guessed she knew he was trying to distract her. “What took you out there?”
Avery thought for a moment, he couldn’t exactly tell her that it was part of his century long world tour. He looked like he was in his late-twenties, not his actual age of four-hundred and sixteen.
“Vacation.” He told her, and she gave him an odd look.
“Interesting choice in a vacation spot. Mostly people go to Seoul for business or military and take vacations to tropical places.” She told him.
Avery let out a laugh, “yes, well, I had read years ago the country was beautiful and wanted to see it for myself.”
Rebecca nodded, “It was beautiful.” She admitted. “So what is taking you to Toronto? It’s my turn to assume that you’re not Canadian or American.”
Avery laughed softly, “You’re right. I’m British. I’m heading to Canada to visit some family. Most of them had moved to Canada a… while ago, and I haven’t seen them for a while. Figured that if I’m on vacation, I may as well go see them.”
“You must be rich.” Rebecca said teased and gave him a nudge.
Avery laughed nervously and cleared his throat, “not really.”
Rebecca leaned back and gave him an incredulous look in response. “What are you doing back in coach with the peasants? Wouldn’t you prefer first, Mr. I-Travel-The-World-Casually-For-Vacation?”
Avery raised his hands in defense, “really, I’m not rich. My family is…” Rebecca raised an eyebrow at him, “but I work odd jobs to earn enough to pay for flights and travel.”
“I see.” Rebecca seemed generally impressed but still didn’t seem to believe him completely, “like what?”
“I was working as a mechanic. I primarily fixed up the little scooters that have been getting popular.” It wasn’t a lie that was his most recent job in South Korea. He had also been a farm hand, a fisherman, and a soldier, but again, she didn’t need to know that.
“Hmm, you’re an interesting fellow.” She told him with a laugh.
“I like doing interesting things.”
That comment earned him a smile from Rebecca that made his stomach jump.
At that same moment the plane gave another lurch causing most of the people inside to be jostled in their seats. Avery was surprised when he felt Rebecca grip his hand as a chorus of irritable grumbles made their way throughout the entire tube.
Avery looked down at their hands, but didn’t attempt to pull away. In fact, a fire seemed to bloom in his chest from the touch awakening something deep inside of him. He turned to Rebecca who was also looking at their hands seemingly unsure and said, “Tell me more about you.”
The next four hours Avery talked to Rebecca about everything.
Her family, she had an older brother but she didn’t talk to her parents. It was sore subject she had warned him and he didn’t pry any more. All that mattered was that she couldn’t wait to get home and tell her brother about how amazingly cool South Korea had been.
She was from a small town in Manitoba, but had gone to Toronto for University and decided to stay there after graduating six years prior.
She loved poutine, but hated goulash. Both of which he was not familiar with until she explained poutine was a dish of fries, cheese and gravy while goulash was chili with noodles in it. As she explained the dishes to him Avery had been surprised by how hungry they made him feel. He had given up food several centuries before.
He told her about all the places he had gone, including his favorites and had shocked her with the amount. He had insisted he had started traveling as a teenager with his family between school lessons. Which was true, he just didn’t mention how long ago he had been a teenager.
He also told her about his family that was waiting for him in Canada.
“Aunt Marguerite is my favorite of my aunt’s. She’s so warm and welcoming, always have been.” He had told her, “And my cousin Bastien is like a brother to me.”
He also told her that his family owned Argeneau Enterprises. He explained that his cousin Bastien wanted him to come run the company with him, but he had declined wanting to concentrate on experiencing the world and what it had to offer.
They laughed and joked and used one of her sheets of paper to play tic-tac-toe. The storm outside the plane seemed to be calming down and Rebecca relaxed more and more with it.
Avery couldn’t help but enjoy every second of speaking with the woman. She was smart, and quick-witted, not to mention sassy as hell. He had never met someone he had felt so warmly for so quickly. And he had a feeling that Rebecca felt the same as she flirted with him and would smack his arm whenever he made a bad joke and laugh at it anyway.
The flight was ending soon; they had to be under an hour out from landing. He began to play with the idea of asking her to join him for breakfast. Ideas of how’d he ask crossed his mind.
But first he wanted to try what something. His heart raced as he watched Rebecca look out the window trying to spot the ground below them. He took a deep breath then concentrated on her head reaching out towards her thoughts.
… But he came up against a wall. Not just a wall, it was nothing. He couldn’t read anything from her. All around him the thoughts of the other passengers on the plane weaved in and out of his head, but he got nothing from the beautiful woman next to him. He let out a shaky breath as excitement and unfiltered nervousness began to fill his veins.
“Becca.” He began and she turned to look at him.
The plane violently jerked surprising everyone on it, someone towards the front screamed. Rebecca gripped Avery’s hand tightly, and he held it back. The old man next to them was awake and was looking around frantically as the oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling.
“Oh god, oh god.” Rebecca breathed rapidly as the plane bucked wildly. Bags from under passenger’s seats slid over the ground as the plane tilted wildly from side to side.
Avery let her hand go and grabbed her mask and helped her put it on before he put his own on. All around him people were yelling and screaming as the airplane shook and began to dive. Avery grabbed Rebecca’s hand again while using his free hand to make her look at him. Her eyes were wide in terror she was beginning to hyperventilate.
“You’re going to be ok.” He told her, “Just keep looking at me. You’re going to be ok.”
“Avery, oh god.” She was starting to cry.
The lights in the plane flashed then were off. The engines then died and the only sounds were the screams of the passengers and whistling of the quickly descending plane.
Avery kept his eyes locked on Rebecca studying her face. He had seconds to figure out his plan of how to save this woman. He couldn’t lose her, he just found her.
He reached down with his free hand unbuckled his seat belt. Rebecca screamed at him to stop but he didn’t as he reached over her to her left armrest and pulled himself up and over her protecting her body the best he could. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly against him.
Rebecca was screaming into his chest and crying, and all Avery could think was that he had to save her.
He wouldn’t remember when the plane crashed, all he knew was the sensation of coming to a sudden stop as the plane hit the ground. He felt his back burn with pain as something raked across his back and the sensation of his fingers against Rebecca’s skin then blackness.
Heat woke Avery up; it was close and made him want to rip the blankets off. When he heard the telltale pop of embers he realized that the heat was coming from the fire of the crashed plane.
His eyes opened and he saw fire all around him. Panicked he tried to get up but yelled out in pain. His right leg was mangled, a bone protruded from his shin making it clear he wasn’t going to go anywhere.
His head pounded and he reached up to touch his brow and felt the warm wet heat of blood. He groaned as wave after wave of pain assaulted him as he woke up. Sweat developed all over his body from the heat of the fire that was spreading.
Not willing to die by burning alive he let out a few puffs of breath then forced himself to flip over to his belly. He let out a scream but didn’t let the threat of passing out take him. He dug his fingers into the dirt beneath him and pulled his body forward dragging his mangled leg as he crawled away from the fire.
Once he was satisfied with how far he had gotten, he lay face down into the ground and panted. His stomach felt like something was stabbing into it, he knew that the nanos were trying desperately to heal him. He also felt air across his back, his shirt must be torn to pieces but he didn’t want to look.
He lifted his head again and looked around. Fire surrounded him along with mangled bits of metal from the plane as well as what was inside. It was dark and the smoke blocked out the stars above him, but he could make out the shadows of trees beyond.
Cries of pain pulled his attention away from his surroundings, someone else was somehow alive and they were weakly calling for help.
With a sudden force that caught Avery’s breath he remembered Rebecca. He had tried to shield her with his own body from the impact. He must’ve been thrown away from her and the plane upon impact.
“Bec-ca.” He tried to call, but his voice was hoarse and his lungs burned from the smoke that had filled it.
The cry was faint, but it continued.
He dragged himself towards the voice until he found what he was looking for.
The part of the plane that had been his section was broken open like an egg. Most of the seats and people had disappeared from it, but a few rows were still there. He looked on in horror at what was left of the people that had surrounded his row. The old man still sat in his aisle seat, but he was clearly dead. Avery tried not to concentrate on him as he felt bile rise up.
Another cry brought him back to the present problem and he saw the slightest movement from what had been the window seat. The seat itself had fallen over onto its side, but it was clear someone was still strapped to it. They were sobbing quietly now.
“Becca.” He said and dragged himself towards the woman he knew was there.
When he got to the seat he grabbed it and used it to pull himself up to look at the person still strapped to it.
He looked in horror, Becca had survived the impact but not without being touched. A large piece of metal impaled her chest, he could tell it just barely avoided her heart, but definitely got one of her lungs. Her left arm that had been nearest to the window looked very much broken as well as both of her legs.
Her eyes were closed and she was whimpering he could only imagine the pain she was in. Then again, she could also be in shock and barely recognized what had happened to her.
“Becca.” Avery whispered and touched her cheek.
To Avery’s amazement her eyes fluttered open and she looked around confused and dazed until she spotted him and her sight seemed to clear a little.
“Av-ry.” She moaned as a tear escaped the corner of her eye. “I can’t feel… my legs.” She whispered to him. “I can’t feel anything.”
“Shh, shh.” Avery cooed at her stroking her cheek, he reached over and moved her singed hair from her face one strand at a time, “you’re going to be ok.” He promised her. Blood had pooled around her, her blood and the smell of it made Avery’s stomach cramp up more.
“Av…” She trailed off as she let out a cry of pain, more tears spilled from her eyes. “I’m so cold.”
Avery couldn’t take it, his pain he could put aside and forget. But, he couldn’t take seeing Rebecca in pain like this.
“You’re going to be ok.” He promised her again as he brought his arm up to his lips. With an intake of breath he let his fangs slid down from his canines then without hesitation he bit into his wrist to tear the flesh from it. He didn’t even feel the pain it caused; his body was already at its limit of how much pain it could send to his brain.
Rebecca was whimpering and turned her face away out of reflex when he brought his wrist to her lips.
“C’mon beautiful, you need to drink it. I can’t let you die.” He told her.
“I…” When she opened her lips a crack to say something, Avery took the opportunity to jab his wrist to her mouth. He felt her teeth then her tongue weakly reacted to something invading its space.
Avery counted down from thirty wanting to make sure he was able to get enough blood into her mouth and down her throat. When he got to zero he pulled his arm away and saw Rebecca swallow the last of the blood he had given her. Then her head fell loosely to the side as she lost consciousness.
Avery stroked her face slowly watching her chest rise and fall willing it to keep going. It did, slow and hesitant like she was going to breath her last breath any second but it kept going. He laid his head on the side of the chair and weakly continued to stroke Rebecca’s face.
He didn’t know how much time passed; everything was pain and watching Rebecca’s chest rise and fall. He didn’t even hear the voices or see the beams of flashlights come up from behind him until a familiar voice yelled his name after spotting him.
“Avery!” Bastien came rushing to Avery, other members of the Argeneau family and Lucian’s enforcers followed.
Bastien grabbed Avery’s shoulder and turned him over, probably expecting him to be unconscious or dead. Instead, Avery winced from the light coming from his cousin’s flashlight as his eyes reflected it.
Bastien dropped the flashlight and fell to his knees, he hugged his cousin closely.
“Thank god, you survived you lucky bastard!” Bastien was saying.
Avery weakly pushed away from Bastien, he didn’t have the strength to even move the man anymore. But Bastien quickly seemed to figure out what Avery wanted and pulled them apart.
“What is it?” Bastien asked holding Avery arm’s length.
“Save… her.” Avery said turning his head towards Rebecca who was now writhing in her seat.
“What?” Bastien looked on in shock.
“Oh my god.” The voice belonged to Avery’s other cousin Jeanne Louise gasped and fell to her knees.
“I… turned… her… save… her…” Avery’s hand fell to his side as he allowed himself to finally pass out.
“Are you sure?” Bastien asked Avery for the fiftieth time.
“Yes.” Avery sighed from where he sat. It had been six hours since the plane crash. The news was flooded with stories about it. It was suspected the storm had damaged the engines somehow and didn’t give out until they were almost at their destination. Everyone knew it was an accident but the search for the black box was occurring as emergency responders searched desperately for any survivors.
Avery knew they wouldn’t find any. The only survivors were currently in the high-rise apartment of Bastien Argeneau.
Bastien had told Avery that they had rushed both he and Rebecca to the apartment as soon as he had passed out. Avery had been given intravenous bags of blood as well as a few being popped onto his teeth one after the other to save him. While Rebecca was also given intravenous blood and pain meds to keep her knocked out during her turn.
Now, Avery sat beside her bed and watched the woman fitfully sleeping. She was pale and covered in sweat but the nanos had already begun to heal her wounds. Avery couldn’t help but feel gut-retching guilt looking at her.
“You’re sure she’s your life mate?” Bastien asked yet again.
“For god’s sake, Bastien, yes. Damn it, how many times are you going to ask me?” Avery demanded tiredly. He was mostly healed now, only a few bumps and bruises were left.
“He just wants to make sure you didn’t just turn this woman for nothing.” His Uncle Jean Claude stated from across the room.
“It wasn’t for nothing.” Avery whispered, he placed his face into his hands, “it was just without her consent.”
“You did what you had to, to save her.” His Aunt Marguerite stood behind his chair and was gently rubbing his back trying to sooth him. His Uncle Jean Claude made a noise that made her stop and draw away from him.
Avery looked up at his drunken uncle with disdain; the man was truly horrible to his poor wife and even his own children. Even Bastien reflexively took a step further from his father.
“If she is your life mate there is nothing to be worried about.” His Uncle Lucian stood on the other side of the bed watching the woman as she slept like he waited for her to wake up screaming.
Avery shook his head and covered his face again. He couldn’t stop feeling like he made a mistake, that he should’ve asked her before he forced her to drink his blood. Even in shock and dying she still had the right to make her own decision and he took that away from her.
He had dreamt for centuries what it would be like to meet his life mate. He always thought that if he turned his life mate it would have been after he had the chance to court her properly, to get to know everything about her and her about him. To leave the choice solely up to her and no matter her choice to stay at her side. He never thought he’d have to turn his life mate because of a plane crash.
“Don’t be so wishy washy, boy.” Uncle Jean Claude stated. “You found your life mate and turned her, be more appreciative.” Without even looking Avery knew his uncle was sneering at his Aunt Marguerite. He didn’t have the energy to snap something back at his uncle, but he didn’t have to.
“Jean Claude, enough.” Lucian warned in a low voice.
Jean Claude let out a grunt but didn’t say anything else; instead he slapped a bag of blood to his teeth that Avery knew had come from a drunken donor.
Lucian turned back to his nephew. “How do you want to break the news to her when she wakes?” He asked getting back to business. “She is going to know she should have died in that crash.”
Avery looked at Rebecca for a moment; he watched her take in a deep breath then slowly releases it. He looked away quickly not able to bear watching her and closed his eyes, “I don’t know yet.” He admitted.
Lucian crossed his arms, “you need to come up with something and soon. Her turn will be complete by evening, she will wake shortly after.”
“Yes, Uncle Lucian.” Avery whispered.
Avery felt his Uncle Lucian studying him.
“Very well, I’ll leave you to think about it.” He told him and turned from the bed.
His uncle left the room without another word, leaving a cold feeling in Avery’s chest. Behind him he felt Aunt Marguerite give him a gentle pat on his shoulder. Without looking he knew she also gave Bastien a brief hug then she obediently followed her husband out of the room as well.
Only Bastien was left now and Avery felt his cousin staring at him.
“Your father is an ass.” Avery commented emotionlessly.
“Avery…” Bastien sighed.
“I know you agree.” Avery told him.
“Avery, stop avoiding the subject. You know Uncle Lucian is right, you need to figure out how you’re going to explain all this…” he gestured to the general air indicating to all of them, “to her.”
“I can’t.” Avery whispered.
“You have to.” Bastien told him.
Avery shook his head and stood up, his head swam from the quick movement and he took a second to ensure he had his bearings.
“I can’t, Bastien. I can’t look her in the eyes and tell her that her life is no longer hers and she can’t see her family ever again.” Avery felt frustration bubbling up from where he had hidden it from his aunt and uncles.
“Then who will?” Bastien asked defensively.
Bastien was taken aback, “what the hell are you talking about?”
“You’re going to tell her what she and you’ll tell her that I’m the bastard that messed up her life.”
“You saved her!” Bastien yelled in a hushed voice, neither of them wanted their family to come in to investigate the commotion. Bastien and Avery were always honest with each other and always had each other’s back. But, Avery knew it had been a long time since they had seen each other and time changed people even immortals.
“I ended her life.” Avery said sadly he flexed his hands at his sides.
He felt Bastien watching him, and after a minute of silence he felt ruffling at the edge of his mind and he allowed Bastien to read his thoughts. Avery didn’t try to hide anything from his cousin.
Bastien rubbed his face with his hands after a moment. “God, Avery.” He hissed. “You can’t actually be thinking that leaving will make this all go away. Taking yourself out of the equation will not make this better.”
Avery looked up at his cousin silently; he had already made up his mind.
“Damn it Avery. Stop this. You’re going to stay here and you’re going to be the one to tell her everything. And she is going to forgive you.” Bastien growled through his teeth then sighed, “I have to go get her more blood. Stay here.”
Once his cousin was gone Avery stood up, the cold feeling in his chest had returned and threatened to choke him.
He looked down at Rebecca watching her chest slowly rise and fall evenly.
Avery hesitated for only a moment longer then took a step towards the door then another and another. He didn’t look behind him as he left the room and not long after as he left Toronto.