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When she looked back, she saw Holiday’s expression was less than happy. But Della refused to worry too much. Things would work out. She had to believe that.
“I’m going to check on Natasha and Liam,” she said.
“You do that,” Holiday said.
Della got to the door and paused. Taking a deep breath, and not completely sure what she was going to tell her cousin and her boyfriend, she eased open the door to their room.
*   *   *
Natasha and Liam were in separate twin beds, but someone had pushed them together. Each had an IV going into their arm. They both had their eyes closed.
Della paused at the door, her gaze going to Natasha. The doctor must have used a washcloth to at least get some of the dirt off her. She wore a gown, and Della suspected it was Holiday’s. She almost turned around when Natasha’s eyes fluttered open.
Della smiled at her, even though it hurt to see her with such dark circles under her eyes and her cheekbones so pronounced.
Natasha smiled back and sat up a little.
“Would you like to rest now? I can come back.”
“No, please come in.” Natasha motioned her in then checked on Liam, who was still asleep.
Della inched in. “I have doctor’s orders not to stay long.”
Natasha nodded. “I hear you and that guy who was with you are the ones responsible for finding us.”
Indecision flipped around her head. Should she tell Natasha the whole truth about the ghost? Yes, Della realized. Natasha deserved to know. Della moved in and sat down in a chair beside the bed.
“Actually, we had a lot of help.”
“The police, or … what do you call them? F something?”
“The FRU,” Della said. “They’re like the police to all the supernaturals.”
Della saw Natasha squint to check out her pattern. “So you’re vampire, too?”
Della nodded and remembered what she needed to tell the girl. “The FRU helped, but…” Oh, hell, how did she say it? “Actually, Natasha, your mom is the one who gets most of the credit.”
“My mom?” Natasha’s eyes grew wide. “But I thought … I was told she thought I was dead.”
“No, not your adoptive mom. Your birth mother, Bao Yu Tsang.”
Now tears filled her eyes and she touched her trembling lips. “I thought she was dead.”
Shit! Della was screwing this up. “Yeah, well, she is. I’m sorry. But … she sort of hung around all these years, probably to look after you.”
Natasha stared at Della as if she might need a shrink.
Della hesitated and then added, “I know it sounds crazy. Believe me, it kind of is.” All of a sudden, cold filled the small bedroom, and Della knew her aunt was there.
“You’re saying my real mom’s ghost helped you find me?”
Della nodded. “Yeah, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.” Except that I was in your body when you and sleepyhead over there were doing the deed. Maybe she shouldn’t tell Natasha that part.
The girl looked down at her hands as if trying to come to grips with what Della had said.
Della let her take all the time she needed.
Finally, she looked up. “My first impulse is to say you’re nuts. I don’t believe in ghosts, but then … I’m a vampire, and I didn’t believe in them, either, until I was turned.”
“Yeah,” Della said. “It kind of messes with your head, doesn’t it?”
Natasha just nodded. “So, she told you where to find me?”
“Well, yeah, I mean … there’s more to it than just that.”
“What’s more?” Natasha asked.
Della inhaled. “Can this part be just between us for a while?”
“What part?”
“I won’t tell,” a male voice said.
Della shifted her focus to Liam, whose eyes were open, and from the look on his face, he’d heard the ghost comment, too.
“Yeah, you can’t tell, either,” Della said.
“What is it?” Natasha asked, sounding leery.
“You and I … we’re cousins,” Della said in a low voice. “Bao Yu Tsang is … was my father’s sister.”
Natasha’s eyes widened again. “You’re Della? I should have recognized you. Your … I mean, our aunt, Miao, showed me pictures of you.”
“Not the one where I was na**d in the bathtub when I was three, I hope,” Della said.
Natasha chuckled and tears filled her eyes at the same time. “Yeah, she showed me that one.” She inhaled. “I can’t believe I’m meeting you.”
Della felt emotion tug on her heart. “I feel the same way. And it’s not that I don’t want people to know, but I’m trying to figure a few things out about our family, and until then, I just wanted to keep it between us.”
“Is something wrong?” Natasha asked.
“Not anything you need to worry about now.” Della felt the temperature dropping even lower.
Natasha pulled the sheet up higher and nodded. Then she looked like she was going to cry again. “When Chan died, I … I was devastated. We hung out sometimes. Went bowling. But his mom, Miao, was so crushed, and I felt bad going to see her because I felt like I reminded her of him.”
Della started to tell her about Chan not being dead, and then dying, but it would take too much time and emotion. Later, she would tell her everything, just not now.