Wisdom, p.8
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       Wisdom, p.8

         Part #4 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“I don’t know. ” I shook my head and stayed a step behind Bobby.

  “It won’t hurt to look. ”

  He slipped on a patch of ice, and my arm shot out instinctively. I caught him, holding him by his arm for a second before he got his footing again. A man passing by gave me an odd look. I shoved my hands in my pocket and tried to look inconspicuous as Bobby straightened out his jacket.

  “Thanks,” he said.

  “No problem,” I mumbled and took his elbow to hurry him along. A few other people kept glancing over at us, and I didn’t like it.

  If I hadn’t felt so nervous, I might’ve taken a moment to be proud that I moved quick enough to elicit weird stares. My reflexes were getting much quicker, and I didn’t slip on the ice anymore, not even when I hurried across it. I’d begun to feel really comfortable in my new skin.

  “Is there a reason we’re jogging?” Bobby asked, giving me a sidelong glance.

  “We’re not jogging. ” I was going faster than I meant to, and I slowed down.

  When we turned the corner onto Hennepin Avenue, I let go of Bobby’s arm, but I wished I’d hung onto him. I shoved my hands deep in my pockets and slowed down even more, so we were barely moving. We were getting close to V, and past that, I could see the empty space on the concrete where Jane had been found.

  “Are you okay?” Bobby asked. “You look pale. ”

  “Yeah,” I lied, but I stopped walking. We were in the middle of the sidewalk, so people had to part around us, but I didn’t care. “Why are you doing this?”

  “What?”

  “This. Helping me. Trying to solve this or whatever. ”

  “I’m from St. Joseph, Minnesota,” Bobby said, and I shrugged, not seeing any significance. “My mom was pregnant with me when Jacob Wetterling went missing. I have a brother nine years older than me, and he knew the Wetterling kids. ”

  I didn’t know a ton about the case, but I’d heard enough over the years to get the gist of it. Jacob had been eleven-years-old when he was abducted near his home in St. Joseph. Twenty years later, the police weren’t any closer to finding out what happened to him or who took him.

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  “I grew up with a crazy over protective mother, always talking about him. ” Bobby squinted up at the sun that peaked over the top of the buildings. “It’s like a mystery hanging over everything, and I never even met him. But it still bothers me that I don’t know what happened to him. ”

  “You’re looking for Jane’s killer because you can’t find Jacob Wetterling?” I asked.

  “My mom always talked about how she didn’t know how his mother went on, how she could survive without knowing what happened to her son,” he said. “And Jane’s not missing, and she wasn’t your kid, but I know you need to know what happened. I wanna know, and she wasn’t my best friend. ”

  “I don’t know if she was really even my best friend anymore. ” I exhaled and stared down the street, to where her body had been found.

  “Well, since I’m now your de facto best friend, I have to help you with this. ”

  “How are you my best friend?” I raised an eyebrow.

  “You can’t count your boyfriend or your brother, or your boyfriend’s brothers, so it has to be me. ” Bobby grinned at me. “I’m your new best friend. ”

  “What about Leif? Or Olivia?” I asked.

  “Leif’s not your friend. ” He shook his head and furrowed his brow. “I’m not sure what he is, but he’s not your friend. And Olivia’s your trainer. She’s like a boss. Doesn’t count. ”

  “There sure are a lot of stipulations that constitute who can or can’t be a best friend. ”

  “I didn’t make the rules,” he shrugged. “But as your best friend, it’s my civic duty to help you with this. ”

  “And you think looking at this will help?” I asked.

  “I do,” Bobby nodded. “Come on. ”

  “Alright. ” I took a deep breath and walked with him, moving in closer to him. “So, how does your crazy protective mom feel about you living here? Do you ever even go home?

  “Um… she doesn’t feel anything about it,” Bobby said. “She died of cancer when I was 12. And I don’t go home very much. My brother lives in Oregon now. ”

  “Oh. I’m sorry,” I said, feeling stupid that I didn’t know that.

  “It’s okay. ” He shrugged. “I mean, it’s not. But it was a long time ago. So…”

  We reached the spot, and we both just stopped. People were already making big arcs around the place where Jane had been dumped, so they didn’t mind that we just stood there. A fresh bit of police tape flapped in the wind, but the rest had been cut down.

  I expected to feel worse when I got here, considering the built up nausea I had walking up to it. Once here, seeing it up close, I only felt that strange blankness inside me. Like my emotions just shut off completely.

  Six inches of snow had been dumped on us the day before, and the ensuing cleanup had scooped most traces that would be left. But I could still see faint stains where her blood had been, especially in the cracks.

  I crouched down, and I could still smell her. Very faintly, underneath the scent of snow, salt, exhaust, and all the people around. If I hadn’t known Jane, I probably wouldn’t be able to smell her at all. I breathed in deep, as if I would learn something new.

  I reached out to touch the darkest part of the stain. As soon as I touched it, an electric shock shot through my fingertips, and I yanked my hand back.

  “Are you okay?” Bobby asked.

  “Yeah, I’m fine. ” I shook it off and stood back up. “Do you see that?”

  “What?”

  “Her blood. ” I pointed to it. I hadn’t seen any at the other crime scenes, and I wasn’t sure if it was because I was tuned into Jane.

  “Yeah,” he nodded. “It’s faint. But I see it. ”

  “Did you see any at the other spots?”

  “No. ” His forehead crinkled as he thought about it. “No, I didn’t see anything. ”

  “That doesn’t really mean anything, I guess,” I said. “They did happen a long time ago. The first one was before Christmas. ”

  I looked over at the building V was in. It looked so ordinary, like all the other buildings around it. Nobody would ever guess it housed hundreds of vampires every night in its basement.

  “But I don’t remember seeing that much blood in the other crime scene photos,” Bobby said. “Maybe they had less to clean up. ”

  “Did you see real crime scene pictures? Or just the ones they let them post in the paper and stuff?” I asked. “I mean, they have to keep out the truly gruesome ones. ”

  “You can find anything on the internet. ” He waved off my doubt. “I’ve seen some brutal ones. ”

  “You’re a twisted guy, you know that?”

  “It was research!” Bobby looked defensive for a moment before moving on. “Anyway, the point is, maybe Jane had a little more overkill, so there was more blood. ”

  “I don’t wanna think about that,” I grimaced.

  “Sorry. But I’m just saying that when things have overkill, it usually means its personal,” Bobby said.

  “Lots of people were pissed at Jane,” I sighed. He had a point, but I felt too agitated to think. I kept my eyes on the club, but I could see her blood stains out of the corner of my eye. “Look, can we walk and talk?”

  “Uh, yeah, sure thing. ”

  “The sun is bothering me,” I lied.

  The sun had started shining over the buildings, but it hadn’t bothered me yet. I walked across the street, more towards V, so I’d be in the shadows again.

  “So, what do you think?” Bobby hurried to keep up with me. He slipped on snow again, and I caught him, but this time I made sure to do it more slowly, like a human would.

  “I don’t know what to think,” I admitted.

  We reached the alley by V, and I glanced at
it out of habit. But I saw something that made my heart skip a beat, and I stopped.

  “What?” Bobby asked.

  “Oh no. Please tell me it’s not another one,” I whispered under my breath.

  In a snow pile pushed up to the building, I could see long blond hair. A long coat lay next to it, covering the shape of a body. The entrance to V was kinda hidden in the alley, so it wouldn’t be as out in the open as the others had been, but it appeared to be a body discarded near the door.

  “What?” Bobby repeated.

  “Stay behind me,” I commanded.

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  I held my arm up in front of him, and we walked slowly down the alley. By the time we reached the snow bank, my heart hammered so loud in my ears, I could barely hear myself think.

  My hand would’ve been trembling, but I stopped shaking. In the past month or so, I’d become incapable of it. Inside, my muscles felt rubbery, even though I knew they’d react like marble if I needed them to.

  I reached forward and peeled back the jacket. I expected a corpse, but what I found scared the hell out of me. Bobby screamed behind me

  A vampire jumped up, moving with the speed only we could master, and she nearly lunged at me before she saw who it was. Violet stared at me, her weird purple eyes wide and shocked. Her skin looked bluish from where it had pressed against the snow bank, and her clothes were dirty and wet.

  “Why are you always bothering me?” Violet snapped. “Are you like stalking me or something?”

  “No, I’m not stalking you,” I said. “I just saw you and I thought-” I didn’t want to admit what I’d thought, so I let it hang in the air.

  “You know each other?” Bobby asked, once he got over the scare.

  “Not really. ” Violet tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ears and crossed her arms.

  “What are you doing out here?” I asked.

  “It’s not really any of your business, is it?” She glared at me for a moment but almost instantly lost her nerve. She turned away and pulled on her long jacket. “But I guess I better be on my way. ”

  “Do you even have anywhere to go?” I asked, and Violet swallowed hard. “Why were you sleeping outside, during the day?”

  “I didn’t have anywhere to go, okay?” Her intense eyes met mine, and her lip quivered a bit. “I usually find somebody to take me home so I can crash with them, but the clubs have been dry lately. That damn serial killer is keeping people off the streets. ”

  “Yeah, he’s making it rough on all of us,” I muttered dryly.

  “I already apologized about your friend,” Violet said, but she softened a little. I think she felt guilty about everything that had transpired between us before, and that counted for something.

  “Why do you have to find people to crash with? Why don’t you have your own place?” I asked.

  “I’m sixteen and I look sixteen!” She gestured to herself, and she had a point. Sometimes, she even looked younger than that. Her eyes had a strange innocence to them when she let down her guard. “I don’t have my social security card, so I can’t get a job, but even if I could, working part-time at Starbucks won’t pay the bills. Even when I do have money, nobody will rent me an apartment or a hotel room. I don’t even have a frickin driver’s license. What else am I supposed to do?”

  I’d never thought about what it would be like for everyone else to be a vampire. I’d come into a rich family who take care of everything, from money to housing and phony social security cards. I couldn’t imagine how anyone else survived without them, especially someone that looked so young, like Violet.

  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta find somewhere new to sleep. ” She started to walk past me.

  “Wait,” I said, stopping her.

  “What?” Violet asked, giving me an impatient look.

  I didn’t want to leave Violet on the streets, but I couldn’t take her home. We didn’t really have the room for it, and even if we did, I didn’t trust her that much. Fortunately, I knew of someone that would know exactly what to do with wayward teenage vampires.

  “Come on. I know a place you can stay,” I said.

  “Really?” Violet asked.

  “Yeah, really?” Bobby raised a skeptical eyebrow, probably afraid I would suggest our house.

  “Yeah. ” I nodded towards the entrance to V, and Violet scoffed.

  “It’s closed. They close at 7 am and kick everyone out,” Violet said. “Trust me. I’ve tried staying in there. ”

  “Yeah, well, you don’t know the owner like I do. ”

  I walked over to the door, and even though they were dubious, both Violet and Bobby followed me. I pulled the keys out of my pocket. I often came over before Olivia got up, and she got sick of me calling and making her come down to let me in.

  The door opened with a heavy push, and I held it so Violet and Bobby could walk past. The dim red light that normally lit the hallway was off, and I grabbed Bobby’s hand to help him through. We had to go down a steep staircase in total darkness, and I knew Bobby would break his neck, so I gave him a piggyback. It was the only way I could ensure he wouldn’t get hurt.

  When we got down to the tunnel in the basement, I set him down and grabbed his hand to lead him through. To go to the club, we’d turn off to our right, but I didn’t want to go to the club, so I kept walking. Violet got confused and asked if I knew where I was going, but I’d done this a hundred times before.

  Eventually, after weaving through the basement labyrinth, we reached the elevator in the center. The elevator was lit by fluorescent bulbs, making both Violet and I squint, but Bobby was relieved to be able to see again.

  “So, are your eyes really purple?” Bobby asked as we rode up to Olivia’s suite. “Or is that a vampire thing?”

  “No, it’s a me thing,” Violet sighed. “One in like a million people have violet eyes. My name was going to be Mischa, but when my mom saw my eyes, she changed it. ”

  “Oh,” he nodded.

  “Elizabeth Taylor has violet eyes, I guess,” Violet said.

  The elevator ride to the top of the building was rather long, and the awkward silence settled over us. Bobby started humming along with “The Girl From Ipanema” music that played through the speakers, and Violet stared up at the ceiling.

  When the doors opened, I stepped out into Olivia’s luxurious penthouse. Bobby had been up here with me a few times before, but this was obviously all new to Violet. She whistled loudly and stepped over to the window to admire the view.

  “This is a really nice place,” Violet commented, sounding awed.

  “It’s nicer when it’s clean,” I said.

  Olivia had a maid come up and clean twice a week, and today was clearly not her day. Pillows were all over, and one of them had been torn open, so white puffballs of stuffing littered the furniture. A few wine bottles were tossed about, meaning the party had been mostly the human persuasion, but that was just the way Olivia liked it.

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  Two of her party guests were still passed out, sprawled out on her overstuffed furniture. One of them was a very pretty girl wearing only a black bra and leggings with blood dried on her neck. The other was a vampire with very high cheek bones. He reminded me of Daniel Johns from Silverchair when he’d been anorexic.

  “Olivia!” I said loudly, kicking an empty wine bottle.

  The vampire lifted his head a bit, squinting in the light. All the windows were tinted to keep out UV rays, but they didn’t have any shades, and the sun hit the building straight on. I don’t know why the vampire hadn’t gone back to one of the rooms to sleep, but I didn’t really care either.

  “Olivia owns the club?” Violet asked, sounding shocked.

  She knew Olivia, as did most people, but Olivia kept her status under wraps. She didn’t want anybody to know what power she still held. She liked staying under the radar.

  “Yep. ”
I walked over to Olivia’s bedroom door and knocked it. “Olivia, wake up. ”

  “She doesn’t like me very much,” Violet said.

  “You’re hot. She likes you,” Bobby said, sitting down on the couch. He picked up a bottle of wine by his feet and swooshed it around. It still had some in, so he took a swig.

  “Bobby, it’s nine in the morning! Do you really need to drink?” I asked.

  “It’s red wine and I had one drink,” he scoffed. “It’s not like I’m blitzed. ”

  “Who the hell are you people and why are you here?” the Daniel Johns vampire asked.

  “We’re not here. It’s just a dream. Go back to sleep,” Bobby said.

  “Olivia!” I pounded on her door again, and when she didn’t get up, I pushed it open. “Olivia!”

  “What?” Olivia grumbled, her face buried in a pillow.

  She lay in a massive bed, curled up in silk sheets. A beautiful, topless girl lay in bed next to her. I’d seen her a few times before, so she was a semi-regular of Olivia’s, but I never learned her name. I didn’t want to. It made it easier to let Olivia feed on people if I didn’t actually think of them as people.

  “I need you to come out here for a minute,” I said. I stood in the doorway, because if I walked away, she’d just fall back to sleep.

  As Olivia got up, she mumbled something under her breath and pulled on a satin housecoat. It was so weird seeing her wear things that weren’t leather, but she did exclusively wear black. Her long hair shimmered down her back, completely smooth and silky, even though she’d just woken up.

  “It’s too bright out there. ” Olivia paused in the doorway and refused to step out further. “What do you need from me? I just went to bed. ”

  “I brought you a present. ” I stepped back and gestured to Violet, who stood to the side.

  “Hi. ” Violet forced a smile and wiggled her fingers meekly.

  “Didn’t that girl try to kill you?” Olivia arched her eyebrow at me.

  “I say let bygones be bygones,” I shrugged. “But she doesn’t have a place to stay. So she’s gonna stay with you for a while. ”

  “Fine, fine. ” Olivia yawned and waved her hand at me. “The second bedroom is open. ” She pointed at the room next to hers. “She can stay there. Just be quiet when I’m sleeping. ”

  “Thank you,” Violet said, but Olivia didn’t acknowledge her.

  “Thanks,” I echoed, and Olivia nodded.

  “Next time wait until later in the day. ” She started shutting the door, then stopped. “Are you coming over tonight to train?”

  “Sure. ”

  “Alright. See you tonight then. ” Olivia yawned again and shut the door.

  “There you go,” I told Violet and stepped away from the room. Olivia’s sleepiness was contagious, and I yawned myself.

  “Thanks. ” Violet looked unsure about everything, but I didn’t really want to reassure her. She’d be fine here, and I’d done my part. Now the lack of sleep and stress of the day started to hit me.

  “No problem,” I said and walked over to the elevator.

  Violet just stood off to the side, almost as if she was afraid to move. When the elevator doors opened, I stepped inside, and I had to hold them open for Bobby.

 
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