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
“Thank God for tae bo and gym class, right?”
The two security guards roll their eyes, but walk off with the druggie and don’t give me another glance. As usual, they don’t want to believe in the supernatural.
A quiet sob breaks the silence and Rachel’s brother looks down in surprise at the little girl next to him. Did he forget she was there? She’s trembling and my heart breaks just a little. Edward was that age when he died.
“Is she okay?” I ask, taking a step towards them. There’s something about her…
The boy’s burning eyes snap back to me. “She’s fine,” he spits.
What is his deal? I just saved her.
The girl’s wide blue gaze is fixed on me; she has the same color eyes as her brother. She’s… hurt.
“Maybe you should have a nurse take a look just in case,” I say.
My extra senses tell me something’s wrong. In my human form the smell of fear radiating off her overpowers my ability to know exactly what’s hurt, but I
that something’s not right.
His eyes narrow into slits and he shepherds the girl further behind him, blocking my view of her. “Thanks for your opinion.”
He’s acting unexpectedly. Most people just avoid me, but he’s facing me head on. And almost projecting violence. Is this a reaction to seeing what I really am? How can I convince him that his sister needs medical attention?
The girl sobs harder, trying to muffle the sound in her right fist. She’s holding her left arm gingerly away from her body, and I realize she has a fracture, probably from hitting the floor when I got her away from the druggie. And he is so focused on me that
doesn’t even know it.
“It couldn’t hurt to let someone take a look. Maybe it’ll calm her down.”
“I think you need to mind your own business.”
Why isn’t Hannah back yet? I could use a little help getting this guy to see things my way. I’m cranky enough without sleep or food.
Seriously, what is his deal? For someone as attractive as he is he doesn’t have the manners to match.
“Why don’t you just ask her? She’s obviously in pain.”
I can almost hear his teeth grinding together; a muscle jumps in his jaw. He kneels down next to the girl—keeping me in sight—and brushes away her tears with the back of his hand.
“Come on, tough girl,” he says softly and I bristle.
what he says to a scared young girl? Then his demeanor changes and he clasps her shoulders in his big hands. “What’s wrong, Chloe?”
She sniffles. “My arm hurts.”
“Did that man grab your arm?”
“No, I fell on it.”
The boy gently takes Chloe’s hand and extends her arm. She flinches, but doesn’t cry out. Brave girl. I expect him to poke at her arm to see if something’s seriously wrong, but he doesn’t. Instead he motions for a nurse and asks her to take a look. At least he seems to care about his sister.
Chloe looks nervous, but she follows the nurse over to a vacant room.
The boy stands back up and faces me, his arms crossed over his chest. His cheeks are flushed, and the tenderness I just witnessed disappears.
Maybe we just got off on the wrong foot. I know he has to be under stress with his sister—now both his sisters—hurt. I take a small step towards him so that I’m within a few feet.
He uncrossed his arms, shifts his feet so he’s balancing on his toes. Does he think I’m going to attack him?
I put out my hand. “I’m Maggie.”
He stares at my hand as if it’s contaminated; his opposite hand twitches at his side.
“Shane!” calls out a voice from where his sister just disappeared. He gives me one last scathing look and disappears into the room.
His rejection of my overture stings. I remind myself that humans are uncomfortable around me, and this boy is no exception to that. Of course he wants nothing to do with me, I’m a bloodsucking leech. Even if he doesn’t know I’m a vampire, he senses something’s not right.
Not for the first time, I wish things were different. Why couldn’t I just be the cute girl that he found as attractive as I found him?
“Maggie–” Hannah calls from across the room.
She’s walking down the hall toward me, and she looks like a train wreck. She’s paler than when she left with Rachel, if that’s possible, and her eyes now have blue shadows under them. I’ve got to get her back to E.W. House pronto.
But I take a moment to consider the door where the two siblings just went, finally realizing what’s been bugging me about Chloe. I smelled it before I knew where her injury was, it just didn’t register at the time.
5 - Maggie
Hannah and I make it back to E.W. House just after ten a.m., which is a good thing because the other kids should be in fourth period and won’t notice our entrance. It’s been awhile since we’ve pulled an all-nighter, and if our floor mom was paying attention last night, we’re in trouble. I don’t need a month’s worth of KP duty.
Hannah is barely conscious, leaning heavily against me in the backseat of the cab. I’m not positive she can walk into the building, and in my human form there’s no way I can carry her—she’s seven inches taller than me. Turning isn’t an option while the sun’s out, so I say a silent prayer that she can at least make it inside.
I pay the cabdriver and bail out, pulling Hannah along with me. She can’t even stand up straight and I’m getting really worried about her depleted energy.
“Hannah, what the–”
She throws her arm over my shoulder and I get a mental zing and a
. There’s no time to waste, so I start stumbling across the plush lawn, Hannah’s weight on me.
How did this happen? Was the druggie that hard to handle? He was obviously psychotic, but I had no idea that Hannah used up so much power to keep him immobile. Had I waited too long to jump him? I thought I’d moved quickly but I’d been worried about hurting the little girl in my rush to stop the guy.
She usually “talks” to me several times a day, but that’s about the extent of her power usage. It’s been a long time since we’ve needed her powers. Is she weakening, and I haven’t even noticed it?
She stumbles on the side steps, and I bite back a curse as I stub my toe on the cement walk.
“You know, this would be a lot easier if you were shorter,” I grumble.
“It’s not my fault… you’re a midget.” She’s breathing so hard it’s difficult for her to get words out. “Besides, don’t you have super vampire strength?”
I glare at her sideways. “You know, us walking down the hall like this is going to exacerbate those rumors about us being more-than-friends. And you look like you’re high. We’re supposed to be the
examples for the kids here.”
“Maybe you should’ve thought of a better way of getting us inside.”
“You’re the planner, Hannah, not me.”
The door opens unexpectedly, almost banging me in the face. I hold my breath.
“Ladies, the back stairs are clear for the moment,” Director Phillips says politely as he holds the door for us.
Relief. We’re home free.
“I got a text message from Mr. Wellington this morning warning me that you two would need an escort,” he explains.
Hannah shoots a questioning look at me, but I just shrug. She may be the brains, but I have been known to have a good idea once in awhile. And I just happened to have Wellington’s cell phone in my backpack, since I hadn’t taken it out after my trip.
Director Phillips grabs one of Hannah’s arms and we tow her up the stairs to the sixth floor.
By the time we hit the hall Hannah is green and sweat beads across her forehead. The Director leaves us by the stairs.
“Okay, do you want to go to our room or stop by the bathroom so you can yak first?” I ask.
Hannah doesn’t reply, and her arm across my shoulders goes slack. Her entire body turns into gelatin and she slips from my human grasp. Instinctively, I change and catch her before she hits the floor. As a vamp, all my senses are heightened, and her witch’s blood smells almost too tempting to refuse. I’m so thirsty! One bite won’t hurt… but not out here in the hall.
I shoulder open the door to our room, focused on the beat of her pulse through her carotid artery. She smells so sweet. So much more tempting than a human.
She’s so weak! She won’t even fight me if I bite her. Now. Now. Now.
Using the last shreds of my humanity, I dump her onto the bed and race out of the room, panting.
I take the stairs down to Three in hops and jumps. Away from the temptation of Hannah’s blood, I have more control over my monster. The human part of me is glad this dorm level is empty of students right now; the monster reminds me they’re only one floor down and would be so easy to take…
I reach the locked door marked “Janitorial”. It’s not really a closet, it holds my extra-large, private refrigerator. I fish the key out of my pocket, hands shaking, and push it into the knob when I hear footsteps from down the hall. Shoot.
“What is with you prowling around on this floor? What’re you doing?” a familiar voice asks, blatantly sarcastic. Lily again.
, whispers the monster.
Take her out. You know you want to.
Why did it have to be Lily? The Goth girl hated me for no reason; I know she won’t leave me alone. And I have to eat,
“Why aren’t you in class?” I growl with more force than I intend.
I have to keep the beast under control, but of all the people that I would love to pounce on, Lily is definitely at the top of that list. What a jerk.
“Why aren’t you?” she asks, walking closer. The human in me wants to tell her to stop before she gets hurt, but the monster welcomes her presence.
“None of your business, Lily. Now why don’t you get lost before you get in trouble?”
“By who? Little ol’ you? Wells, you’re a hypocrite. You walk around with your ‘I’m-better-than-everyone-else’ attitude and yet you break all the rules–”
My fist slams against the door. I’m losing control, I can feel it.
My senses are so sharp that I hear her open her mouth, feel the pulse of her heartbeat. I turn my face, my glare on her. Her jaw drops, and her voice is nothing more than a gurgle.
! It takes every last bit of the human left in me, but I close my eyes and take a deep steadying breath. When I open then again, they’re green and totally normal. I’m human. Lily sputters something incoherent and runs down the hall. Away, thank goodness.
What have I done? Maybe she’ll think she imagined the altercation. Maybe I can have Hannah work some magic on her. Right now I just don’t care.
The reminder of my best friend and the condition I left her in has me turning back to the task at hand.
I pry the door open and lock myself inside. The room is essentially a closet, but I don’t need a lot of space.
I don’t flip the light on; I don’t need it. My vampire vision is as good as anything the military has in its night-vision goggles.
I open the fridge and pull out a gallon-size Ziploc. It has a name written in sharpie on the side. Camilla Ray.
“Thanks, Miss Ray.”
All the blood is donated anonymously—they never know where it goes, but I know where it comes from. Crazy people into the whole vampire thing. Weirdos.
I guess it’s better than killing people to survive. I unzip the bag—disgusted with myself—and tip it up into my mouth. With nobody around there’s no need to be ladylike.
I gulp it down as quickly as I can without giving myself a brain freeze. Cold blood is not appealing, but it’s my only option if I choose not to kill humans. It’s a small price to pay to keep my humanity intact and remain guilt free.
I slurp down the first bag and then a second for good measure. I’ll be liquid-logged, but with Hannah vulnerable and unable to stop me if I lose control, I need the extra.
I slide down to the floor while I drink the second bag, allowing my head to rest against the wall. Now that my bloodlust is under control I need to practice my control of the beast and bring the human part of me forward. Apparently I need to practice more, if my control is slipping badly enough to let loose in front of Lily.
I focus on the guy from the hospital. Shane. He hadn’t told me his name, but that’s what his sister called him.
What was it about him? Sure he was attractive, but it’s not like I haven’t seen hot guys before. His willingness to jump in and rescue his sister? Really, his fierce protectiveness of both girls was borderline controlling. Where were the parents? Dead, most likely, if he has custody of his sisters. I should know that losing your parents changes you; maybe his protective instincts were born from that.
I shouldn’t be attracted to someone so completely rude, but he was freaked out about his sisters. Who could blame him for being on edge?
My head knocks against the wall behind me as the blood runs out.
She was another big question mark altogether. Did Shane know about her supernatural abilities? Did she?
Did it matter? I probably would never see any of them again.
6 - Shane
“Of all the idiotic things you’ve done in sixteen years, this definitely tops the list,” I growl.
Ignoring the beeping of all the monitors and the IV pumping fluids into Rachel makes it easier to stay angry. I’ve got plenty of anger to go around, starting with myself for letting that vampire walk out of here.
Rachel stares out the window, ignoring me. She’s stuck in the hospital bed, so it’s not like she can get away.
“Seriously, Rach, do you understand what you’ve done? They’re sending you to an
. Do you get that?”
The door is closed, but I’m sure people outside the room can still hear my shouts. I don’t care; my frustration is past its boiling point.
“So you’re out of my custody, because I’m an unfit guardian to such a troubled youth, and that’s all fine and freaking dandy, but what about Chloe?”