Fate, p.21Part #2 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
“Thanks,” I replied off-handedly. “So what brings you to my neck of the woods?”
“I came to check on you. ” He pushed some of my hair out of my face. “You sounded weird on the phone, and Mae thought I should see how you’re recovering. Did you go to school today?”
“I overslept,” I shrugged.
“Alice, you need to stay on track for graduation. ”
“Oh, like you are?” I considered sticking out my tongue but decided against it.
His expression only got more disapproving. Too bad. He only wanted what was best for me, and right now, what was best for me was lying down and resting, not worrying about school. Graduation seemed pointless, even if I didn’t inherit a fortune from Jack’s family like Milo had.
“Have you eaten today?” Milo changed the subject. He glanced over at the kitchen, which was devoid of dirty dishes or any other relics of eating, aside from several empty Red Bull cans. “Hey. You stopped recycling since I moved out. ”
“You’re not here to make the rules anymore. ”
“So? Doesn’t the state of the world seem a little more prudent to you now that you’ll be living forever?” Milo walked into the kitchen to sort out the aluminum cans and empty Fruity Pebbles box.
“As of right now, I’ll be lucky if I make it to next year, let alone forever,” I sighed.
“You’re so melodramatic,” Milo scoffed.
I couldn’t see him, but I heard him puttering around in the kitchen, and my stomach grumbled. I was like Pavlov’s dog. The sound of Milo with cookware made me salivate.
“Are you making me something?” I poked my head over the top of the couch again to see what he was up to.
“Yeah. Mae said you need some red meat. ” He rooted through the freezer, looking for some of the groceries he’d recently bought me. “Why don’t you go take a shower and get yourself cleaned up, and I’ll make you supper. Sound good?”
“You know, it’s so silly,” I said as I got up off the couch. “I was staying human so I could stay around and take care of you. ”
He laughed, but it was pretty dumb. Milo had always been taking care of me. What exactly had I been sticking around to do for him? Really, I was keeping him company. I should’ve just gotten him a puppy, and let Jack turn me.
If I had done that, I wouldn’t be so damn tired right now, and I wouldn’t be on the brink of losing everything.
The bathroom smelled of flowers and cleanliness after my shower, but when I opened the door, all I could smell was delicious. The shower had given me a little burst of energy, so my stomach was even hungrier than it had been before.
Milo had made me steak, and it was so rare, I was a little shocked it wasn’t mooing. He already made me a plate, perfectly set up with spinach, and he’d place a single pink rose in a vase in the center of the table.
“This looks fantastic,” I said as I took my place at the table. “Where’d you get the flower?”
“I have my ways,” he smiled, and I decided to leave it at that. I was too hungry to worry about frivolous mysteries. “You look like you’re feeling better. ”
“I am,” I said through a mouthful of food. He sat down across the table from me, watching me wolf down my food, and I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious. “It’s weird eating when you’re not. ”
“I don’t think you’d have much of an appetite if I was eating right now. ” He tried to make a joke, but a hint of shame was in his eyes. He hadn’t forgotten my reaction to watching him bite Jane, and frankly, neither had I.
“Thank you. For this. ” I changed the subject. “It’s really good. ”
“Anytime. ” He leaned on the table, propping up his head on his hand. “So. What was your dream about?”
“Peter. ” I furrowed my brow. “Isn’t that strange?”
“Not really. You’ve been worrying about him since Jack bit you. It’s only logical that it would manifest itself in your dreams. ”
In the back of my mind, I hadn’t been entirely certain that Peter biting me had been a dream, but I couldn’t see any other explanation for it. Milo made it sound like the only conclusion I could come to. All my thinking and worrying about him had come out that way.
“Yeah, you’re right,” I nodded, and I devoured the rest of my meal in silence.
“Has Jane said anything to you?” Milo asked when I had nearly finished eating. “Have you even seen her in school?”
“Yes, and yes. ” I chewed the last part of my steak and swallowed hard, then settled back in my seat. “She knows you guys are vampires. I don’t really know how she’s taking it. She hasn’t really talked to me since. ”
“Hmm. ” He looked down at the table, thinking.
“Nothing. I just hope she does okay with everything,” Milo looked back up at me and smiled. “Knowing her, she’ll probably just solve the problem with sex and drinking, and forget that it even happened. ”
Whenever I’d seen her at school, she acted like her same old self. She was always flirting with a guy, or strutting somewhere and glaring at me. After a couple weekends getting blacked out drunk, she’d probably kill any brain cells that remembered vampires.
“On the subject of how people take things…” I shifted uncomfortably. “How is Jack doing?”
“He’s been kind of… stand-offish lately,” Milo answered carefully. “I think he’s really been beating himself up over what happened. ”
“Regrets are always a fun thing. ” I looked down at my mostly empty plate.
A lump grew in my throat. I knew he regretted it the second it was over. No matter his reasoning for it, nothing is more painful than knowing the most meaningful thing I ever felt was just another regret to the person I shared it with.
“Alice, you know he just doesn’t want you to get hurt. ”
“Everyone keeps saying they don’t want to hurt me. It’s just so funny that the only way they can succeed in not hurting me is by hurting me. ” I stood up and took my plate to the sink.
“Nothing is that cut and dried. At least not when you’re dealing with vampires. ”
“Thanks for making me supper and everything, but I need to get some rest if I have any hope of going to school tomorrow. ” I leaned against the kitchen sink, purposely not looking at him. I felt like crying, and I wanted to just stop thinking about all this stuff and go back to bed.
“I know you’re just trying to politely get rid of me, but you’re right anyway. ” Milo stood up, and he hesitated before he left. “Call me if you need anything. Okay?”
“Will do. ”
Once he left, I started crying, and I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t like how it felt being alone in the apartment all the time, and I wished that I hadn’t asked him to leave. I didn’t want him to see me cry or know how upset I really was, but I don’t know why it mattered if he saw it. Milo saw everything.
My solution was going to bed. The only cure for being sad and tired was rest and time, and sleeping accomplished both of those. I woke up to my alarm the next day, and I blundered through another day at school. Jane glared at me in the halls, the teachers ignored me, and I slept in class when I had the chance.
After school, Milo texted to check on me, but I heard nothing from Jack, and my lack of invitation to their house continued. When I went to bed that night at 8:30, I tried to pretend that my life wasn’t so bad.
Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning feeling better. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but I was kind of hoping that I would just sleep through the rest of my life, and then maybe, I wouldn’t notice how much it sucked.
My body finally decided to respond to all the rest and pills I had been popping, and while I wasn’t exactly energetic, I felt more like a normal human being.
It was a Saturday, but I woke up at ten in the morning, which felt too early. With my recent almost-burst-
I scrubbed the kitchen floors. I went over the tiles in the bathroom with an old toothbrush to get the mildew. I reorganized my CD collection. I even went into Milo’s room and tried to straighten up what was left of his things.
His things had started collecting dust, and there was something incredibly sad about that. It was the nail on the coffin of the life we had. My future was still up for grabs, but his fate was sealed. In most ways, I had come to terms with that, but with Jack currently freezing me out, the isolation of my life felt even more intense.
After the apartment looked cleaner than it ever had before, I had nothing else to do. I occupied myself for the better part of the day, but the sun began to set, and that’s when the loneliness started.
I had gotten used to spending my days alone, but the nights didn’t seem to get any easier. As of late, I had been able to fill them with sleep, but with that infernal fatigue finally gone, I had nothing to busy myself with on a Saturday night.
I put on some comfy pajamas and put on the Bat For Lashes album. Curling up in bed and reading a good book would be the perfect way to pass the evening, and it would help keep me from noticing how very slowly time passed.
I flopped back in bed and reached over onto my nightstand for Peter’s book, but my hand came up empty. The book wasn’t there.
- 25 -
I got out of bed and started rooting around for the book. It wasn’t on the floor around the nightstand, and since I had cleaned, there weren’t dirty clothes for it to hide under. I lay on my belly and squeezed under my bed, which was still pretty full of dust bunnies, but no book.
Milo’s ringtone interrupted my search, and the book was forgotten. On my knees, I scrambled to the nightstand and grabbed my phone. A text from Milo wasn’t as exciting as one from Jack, but maybe they were ending the embargo.
Jane keeps calling me. She’s drunk. Milo texted.
I’m sorry? I replied, unsure of what exactly he hoped I would do about it.
I can’t talk to her. I just make it worse. Milo responded, but that still didn’t explain what he expected me to do.
Then don’t talk to her. I messaged back.
Can you talk to her? She’s making weird threats.
Like what? My heart raced and fell at the same time. He wasn’t texting me to talk to me. I was supposed to clean up his mess, but strangely, that made me feel special.
Stuff about “exposing” us. I don’t know. Can you try reasoning with her? Milo texted.
I’ll see what I can do.
I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair, trying to get the dust bunnies from sticking. I climbed up off the floor and sat on my bed.
Texting would be out of the question. Jane was probably drunk and at a party or something, so her typing and reading skills would be sorely lacking. They always kinda were, but when mixed with alcohol, they were illegible.
My best bet would be to call her and try to distract her long enough for her to pass out or hook up with somebody. So it would probably take about five minutes.
“What the hell do you want?” Jane slurred into the phone. I could hear music playing in the background, and laughter and voices mixed with it.
“Nothing. I just wanted to talk. ” I started shouting too, but I wasn’t sure if I needed too. It was loud on her end, not mine.
“Are you with those damn blood suckers? They sent you, didn’t they?” Her voice got an edge to it, a fuzzy one thanks to the alcohol, but it was clear that she was suspicious.
“They didn’t ‘send’ me anywhere. I’m at home, sitting in my room. I called to see what you were up to,” I said.
“Yeah, right. ” Jane made some kinda hollow laugh that sounded more like a cackle. “Are you with Milo? You tell your brother that he can’t just leave me hanging like this. I’m an attractive girl, you know! I can’t wait around forever for him!”
“I don’t really know what you’re talking about, but I’ll be sure to pass along the message,” I sighed.
“Why doesn’t he want me, Alice?” Jane cried. In the background, I heard a guy yell something about wanting her, but she turned her head away from the phone and shouted, “Shut up, you stupid ass!” When she spoke into the phone again, she sobbed, “I just don’t understand what I have to do make him want me!”
“Jane, he’s gay. That’s a pretty big obstacle,” I told her as gently as I could.
“So what are you saying? Like a sex change?” She sniffled and thought about it for a second. “That’s expensive, but I think I could do that. Then he’d want me?”
“I think you should just forget about Milo,” I said. “It sounds like you’re at a party with a lot of other guys, and you can pretty much get any guy you want. There’s no reason for you to worry about Milo. ”
“You think I don’t know that?” Jane snapped. “You don’t think I don’t know how hot I am? I do. But I can’t stop thinking about Milo! I can’t! You don’t know what this is like!”
“I think I do,” I muttered to myself.
“I don’t know what to do!” Jane cried. “I don’t think I can live without him! Really, Alice. I’m trying… and I just can’t do it!”
I had never heard her this upset about anything before, not even when she was drunk. Giving her a quick pep talk on the phone wasn’t working. This was much deeper than that.
“Jane, where are you at?”
“Why do you care?” she asked.
“Jane, just tell me where you are. ” I got up off the bed and rummaged through my closet, looking for something that I could just throw on.
“I’m at Dan Kelly’s house,” she answered reluctantly. “I’ll be around if you can make it here. ” Then she clicked off the phone.
Dan Kelly had dated Jane when we were fourteen, and he only lived a few blocks away from me, so I knew exactly where he lived.
I changed into a pair of jeans and purple top, and I ran a brush through my hair to detangle the dust from it. I tucked my phone into my pocked and darted out of the apartment.
An early morning rain had turned into a dense fog as night rolled in. The street lights cast eerily across the fog, making shadows visible in the air. A distinct chill made me wish I had a grabbed a sweater or a jacket, but if I walked quickly, I could stay warm anyway.
I heard the party before I saw it, but that wasn’t really unusual even when there wasn’t fog. Jane stood out in front of the house, smoking a cigarette with her cell phone pressed up to her ear. She babbled something about being the hottest thing sliced bread, so I assumed she was talking to Milo.
“Jane,” I said, walking across the lawn towards her. She shook her head and waved me away, but I kept going. “Jane, what are you doing?”
“Answer the damn phone!” Jane shrieked into her phone. “I know that you’re there!”
“Jane, its voicemail. He can’t hear you. ”
“They sent you. ” She flicked her phone shut. Mascara and eye-liner made streaks down her cheeks, and her bright red lip gloss had smeared across her face. “Just like I said. ”
“Nobody sent me. You sounded horrible on the phone. I’m just worried about you. ” I reached out to touch her, but she shied away from me and shook her head.
“I don’t need your damn pity. ” Her cigarette had burned down to the filter, so she tossed it on the grass and pulled another one out of her bra.
“I’m not giving you any. ” I crossed my arms on my chest, trying to look defiant in some way.
“So did you come here to gloat then?” She exhaled smoke in my face and tried to glare at me.
“I have nothing to gloat about. ” I coughed and waved the smoke away. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. ”
“You have no idea what t
“I know exactly what that feels like,” I corrected her. “Exactly. ”
“What are you talking about?” Her expression was skeptical, but she started to soften.
“I don’t really wanna get into everything right now, but… it’s Saturday night, and I have nowhere else to be right now. Nobody has called me in days. ” I tried to shrug it off, but it stung worse saying it aloud. It had been almost a week since I’d last talked to Jack.
“So why do you look better than I do?” Jane eyed me over.
“Honestly, I don’t know. Except that I haven’t been drinking. ” The only thing I had over her was that I had more practice with trying to pretend like vampires didn’t freak me out.
“We could go fix that. ” She gave me a wicked smile and nodded towards the house. “I’m sure there’s a drunken guy in there that would just love to feel you up. ”
“That is probably true, but I don’t think that’s the answer. Come on. ” I took step backwards and nodded in the direction of my house. “Let’s go back to my place. We can watch bad Lifetime movies all night long. It’s far more therapeutic than drunk dialing. ”
“I think I’d much rather finish off that bottle of vodka, and see what Dan is up to. ” She looked longingly back at the house, then glanced back at me. “You’re more than welcome to join me. ”
“No, come on, Jane. ” I wanted to grab her arm and drag her back with me, but I stayed where I was and tried to think of a convincing argument. “Don’t you ever have enough of that?”
“You don’t have to approve, but this is my life, okay?” Jane said harshly. “I don’t know what the hell you do to get you through the night, but this is how I cope. And I’m not gonna change it just cause you don’t like it. ”
“Whatever,” I said, but she actually had a point. “You just gotta stop calling Milo, okay? He’s not gonna talk to you, and nothing you can say or do will ever change his mind. ”
“I know,” she breathed shakily. “And that’s why I need another drink. ”
“But you won’t call him anymore?” I asked her as she turned to walk into the house.
“Scouts’ honor. ” She crossed her finger over her heart as she walked precariously in her heels. “I’ll even delete his number from my phone. ”
Even after she’d gone in the house, I stood out in the fog, debating on what I should do next. I really wanted her to come with me, but mostly for my own selfish reasons. Spending another night alone sounded like torture, and I couldn’t even find Peter’s book to keep my company.
I thought about calling Milo to let him know mission accomplished and to see if he had taken the book for some reason, but then I decided against it.
The fog made me feel even more alone as I walked home. It blanketed everything around me, making me feel like the only person on a deserted planet. I shuddered at the thought, and I tried not to pretend as if everything wasn’t getting to me.
Fate by Amanda Hocking / Young Adult / Fantasy have rating 5.2 out of 5 / Based on47 votes