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       Wisdom, p.14

         Part #4 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“Yeah, well, we’re not here to talk about me,” I snapped. “What do you know about Jane?”

  “Not that much. ” He shook his head. “Not anything at all, really. She was murdered, and when I find out who did it, I’ll kill him. ”

  “Do you think it was a vampire?” I asked.

  “Doubtful. We conform to human rules. ” His voice dripped with venom when he said the word human. “We don’t like to draw attention to ourselves more than need be. ” He pointed over to the streetlight. “On the subject of which, weren’t you worried that you’re theatrics would catch some attention?”

  “It’s dark and cold. Everyone’s inside. ” I glanced around after he said it, realizing he had a point. I’d been lucky that nobody had seen me jumping out of a five-story window and landing unscathed.

  “Yes, god forbid a human realize what we are,” Jonathan said sardonically. “Then we’d have to answer to their ‘higher’ authority. ”

  “Yeah, whatever. ” I ran a hand through my hair and ignored his tirade. “I’m around the clubs a lot, and I’m keeping my eye on you. If you find out anything about Jane, you better tell me. ”

  “Of course,” he smiled, and I’m not sure if I believed that either.

  I heard Bobby panting behind me, his heart pounding like mad, but I didn’t turn around until Jonathan was long gone. I didn’t want to take my eyes off him.

  “Who was that?” Bobby asked, working to catch his breath.

  “That’s Jonathan. You remember? He used to ‘date’ Jane, and he tried to kill you,” I said.

  “Oh yeah. ” Bobby rubbed at his side and nodded. “I just never got a really good look at him. ”

  “Well, now, you have,” I said and turned to walk back towards the car.

  “What was he doing here?” Bobby asked.

  “He says he’s doing the same thing we are, but I don’t know,” I shook my head. “I’m not sure if I can believe anything he says. ”

  “Why didn’t you just kill him then?”

  “Because. ” I stopped and looked at Bobby. “I don’t know if he did it. And even though he’s a bastard, I’m not gonna kill him if I’m not sure. I don’t want innocent blood on my hands, even if it’s a vampire’s. ”

  Page 40

  “I understand,” Bobby said, and we started walking again.

  “What did you tell Jane’s parents when you left?” I asked.

  “Nothing. They were too busy yelling to notice me, so I just ran out the front door. And then I ran all the way down here, and I couldn’t find you for a minute. ” He took a deep breath. “That’s why I’m so short of breath. ”

  “We should hurry home before Jack and Milo realize we’re gone,” I said. “Then we’ll both be in deep shit. ”

  Neither of us said much on the car ride home. I think Bobby was still trying to catch his breath, and I told him he needed to start training with me if he wanted to keep going out like this. I didn’t want him getting hurt or killed.

  The rest of the time, I was lost in thought. Jane knew her killer. But that didn’t mean that much. She’d been running around with all sorts of vampires, and while Jonathan had been her main squeeze, that didn’t mean she didn’t know other vampires. And if she relapsed and wanted to get bitten again, she would’ve been desperate to get in contact with anyone.

  Or maybe it was something else entirely. Maybe it wasn’t even a vampire, like Jonathan said. A human is just as capable of murder.

  “Have you decided if you believe Jonathan yet?” Bobby asked as I pulled into the garage at the house.

  “No. I don’t know if I ever will,” I sighed and shut off the car. “I might never know what really happened to her. ”

  “We’ll find out who did it,” he reassured me, looking at me seriously. “We can do this. ”

  “I hope you’re right. ” I got out of the car and noticed the Jetta was in the garage too. “Milo’s home from school. What are you gonna tell him we were doing?”

  “What are you gonna tell Jack?” Bobby countered.

  “It’s a crappy day. I picked you up from school, so you didn’t have to take the bus,” I said as we walked to the house. “How does that sound?”

  “You’ve done it before, so sure,” he shrugged.

  “Good. ”

  Bobby was in front of me, and he opened the garage door to walk into the house. Jack was home, so he wasn’t worried about deflecting Matilda. Unfortunately, he had a much larger problem waiting for him.

  He’d only made it two steps into the house before Daisy flew at Bobby, knocking him backwards before he could even scream.

  14

  I lunged at Daisy, burying my fingers in soft blond hair and yanking her head back before she could sink her teeth into his neck. She screamed as I lifted her up, but I didn’t care. I wanted to make sure Bobby was safe before dealing with her.

  “Whoa! Alice! Easy!” Jack yelled. He rushed over and took Daisy from me, so I let go of her. She buried her face in his shoulder, sobbing, and he held her to him.

  I stood there in shock as he rubbed her back, comforting her. Milo helped Bobby to his feet, and he didn’t have a scratch on him. Other than scaring the hell out of him, Daisy hadn’t hurt Bobby at all.

  “Is everything okay?” Mae called from another room.

  “Yeah, everything’s fine,” Peter told her, and I looked over, noticing him for the first time. He stood off to the side, watching Jack and Daisy to make sure everything was okay. “How is she?”

  “She’s fine,” Jack said, stroking Daisy’s hair. He tilted his head, trying to get a look at her face. “You’re okay, aren’t you, Daisy?” She nodded, sniffling.

  “Okay. Seriously. What the hell is going on here?” I asked, gaping at them all.

  “What do you mean?” Jack asked, pulling his gaze from Daisy to me. “Peter’s here. ” He pointed his thumb back at Peter, who glanced over at me but didn’t let his eyes linger. “Mae and Ezra are talking in the other room. We don’t wanna disturb them. ”

  “She almost killed Bobby, and you’re comforting her?” I gestured to Daisy, who only snuggled deeper to him when I shouted. “You were just as against her as I was!”

  “Alice, she can hear,” Jack glared at me.

  “She wasn’t attacking Bobby,” Peter said, almost apologetic. “She was just excited, and you… scared her. ”

  “I scared her?” I snapped.

  “She had a long flight,” Peter said and stepped towards Jack. “Why don’t I take her to lie down?”

  Jack carefully untangled her from him and handed her over to Peter. Neither one of them glared at each other or showed an animosity. Jack just handed her off, and cradling her in his arms, Peter carried her upstairs.

  “What the hell, Jack?” I asked. “I was gone with Bobby, and it’s like stepping into the Twilight Zone. ”

  “Where were you, by the way?” Milo asked. He had an arm wrapped protectively around Bobby, and he’d been giving Daisy a wary look, which made me feel a bit better about all of this.

  “Alice gave me a ride home from school. ” Bobby rolled his neck. “I hurt my neck when Daisy knocked me back. I think I should go lie down too. ”

  “I hate that kid,” Milo grumbled, leading Bobby away by the hand.

  Wisdom

  “So what’s going on?” I crossed my arms and stared up at Jack. “They’ve been here for an hour, and now you’re all buddy-buddy with Peter and the demon spawn?”

  “I thought you’d be happy I was getting along with Peter,” Jack muttered. “And she’s not a demon spawn. She’s just a little kid, Alice. ”

  “You don’t know what she’s capable of!”

  “Yes, I do! Better than you do! I’ve been a vampire a lot longer than you, remember?” He shook his head and turned to walk to the kitchen. “I know a few things. I don’t know why you always think I’m such a moron. ”

  “I do
n’t think you’re a moron. ” I chased after him. “I just want to know what’s going on. How come you’re all pro-baby vampire, when you weren’t before?”

  “I’m not pro anything. Mae did a really stupid thing. ” Jack leaned against the island and lowered his voice, probably so Mae and Ezra wouldn’t hear him. “But that’s not Daisy’s fault. She’s still just a child who really can’t control her actions. And I’m not saying we should let her run wild without recourse, but there’s gotta be something better we can do than treating her like a monster. ”

  Page 41

  “I’m not treating her like a monster. I just don’t like it when she attacks me or my friends,” I said. “You cared more about her safety than you did Bobby’s. ”

  “She wasn’t attacking Bobby!” He rolled his eyes. “She was running around and playing with me and Matilda, and then she heard you guys coming and got excited. She likes Bobby, okay? She’s thinks he’s fun or something. ”

  “Where is your dog?” I asked.

  “She’s outside now,” Jack gestured vaguely to the French doors.

  “Did Peter tell you that she kills animals?” I asked him. “She killed a wombat and tried to drink its blood. ”

  “You can’t drink animal blood. ” Jack shook his head and brushed it off.

  “No, you can’t, but she still tried. ” I rested my arms on the island and leaned in towards him. “I know she’s not evil, but she’s really, really dangerous, Jack. ”

  “You sound like Ezra. ” He sighed and stepped away from me.

  “Ezra knows things! He’s not a bad person to sound like. ” I stood up straighter as Jack paced the kitchen. “How did you become such a big fan of hers so quickly?”

  “She was just playing with dolls, being a little kid. ” He shrugged and scratched the back of his head. “And she just seems so small and helpless. I don’t know. ” He shook his head. “I’m not really bonded with her either. She was just scared, and I didn’t want to see her scared. ”

  “Don’t get attached to her, Jack. She can’t stay here. ”

  “I know. ” He walked over to me, his blue eyes looking sad and far away. Brushing a hair back from my face, he just stared down at me for a minute. “Are we okay?”

  “Yeah, we’re okay,” I smiled up at him.

  “Good. ” He wrapped his arms around me, and I leaned into him, resting my head against his chest. “You’re getting pretty bad ass. ”

  “What do you mean?”

  “The way you pulled Daisy off Bobby. You’re getting tough,” he grinned. “You don’t need me to protect you anymore. ”

  “Maybe not. But I’ll always need you. ” I smiled and pressed him tighter to me. “In other ways. ”

  Ezra had been talking with Mae in their old room, but he came out by himself. He walked into the kitchen and stopped, but he didn’t look at either me or Jack. He breathed heavily and his fists clenched and unclenched at his sides.

  “Is everything okay?” I asked, pulling away from Jack.

  “They need a place to stay,” Ezra said, without looking up. “But they can’t stay here. We don’t have the room or the…” He shook his head.

  “Where are they going to stay?” Jack asked.

  “I don’t know. I have to…” Ezra swallowed hard. “I have to go. Keep things safe here. ”

  “Okay?” I said, but Ezra didn’t say anymore. He walked out into the garage, leaving to do something that would hopefully help us sort this whole thing out. I looked back up at Jack. “Have you talked to Mae?”

  “Not really,” he shook his head. “She’s mostly been talking to Ezra since she got here. And…” He shrugged. “I don’t have much to say to her. ”

  “You can’t still be mad at her. ” I stepped away from Jack, and he shrugged and walked towards the French doors, where Matilda had started barking.

  “I’m not. ” Jack opened the door. Matilda ran inside, shaking the snow off her fur. Jack stayed by the open door, letting the frigid air into the house. He leaned back against the doorframe and turned the handle back and forth.

  “But you’re not talking to her?” I asked.

  “No, I’m not like avoiding her. I just…” He stared outside and shrugged. “I’m not mad about what happened. Like that she almost killed me. I’m over that. It’s just the lying and sneaking around… But I’m not even mad about that. ” He sighed, as if that’s not what he wanted to say at all. “She’s just not who I thought she was. ”

  “Jack, come on. She’s the same person she always was. She never wants to see anybody hurt. ” I walked closer to him, petting Matilda when she ran up to me.

  “Yeah, I know, and neither do I. But that doesn’t mean I can lie and do whatever I want. ” He looked at me, his eyes grave. “I always thought she’d put everyone before herself, but she’s been so selfish about major things. Not just lying to me, but what she’s done to Daisy, and Ezra. ” He shook his head. “What’s she done to Daisy is unforgivable. ”

  “You really think that?” I asked quietly.

  “Yeah. But luckily for Mae, I’m not the one that has to forgive her this time,” Jack said. Matilda went over and jumped up on him, and he scratched her head. “As soon as Daisy’s old enough to realize what Mae did to her…” He whistled and shook his head.

  “Where is Mae?” I asked.

  “I think she’s still in Ezra’s room. Why? Are you gonna go talk to her?”

  “Yeah, I wanna see where her head is at with all of this and what she thinks they’re going to do, since nobody else has any idea. ”

  “Alright. ” He nodded once, but I couldn’t get a read on how he felt. Lately, his emotions seemed murky, like he was trying to bury them too deep for me to feel. “I’ll be outside with Matilda. ” He stepped outside, and the dog followed at his heels, even though she’d just come in.

  I walked down to Ezra’s room, feeling like I was creeping up on a stranger. I’d just seen Mae a few weeks ago, but my visit with her hadn’t been that amicable. It had been months since she actually lived here, and it sounded strange hearing her voice as she sang softly to herself.

  The bedroom door was slightly ajar, but I pushed it open a little farther, peering inside. Mae had made the bed and moved onto fluffing the pillows and tidying up. Ezra wasn’t a messy person, but he’d let things fall to the wayside since she’d been gone. Whenever she cleaned, she always had a song on her lips, and she settled for something low and bluesy by Etta James.

  “I see you lurking outside the doorway, you know,” Mae said without looking at me. She folded a pair of Ezra’s pants that had been crumpled on a chair and set them on the bed.

  “Sorry,” I mumbled and pushed the door the rest of the way open.

  Page 42

  “You all don’t need to hide from me. I’m not going to bite. ” She picked up a few other stray articles of clothing off the floor and began folding them neatly. “I had no idea Ezra would be such a slob after I moved out. And I noticed that none of you have been doing the dishes. ”

  “Bobby’s the only one that eats. The dishes are his responsibility,” I said, referring to the pile of dishes growing in the kitchen sink.

  “He’s a guest, and all you’re capable of picking up a mess, no matter who made it. ” She’d folded his clothes and moved on to picking up the books and newspapers Ezra had strewn about the room. “You’re all adults here, and you should act like it. ”

  “Milo’s not an adult yet,” I corrected her and leaned back against the wall.

  “How is your brother?” Mae stacked the books neatly, making sure all the edges matched up, and she paused for a moment. “He didn’t talk to me much in Australia or when I got here. I felt like he didn’t want me to be here, like he might be mad at me. ”

  “He’s good,” I said. “But… let’s be honest, Mae, we’re all kinda mad at you. ”

  “Hmm. ” She stopped straightening the
books and touched at a strand of her hair before flitting about the room to pick something else up. “I didn’t expect any of you to understand, but I hoped that you’d support me. ”

  “We all understand where you’re coming from. I get it completely. ” I stepped away from the wall, moving towards her, but she had her back to me as she folded a blanket on the chair.

  “No, you don’t. None of you. You just think you do. ”

  “Fine. Whatever. I don’t. Nobody understands your pain, Mae. Because it is so unique! Nobody’s ever loved something so much they would do anything to save it, except for you, Mae. You cornered that market!”

  “Don’t condescend me!” Mae whirled on me, looking at me for the first time. “I didn’t do anything to deserve your contempt! I’ve made a choice that doesn’t even affect you!”

  “How does it not affect me? You and ‘your choice’ are hiding out in my house, putting my family and friends in danger!”

  “We’ll be out of here first thing-”

  “That’s part of the problem too, Mae!” I cut her off. “We didn’t want you out of our lives, but you left us with no other choice. You know she can’t live here, not with us. So that means we can’t live with you either. ”

  “You know I didn’t want to leave you. ” She tilted her head, tears filling her eyes. “I love you all so much, and I did want to spend the rest of my life with you. But I have let my family down too much. I had to save her. ”

  “But at what cost, Mae?”

  “I know. ” She wiped at her eyes and looked away from me, smoothing out nonexistent wrinkles on the bedspread. “I know what I’ve done. I know what she is. ” She swallowed hard and looked at me, meeting my eyes. “I won’t leave her. I can’t. ”

  “Nobody’s asking you to,” I said finally.

  “Thank you. ” She nodded and picked up Ezra’s clothes to put them in the hamper. “How has Ezra been?”

  “He’s been doing better. ” I sat down on the bed, relieved to be talking about something lighter. “He’s helping me with school now. ”

  “Oh? I didn’t realize you were going to school. ” Mae sounded surprised but happy.

  “I’m not. At least not yet, but Ezra doesn’t want me getting stupid. Or stupider, anyway. ” I shrugged. “I think I might go to high school next year. It’s gotta be easier than what Ezra’s having me do. ”

  “Well, good. I’m glad to see you applying yourself. ” She smiled at me and sat down on the bed next to me. “I do worry about you, love. You and Milo and Jack. I care about you all a great deal. ”

  “I know. Nobody’s ever doubted that,” I said.

  “I’m happy to hear it. ” She reached forward, brushing a strand of hair back from my forehead.

  “Can I ask you something?”

  “You can ask me anything. ” Mae dropped her hands to her lap and sat up straighter.

  “Before you turned Daisy, you had a big argument with Ezra. ” I looked down at my jeans and picked absently at them. “You said something. ” I squirmed, thinking of how I wanted to phrase it. “You implied that… I don’t know. That Ezra might… treat me special, or something. ”

  “Oh, that. ” She sighed and looked straight ahead. “Ezra does treat you special, both you and Milo actually. But so do I. So does everybody. Peter should’ve killed you, and I’m glad that he didn’t, but… other vampires would’ve. Or maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know with you. ”

 
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