Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(26) by Connie Suttle
"Dude, that woman just twisted a chair into a pretzel," Ashe stared at Winkler. Winkler hauled Ashe from the room immediately.
"What did you see?" Winkler hissed. "Tell me!"
"Th-the woman in your picture—in Dallas? She was here. Only everything was different. She bent a metal chair like it was clay." Ashe felt breathless.
"Come on." Winkler pulled Ashe through the front door and away from the house. "Ashe, I don't know how you saw that, but that happened more than twenty-three years ago," Winkler said.
"Who was she?" Ashe whispered. He felt shaky over the whole experience.
"Lissa. Ashe, if you haven't figured it out yet, she was vampire. Female vampires are so rare they almost don't exist. I was a fool and didn't hold onto her. Now, only a few werewolves remember her. The vampire race has no memories left of her. Something took those memories, Ashe. Something powerful. Someone powerful."
"But the vampires knew about her? Back then?" Ashe watched Winkler's face closely. It was filled with pain.
"Yes. They knew about her. Ashe, don't ever say anything about her to any of them. Weldon and I tried to convince them of her existence, once. After she died. We won't try that again." Ashe knew who Weldon was. Weldon Harper, Grand Master of the Werewolves.
"Did Tony Hancock know about her?" Ashe asked.
"She worked with Tony for a while. A lot of those things the history books say he did? He didn't do them. Oh, he was a hero, all right. But Lissa was better than he ever was."
"And now she's dead."
"Yes. She died a long way from here. She had Elemaiyan blood, too. Ashe, whatever you do, don't throw your life away, all right? Promise me." Winkler's fingers gripped Ashe's shoulders—hard.
"I'll do what I can," Ashe was frightened at the look on Winkler's face. Winkler hugged Ashe after that.
"Come on," Winkler pulled Ashe through the door again. "If you get another one of those visions, though, I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me."
Ashe worked up the courage to talk to Tony Hancock before going to bed. "Can you do anything besides mindspeaking?" Ashe asked. "And do you know anything about gates?"
"I read that about gating," Tony said. He sat on the deck outside the media room, the gulf breeze ruffling his black hair. "There's a gate in the Kansas City area somewhere. I have vague memories of it. And another one in Great Britain, but it's closed."
"You know, I don't remember how I know that," Tony shook himself. "I remember that my sire died not far from there. Killed with a wooden arrow."
"That's not good," Ashe muttered. His father had explained about wooden stakes, after all. "So that's why you have a surrogate sire? A replacement?"
"Yes. My surrogate sire was stricter. It's like going through five years of your childhood, all over again. A sire is responsible for his vampire child." Tony smiled wryly.
"Did you give them fits?" Ashe smiled back.
"A couple of times. We won't discuss that. You should go to bed, it's late."
"Yeah." Ashe rose from his seat and walked inside the house.
Ashe learned two things by the end of the week; first, that Winkler's son and daughter had been in Europe after finishing their junior year in college but were now on their way to Corpus Christi, and second, that Dawn and Randy Smith would be staying at Sali's house during their vacation.
"Dude, settle down, I'm on the way now. Marco's driving. He wants to know if his bedroom has been given away. If it has, he's staying with us." Ashe grinned at Marco, who was trying to stifle a snicker as they drove through Port Aransas on the way to the ferry. Sali called Ashe as soon as he'd gotten up on Friday after sleeping late. It was July fourth—Independence Day. Winkler had shooed Marco and Ashe out of the house, sending them to Star Cove for the weekend.
"Mom will have a cow if Marco stays at your house, dude," Sali huffed. "But I could stay with you."
"Then you'd better ask now," Marco said, knowing Sali would hear. Ashe heard Sali trotting through the house, looking for Denise DeLuca.
"Mom, can I stay with Ashe over the weekend while Marco's here?" Ashe almost laughed at Sali's words. Marco didn't hold back the snicker this time.
"Salidar, you'd better ask Adele and Aedan first," Denise's reply came through clearly.
"I'll ask Mom, it'll probably be okay," Ashe said. "We'll be there in about twenty minutes." Ending the call, Ashe watched as Marco maneuvered the Winkler Security van onto the ferry and shut off the engine. The ferry bobbed in the water as Ashe got out. He wanted to see dolphins again, if they were nearby.
"See?" Ashe pointed out the gray backs and dorsal fins of three dolphins sliding in and out of the water.
"I haven't seen any until now," Marco snapped a photograph with his cell phone.
"Cool," Ashe said when Marco showed him the picture. The ferry ride took five minutes, once the boat cast off. "Look at all this traffic," Marco said as they passed a very long line of vehicles on the opposite side of the road, waiting for the ferry to take them onto the island.
"Holiday weekend," Ashe said. "Everybody wants to get to the beach."
"I guess so," Marco agreed. The line of cars was nearly half a mile long with more coming. "I'm glad we're getting off the island before this hits."
"That's probably why Winkler sent us out the door so fast," Ashe said, leaning back in his seat. Sali stood in Ashe's driveway when Marco pulled in to drop Ashe off.
"Come on, I'll look sad when you ask your mother, so she'll let me stay," Sali grinned. Ashe waved at Marco, who backed out and drove to the house next door.
"Salidar, how are you?" Adele greeted Sali after hugging Ashe when they walked through the front door.
"Good, Mrs. Evans," Sali grinned.
"Can Sali stay the weekend while Marco's home? He'll have to sleep on the hard floor otherwise," Ashe said. Sali managed to look pitiful.
"Sali, of course you can stay. Ashe, go make sure the guest room is ready. Take Sali with you," Adele laughed. "There's extra shampoo and soap beneath the sink in the guest bathroom," she called out as they ran upstairs.
Ashe dumped his backpack on the bed before heading next door to the guest room. "What do you think, Sal?"
"I can live with this," Sali grinned at the neatly made bed, dresser and chest. The bathroom was next, and it was fine. "Come over to our house, dude. Mom made cookies," Sali said.
"I'm going to Sali's," Ashe called as he and Sali left the house. Adele waved as they walked through the door.
"Didn't I just see you?" Marco teased when Ashe walked into the DeLucas' kitchen with Sali.
"Can I come in, too?" Cori slipped in behind Ashe.
"Hey." Marco went straight to Cori and gave her a kiss in front of everyone.
"I'm scarred for life now," Ashe laughed.
"What is seen cannot be unseen," Sali nodded sagely.
"If that's the case, then I need therapy," Dori grumped. She'd walked in with Wynn. Wynn was turning a very pretty shade of pink, Ashe noticed.
"Hey, Dori. Wynn." Ashe flushed slightly when he said Wynn's name.
"Have a seat, we've got fresh cookies," Denise hauled a pan from the oven. Cori helped pour milk and they all dug into chocolate chip cookies so warm the chocolate dripped in strings if they were broken apart.
"These are good, Mrs. DeLuca," Ashe said, finishing off his first one.
"Thanks. Sali, you get two," Denise eyed Sali sternly. Sali had his hand halfway to the plate for a third. He frowned and drew his hand back, sneaking a third cookie when his mother turned away.
"Come over to the house and get in the pool," Wynn said after the pile of cookies disappeared. "Ashe, you have to get in this time. You didn't before." Wynn's blue eyes smiled at Ashe. Ashe was ready to do anything Wynn asked at that point.
"Can bats get wet?" Sali asked innocently.
"Dude," Ashe flipped Sali's ear.
Ashe agreed to get in the pool after Cori slathered his back with sunscreen. Sali made a big deal out of rubbing lotion all over Wynn. Cori and Ashe helped Dori out with the protective sunscreen before sliding into the pool. Marco got a volleyball game going, with Cori, Marco and Dori against Sali, Ashe and Wynn. Ashe didn't know how much he could take, watching Sali steal a kiss from Wynn occasionally. Dori just turned her head and refused to watch.
"Hey, no kissing during volleyball, it delays the game," Cori teased after the third time. Ashe was glad she had the courage to speak up; he was worried that Dori would get out of the water, she looked so angry.
"Okay," Sali looked sheepish.
"Look who's here," Sharon O'Neill opened the patio door and allowed Larry and Jeff onto the deck. The two who followed them made Cori growl low in her throat. Chad and Jeremy had come, too. Cori never let her panther take over like that. Never. Ashe felt the same way, but he couldn't produce his echolocation squeak while human, no matter how hard he tried.
"Cori, we're civilized," Marco had his mouth at Cori's ear, speaking so softly only Ashe could hear. Ashe forced himself to relax. Maybe Chad and Jeremy had developed manners. And maybe the sun would rise in the west the following day.
"Come on, we'll take on all six of you, since you'll be playing with girls," Jeremy laughed. Marco held Cori back. She was ready to turn and go after Jeremy. Cori's panther was larger (and more determined) than Jeremy's wildcat, and Ashe knew who would be the winner in that fight. Hayes walked through the patio door while all three girls (and Ashe) glared at Jeremy.
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