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       Wisdom, p.11

         Part #4 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“Who said that? Dylan Thomas?” I asked.

  “No. The guy who wrote Fight Club. ”

  “Now you’re an advocate for hardship? I thought you were the guy that took the easiest way out of everything,” I teased.

  “Maybe. ” He met my eyes, looking at me in a way that felt like he was looking straight through me. “But you’re the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and you’re also the best. So… I think that’s the moral of the story here. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. ”

  “Thank you. I think. ” I leaned up and kissed him softly, but he stumbled back before it got too deep.

  “I’m so sorry. ” He shook his head and opened his eyes too wide, like he looked really startled. “But I think I’m gonna have to lie down. ”

  “No, if you have to rest, go rest. ” I put my hand on his chest. “I’m sorry for draining you so completely. ”

  I heard a screech in the garage, followed almost immediately by the sound of a car door slamming shut. Milo burst into the house a moment later, throwing open the door and stomping into the kitchen.

  “Where the hell is Ezra?” Milo demanded.

  “Dude, did you hit my car?” Jack asked, sounding as angry as a bleary, drunk person could sound.

  “Why would I hit your car?” Milo asked, incredulous.

  “You like… screeched into the garage. You drive like a maniac!” Jack pointed at him, but I’m not sure why. “You better not have hit my car. ”

  “What’s wrong with him?” Milo asked me.

  “He drank too much blood,” I shrugged. “Never mind him. Why are you looking for Ezra?”

  “My car’s a frickin Delorean. It’s a time machine!” Jack lost his footing and started falling to the floor, and I had to grab his arms to catch him. I pulled him back up, and he leaned over on the counter, resting his head on the granite countertop. “I don’t think I’ve ever drank that much blood before. ”

  “I’ve been getting calls from Mae all day, but I was in class so I had my phone off. ” Milo pulled his phone out of his pocket and held it up to show me, as if to prove Mae called. “She left me six messages, and all she’d say is that it’s very, very important she talk to me and that she’d been unable to get a hold of Ezra. ”

  “So just call her back,” I said.

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  “I’ve been trying! But you know how hard to is for them to get service in Australia!” Milo glowered down at the phone then jammed it back in his pocket. “And something’s wrong and I don’t know what it is!”

  “I’m sure everything’ll be fine. ” I said that, but I didn’t believe it.

  Mae wouldn’t reach out to Ezra unless she had to. I should’ve realized that when he said she’d been calling him. Especially after the way Daisy attacked Bobby, and how Peter said she’d been acting.

  “Ezra!” Milo shouted and walked into the dining room.

  “Jack, stay put. ” I patted Jack on the back and hopped off the counter. He mumbled something, but I think he was mostly passed out anyway. I chased after Milo, following him to where he met Ezra in the living room.

  “Why haven’t you been answering the phone?” Milo yelled at Ezra.

  “My phone calls are none of your concern,” Ezra said, unfazed by Milo’s apparent rage.

  “Mae has been calling you, and she’s in trouble,” Milo glared up at him.

  “Maybe you should try calling her back,” I suggested. “Or at least check her messages. ”

  From the other room, we heard a bang. I glanced back, and although I couldn’t see him, I guessed that Jack had fallen off the counter onto the floor. The excess blood had hit him bad.

  “Shouldn’t you go check on your boyfriend?” Ezra asked, his tone barely revealing the ice underneath.

  “I’m okay!” Jack yelled from the kitchen.

  “He’s okay. ” I pointed back in his direction, and Ezra rolled his eyes.

  “Ezra, don’t change the subject,” Milo said. I had to admit it, I admired my little brother for talking to Ezra like that. Standing up to him took courage. “I know you’re mad at Mae-”

  “I’m not mad at her,” Ezra cut him off. “I merely have nothing to say to her. ”

  “Whatever,” Milo sighed. “You loved her. You still love her, and even if you don’t, you cared about her for so long that you can’t shut it off. She is in serious trouble. How could you not at least hear her out? Don’t you owe her that?”

  “Of course I would help her if I could. ” Ezra swallowed hard, and for one of the few times since I’d met him, the pain in his voice was audible. It made his deep baritone tighten. “I just don’t believe I can. ”

  “If you’d answer the damn phone, you’d know for sure!” Milo shot back.

  “Milo, yelling at him doesn’t make this better,” I said.

  “I’m not yelling!” Milo yelled, then took a deep breath. “Sorry. I’m frustrated. I don’t like knowing that something could be wrong, and I could help but… I can’t. ”

  My phone began to ring, and we all froze. For a second, we stared at each other, and then I scrambled to pull it out of my pocket. Before I answered, I checked the caller ID.

  “Is it Mae?” Milo asked breathlessly.

  “No. It’s not Mae. ” I swallowed hard. “It’s Peter. ”

  11

  “Hello?” I answered the phone after my initial shock.

  “Alice?” Peter breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank god you answered. ”

  “What’s going on?” I asked. “Is something wrong? Where’s Mae?”

  “She’s off dealing with the little problem,” he said. “We’re… Ah, hell, Alice, we’re in a major shit storm, and we’ve gotta get out of here. Now. ”

  “Why? What happened? Are you guys okay?” I asked.

  “Yeah, we’re alright. Mae and that… child are fine, or as fine as can be after…” He cursed under his breath. “Mae got it in her head that Daisy was ready for a trip to the city. There was some carnival thing going on, and she thought it was a lovely way to spend the evening. ”

  “What did she do?” My stomach dropped, and I stepped back so I could sit back on the couch.

  “Daisy went berserk. ” Peter laughed hollowly. “She attacked several people in town. I tried to contain the situation and convince them it’d been an animal. I’m not sure what they believed, but we managed to get out of there alive. Daisy is unscathed, which is the important part, right?”

  “Did she kill anyone?” I asked, and Ezra closed his eyes, shielding himself from it.

  “No. Well, not that I know of,” Peter corrected himself. “The way she went after some of them, it’s entirely possible that they died after we left. She’s not… safe. I don’t know what to do. We chartered a plane, and we should be leaving on it soon. But I don’t know where we’ll go or what we’ll do. ”

  “What does Mae think you should do?” I asked.

  “Lord knows what Mae thinks about anything anymore,” Peter said. “I told her it was a mistake to bring Daisy out in public, but Mae has been in such denial about this whole thing. I think she’s starting to realize it’s a mistake, but she can’t do anything now. ”

  “Are you coming home?” I asked.

  “I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do,” he said at length. “I’m not even sure that Ezra or Jack would let us come home. And we can’t live in a city with people everywhere. ”

  “Do you want to talk to Ezra?” I asked and looked up at Ezra to make sure it would be okay.

  “He’s around?” Peter sounded surprised.

  “Yeah. He’s right here. You should talk to him. ” I stood up and held the phone out to Ezra, not waiting to hear Peter’s response to it.

  “Hello?” Ezra took the phone from me.

  Milo stood next to me and watched anxiously as Ezra said very little on his end of the conversation. Other than a few murmured “mmm hmms,
” he offered nothing of value.

  “What’s going on?” Milo whispered.

  “Daisy attacked some people at a carnival,” I told him, but I kept my eyes locked on Ezra.

  “Alright. ” Ezra hung up and turned back to us. Without saying anything, he walked over and handed the phone to me.

  “Well?” I said.

  “They’re getting on a plane. They’ll be here in a day or so. ” Ezra looked over at the window and shook his head. “I’m not sure what will happen when they get here but… it is what it is. ”

  “What the hell does that mean?” Milo asked.

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  “They’re desperate. I couldn’t tell them no. ” Ezra tried to convince himself. Both Milo and I wouldn’t say no to them either. “But they can’t stay here. Not for more than a few days. Or maybe at all. The child can’t be around people. ” He stared off at nothing, and he sounded completely lost. “I have no idea what will become of them. ”

  After a moment of confused silence hanging over us all, Ezra turned and walked back down to his den. I tried to stop him, but he shook his head and said he had some thinking to do. I’m sure he did, but I didn’t know if even he could come up with a plan to fix this.

  This was exactly why he’d been so against Mae turning Daisy in the first place. He knew nothing good could come of it, and he couldn’t clean it up.

  “This is so messed up. ” Milo leaned back against the couch and let out a deep breath. “Did Peter say how bad things were?”

  “He didn’t go into graphic detail but things were definitely not good. Some people might be dead. ”

  “And now she’s coming here?” Milo looked up at me.

  “And now she’s coming here,” I repeated.

  “I want to help Mae, and I don’t necessarily want Peter to die. ” He stood up straighter and crossed his arms over his chest. “But what are we supposed to do? Daisy is dangerous, really dangerous. And even if she wasn’t, her poster is plastered all over town. Mae kidnapped her, remember?”

  “I know,” I nodded. “She can’t live here, not in the city. ”

  “Where else can she stay?” Milo asked.

  “I don’t know…” I trailed off, thinking. “But Olivia is the oldest vampire I’ve ever met. She might know something about child vampires. ”

  “You’ve only met like five vampires. That doesn’t really mean anything,” Milo said.

  “I’ve met way more than that,” I scoffed. “And she’s still like six-hundred-years-old or something. She has to know something about them. ”

  Jack groaned from the other room, and I remembered that I’d heard him fall while Milo’d been arguing with Ezra.

  “I gotta go take care of Jack, then I’m going to Olivia’s,” I said. “You can come with me if you want. ”

  I went into the kitchen and found Jack passed out between the island and the counter. When I pulled him up, he barely even stirred, so I carried him up to our room and dropped him off. I’d never seen Jack this knocked out before, but I’d never seen him drained either.

  Watching Jack sleeping on the bed, looking peaceful and vulnerable, I had this weird sensation. He’d never been the weaker one before. But lately, things had been shifting.

  I’d become stronger as a vampire, and thanks to my training with Olivia, I’d become a better fighter than him. We’d done some play fighting the other day, and I’d tackled him without really trying. I was growing more powerful than Jack, and it felt… disorienting.

  “Are you gonna just stare at Jack or are we gonna go?” Milo asked, poking his head into the bedroom.

  “Hold on. I gotta change real quick. ” I hurried into the closet to throw some clothes on, and Milo stood impatiently by the door, texting on his phone. “Who are you talking to that’s so important?”

  “Bobby. I’m telling him not to come over after class. ”

  “Why not?” I started walking towards the stairs, and Milo followed, still typing away on his phone.

  “Because it’s not safe here anymore,” Milo said. “You saw what happened in Australia. He can’t be around Daisy anymore. I won’t risk it. ”

  “Yeah, but she’s not here now. ” I glanced back at him as went down the stairs.

  “That’s exactly what he said. I think you two spend too much time together. ”

  “He’s the only human friend I’ve got,” I shrugged.

  “I’m pretty sure he’s the only friend you’ve got,” Milo sighed.

  Just as we reached the kitchen, Bobby walked in from the garage. Apparently, he planned on ignoring Milo’s texts of warnings.

  “Turn around,” Milo said.

  “Look, she’s not here now. I’m not going anywhere,” Bobby insisted.

  “Well, we are. ” I brushed past him towards the garage. “We’re going to Olivia’s if you wanna come with. ”

  I quickly regretted inviting Milo and Bobby to tag along. The car ride downtown consisted of the two of them arguing about whether or not it would be safe to visit the house. Bobby pointed out that he hadn’t signed up for a dorm this semester, so he didn’t have anywhere else to stay.

  Milo relented and said Bobby could stay for tonight, and they’d figure something else out in the morning. But that only happened after ten minutes of constant bickering.

  While I understood the beauty of the glass walls of the penthouse suite at night, during the afternoon, it made no sense to me. The sun had started to set, so it was level with the windows. Even though they were tinted, the bright pink rays stung my eyes and skin.

  Her place looked clean, but Milo brushed off her sofa before sitting down, as if he thought he might catch something from it. Bobby had been here with me a lot more often than Milo had, so he was more comfortable with the surroundings and flopped down on the overstuffed sofa.

  I’d tried convincing Milo to come here and train with me, but he wasn’t into it. He didn’t really care for Olivia, mostly because he thought she was a drunk, and he didn’t like fighting either. He wanted to live a normal life, the same kind of life he would’ve had if he hadn’t turned, and in his normal life, he wouldn’t have done combat training. That was his stance.

  Before I could knock on her bedroom door, she opened it. It scared me so much I gasped. She smiled tiredly at me, wrapping her silken robe more around herself. She wore her long black hair braided down her back, swinging like a rope as she walked out.

  “What are you doing awake?” I asked.

  “Trouble sleeping. ” She waved her hand vaguely and went over to the couch.

  This wasn’t the first time she mentioned trouble sleeping. I’d said something about it to Ezra once, and he’d explained that insomnia could be a side effect of her cutting down on blood. Drinking that much blood that often had become a sleep aid for her, and without her excessive daily dose, she was having difficulty learning to sleep without it.

  “Hello, Olivia. ” Milo forced a smile at her, doing his best to be polite.

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  “To what do I owe this pleasure?” Olivia asked. She sat on the couch across from Milo, sprawling out and the robe slipped up over her slender legs.

  “What do you know about child vampires?” I asked. I didn’t sit down and kept my back to the window. The sun beat warm on my skin, and I tried to ignore it.

  “I try not to know anything about them,” she answered diffidently.

  “Is there a way to… like train them?” I asked.

  “Why are you interested in child vampires?” Olivia glanced over at Bobby. “He’s young but he’s not a child. ”

  I exchanged a look with Milo. Olivia didn’t know about Daisy. We weren’t sure how other vampires would react to a child, and we didn’t really think she needed to know. But maybe she did now.

  “Mae turned a child,” I said carefully, gauging Olivia’s reaction. “That’s why she’s been gone. She’s hiding out wit
h the child vampire. ”

  “I’m sure that’s turning out marvelously,” Olivia laughed dryly but didn’t seem surprised.

  “Do you know anything about child vampires or not?” Milo snapped. He’d grown very defensive of Mae, even if he didn’t agree with her choices.

  “Honestly, I’ve tried to steer clear of the whole thing,” she sighed. “Vampires are just as likely as humans to dabble in that particular… fetish, and I know, for awhile, vampires were attempting some kind of child vampire sex trade. ”

  “Are you talking about pedophiles?” Bobby asked, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

  “If that’s what you want to call it. ” She smoothed out the silk of her robe and slid deeper in the couch. “There was a time, not that long ago, where it was common for men to marry girls as young as twelve. ”

  “You can’t possibly condone that. ” Milo glared at her and put an arm around Bobby, in case Olivia decided to sell him into the sex trade.

  “No, of course I don’t,” Olivia said, unruffled by Milo’s anger. “There’s very little I approve of that happened in the past. ”

  “So other vampires were turning children into vampires?” I asked, trying to return to the topic. “They had to have a way to control them. ”

  “Not really. ” She shook her head. “Most of them are incapable of ever learning restraint. They want to devour everything they see. And even the ones that can learn it, what good is that? Being trapped in a child’s body forever is torture. If Peter Pan had been real, he would’ve gone mad and killed everyone in Neverland. ”

  “Maybe the vampires you encountered were like that just because that’s what they were being forced to do,” I said. “If they were raised differently, maybe they could turn out better. ”

  “I can’t say,” she shrugged.

  “Do you know anything?” Milo asked pointedly.

  “Milo, don’t be rude,” I said.

  “I’m not!” He insisted but his cheeks reddened. As much as he didn’t trust her, he didn’t want to be impolite. “I just meant that… Olivia never seems to know the answer to anything. ”

  “The more you know, the more you forget,” Olivia shrugged again.

  “What are you guys doing out there?” A voice shouted from the bedroom next to Olivia’s, and Milo tensed up and narrowed his eyes.

  “Who is that?” Milo leaned forward.

  “It’s just me, and I’ve been trying to sleep. ” Violet opened the bedroom door wearing an oversized tee shirt. Her blond hair was disheveled, and she sounded utterly tired. “But with Olivia getting up and moving around all day, and now you guys talking as loud as you want without regard-”

  “What the hell are you doing there?” Milo hissed and got to his feet.

  “What are you doing here?” Violet shot back, and she snapped awake. She moved like a livewire, and if she wanted to, she’d be over the couch and at Milo’s throat before he could even blink.

  “Milo, it’s fine. ” I stepped forward, moving in between them. “She’s just staying here for a while. ”

  Even though she’d been around and I’d run into her a few times, Milo hadn’t seen her at all since she’d had purple hair and hung out with Lucien. The last time he saw her, she’d been trying to kill us. He hadn’t seen the transformation from evil sidekick to sad homeless girl, so he was on high alert.

 
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