“Is the baby..” Eleanor’s voice trailed off.

He nodded. "The baby is like me. The Pope and Council want the baby safe and under the protection of Sentinels with the hope that one day he will join their ranks as I have done.” He gestured to Caroline. “Masters like Caroline want the baby for themselves to make as many powerful vampires as possible. She hopes to get her hands on the baby and turn him into her servant.”

“You’re forgetting something, Ephraim. You will turn me or I will kill your family.”

“Ephraim, why can’t you kill her and them before they hurt us?” Jill asked.

“Because if he makes a move against me they’ll shoot you. He can’t save all of you and he knows it,” Caroline said smugly.

Jill bit her lip and nodded. Chris held his gaze for a moment and nodded. He slowly turned until he was propped up in Eleanor’s lap while his legs spread out in front of Joshua and Madison.

If they were going to do something it had to be now. Chris was losing too much blood and was at risk of passing out. Ephraim watched as Chris laid both of his hands in his lap. Moving the left one caused him pain, but he pushed through it.

Ephraim turned and punched a hole in the wall. Everyone jumped at the unexpected move. Chris took advantage of the distraction and finished positioning himself.

“Fucking hell!” He pulled his hand out and stalked towards Caroline. “I’m sick of these f**king games, Caroline. This is bullshit. If I had known you were going to stalk me for eternity I would have just given you my blood a century ago.”

“You’ll do it now?” she asked cautiously.

He looked like he was thinking it over as he looked back at the small group. He nodded hard. “Let’s just get this the f**k over with. Are you going to want me to turn them into vamps?”

“Wait what does he mean by vamps? You promised we would be like him!” one of the men said.

“You will of course,” she purred. She threw Ephraim a warning glare. If he told them her plans she would kill them now.

Ephraim nodded.

“Let’s get this over with."

“Fine, now I know your blood will kill me so what do I have to do differently?”

“I have to feed from you first. It will mix with my blood. Then you can feed.” He lied. They had to feed at the same time and it wouldn’t work even if they did. He’d already turned Madison. His body would safely take her blood as a meal. He could easily feed off vampires, but preferred human. Caroline didn’t realize that his stomach would digest her blood, slowly. If they were doing a dual exchange her blood would shoot through his system fast enough so it would mix with his and make her stronger.

“If this doesn’t work kill them all,” she told the men. They all nodded as their eyes shot from them to the group.

“Turn around,” Ephraim said.

“No, I want you to feed from me while I’m in your arms,” she argued.

“No, it will be easier for me this way.” Before she could argue his hand shot out and yanked her to him. His fangs sank into her neck. His eyes darted from Madison to Chris. Chris nodded. As soon as it was time he prayed Chris wouldn’t hesitate.

He pulled quickly on her neck, draining her. The more blood she lost the quicker her death would be when she took his. She winced and groaned in his arms. “Enough!”

He ignored her and continued to feed. After a few minutes when he knew her body was all but drained and his stomach was uncomfortably full he pulled back and offered his wrist. “Take your fill.” He had to make this convincing. “After this is done stay the hell away from me. I don’t want to see you for the rest of eternity.”

She nodded her agreement as she pulled his wrist to her mouth. Caroline was too excited to make the moment last. She’d waited so long for this. She sank her teeth in and swallowed as fast as she could. Some of his blood leaked from her mouth, but she was unconcerned as she drank greedily.

After a minute he pulled his arm away. “That’s enough if you take any more I’ll end up having to drain those men before you get your fill. You don’t want to go away hungry.”

She laughed triumphantly. “There’s more than enough here to meet my needs.”

“If you don’t mind…” He let his voice trail off while he cocked his head towards the men.

“Certainly.” She smiled, not knowing her blood had settled in his stomach and not his veins, leaving him too full to take even one more drop of blood.

Ephraim walked over to the men. “Let’s get this over with. I want you all out of my house.”

The men looked at him nervously, but no one moved. Ephraim started with the one at the far left, the one covering Eleanor and Chris. He needed to be taken out first. He had to move quickly.

“Put down your weapon. I’m not having you accidentally shoot while we do this.”

The man nodded and put the gun in his holster. The other men watched anxiously. Ephraim stepped up to the man. He took the man’s head firmly in his hands. “Are you ready?” he asked loudly.

The man nodded, but it wasn’t him that Ephraim was asking. Madison watched as Chris reached down and pulled out two guns. With his left elbow he shoved Eleanor down, causing her to fall backwards. With his left leg he knocked Joshua and Jill down. It was easy with the way they were sitting. They all fell at once. Chris took aim as Madison covered the kids with her body.

“Now!” Ephraim yelled as Caroline screamed in pain. Madison looked over at the woman as she dropped to the ground. Her body convulsed as smoke rose from her skin. The men shouted orders as Chris began shooting.

Ephraim snapped the man’s neck. He lunged at the next man. A bullet hit him in the side of his leg. “Don’t stop no matter what!” he yelled at Chris. Another bullet tore through his right bicep, but he didn't let the pain slow him down.

Madison looked over at Chris as he fired his guns. His left hand wasn’t as fast as the right one but he seemed in control. She heard more shots fired behind her. They had to take the men out before one of them got killed.

Ephraim moved towards the last man standing. The man was already hit several times, but wouldn’t stop firing. Chris cried out in pain the same time as the man fired another round before Ephraim could grab him. He took out the man with a quick snap of his neck.

“Chris!” Madison screamed.

“Oh f**k,” Chris muttered. He was hit in the same shoulder again as well as the stomach. The gun in his left hand dropped to the ground. He kept the right one pointed at the slump bodies on the floor even as it shook. He was going to pass out soon and he was fighting it. She could see from his face that he wasn’t quite there anymore.

“Chris!” Joshua screamed.

Madison turned to see Caroline sitting on the ground. Heavy white smoke rose from her body. Some of the smoke cleared from her hands with a quick movement. Madison saw the gun too late.

Chris slowly swung his hand around. He muttered a curse and flung himself in front of the kids, taking her down to the floor and out of the line of fire. Several things seemed to happen at once. Ephraim roared in anger, continuous gunshot echoed throughout the room, Chris’s body went limp and then jumped several times as if it had been struck violently. The last thing to occur was the front door slamming open.