Nobody knows. Nobody really knows I'm here.
It seemed that Jacob understood that immediately. At least he took care of everything. They could have buried her Gram in a shallow grave out back, but instead he took her to his place. He called 911 and the rest just happened. It was as if they left it all behind.
Tess felt numb. Still. That moment, seeing Gram, or what was left of her. Now. It didn't matter. It felt the same to her. Everything was gone, but she was still here. Just not with Gram.
"I feel really terrible about this," Jacob wanted her to stay put. "They might be after you." He was so matter of fact.
Naturally, all Tess could think about was her father or her cousins. It would get back to them. Eventually. At the moment, though, everyone seemed to think an old woman died in her sleep. Alone.
Of course, an avalanche of tears came. First suddenly, then off and on. But there she was with Jacob and Billy, someone special to Jacob. Just as special as Gram was to her. She knew. And then she'd look at him, and she'd start to cry.
"You know, you have to be here." Jacob assured her. "Or, or, do you want social services to get a hold of you?"
Could it get any worse, Tess thought. Really, there was no record anywhere of her being born. She might as well be a ghost or a gypsy. People never thought about them. Maybe she could join the circus.
"I have to protect you." Jacob was stern.
"From what?" Really, what would any of them want with her now? She was worthless. She was just a child who'd been part of a long luxurious scam, some time ago. And since she wasn't exactly all that cute an innocent anymore, she wasn't good for much, but maybe cooking and cleaning. A housekeeper perhaps, keen on cleaning out dead folks' houses. It all felt so grim now. She felt like walking off a cliff. Letting the waves swallow her up.
"Vampires." Jacob said quickly. He took her shoulders as if he needed to shake some sense into her while the tears dripped down her cheeks.
"What?" She almost choked on a laugh. "What would they want from me?"
"You tell me." When he looked into her eyes, it was as if needed the truth.
"I dunno. Really, I don't." She wiped the tears off her cheek from her thermal sleeve.
"What, no old boyfriends? An acquaintance, perhaps?" He seemed fixed on this.
"No." She sniffed.
"Jake! Can't you see, she's a bit tired, an upset. You let her alone, now." Billy came to her rescue.
Jacob stepped back then.
"I'm sorry." Jacob then nodded. "You'll be safe here. All right. I promise you, I'll get to the bottom of this. I won't let anything happen to you."
Tess nodded. She nursed the hot chocolate loaded with cool whip that Billy had made for her. She looked around the kitchen. It was different here. A real manly touch, she supposed. Naturally, she felt a little awkward. Sleep was the last thing on her mind. But the more she drank the hot chocolate, the more sleepy she became. She could hardly keep her eyes open. Tess just needed sleep. A good rest seemed to be in order.