I stared at the large building, disgruntled I had no choice but to sneak inside, hopefully undetected, but considering who was the chief of staff, I was already doubting my success.
Not only because the doctor would be able to smell me but because it was his office I needed to break into. On top of that, there was no guarantee the codex I was looking for was kept here, but I thought I'd try my luck at least before trying the fort that was the doctor's home.
But before I could even attempt to enter the hospital, I needed to figure out a disguise for myself just in case any humans took notice of me. If it hadn't been too risky, I would have simply unfolded my wings and flown straight to the window, but even the sleepless mortals of Seattle would see that despite the dark.
It was starting to look suspicious that a seemingly small and harmless girl as I appeared to be was angrily glaring at the hospital, and several passing humans gave me curious glances. So with one last huff, I squared my shoulders and walked inside.
The reception area was rather quiet, which didn't surprise me since it was in the middle of the night, and the emergency entrance was in a different part of the building, but it sure made it more complicated for me to slip away since everyone could keep track of everyone. I could hypnotize the receptionist, but sometimes the effects of my gift lingered longer than desired, and the last thing I wanted was for the doctor to find his staff put into a trance. He'd immediately know there was another vampire in the building, and I'd have to leave before I could search for the codex.
In the span of one second, I mapped every single exit, in case I'd need a quick escape, and every hideout. I also pondered my options on how to pass the reception without alerting anyone to my presence. To my displeasure, hypnosis was the only way, and I searched out the eye contact I needed.
The receptionist looked up, saw me, and then looked back down. She didn't react as I casually strolled past the area because she now thought I was a doctor at the hospital, and as soon as I found an empty storage room, I slipped inside.
There was nothing in there that was of use to me. Only packages of gauze, disposable gloves, and bottles of sanitizing solution.
I sighed. I would have to choose a victim of similar height and build as myself, kill her, and then steal her clothes and ID badge. It was the only way I could blend in.
If I'd had more time, I could have falsified a badge—hell, I would have chosen a night when the doctor wasn't at the hospital—and kept from leaving a trail of bodies behind me, but I was already running behind schedule.
If I missed “The Day”, Lucifer forbid, I would have to wait even longer, and I wasn't too keen on that idea. It had to be now, and the ritual needed to be fully prepared in the next couple of months. If I succeeded, my father would be very pleased and shine his benevolence on me.
Thoughts of my father caused me to reach for the small blood-filled vial I had attached on a chain around my neck. The only piece I had left of him.
My heart ached, but I clenched my jaw and forced myself to focus instead. I would have my father back soon enough.
I listened intently for footsteps in the corridor, and when I heard what sounded like a woman whose scrubs would fit me, I moved fast to snatch her inside the storage room. Before she even comprehended what was happening, my long, sharp teeth had sunk into her flesh, and I took large, satisfying gulps of her blood until she was empty.
I was going to kill her anyway, so there was no idea of wasting a perfectly good meal even though I'd hunted before I went to the hospital.
As the nurse's limp body fell to the ground at my feet, I cursed myself for giving me another task to do before I could continue my search. I needed to dispose of her body in the most inconspicuous way possible, and several possibilities went through my mind before I settled with one that was quite gruesome but did the job effectively.
I grabbed a roll of black trash bags and made quick work of “disassembling” the woman. The fact that her body was empty of blood made the whole process a lot less messy, but I worried the snapping of her bones would alert the first person passing in corridor outside.
Once I was done, I put on the scrubs, clipped on the badge, and grabbed the knotted trash bag in my hand. By the first window, I checked my surroundings before I tossed it outside. It would take a long time before anyone found the body, and hopefully, she'd be decomposed to the point that any bite marks would be impossible to detect.
I resumed my search and turned the next corner, but I instantly froze when I saw none other than Dr. Carlisle Cullen himself, walking toward me at the end of the corridor. On pure instinct, I threw my hypnotic power at him to make him believe the corridor was empty. My slow heartbeat—the pace that signified a vampire—almost became standstill as he passed me. His ice-blue eyes—a feature that made it clear he wasn't a true vampire like myself—looked through me, and I exhaled with relief once he'd disappeared from my sight.
There was no time to waste now. As soon as he got out of my hypnosis, he'd smell the traces of me on his clothes. We hadn't touched, but my smell was so much more potent than his, so it was enough that he'd passed me.
That was bad news in itself. The smell would follow him home, and that big coven of his would have the best identifier they could get. If the codex wasn't in his office, it would be impossible for me to get into their house to search there once they knew my scent. It could easily turn into a fight if they became territorial, and it wouldn't matter that I was stronger than all of them because I wouldn't be able to morph into my other shape without revealing my identity—something I would prefer to keep to myself until the very end.
The few advantages I had, such as the fact that none of their gifts worked on me because of my blocking gift, wouldn't help me against the empath's raw fighting skill, or the mind reader’s and seer's abilities to back the others up without any verbal cues.
With hurried steps, but still slow enough not to tip off any of the humans I passed, I reached Dr. Cullen's office. Naturally, it was locked, and it needed an ID badge to open. The nurse's badge didn't have clearance, and I cursed my bad luck. Once again, I'd have to leave destruction behind, but then again, my disguise was already ruined because of my unexpected meeting with the doctor.
I pulled the small, electronic card reader from the wall to reveal the wires connected to it and used my nails to strip them of their casing. The light on the lock turned green once I'd connected the right ones. I didn't bother putting the reader back in its place. I would leave through the window once my search was done.
To the best of my abilities, I took slow, calculated breaths as I searched the doctor's office. His bookshelves were filled with medical journals and books I was certain he only had there as props. With a vampire's infallible memory, he didn't really need them.
The codex I was searching for, though, was a very rare piece of ancient vampire history. It had been written by my father around the time of my birth, and it was absolutely necessary I find it, or I wouldn't be able to resurrect him. Every step of the ritual was in that codex, and I had traced it all the way to the Cullen coven.
It had taken me centuries to find it because, while the Volturi didn't have it destroyed when they burned my family's castle, it had changed owner many times across the years. Carlisle Cullen had only recently, in the last couple of decades or so, been in possession of it, according to my contact.
Since the codex was so important, and the doctor was a vampire who constantly thirsted for knowledge, I believed he could have possibly hidden it in his office so he could try to decipher it when his patients or staff didn't need him.
Unfortunately, I'd been wrong in my assumptions. The codex was nowhere to be found, and I searched that office from top to bottom. I even checked for secret compartments in his shelves and desk. Nothing.
In the distance, I heard the running steps of the doctor, and I knew my hypnosis had worn off. He was now tracking me, and I was effectively out of time.
Just as a precaution, I morphed the color of my brown eyes into the universal ice-blue color of the modern breed of vampire. I hated having to hide the brown because I'd gotten the color from my father, but it gave me one less thing to explain if I got caught.
I wrenched the window open and crouched on the sill to look down at the ground below. It was pavement and would definitely crack when I landed, but I didn't have time to worry about how the humans would explain that.
The second the door to the office was thrown open, I jumped and bent my knees ever so slightly so I could land steadily on the ground. Once my feet impacted with the pavement, I paused for an eighth of a second—so I could look up at the window, and sure enough, Dr. Cullen stood with his head out of the window, looking at me with disbelief coloring his eyes—and then I made the move to start running. However, before I could, firm hands locked onto my arms with a grip so strong it couldn't be anything else than a vampire.
With reluctance, I looked up at my captor and met the intense, piercing gaze of the mind reader—Edward Cullen. The doctor must have called him when he realized there was an unknown vampire at the hospital.
It was a smart move; I had to give him that. Maybe I had underestimated him.
In one last attempt to escape, I used my hypnosis on the man before me, but to my surprise, and dread, it didn't work, and the hands gripping my arms remained locked.
But something did change.
Edward Cullen's jaw relaxed, and his frowning forehead smoothed out until he was looking at me with pure wonder.
“Who are you?” he whispered out, and his voice sent a jolt through my body.