Wisdom / Page 9

Page 9


“You mean…” I swallowed hard. The room started to sway, and Jack put his arm around me. “A serial killer murdered Jane?”

“Yeah, that’s what they think.”

“It wasn’t a vampire?” I looked up at him.

“I don’t know. Olivia couldn’t get close enough to find out but nobody really knows much of anything. The paper had a lot of rhetoric, but not a lot of fact.”

“Well what did they say?”

“They were profiling the victims, and the police talked about all the efforts they’re making to stop this.” He studied me, and I stared down at the bed. “It’s not your fault, Alice. Whatever happened with Jane. You didn’t do anything.”

I had introduced Jane to vampires and brought her down the path with me. It’d be impossible for me not to take some of the blame about what had become of her.

“Did the paper say when the funeral is?” I asked, ignoring him.

“Tomorrow, at four. Did you want me to go with you?”

“I don’t know.” I shook my head. “I don’t even know if I want to go.”

“Why wouldn’t you go?” Jack asked.

“Because I’m a vampire!”

Just sitting didn’t feel right anymore, so I stood up, and Jack watched me. I paced the room and pulled at the sleeves of my sweater. My hair felt greasy and sweaty, and I needed to shower and sleep.

But I wanted to run and move. I wanted to do something that mattered, that could fix what happened to Jane.

“Alice.” Jack didn’t get off the bed, but he moved to the edge so he could reach out and touch me. He held out his hand towards me, and for a minute, I didn’t want to take it. I felt like crawling out of my skin.

“I don’t know what to do,” I said. “I don’t even know what to feel. I mean… Jane pissed me off, a lot. She could be so vapid and willfully stupid that I’d want to smack her. But she was so loyal. And all the shit she’s been going through the past few months, that’s my fault. I brought her into this!”

“Alice, no,” he shook his head. He took my hand and tried to pull me to him, but I refused. “Jane already had problems. Before this, it was drinking and sex.”

“But drinking and sex aren’t what got her killed!” I yelled.

“You don’t know what got her killed,” he said gently. When I tried to turn away from, he took my other hand and forced me to look at him. “I’m not saying that you and Jane were the greatest friends, but you cared about her and did the best you could by her. And she knew that, and she cared about you too.”

That only made me cry harder, and I let him pull me onto his lap. Normally, his love overpowered my emotions, but I could only feel my own guilt and confusion. Jack held me in his arms for a long time. The exhaustion of the trip wore me down, and I fell asleep.

Milo woke us up at two the next day, convinced that we should go the funeral. He managed to win me over by crying and talking about the time that Jane had dressed him up and put makeup on him when he was six. She had been the bitchy older sister that I had never been, and he wanted to go pay his respects and refused to go without me.

After I showered, I went into the closet to pick out something to wear. Jane had spent so much of her life dressing me properly, and for her funeral, I couldn’t find anything. She’d be so disappointed if I showed up in the wrong outfit.

I sat on the floor amongst a slew of dresses, crying, when Jack came in. He’d just gotten out of the shower, and he looked down at me.

“Alice, what are you doing?”

“I don’t have anything to wear!” I sobbed, holding up an ugly pink dress. “I can’t wear this to her funeral!”

Without saying a word, Jack walked over and sat down behind me. He wrapped one arm around my waist and pulled me close to him, and with the other arm, he sorted through the dresses. He tossed aside the obvious rejects while I worked on calming myself down. By the time he needed my input, I had myself mostly under control.

We narrowed it down to two dresses; a skimpy black one that would make me look too hot for a funeral but Jane would love, and a simple black dress that was suitable.

“So, what are you gonna do?” Jack asked, resting his chin my shoulder. Both his arms were wrapped around me as I held up both the dresses in front of me.

“There was only one Jane,” I said finally and dropped the skimpy dress. “And she would be so pissed if I upstaged her at her own funeral.”

I got ready fast, since Milo repeatedly told me we were running late, but both Milo and Jack beat me. They waited outside the bedroom for me, and we rode together to the church in silence.

The sky was overcast, which was the one good thing about the day. I wore gigantic sunglasses anyway, but I figured they were appropriate for mourning.

When we got to the church, Jack pulled into the parking lot, but I wasn’t ready to go any further. The lot was already filled with nice cars, similar to or more luxurious than the Lexus. Jane’s father was a very wealthy business man, and Jane had been his only child. Most of the people filing into the church appeared to his clientele and friends.

A few of Jane’s other friends were there, but once she got involved in the whole vampire scene, most of her other friends had fallen to the wayside. The ones that did show up stood out horribly.

A girl Jane used to party with showed up in a bright red miniskirt and an entourage in tow, and she texted on her phone as she walked into the church. One of Jane’s former hookups looked like he was taking it pretty hard, but that could’ve just been because he was incredibly high.

“Are we going in?” Milo asked from the backseat. I watched all the men in prim business suits and tweaker kids. “Alice?” I didn’t say anything, so he sighed in frustration. “It’s going to start soon.”

“If you want to go inside, nobody’s stopping you,” Jack looked sharply at him.

“I’m not trying to be mean, but I don’t want to disrupt the service.” Milo leaned forward between the seats and touched my shoulder. “Alice, I think that you need to go and do this.”

“Milo,” Jack said.

“No, he’s right. Let’s go.” I opened the door before I lost my nerve and stepped out of the car.

Jack came around and took my hand, and Milo went to my other side. As we walked to the church, I noticed a weather-battered flyer tacked onto a pole. I’d seen thousands of others all over the Twin Cities the past few months. A black and white photo of Daisy took up most of it, with a number to call with any information regarding her disappearance.


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