Authors: Lacy Williams as Lacy Yager,Haley Yager
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Teen & Young Adult, #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #Teen fiction, #YA fiction
“I can’t take off with those things on the wing!”
Shane leans halfway out the open door and I’m afraid he’s going to fall onto the tarmac as we pick up speed, but I can’t make myself move. Another huge fireball erupts, and the monsters take off with a screech.
“Door!” Daniel shouts.
The plane turns abruptly and Shane falls into me, away from the open air rushing past. He grunts and pushes off of me, weapons clattering to the plush carpet.
We’re still gaining speed, the runway lights flashing past rapidly now, and the door has to be closed for takeoff.
“Door!” Daniel repeats his shout and Shane goes flat on his chest and starts pulling the straps to fold in the stairs.
“I’ve got to take off! They’re right behind us!”
I can’t breathe anymore, the wind is rushing through the cabin so hard now. I think we’re all going to die—who knew it was going to be a plane crash? And then the door seals, and Shane clicks the handle into the locked position.
Shane slumps against the nearest seat, exhaling sharply.
“Hold on!” Daniel calls out.
I’m not seatbelted in since there aren’t any straps on the floor, and I start to slide as we arc upward. This feels too steep for a normal takeoff.
The jet engines whine terribly and I close my eyes against the pain of my ears popping unnaturally fast, but then in a few minutes we level off and the pressure in my head recedes.
It takes a minute for the realization to sink in: we’ve just escaped from an inescapable foe.
I drag myself into a the supple leather seat furthest from Hannah, which puts me elbow to elbow with Rachel. Shane and Chloe are in the two seats facing us.
“Get away from me, bloodsucker,” Rachel snarls.
“In a minute. I need to catch my breath.” Right now I don’t think I can sit next to Hannah and maintain control, not with the blood she’s still got on her. Thankfully Lily has put aside her prejudice against me and is keeping pressure on Hannah’s neck.
Shane looks concerned. Probably worried that I’m going to go after Chloe.
I can’t look at him for more than a few seconds. I feel myself tearing up, my emotions swinging wildly as I struggle to control the monster.
“It’s been a minute,” Rachel informs me snidely. “Now move.”
“Rachel, leave her alone. She’s hurt.”
I’m surprised by Shane’s defense but try not to show it. The
tore through my shirt when it attacked me, but thankfully my bra is an industrial-strength one and I don’t have much to cover up. I cross my arms anyway.
“I don’t care if she’s hurt. I don’t want her sitting by me.”
“I can’t sit over there.” I motion to the empty seat next to Hannah, gritting my teeth to keep the monster in check. Just a glance at Hannah and I’m almost on my feet to go after her. “Because I refuse to have my best friend for breakfast. Okay?”
I am so over Rachel right now. She’s ungrateful, and that rubs me the wrong way.
Chloe’s eyes are wide and I don’t think she’s taken them off of me. I’m sure the vampire repulses her.
“Can you change back?” Shane asks softly.
And there is the crux of the whole matter. I shake my head.
“And you’re not healing properly either?”
This time I nod.
“What do you need?”
The word seems to echo around the cabin. All my supply was back in the SUV, and we didn’t have time to bring it with us.
17 - Shane
. Well, that’s the whole issue between us, isn’t it?
Not sure I really want to know, I ask, “What would you normally do?”
Maggie narrows her eyes on my face. A glance at the girl I don’t know yet—Lily?—reveals she’s hanging on every word, even though she’s pretending to be focused on Hannah.
Finally Maggie sighs. “I get blood from the internet.”
Chloe leans forward in her seat. “You mean like on Ebay?”
The corner of Maggie’s mouth quirks up. “Not exactly. There are a couple of message boards where these kids hang out… they’re obsessed with vampires. I don’t know if they really think we’re real or what, but they send me blood. Their own blood,” she clarifies.
“That’s what’s in your secret closet at Eww!” the Lily girl exclaims, unable to hide her interest in our conversation any longer.
“Yup. I have a whole fridge full. Had.” Maggie frowns.
“How do you get it? I mean, you can’t just have it delivered to your dorm room, can you?” Leave it to Chloe. This is so morbid, but I want to know Maggie’s answer too, so I let Chloe ask.
“You’d be surprised,” Maggie mumbles. She leans her head back against the headrest. “I pay a guy who manages a restaurant to ‘rent’ some space in the back corner of the place’s giant-sized fridge. They accept my deliveries and just stuff the boxes back there until I come get them.”
“They don’t open the boxes?”
Maggie smiles. “Not if you pay them enough.” A look of pain crosses her face. I’m amazed at her self-control; she hasn’t attempted to attack any of us and it’s obvious she’s fighting against herself to keep it that way.
I feel like I should do something, help her in some way. “Can’t your friend—”
“Brother? Umm, well doesn’t he have any blood you could, you know, borrow?”
Maggie’s lips curl up, but the semblance of a smile is twisted and ugly. “Daniel eats the old fashioned way. If I ask him, he’ll say I should pick one of you. Probably Chloe because she smells the best.”
I stiffen, my hand automatically going to my blade.
Maggie scowls. “If I wanted to kill you, I wouldn’t talk about it first.”
Shame heats my face. At this point, there’s no hiding that Maggie isn’t a normal vampire; I don’t think she intends to hurt anyone. It’s the monster inside her I don’t trust. And being inside this flying tin can with a wounded vampire is just a little too worrisome, especially with Chloe apparently smelling pretty good.
Maggie closes her eyes and I use the opportunity to
look at her. She’s ashen. The burns on the back of her shoulder from the holy water should be long gone by now but they’re still there, faded. The nasty-looking claw marks across her upper chest—I am solicitous and keep my eyes from straying
—haven’t closed up yet. I’m worried for her.
“Why couldn’t we do a blood donation?” Lily asks.
Everyone stares at her blankly.
“Like a transfusion…”
Still nothing from the rest of us. I’m seeing potential here, but who’s going to donate?
“I’m serious. I think we can make this work. There has to be a first aid kit…” She starts rummaging through one of the cabinets built into the plane.
Maggie rouses enough to watch Lily’s actions, but she doesn’t say anything.
“Come on, come on…” And finally, “Ah ha!” Triumphant, she waves a red and white box in the air. “So who’s donating?”
There is a tense silence throughout the plane’s cabin.
“And there you have it…” Maggie says softly.
“Who’s going to draw the blood?” I ask, stalling for time.
“I will.” I must look skeptical because she lifts her chin. “I’m an expert with needles.”
What’s that supposed to mean?
“Hannah can’t do it,” Maggie says. “So that leaves one of the Camptons.” She raises her eyebrows and runs her tongue across the front of her upper teeth. Was that gesture to provoke us, or was it subconscious?
I get defensive fast, jumping to my feet to protect my sisters. “No way.”
Lily shrugs. “It’s not like I’m going to drain you dry. I’m talking one maybe two pints.”
Rachel pretends she’s ignoring the conversation, but her hands are clenched tightly on the armrests of her seat.
,” Lily says. “Maggie just saved all our butts by getting us on this plane. And didn’t you save the little girl, too, Maggie? Oh yeah. I sort of think you owe her.”
She’s looking right at me. And I’m inclined to agree with her. But I can’t be the one to do it—what if I’m woozy from blood loss and something happens?
Rachel meets my eyes and I can see she and I are on the page. Her lips are pressed tight with distaste.
“I think we should do it, Shane. Don’t you, Rach?” Chloe asks, standing up so she can look both of us in the face. “I’ll do it.”
“Uh uh.” I veto. “Rach’s going to do it.”
My middle sister pulls a face. “Do I have to?”
“I think it’s that or risk all our lives over the middle of the ocean.”
“Fine,” Rach huffs. “Where? I’m not sitting next to her while we do it.”
Lily draws her away, to the seat next to Hannah. Lily wasn’t joking about being skilled with a needle—she hits Rach’s vein on the first try. Rach’s crimson blood flows through a small clear tube into an open cup; two more cups are lined up nearby.
“I can’t believe this,” Maggie says, putting her head in her hands. Is she worried about the scent carrying to her, even from the other side of the cabin? Should I be worrying about my sister’s well-being?
“Don’t,” Maggie says, but she doesn’t look up. “Vampire or not, I would never hurt your sister.”
What? I look down and see my hand is hovering over my knife.
“Reflexes,” I admit.
She doesn’t respond, keeps her head down.
The thought of Maggie drinking blood sickens me. I am amazed at her self control when it comes to blood; but I just can’t condone her bloodsucking ways. It goes against everything I’ve been taught my whole life. I can’t be her friend, can I?
Maggie has proved me wrong time and time again. Maybe she’ll do it again.
18 - Maggie
“Done,” Lily announces, wrapping Rachel’s arm with gauze. She holds one of the three plastic cups in each hand and carefully balances the third in front of the other two with her fingertips, making a little triangle.
I’m too tired to move, but I don’t want to sit here while Shane watches. The plane only seats six, and Rachel stays where she is with arms crossed, as if daring me to ask her to move. So that means my only other choice is a seat next to Hannah, and I’m still worried I’ll lose control. Maybe even while I’m eating.
So I remain where I am while Lily drops into the chair next to me, careful not to spill any of the precious liquid she carries.
“Here you go.”
I know my face is flushing while I take the cup from her hand. She doesn’t shy away like I expect, only lays her hand on the armrest between us. She’s always had such strong feelings about me, I kinda wonder what she’s going to think when she sees me do this.
I’m pretty sure I know what Shane’s thinking—how disgusting he finds me. It’s easier to focus on Lily. “Thanks.”
I gulp down half of the first cup in one swallow; my teeth break through the flimsy plastic when the fluid runs out. A growl slips out before I can stop it.
It’s so good. I can feel strength returning already; my bloody wound starts healing rapidly.
Lily shoves the second cup into my hand without waiting to be asked and jerks her hand back quicker this time. She leaves the third cup in the built-in cupholder between us. I finish all three in under thirty seconds. I lick the remains off my teeth. It’s strange how Rachel’s blood tastes a little different than what I’m used to. Of course, what I’m used to is cold, not warm and fresh like this. Maybe that’s the difference.
I press the back of my hand to my mouth, embarrassed when I flick a glance up and both Shane and Chloe are staring, openmouthed.
“Are you usually so noisy?”
Shane looks chagrined at Chloe’s intrusive question, but I really like the little girl and I’m feeling much better now. I change back with a blink and I can breathe much easier with Hannah’s and Chloe’s scents muted.
“I don’t know. I’ve never had an audience before.”
Chloe looks like she’s going to ask another question when a huge yawn interrupts her. Shane puts his arm around her shoulders. “You should probably try to take a nap, kiddo. You’ve been up all night and we won’t be there for awhile.”
“Are you going to?”
Shane’s eyes dart to the cockpit behind me and then meet mine. He’s probably remembering my earlier statement about Daniel’s feeding preferences.
“It’s getting ready to be daylight,” I remind him. And the cockpit is one big window, so I doubt my brother will take the chance of turning. He’s too self-centered to chance killing himself.
Shane nods, flashing a brief smile, a shadow of what he’d given me before—was it just last night? “Maybe I’ll get some shut eye,” he says quietly. But he just stares out the window beside him, Chloe tucked close to his side. She dozes off almost immediately.
Lily shifts in the seat next to me, bringing my attention back to her. She seems pretty wired, her leg jiggles up and down. She’s not sleeping anytime soon.
“Thanks again for helping with the… you know.” I jerk my chin toward Rachel, who has found an IPOD somewhere and has earbuds plugged in. She probably can’t hear us, and even if she can I doubt she cares.
Lily shrugs off my gratitude.
“So… I can’t help but notice you’re being awfully nice to me. Is it just because you’re intimidated now that you’ve found out what I am?”
She laughs softly. “No.”
She picks at the sleeve of her sweatshirt. “Well, back at Eww, I thought you were Miss Perfect. Always sneaking around but never getting caught. Director Phillips loves you… But now I kinda understand why you’ve had to sneak around so much.”
Her confession dissolves a lot of the resentment I’ve held inside about how she’s treated me. I’d like to keep the camaraderie between us growing, so I say, “I have an alter ego that pays Director Phillips to keep Hannah and me out of trouble.”
She half-laughs, disbelieving. “Really?”
“Sweet. So… what were those things back at the airport?”
“Cat rat what-sees?”
for short. They’re… um, ancient vampires. They don’t have souls.”
Her brow wrinkles. “So will you eventually turn green like that? And sprout wings?”