Flutter / Page 42

Page 42


“Milo!” I shouted and stumbled out into the hallway. I couldn’t take care of this on my own. My stomach lurched and growled, and my body burned. “Milo!”

“What’s going on?” Milo came out of his bedroom, and I wanted to bite him. Thankfully, Bobby didn’t follow out after him, because I’m not sure that I could’ve refused him. “Oh my god! Alice!”

“I need to eat! Now!” I fell to my knees, clutching my stomach. My vision blurred even worse, and I could smell Bobby on Milo, making my mouth water. I was on the brink of blacking out, and it scared the hell out of me.

“Oh, hell! Okay! Hang on, Alice!” Milo put his arm around my waist, which really wasn’t the wisest move in the world. His throat was completely exposed to me, and I seriously contemplated tearing it out.

I closed my eyes and let him lead me downstairs, trying not to think of anything. The pain was overwhelming, and I moved stiffly, like a zombie. It seemed to take forever, but I don’t even really remember moving. The next thing I knew, I was in front of the fridge and Milo was handing me a bag, promising everything would be okay.

The blood ran cold down my throat, and that wonderful searing heat spread over me. Drinking felt good, but it wasn’t like it normally was. Instead of being real pleasure, it was more the absence of pain. I swallowed several bags in a very short amount of time, but I don’t remember much after that. Almost the instant my thirst was quenched, I passed out.

To make matters worse, I woke up in Jack’s bed to find him sitting next to me, looking at me with concern and adoration. I had just kissed his brother, and he was making sure that I was okay. Admittedly, he didn’t know that I had kissed Peter, but that made it worse somehow.

And better, too. Because if he did know, there was a very good chance that he’d never want to talk to me again, and I wasn’t sure I could handle that.

Once I assured Jack that I was okay, I insisted that I needed to take a long hot shower. He tried to kiss me, but I managed to avoid it without raising too much suspicion. He’d be able to taste Peter on me, and the whole point of this was that he didn’t find out about that.

The hot shower didn’t really fix things, although it did give me a chance to think. Why had I kissed Peter? Being so hungry had left me more vulnerable and weak, but even when I thought of it now, the way his lips felt against mine, I wanted to kiss him still. My skin flushed warm, and I turned the faucet so the water was even colder.

Of course, I could never kiss Peter again. Nobody could ever even find out about that. I loved Jack, and I do mean really and truly loved him. Whatever I felt for Peter had to be some kind of residuals from the bonding and nothing more.

It was like how bloodlust made my body want things that I didn’t actually want, like when I was crazed and wanted to drink Milo’s blood or Bobby’s. It wasn’t the same as actually liking Peter or wanting to be with him. I didn’t have any real feelings for him at all… did I? I mean, I couldn’t. Not when I loved Jack and I had done so much to free myself from Peter.

This was everything that I wanted… wasn’t it?

When I came out of the bathroom, the TV was turned on to shark show on the Discovery channel, and I don’t know if Jack was trying to be ironic or not. Sharks were known to go into frenzy when they smelled blood, and apparently, so was I.

Jack wasn’t really watching it, anyway. Standing in front of a mirror on the side of the room, he had on Dickies shorts, skater socks, and a white dress shirt with a black tie around it. He stared intently at the tie, struggling to knot it properly, but glanced back at the TV every time the music got dramatic.

“Hey, how you feeling?” Jack didn’t turn all the way around when I came out of the bathroom, but he looked at me with concern and a lopsided smile.

“Much better.” I forced a bright smile and walked over to him.

I had put on my comfy pants and one of his tee shirts, as was my usual bedtime outfit. The sky would start to lighten soon, which meant that even though I had slept most of the night away, I would be getting tired again pretty quickly.

“You look better. Showers are the answer for everything,” he grinned, then turned back to staring at himself in the mirror.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Trying to tie a tie.” His expression was in deep concentration, even though I knew he was half-listening to the TV too. He would never miss a shark attack. “Ezra usually ties them for me, and he’s getting sick of it.”

“Any luck?”

“Never.” He looked tiredly at his reflection. “You know, vampires are supposed to be smarter and more talented and all that stuff. Can you imagine how badly I’d tie one of these if I was still mortal?” I stifled a laugh at his lack of skills, and he looked at me hopefully. “Do you know how to tie one?”

“Nope,” I shook my head. “I never had any need to tie one, and Milo always knew how. You could hit him up. I’m sure he’d be glad to help.”

“Maybe. But I think the point of this is that I learn how to do it myself.” He undid the mess he made of it, preparing to start over from scratch, but the music on the TV got very loud and ominous, so he turned back to watch it.

On screen, a shark tore into some kind of carcass the camera crew had dropped in the water. The narrator was saying all kinds of things about how perfect the shark’s teeth were for eviscerating flesh and bone. “

Holy cow! Do you see that?”

“Yeah, that’s pretty intense,” I agreed.

While I hated it when they showed sharks attacking things like seals or whales (although, strangely, I never minded watching sharks bite people), I did think there was something beautiful and awe inspiring about the power and grace of sharks.

“You know, sharks are the only natural enemy vampires have,” he said, his eyes still locked on the television screen.

“Yeah, Ezra told me that,” I said. “But I don’t know if they’re really a ‘natural’ enemy. I mean, how many vampires live in the water?”

“That’s true.” The attack footage ended, and it was just sharks swimming about the ocean, not hurting anything, but Jack kept watching it. “If you stripped away any humanity or real consciousness from us, that’s what we’d be. They’re just pure muscle and perfectly designed killing machines. Of course, they have more teeth than us, so they’re much better at it.” The show went to commercial, and he gave me an easy smile before going to back to the business with his tie.


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