A Trail of Echoes(A Shade of Vampire,Book 18)(17) by Bella Forrest
Derek didn’t look like he wanted to leave his two friends for even a minute after just reuniting with them, but we couldn’t leave our submarine stranded.
And so he left, leaving me still reeling as I looked from Cameron, to Liana, to their two children.
“So how are you a vampire?” Liana pressed, clutching my knee as Cameron took a seat behind the controls and navigated the submarine toward the shore.
I breathed out, and traced my memory back to when they had first left The Shade. Rose and Ben had still been newborns, and Derek and I had also left The Shade to move into our dream home in California.
I didn’t get far into our story before we arrived at the Port and Derek rejoined us.
We stepped out onto the jetty, and warmth filled Liana and Cameron’s expressions as they eyed their old home.
“I’ve got to say,” Cameron said hoarsely, “I’ve bloody missed this place.”
I saw tears in the corners of Liana’s eyes. She seemed quite choked up as she helped Pippa and Cedric onto the jetty next to them.
“You have no idea how excited everyone is going to be to see you again,” I said, my heart pounding at the thought of Vivienne’s eyes lighting up on seeing them again. Liana was her best and oldest friend. “We wondered what happened to you.”
It was late now and most people were in bed, so as we led the four of them through the woods, the only person we bumped into was Eli taking Shadow for a nighttime walk. He looked like he had just seen a ghost as he eyed Liana and Cameron. Then a huge grin split his face and he hurried forward to embrace them.
Eli ended up joining us back in our penthouse after he had taken Shadow back to his apartment, and we spent the rest of the night trying to recount everything that had happened since they left.
I sat them down in the living room and since they all admitted that they were hungry, I prepared a meal for them of hot tomato soup with fresh bread, paella with feta cheese salad, and apple pie with ice cream, while we talked.
I kept looking at Cedric and Pippa. I wasn’t sure how much their parents had told them of the supernatural world, and they looked in a daze listening to what we said. Heck, even Cameron and Liana looked in a daze—especially when we told them about our new fire-breathing residents.
Of course, there was no way to tell them everything that had happened in a matter of hours, but we did our best to provide a good recap.
And then it was our turn to ask questions.
“How come you never came to visit us all these years?” Derek asked. “And why are you here now?”
“Good questions,” Cameron said, leaning back in his chair and taking a sip from his cup of tea. He glanced warmly at Liana. “My love and I… you know how we yearned for a normal life, Derek. Just as you and Sofia did. We wanted to experience what it was like to be human again. To live oblivious to the supernatural world. When we decided to have children, we knew we wanted to give them a normal, carefree upbringing. I guess if we hadn’t had them, we probably would’ve come back to visit much sooner, but we wanted to shelter them. So once they were born, that just cemented our distance from The Shade. Actually, we only told them about… all this… about ten days ago.”
My eyes widened. “Ten days ago?” No wonder the poor kids look bewildered.
Cameron paused, wetting his lower lip. “Something rather… disturbing happened. Something that left us no choice but to tell them the truth about our past, and return to The Shade.”
Derek leaned forward in his seat. “What happened?”
“Two strange men showed up at our home in Scotland,” Liana answered. “We were away on vacation at the time, in France. It was our house sitter who opened the door. They arrived late at night, around 9pm, and they asked to speak to Cameron and me. Our house sitter was under the impression that they were the police, so she gave them our mobile number. We received a call while we were on the beach one morning. It was an American man. It was Cameron who picked up the phone.” She looked at her husband, who nodded.
“Yes, it was me,” Cameron said. “He addressed me by my first and last name. He explained that he was part of a team working with the government to dig into some of the supernatural incidents that had been going on recently. The long and short of it was, he was a hunter and he knew who we were. I have no idea how he found out about Liana and me, and how he tracked us down, but he knew that we were once residents of The Shade. He said that we would be required to meet with them and this would not be a matter of choice. He asked how long we would be on vacation, so I told him the truth—we were due to return in a week.” Cameron paused to eye his two children, who were watching him recount the story. “During that phone call,” he continued, “we set up a time to meet, the very day after we returned, at noon. A couple of people would come to our house and ask us questions, or so they said. Well, we didn’t wait that long. After I told Liana what had happened, we booked last-minute tickets and traveled back to Scotland the very same day. Reaching home in the middle of the night, we packed up in a frenzy, and thanked God that we had kept the sub in good condition all those years. We left within one hour—we dared not stay longer than that—and brought only the possessions that we really needed.”
I stared at the couple, my mouth open. I couldn’t imagine how traumatic that must’ve been, to leave what had likely been twenty years’ worth of memories within the space of an hour, never to return again. Especially for their son and daughter.