Home > Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(8)

Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(8)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

“Date,” I repeated.

He sighed. Vampires, I had discovered, don’t technically need to breathe, but most of them do out of habit, and to blend in. “We used to sleep together. Recreationally.”

“Oh.” I mulled that over for a moment. Quinn was a relatively new vampire—we had never discussed the specifics of his turn, but I knew it happened between five and ten years ago, in Chicago. I also knew that he had been sold to Maven against his will . . . and that sometime in between getting changed and coming to Boulder, he had attacked his human wife. In that context, it made sense that he’d want to sleep with another vampire: he was wary of hurting humans. Which was pretty ironic given his job as Maven’s fixer.

But then, I knew better than anyone that there was a big difference between hurting someone on orders and hurting someone because you couldn’t make yourself stop.

Still, it was hard to picture Quinn—or any of the other vampires I’d met—craving sex or intimacy at all. They seemed so remote, so detached from their emotions. Yeah, Quinn had shown a little interest in me, and we had kissed, but in that moment, I realized I wasn’t sure how far that interest extended.

I groped for something to say, but what came out of my mouth was, “I wasn’t sure you guys . . . did that.” Oh, great recovery, Lex.

“What, have sex?” He rolled his eyes. “I’m a vampire, Lex, I’m not dead.”

“Well—”

“You know what I mean,” he replied, a little irritated. “Our bodies can do all the same things human bodies can; we just choose whether to prioritize them. It takes energy—blood—to turn on biological functions, but it can be done.”

I thought that over. “So you get to decide whether or not you’ll . . . um . . . crave intimacy?”

“Yes. Just like I can devote energy to having a heartbeat, sweating, or even eating, although I can’t digest food the way you can,” he said matter-of-factly. “Our bodies adapted to power our basic functions first—hunter instincts, feeding capabilities. Everything else depends on how much blood we drink, how often.”

“Huh.” Science was never my particular interest, but that made a lot of sense, in terms of how vampires had managed to stay hidden within the human race for so long. It also said something about Quinn that he’d chosen to devote energy to human emotions when he didn’t have to.

We rode along in silence for a few minutes, and then I couldn’t help but ask, “Did you love her?”

“No.” His voice was weary. “We got along okay, and we both needed somebody. I care about what happens to her, but I mostly just thought you should know about it since you and I are . . . you know.”

“Interested in each other?” I suggested. It made my heart pound hard in my chest, but I was too goddamned old to play games.

“Yes,” Quinn said simply.

I didn’t know quite what to say after that, so we rode in peaceable silence for quite a while. I was just starting to doze off in my seat when we saw the sign for Julesburg.

“Where exactly are we going?” I finally asked.

“Maven keeps these little chambers buried underground for us to hide in if we get caught away from home,” he explained. “They’re safer than a hotel. We’ll start there, see if we can pick up Allegra’s trail.”

“I don’t suppose it’s a gigantic underground chamber?” I said hopefully. “Like the size of a building, with lots of great ventilation and maybe some skylights?”

He smiled. “Nope, sorry. I know you’re claustrophobic, so you can stay on top and guard the entrance.”

“Guard duty?” I said, brightening. “I love that plan. I crush it at guard duty.”

We drove all the way through Julesburg, a former stagecoach station whose only real claim to fame was its connection to corruption and torture. The town was named after Jules Beni, a station manager who was guilty of helping the horse thieves instead of stopping them. According to legend, Beni was killed by his former boss, Jack Slade, a gunslinger who shot off each one of Beni’s fingers and sliced off his ears to keep as trophies.

Unlike many former Wild West towns, for some reason Julesburg never really caught on as a tourist destination. Today, the population still hovered at a little over a thousand people.

We followed Highway 138 past Julesburg and were nearly to the Nebraska border before Quinn turned off onto an unmarked road headed east into fields of . . . well, something. It was too dark to make out the crops, but eventually the field terminated next to some scrubby woodlands. Quinn pulled off onto a little one-lane offshoot of the road and turned off the Jeep.

“Who owns this property?” I asked him.

He shrugged. “This one’s been tied up in will probate for years and years. I don’t think anyone’s ever discovered one of Maven’s vaults, but if someone did, the foundings would just write it off as some weird construction error.”

“What do you mean, construction error?”

“Come see.” He hopped out of the Jeep, and I grabbed my flashlight and followed him. We walked about fifty feet into the grass, nearly to the edge of the woods, before Quinn found the spot he wanted and dropped his duffel bag next to it. I played my flashlight over the overgrown grass as he leaned down and dug his fingers in, like he was feeling around for something. I was about to ask what he was doing, but by then he was pulling up a four-by-four piece of sod, revealing a green metal circle underneath. It was flat and smooth like an oversized sewer cover, but larger and raised about four inches above the ground, with concrete underneath. Obviously a lid. I crouched down to tug at it, but Quinn grabbed my arm. “Let me,” he urged. “The edges on these things can be sharp.”

   
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