Fate, p.22
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       Fate, p.22

         Part #2 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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It was pretty amazing that Jane was a crying wreck, but I was holding up still. Maybe it was all the denial. I just kept trying to tell myself that eventually things would have to change. Somebody would have to talk to me. Right?

  I had been so lost in thought that I didn’t notice the footsteps falling behind me until I heard that familiar helium laugh echoing off the fog, making it sound far away and right next to me at the same time. I froze because I have absolutely no flight or fight reflex, and I was completely unprepared.

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  It was just me, alone on an especially deserted street, and nobody had any clue where I was, except maybe for one drunk girl. There would be nobody at home to miss me, and it would probably be a few days before Milo would notice if I didn’t call him.

  I was going to die, and not only would nobody care, nobody would even notice.

  - 26 -

  Deciding that it was better to die with dignity, I turned to face my attackers. I wouldn’t be able to out run them, and since they were probably stalking me, they knew where I was going. For whatever reason, I had gotten under Lucian’s skin and he wasn’t keen on letting me go.

  “I know you’re there!” I announced into the fog.

  I heard their odd echoing footfalls, and their dark silhouettes materialized. My heart raced, and I knew they could hear it, but I planned to hide all the other evidence that I was terrified.

  My stomach flipped but I swallowed hard, and I clenched my fists to keep from shaking. I stuck my chin out defiantly, even though that meant that I would expose my neck more.

  It didn’t really matter. They would find a way to get to my veins no matter what I did.

  They were in front of me. Lucian’s black eyes looked at me as if I was a piece of meat or the Holy Grail. His greasy black hair was slicked back, and he smiled widely, revealing his ridiculous fangs.

  I glanced over at Violet, and the fog made her purple hair fall flat and dull. Her thick black makeup had smeared, and instead of looking pleased to finally catch me, her smile seemed to falter.

  “You spoiled the chase,” Lucian said, his voice sounding like venom.

  “Well, she’s not very much of a catch,” Violet pointed out in her gothic Tinker Bell voice. She glared at me, then shifted her gaze to one of pure lust at Lucian.

  That’s why her smile faltered. After her original appetite for me, she would’ve been content to forget about me and go on with her life. But Lucian was the one that wouldn’t let go, and she was becoming increasingly threatened in his interest in me, which only frightened me more.

  Generally, people wouldn’t be jealous of a hamburger, so it didn’t seem right that Violet would be jealous of me. Unless Lucian’s intentions for me were more than strictly food.

  “Okay. Let’s get this over with,” I said as evenly as I could. I wasn’t exactly eager to die, but I didn’t want a long drawn out death.

  “What’s the hurry?” Lucian reached out to touch my cheek with the back of his hand, but I flinched and his grotesque long, black nails barely brushed my skin. He smiled at me, and I swallowed back the vomit. “You’re still feisty. ”

  “Who cares?” Violet scoffed.

  “I’ve just decided that today is a good day to die, and midnight is rapidly approaching, so we better get this done,” I said.

  I had unconsciously taken a step back from them. My legs felt like jelly, but they burned to run. My racing pulse suggested that I bolt, but I knew I wouldn’t get very far before I felt Lucian’s arms around me and his hands on me, and that thought just made my skin crawl. I decided my best bet was pissing off Violet in hopes that she’d just kill me.

  “Your makeup looks stupid,” I said her. It wasn’t really as witty or as painful as I hoped, but panic clogged the helpful parts of my brain.

  “You look stupid!” Violet countered, giving me a disgusted glare.

  “Ladies!” Lucian held up his hand to silence us.

  From his exaggerated fangs to his long black coat, he was every vampire cliché that Jack refused to be. At the club, Violet had even accidentally confessed that his name was really Hector. He had probably been some horrible computer geek that had somehow stumbled onto the vampire underworld. He wanted the gothic romantic vampire lifestyle, even when it ended up just being kinda tacky and making him into a caricature.

  “This is stupid!” I shouted, surprised by how strong I sounded. “If you’re not gonna kill me, then I’m just gonna go home. ”

  I don’t even know how that was really a threat or why it made sense to me, but Violet did her shrill little laugh. I was beginning to wonder if she had surgery on her larynx or something, because she did not sound human at all.

  Technically, she wasn’t, but every vampire I had met sounded human. That was part of their disguise. But her disguise really sucked.

  “I’m not going to kill you,” Lucian assured me.

  He had something worse planned for me, and he wasn’t about to let me go. He placed his hand on my arm, and his touch set something off inside me. It made it real somehow, and I freaked out.

  “Get off me!” I screamed and struggled to pull my arm out of his grip. I knew it was futile, but I had to fight it. My skin crawled, and I wanted to throw up. “Don’t touch me! Let go! Let go!”

  “Alice!” Lucian hissed, and his other hand pressed firmly on my mouth to quiet my screams.

  I had never been so scared in my entire life. I was flailing and kicking and hitting and pulling on anything I could. I kept screaming, and I wanted to bite his hand, but the thought of tasting his skin or blood was far too revolting.

  He was going to do horrible things to be me, and that certainty was the most terrifying thing I had ever felt. It was even worse than the dismal feeling I had about living without Jack. That was more of slow burning desolation. This was instant and desperate and rabid.

  “Let her go!” a velvet voice boomed out in front of me, and I opened my eyes.

  He was far enough away where the fog partially masked him, but his fierce emerald eyes were unmistakable. Peter was here, which was simultaneously reassuring and frightening. He would save me from whatever Lucian had planned for me, but then most likely kill me and Jack. It was a win/lose situation.

  “What?” Lucian sounded bewildered, and my fight against him lessened. I would’ve gone completely slack, but he was still touching me with his wretched hands.

  Once, I had fallen in the woods, and my hand had somehow ended up in the carcass of an animal full of maggots. I wasn’t in any real danger, but that was the most disgusting thing I had ever done and it totally freaked me out. That’s exactly how I felt when Lucian touched me. Like I was covered in maggots.

  “Let her go!” Peter took a step closer towards us, his eyes burning with rage.

  Even though Peter wasn’t very large, there was something incredibly intimidating about him. The way his jaw tightened and his fists clenched only hinted at the uncontrolled anger and power he had inside him. Lucian’s hands were strong on me, but I could sense his hesitation growing.

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  “What the hell is with this girl?” Violet asked incredulously.

  “She belongs to me,” Peter growled. He extended his hand out to me, as if he expected them to hand me over after that statement. Like it was all some misunderstanding, and not an obvious kidnap/murder/rape situation.

  “What about the other vampire she was with?” Lucian retightened his grip. He thought he’d found a chink in the armor, but he hadn’t.

  Peter already knew everything about Jack. He had to have. The dream I had the other night, that wasn’t a dream. Peter had found everything out, and he’d been laying in wait over the last few days. But for what?

  “He is of no concern to you. Let her go. ” Peter glared intensely at Lucian. “Now. ”

  “You have to be more careful with your things,” Lucian tried to sound light and playful, but Peter h
ad unnerved him.

  He let me go, and I bolted a few steps away. I think everyone kinda expected me to run into Peter’s arms, and trust me, that was rather tempting, but I didn’t. I stood off to the side of them, closer to Peter than Lucian, and shuddered.

  Before Lucian could say anything more, Peter pounced at him, reminding me of the way a lion pounces on his prey. Lucian made a surprised scream, and Violet yelped and jumped back from them. I stayed frozen in place, watching as the shadows blurred and disappeared in the fog.

  I heard Lucian yelling and Peter growling, and then there was an awful gargling sound and things that sounded like tearing and breaking. Violet chased after them into the darkness, and she screamed at them to stop.

  There was a horrific ripping sound, followed by Violet sobbing, and I heard her lighter, high-heeled footfalls vanish into the night.

  Trembling, I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do. Did I wait here for Peter? Did I thank him and try to convince him not to kill me? Or did I run off to my place?

  Nothing sounded right, and on top of my rampant panic, there was that incessant longing inside me that pulled me towards Peter.

  When he finally emerged from the mist, I was where he had left me. His shirt was stained dark across the front. His skin was completely clean, even though it looked like there would’ve been some splatter. He must’ve cleaned himself up, and I wondered if it was for my benefit.

  He ran a hand through his dark hair and didn’t look at me, but it was better that way. I tended to get lost in his eyes whenever I had the chance. A fading pink scratch ran across his face, amazing me at how quickly they healed. Several tears in his shirt revealed perfect skin underneath.

  “What the hell are you doing?” Peter asked quietly, looking down at the sidewalk.

  “What are you doing?”

  “Alice, I’m being serious,” Peter sighed, sounding frustrated.

  “So am I!” I managed to be more forceful this time, and he looked over at me, his green eyes mixed with irritation and affection.

  “You do realize that giving up and dying isn’t the same as being brave?” He looked at me severely.

  “What other choice did I have?” I argued, and I tried not to let him haze up my mind. “If I ran, he would catch me! He’s too strong for me to fight off!”

  “So?” Peter was incredulous. “You fight anyway! You run until he catches you! This is your life, Alice! Why are you always so eager to give it up?”

  “I’m not!” I shook my head, realizing how pointless this argument was. “What’s it to you, anyway? Aren’t you gonna kill me in like ten minutes?”

  “What?” He narrowed his eyes in surprise and confusion. “Why would I kill you?”

  His genuine shock startled me. Even after he had tasted my bitter blood, it hadn’t occurred to him to kill me. He’d known about it for days, and as far as I knew, he hadn’t killed Jack yet either. In fact, the only thing he’d done was save my life. This wasn’t exactly the picture everyone had painted for me.

  “You did already try once. ” I crossed my arms on my chest, trying not to let on that I was just as bewildered as he was.

  “I already told you that would never happen again,” he brushed me off.

  There was something almost endearingly matter-of-fact about him. Sure, he had tried to kill me, but he said he wasn’t going to again, so what was I worried about?

  “What about Jack?” I ventured, and my voice gave away how much that made me nervous.

  Peter tensed up at the mention of his name and stared off into the night. He bit his lip, thinking of something. There was an agonizingly long span where he didn’t even move.

  “We need to go home and get things in order,” Peter sighed at length.

  “What?”

  “There’s no other way about it. ” He reached out so I would take his hand, and I did, but hesitantly.

  I got the same electric surge I always did, and I hated the warmth of pleasure that flooded over me. His hand, the one gripping mine, could very well be the death of Jack.

  I let Peter lead me through the fog towards his Audi, parked down the street by my apartment. I tried really hard not to think about how wonderful it felt when he bit me. Maybe I could have Peter bite me again. That would at least give Jack some time to… I don’t know what. That wasn’t really a plan.

  Once inside the car, I came up with the only idea I could think of. After Peter started the car, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket. I thought about trying to hide it from him, but he’d figure it out anyway. He didn’t say anything until after I’d hit send and we were already soaring down the road.

  “Who did you text?” Peter asked, his voice devoid of emotion.

  “Jack and Mae. ”

  “What did it say?”

  “That I was with you and we were on the way to your house,” I said honestly.

  He nodded once, and then noncommittally, he said, “That’s probably for the best. ”

  I almost asked him if he planned to kill Jack, but decided that I didn’t want to know. If he said yes, there wouldn’t be any hope for this turning out okay. At least this way, I could sink down in the seat and think that maybe this is all a misunderstanding. Peter obviously didn’t have any intention of hurting me. In fact, he’d been kinder to me than he ever had been before.

  Then again, maybe that was a rouse. As the old saying goes, he’d catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  - 27 -

  When the Audi pulled into the garage, I noticed with some relief that the Lamborghini was gone. Meaning Jack probably wasn’t here. I had no idea where he might be, but as long as he wasn’t here, that was fine by me.

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  Peter rested his hand on the small of my back as he ushered me into the house, and I tried to pretend like I didn’t notice the tingles it sent through me. My heart beat that funny way again, the one that drove everyone mad, and I hoped that Milo wasn’t home.

  No one greeted us at the door, which surprised me since I had given Mae a heads up. Matilda barked and scratched at the basement door, which led me to believe that Mae had stepped in. If Jack and Peter were going to start battling it out, Matilda would probably get hurt, so Mae put her in the basement to protect her.

  “Hello?” Peter announced, his silken voice resonating through the entryway. He sighed when Mae didn’t rush in to greet us, the way she would’ve any other time. “She did always like Jack better than me. She needs someone to coddle. ”

  “That’s why she prefers me,” I added dryly, and he smiled slightly.

  “Mae?” Peter ventured out into the kitchen.

  He kept his hand on my back to keep me going along with him. Not that I would’ve turned away. Wherever Peter was going, I wanted to be, and not just because my body insisted it. If he was going to stumble across Jack, I had to be there.

  “Mae?” Peter repeated, his tone growing irritated.

  A scuffling sound came from the living room, and Peter moved his arm so it was in front of me, shielding me from whatever was going on in the other room. His stance had changed, though, like he was ready for an attack, and I tried to think of a way relax to him.

  “Mae!” I shouted. I doubted Peter would hurt her, and I needed someone else to break the tension.

  “Alice?” Milo tried to hide the nervousness in his voice.

  He burst into the kitchen with Mae right behind him, tugging on his arm, and I understood the scuffling sound. Mae tried to keep him in the other room, away from Peter, but Milo had been trying to get to me.

  Peter, meanwhile, only deepened his defensive posture, and moved so his body completely blocked mine.

  “Is that her blood?” Milo asked, referring to the splatter on Peter’s shirt. He sounded horrified and his eyes widened a split second before he bared his teeth and charged at Peter.

  Fortunately, Mae’s arms locked onto him
and slowed him down just enough where I could dodge underneath Peter’s arm so Milo could see that I was safe and sound. Peter looped an arm around my waist and pulled me back to him. He was trying to protect me from Milo, who was trying to protect me from Peter.

  “Milo, I’m fine,” I said, and I let Peter hold me to him.

  “What’s going on?” Milo growled. He stopped clawing his way towards us, but Mae kept her arm around his chest just to be safe.

  “Peter fought another vampire. That’s his blood, not mine. I’m fine. ” I held up my arms and turned my neck, trying to show him that nothing had happened.

  “Is that… is that your brother?” Peter’s grip relaxed as he narrowed his eyes at Milo, trying to understand that situation. “Your brother’s a vampire?”

  “Yeah. ” I moved away from his arm, standing a little bit away from him.

  Being so close to Peter had done that thing to me again. My mind got hazy and filled with him, the way a room is filled with a scent. I could smell him, too, hot and tangy, and my mouth began to water. Unnecessary goosebumps broke out on my skin, and I’m sure I was trembling.

  Wrapping my arms tightly around myself, I tried to concentrate on the scene around me, like Milo’s wild eyes and the heavy sounds of his breath. Mae hadn’t spoken since we’d come in, but that was because she seemed to have her hands full keeping Milo contained.

  “When did he turn?” Peter looked to me, but I wished that he would ask somebody else. I wanted a chance to clear my head of him.

  “About a month ago. ”

  “Why did he turn?” Peter’s furrow deepened and his tone got even more confused. “Why haven’t you?”

  “There was an accident, and Milo was going to die, so Jack turned him,” I said. “And I had been waiting to turn until Milo was a bit older. ”

  “Jack’s always so eager to turn everything,” Peter said more to himself than anyone else. Then he shook his head and looked past Milo at Mae. “You haven’t said hello. ”

  “I haven’t really had the chance. ” Mae forced a smile and finally released Milo, but she made no movement towards Peter, no attempt to hug him the way she hugged everyone else. “Peter, maybe you should just go. ”

  “I know that you’re not happy to see me, but that’s not fair. ” Peter was genuinely hurt by her reaction, and Mae’s eyes filled with soft tears. “I haven’t done anything wrong. ”

  “Peter, you know that’s not exactly true,” Mae said quietly. She kept her gaze on him, but nodded her head slightly to me.

  “I’m not trying to justify it, but if…” He bit his lip and shook his head. “Jack overstepped his bounds on every measure of this, yet you’re all continually on his side. She was meant for me, not him. And it shouldn’t have mattered to any of you if she had died. ”

  “Thanks,” I mumbled, and I felt his eyes land apologetically on me.

  “Alice, that’s not what I meant. ” He made a move towards me, then dropped his hand.

  “We’re not on anyone’s side,” Mae insisted, and she rested a hand on Milo’s arm, trying to keep him steady. Hearing Peter so casually talk about my death had him fuming. “Things are far more complicated than sides, and you know that. ”

 
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