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“He has. Word travelled down about Peter,” Ezra elaborated. “I just got a phone call that vampires are seeking revenge on him. So I’m going to try and find him and see if I can’t reason with him.”

“He can handle himself,” Jack sneered at everyone’s concern. “Peter has killed vampires before, and he’s fought in wars. If there’s one thing Peter knows, it’s how to fight.”

“This is different.” Ezra’s eyes grew sad. “There’s reason to believe he’s on a suicide mission.”

“Good,” Jack grunted under his breath.

“I’ll go with you.” I stood up abruptly and knocked over the chess board. My mind hadn’t caught up to what my body could do.

“You’ll what?” Jack raised an eyebrow but looked at me evenly. We hadn’t talked about Peter at all since I had turned, but he incorrectly assumed that my feelings for Peter mirrored his own.

“I’ll go with,” I repeated.

- 2 -

I bent down to pick up the chess pieces, but Milo swatted my hands away.

“I’ll do it,” Milo said, pulling glass pawns out of my hand. “You get busy letting them talk sense into you.”

“Alice.” Jack’s expression remained mostly quizzical, but his breathing got heavier.

Part of me did still care for Peter, and not because it was ingrained in me. Peter hadn’t done anything wrong in all of this, but he’d been ostracized by his family and gone through a terrible heartbreak because of it - because of me.

“Alice, you don’t need to go with,” Mae shook her head.

“I know I wouldn’t be any good in a fight, but maybe I could reason with him. Maybe I could convince him that it didn’t need to get to that point,” I said.

Mae turned to Ezra, waiting for him to shoot me down, and I think that’s the only reason that Jack hadn’t freaked out yet. They all expected Ezra to thank me for my sentiments but tell me that it was better if I stayed home.

“She has a point,” Ezra said carefully, and that’s when everybody decided to get upset.

Mae touched his arm and tried to plead with him that I was far too young to go anywhere, let alone on a crusade to save Peter from a suicide mission. Jack jumped to his feet, but he couldn’t seem to decide whether he was angrier with me or Ezra, or maybe Peter. Milo finished setting up the chess set and smacked me on the arm.

“Ow!” I scowled, rubbing my arm. “What’d you do that for?”

“Because you’re an idiot and I can!” He’d always been a rather over-protective younger brother, but he was the mature one, the sensible one.

I knew it was stupid, but as soon as Ezra had said that Peter was in danger, my heart flipped. If anything bad happened to him, it was my fault. If I left his family alone, the way he repeatedly begged me to, then he wouldn’t have run off into the mess that he’s in.

“Ezra, you can’t seriously be thinking of taking her with you,” Jack said.

His fists clenched at his sides, and his eyes were frightened. It killed him that I cared anything for Peter, and it would literally kill him if anything happened to me.

“I won’t let anything happen to her, but she might be the best chance I have for talking Peter down.” Ezra held his hands palm out towards Jack, trying to calm him. “I have to try anything.”

“I am so sick of this!” Jack shouted. “I should’ve just killed him when I had the chance!”

“Jack!” Mae yelled. “You don’t mean that! Don’t say things like that!”

“I would love to stay and have this argument with you, but we really need to get on a flight out of here,” Ezra boomed over us all. “Alice, if you’re coming with, you need to pack for the cold. I’ll go book the flight and get our passports ready.” He turned to walk down the hall to his den, ending the conversation.

“Ezra!” Jack made a step after him, but Mae stopped him.

“I’ll talk to him. You take care of her.” Mae nodded towards me.

She hurried after Ezra, and Jack turned to me. He looked at me for a moment, trying to think of precisely what he wanted to say to me, and I took a deep breath before he could mount his argument.

“You’re not going to talk me out of this, Jack.”

I brushed past him so I could run upstairs to my room, to our room, but both he and Milo followed right on my trail. With my quick, clumsy steps, it was amazing that I didn’t fall down the stairs, and if I had, that would’ve done very little for my case.

Jack had been sleeping in Ezra’s den downstairs since I had turned, but all his things were still in here. The closet was full of both our clothes, and my wardrobe had expanded since I had moved in. Ezra and Mae had set me up with an expense account and credit cards a few weeks ago, and my new, trimmer vampire body required all new clothes.

I went into the massive walk-in closet, rummaging around for bags. Jack had hot pink luggage, but I didn’t have time to question it and pulled them out. Jack stood in the doorway, and Milo was behind him, both of them glaring at me.

“You’re actually packing?” Milo asked. “You can’t really be considering going with Ezra.”

“He’s right. This is stupid,” Jack agreed. “It’s ridiculous and dangerous, and you don’t even know where you’re going. How can you even pack for that?”

“Ezra said to pack for the cold,” I reminded them.

I loaded my bag with sweaters and jeans and socks. Vampires didn’t really feel cold, and in fact, we preferred it to heat. But if we were to walk around in a blizzard wearing a tee shirt and shorts, humans would question it, so we dressed to fit in.

“Jack, just forbid her from going or something!” Milo said.

“I can’t forbid her from doing anything,” Jack replied tiredly, but he definitely wished he could. “And if I tried, it would just make her want to do it more.”

I threw a pair of boots in the bag and then struggled to zip it up. Obviously, I was much stronger than the stupid metal zipper, but I hadn’t figured out how to use my strength at all.

“Here.” Jack knelt on the floor next to me so he could zip up my bag for me.

“Thank you.”

“Alice, why do you even wanna go?” Jack asked.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” I told him quietly, and he rolled his eyes.

“He tried to kill you, Alice!” Jack shouted.


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