Fate, p.19
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       Fate, p.19

         Part #2 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
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Almost sadly, he looked away and stood up. Mae wrapped the blanket around my shoulders, and left her arms with them, cradling me to her as she sat next to me.

  Ezra stood in front of us, resting his hand on his chin, just watching me. Milo and Jack stood off to the side of the room, and I could feel them looking to Ezra expectantly. A decision was in the process of being made right now, one that I didn’t understand.

  - 22 -

  “Guys, I’m okay, really,” I said meekly, hoping to ease the tension in the room.

  “We know, love,” Mae whispered, squeezing me briefly to reassure me, but she kept her eyes locked on Ezra.

  “Yes,” he nodded, his expression regretful. “You can smell him on her. ”

  “Fuck,” Jack said under his breath and turned away, so his back was to us.

  Mae let out a sigh and rested her forehead on my shoulder. I understood what Ezra meant as soon as he said it, but I shook my head in disbelief.

  “I’m wearing his clothes. ” I touched at my shirt. “And I don’t even know why it matters. So what if I smell like Jack?” I looked over at Jack, but he still had his back to us. “Who cares? Does it even matter?”

  “It matters. ” Mae lifted her head, looking up at Ezra. “But there are things we can do. Aren’t there?” He stared at me, to the point where I felt uncomfortable, and ignored her. “Ezra?”

  “Mae…” Ezra shook his head.

  “What does that mean?” Milo asked, his voice high and shaky. “What do you mean?”

  “It means that Peter’s not here. ” Ezra put his hands together, as if he was praying, then gestured widely. When he looked over at Milo, he tried to smile. “He’s not here. He can’t do anything. And that’s what we’ve got. ”

  “That’s all you’ve got?” Milo bit his lip to hold tears back.

  “Milo, it’s okay,” I said, and somehow my tone was calm and even. Maybe I was too tired to really feel scared or sad yet. “I’m okay. There’s nothing to worry about. Not right now. ”

  For whatever reason, that’s when Jack had enough. He abruptly stormed out of the room, and I heard his feet pounding as he ran up the stairs. Matilda ran after him, but he apparently slammed the door on her because she started barking and clawing at the door.

  “Matilda!” Ezra shouted, and she fell silent.

  “Milo, can you go get my phone?” I asked, looking up at him. “I think it’s in Mae and Ezra’s room somewhere. ”

  “Try the bathroom,” Mae suggested.

  “Sure thing. ” Milo looked better being put on a task. If he was doing something, anything, it felt better than just standing there.

  Once he had hurried out of the room, I turned my focus onto Ezra. I was a little surprised to find my eyes swimming with tears, but I imagined that being incredibly tired and suffocating in Jack’s feelings of guilt probably added to it.

  “Tell him not to come back,” I told Ezra, and a heavy lump grew in my throat.

  It didn’t seem right, but part of my sadness came from knowing that I would never see Peter again. The reason I can never see him is because he’d kill me if I did, but it didn’t change the way I felt.

  My body felt intertwined with Jack’s, even more so than before. He wasn’t even in the room, but I could feel his terror and shame coursing through my veins. But some part of me still pulled towards Peter and didn’t understand how I could survive without him.

  “You really want that?” Ezra asked.

  “Do I even have a choice?” I swallowed hard. “He’s going to kill me and Jack. ” I looked down at the blanket, fiddling with the corner. “I know you still talk to him. Convince him not to come back. ” Then I shook my head, realizing how selfish I was being. “No, that’s not fair. I should just leave. Peter will never know, and he’ll never have any reason to hurt Jack. ”

  “Nobody wants you to leave, love,” Mae stroked my hair. “Especially not after last night. ”

  I was about to ask why Jack biting me would make them want me to stay even more, but then I realized she was talking about the fight at the club. Vampires were hunting me, on top of this whole other mess.

  “I just don’t know what to do. ” I had to gulp down air to keep from crying, and Ezra shifted uneasily.

  “We’re going to protect you, Alice,” Ezra said. “We just haven’t resolved everything yet. ”

  “Have you resolved anything?” I asked pointedly.

  “We will,” Ezra replied firmly.

  “I found your phone. ” Milo stood at the edge of the room, holding my phone out towards me and looking unsure. When he had left, I was mostly okay, but now I was hunched over, hugging myself tightly, and fighting to keep from sobbing.

  I held out my hand, and he brought it over. I was surprised there weren’t messages or missed calls from Jane, but it was still fairly early in the morning, and I saw how badly Milo had knocked her out last night.

  “I need to get home. I have school tomorrow, and I still have to talk to Jane, and I don’t even know what I’m gonna tell her yet. ”

  “It’s still very early. You’ve barely gotten any sleep, and you have plenty of time to worry about all that later. Why don’t you stay here and get some rest, and we’ll take you home in the morning to get you ready for school?” Mae suggested.

  “Why in the morning?” I asked. “Why not tonight?”

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  “We’d just feel a little safer if you were here tonight. ” She ran her fingers through my hair.

  Jack was probably the least of my worries. My blood was already tainted. He couldn’t do anything worse than what he’d already done.

  Outside of this house, however, there were Lucian and Violet, and not to mention Peter. Plus, I still felt incredibly weak, and it wouldn’t hurt for me to be under observation for a little while.

  “Why don’t you and Mae take the master room? I can take the couch in the den,” Ezra said.

  “I couldn’t kick you out of your own room,” I shook my head.

  “I insist. ” He turned to Milo, who stood awkwardly to the side of us. “Go upstairs and get some sleep. We’ve all had a long night. Mae will be with your sister, and I’ll be right next door. Nothing will happen. ”

  “You’re sure you’re okay, Alice?” Milo looked at me, and I nodded.

  “I’m just gonna get some sleep, and he’s right. You really need to do the same. ”

  Reluctantly, he went upstairs to his room. After last night, he had to be exhausted. He’d been in his first fight ever, and it’d been with a pissed off vampire. That had to take a lot out of him.

  When I stood up, I almost fell over, and instantly, Ezra’s arms were around me, carrying me. I had become accustomed to the feeling of Jack’s arms and the way they made me feel safe. It wasn’t that I thought Ezra would drop me, but it felt familiar and unusual all at once.

  He left me on his bed to sleep on a couch in the den, and I felt guilty. I tried to protest, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He kissed Mae before departing, and she smiled wanly at me.

  I crawled under the covers, trying to get comfortable in their sea of blankets and pillows, and she climbed in next to me. She was still in her pajamas, as they all had been, because Jack and I had woken them up.

  “Are you comfortable?” Mae asked before she turned off the bedside lamp.

  “Yeah,” I nodded, and she flicked off the light and settled in. “Thanks. ”

  “I’m really glad you’re here, even with all of this,” she said.

  “Can I ask you something?” In the darkness of the room, it felt okay to address something that had been bothering me.

  “You can ask me anything, love. ” She moved in the bed, and although I couldn’t see her, I could tell she had turned on her side to face me.

  “Milo bit Jane last night, and it was… I don’t know. ” I wanted to say animalistic or predatory, but I didn’t want to say that about my
brother. “But when Jack bit me, it was entirely different. And I know it was happening to me and I wasn’t witnessing it, but I don’t think that it looked the way it did when Milo bit Jane. ”

  “And you want to know why it was different?”

  “Yeah. ” I said.

  When Milo bit Jane, it really freaked me out. When Jack bit me, it had been perfect and magical, and I wanted to do it again.

  “Milo is younger and much more inexperienced with that sorta thing,” Mae explained carefully. “He was also starving when he bit her, and Jack wasn’t, so Jack was able to have more control. ” She sighed, as if that wasn’t quite what she wanted to say.

  “Forgive me for a lack of a better analogy, because I’m not saying anything against your brother when I say this,” she went on. “But think of sex and rape. They’re both the same physical act, the same way that biting anyone is essentially the same thing. But one is for romance, and one is forced.

  “That’s still not exactly right, though,” she said. “When Jack bit you, he did it for love, and Milo did it for food. ”

  “So… when Jack bites other people, is it like the way it was with Milo?” I asked. For the first time, I understood what he meant when he said that it wasn’t the same when he fed on other people as it was with me.

  “I wasn’t there with Milo, but I would say to a lesser extent, yes. Milo was more aggressive because of his age and hunger,” Mae said. “Does that help?”

  “I think so. ”

  “Why don’t you get some sleep now? I know you’re exhausted. ”

  I rolled over, so I lay on my stomach, and she rubbed circles on my back. My mother had done the same thing when I was little and couldn’t fall asleep. Not that I really needed that much help.

  This fatigue was like nothing I had ever felt before. Even after Peter had bitten me and almost drained me entirely, the blood transfusion Ezra had given me had boosted everything before I felt the extreme effect of it.

  I didn’t wake up until almost ten o’clock that night, but I was still so tired that I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble falling asleep again before school.

  Jack was around the house, but he didn’t even look at me the entire time that I was there. That hurt like nothing else.

  We shared something far more intimate than I had ever imagined anything could be, and he wouldn’t talk to me or look at me. He could barely even stand to be in the same room as me.

  Milo made me supper, and everyone moved around me as if they were walking on broken glass. Ezra was gone by the time I woke up, and Mae said he had some things he had to look into. I didn’t know if he really did, or if he was going to talk to Peter and try to keep him away.

  Jane sent me a couple texts, demanding to know had happened last night. I didn’t really feel like explaining vampires in text message form, and I definitely did have the strength for that kind of phone conversation. So I ignored her, even though I knew she deserved an explanation.

  Eventually, I fell asleep on the couch, and Mae woke me up a little after six in the morning. She dropped me at home, where I could shower and get ready for school. She’d sent me with vitamins and iron, as that would help produce more blood and combat my weakness. I felt frail and out of it, and I wasn’t sure how I would make it through the day.

  After the August heat, I walked to the bus stop in a rather chilly mist. It still felt incredibly strange going to school by myself. Going back to school was like a return back to real life, but I was going alone. Milo was no longer a part of real life.

  On the bus, I pulled out my iPod with the intent of listening to it, but nothing sounded good. I felt so disconnected from everything. I just wanted to sleep, but I didn’t want to go back to my apartment. It didn’t feel like home anymore, and everything about my life felt wrong.

  I stumbled blearily through the first couple hours of school until Jane cornered me in a stairwell. I had put on my headphones to listen to MGMT very loudly to keep me awake, and I didn’t hear her calling my name or chasing after me.

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  I made it up a flight of stairs when her face appeared directly in front of mine. Her makeup was caked on heavier than normal, trying to hide the fact that she looked pale and freaked out. Otherwise, she looked like her usual perfect-Jane-self.

  “What the hell is going on?” Jane hissed, ripping the ear buds from my ears.

  - 23 -

  “What?” I tried to play dumb since people streamed down the stairs around me. I would’ve tried to get away from Jane, but she had me backed up against the wall.

  “You know damn well what I’m talking about. ” Her face was so close to mine I could smell the Red Bull on her breath and the strawberry gloss on her lips.

  “I don’t want to talk about it here,” I said warily. People slowed down, stopping to watch the scene she was making.

  “Maybe you should’ve thought about that last night when you weren’t answering my calls,” Jane growled.

  “I wasn’t thinking about anything. ” I dropped my eyes to floor so I didn’t have to look at the frightened glare she gave me. “I slept a lot yesterday. ”

  “Come on. ” She grabbed my hand and started yanking me down the steps I had just walked up.

  “What are you doing?” I asked, but I didn’t even try fighting her.

  “We’re gonna talk!”

  She dragged me to the nearest girls’ bathroom and practically threw me inside. I stumbled and fell to the ground, but I blame that on my own infirmity. A freshman washed her hands at the sink, but Jane sneered at her, so she finished quickly and hopped over me on her way to the exit.

  As I got to my feet, Jane checked underneath the stalls to make sure we were alone, and then tossed her heavy book bag in front of the door to act as doorjamb.

  “What the hell happened, Alice?” She went over and dug her cigarettes out of her bag. I walked over to the counter and leaned on it. “What are they? Who were those people that chased after us? And what the hell did your brother do to me?”

  “One question at a time, Jane. ”

  I ran a hand through my hair and tried to ignore that haunting, pale reflection that stared out from the mirror. I turned my back to it and using every bit of my strength, I hopped onto the counter.

  The bell rang overhead, announcing that the break had ended and class had begun, but neither of us made any move towards the door.

  “Start with whichever one you want,” Jane gestured vaguely as she lit her cigarette.

  “They’re vampires. ”

  When she took a drag from her cigarette, her hand shook. She stared at the yellow bathroom floor tile, and she exhaled smoke out of the corner of her mouth. Her expression didn’t look surprised and her skin didn’t pale, but I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.

  Maybe she just thought I was insane. She took another drag of her cigarette and waved for me to continue with her other hand.

  “I don’t really know who the other vampires were,” I said. “We met them at a club a little while back, and they were obsessed with me because Jack wouldn’t share me or something. I don’t really know what they want with me. ” I kept watching her, but she stayed the same, nervously smoking and looking down.

  “They happened to be at the club that night. And they chased us. Milo lost blood in the attack, and he was kinda desperate to replace it. So he bit you. ” I swallowed hard. “I’m sorry. We never meant for you to get involved. ”

  “Milo is a vampire?” Jane said, almost interrupting me. “How long?”

  “Over three weeks. ” It sounded so weird saying it aloud. My brother’s been a vampire for almost a month.

  “Jack is a vampire?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “But you’re not?” She looked up at me, her eyes wide and scared.

  “No, I’m not. ”

  “Why don’t I have bite marks?” Jane pointed to her neck. It was comp
letely bare, the same as mine, even though we’d both just been bitten. “I knew that he bit me, but I didn’t have any sign of it. ”

  “Something in their saliva. It makes the wounds heal right away,” I shrugged. “It’s probably the same thing that makes it so they heal quickly and live forever, but on a much smaller scale. ”

  “That’s why your brother looked so foxy. And why I can’t get him out of my head. ” Jane chewed the inside of her cheek and stared off into space. “And why I couldn’t get Jack out of my head either. They’re vampires. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I said softly, unsure of what else to say. “I never thought you would… When Milo invited you out, I thought we would just dance and you’d go home. I never tried to mix you guys. I just…”

  “What do they want with you?” She looked at me again, and this time, she was suspicious. “Are you like Jack’s blood mule or something?”

  “No, it’s nothing like that. ” I shook my head. “He’s… We’re… There’s extenuating circumstances that I’m not gonna get into right now, but we’re almost dating. I guess. ”

  “What does that even mean?” Her hand was shaking less when she flicked her ashes. “Are you sleeping together? Does he bite you?”

  “No. ” I let it hang in the air, unwilling to tell her the truth. “We just care about each other. ”

  “So why did Milo turn into a vampire and not you?” She studied me, trying to figure out if I was lying, and I shifted uncomfortably.

  “There was an accident,” I said. “He was dying, and the only way to save him was to turn him. So they did. ”

  “I’m not gonna turn, am I?” Jane’s hand went to her neck, touching where Milo bit her.

  “No, it doesn’t work like that. You’ll be perfectly fine,” I said. “Oh. You should take iron and B12 for awhile to help your blood replenish or whatever. ”

  “So… they’re really vampires?” Jane eyed me up skeptically.

  “You saw them. ”

  “I did,” she agreed thoughtfully. “But that girl, she had fangs, like hardcore. I didn’t notice any on Milo or Jack. ”

  “Yeah, I don’t think those are real. ” I’d been thinking the same thing. “Hers must be veneers or something. She has to be a real vampire, but I think it’s all part of her ‘image. ’ You saw her black lipstick and Halloween make up. ”

  Jane nodded and tossed her cigarette butt on the floor. She stomped it out and pulled another cigarette out from her pack.

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  Obviously, she’d been thinking of it before I said anything. In the car, after Violet and Lucian attacked us, she’d even used the word “vampires” herself. But it was still a hard thing to come to terms with, even when all the pieces fit.

  “So what now?” Jane asked at length.

  “What do you mean?”

  “I don’t know!” She laughed hollowly. “They are vampires! Doesn’t it feel like we should do something? That we can’t just go back to living our life like normal?”

  “That’s something that I struggle with everyday,” I said. “But there isn’t much else for us to do. ”

  “I was bit by a damn vampire! And now I’m supposed to go to Chemistry, and flirt with boys, and just pretend like none of it ever happened?” Tears welled in her eyes, and she bit her lip. “I sorta feel like my whole life was a lie. I mean, what else is there that I don’t know about?”

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