“You keep letting them… captivate you.” He looked over the top of my head, and he was starting to think that maybe this was a bad idea. “Don’t do that.”
“Sorry,” I said, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to fix that.
“Don’t be sorry. Just…” He shook his head. “Come on.” He pulled me off to the side of the room, to a mostly empty couch.
When he sat down, I sat close to him. On the other side of him was a girl with hair that shown purple under the light, and her lipstick was black. She’d been sipping something out of a tall wine glass, and she turned her attention to us.
She smiled, mostly at me, and her fangs were more pronounced than Jack’s were. Almost comically so, and I wondered if that was a natural occurrence or if she did something to make them like that.
“You’re new here,” she purred, directly to me, and her voice sounded like honey and helium.
“Yeah,” I said, and Jack dropped his arm around me.
“You, I’ve seen around before.” She narrowed her eyes at him. Her makeup was so thick and heavy around her eyes, as if she wore a kind of mask. She bit her lip, carefully so the fangs wouldn’t tear her skin, and tried to place him. “Did we fuck?”
“No, I can’t say that we have,” Jack replied quickly. I tensed up, which I knew was a bad idea since I was supposed to keep my heart rate down.
It never occurred to me that Jack had sex. I realized that vampires probably had sex, that Mae and Ezra did, and I definitely considered the prospect of me having sex with Jack, but I had never thought about it actually happening. Not only had Jack most likely bitten girls here, he had probably slept with some of them.
“Pity,” the girl said, and her eyes dropped back to me. Her smile tilted, and she noticed the change in my heart rate. “So you’re that kind of girl.”
“What kind of girl is that?” I asked tightly.
“Where are my manners?” She laughed, a tinkley, fragile sound, like breaking glass. “I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Violet.”
She held out her hand to me and only me. It was covered in one of those lace fingerless gloves that Madonna used to wear, and I took her hand and shook it.
“I’m Alice.” I let go of her lacy, tepid hand and looked up at Jack. “This is Jack.”
“Jack.” She clicked her tongue and looked at him. “We never-”
“Nope,” he repeated with an edge to his voice.
“Are you sure?” Violet looked dubious. “Cause I have a really excellent memory, and I could swear that we knocked boots?” She winked at me and elbowed Jack playfully in the ribs.
“I’m quite certain,” he said icily.
“Yeah! You did this thing-”
“Stop,” Jack told her, his voice low and even. “I know what you’re doing, and I want you to stop.” She batted her eyes innocently, and he turned to me. “When she mentioned it the first time, your heart sped up, and now she’s just saying things to make it race. She’s trying to set you off.”
“It’s beating like a moth caught in jar,” Violet smiled wistfully at me. “I can’t help myself. It sounds so beautiful.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for,” Jack reassured me quietly.
Blushing, I curled up closer to him. Even in the dimly lit room, I could see the way Violet looked at me with pure thirst in her eyes. Jack would never let anything happen to me, and I don’t think she wanted to kill me. But she wanted to taste me, and that was a weird thing to know.
“Are you gonna go back to one of the rooms?” She nodded toward the dark doorways that led out of the room, and I wondered what kind of rooms they were. “I would kill just to watch.”
“We’re good, thanks,” Jack said.
Violet kept her eyes locked on me and slid closer to Jack, pressing her body against him. He tried to recoil, but I was at the end of the couch and he didn’t want to smash me.
“You’re just a little treat, aren’t you?” Violet winked at me.
“Alright, that’s fun.” Jack stood up, pulling me to my feet with him.
“We must not have messed around, otherwise you wouldn’t be turning me down,” she laughed at him. “I can do things, for the both of you that you’ve only ever dreamed about.”
“Yep. I’m really missing out.” Jack steered me towards the bar in the corner, and Violet cackled behind us. “I’m sorry. This was a terrible idea. I’ve never brought a human here before, and I didn’t really know what to expect.”
“It’s not so bad,” I said.
At the bar, Jack moved me in front of him, so my stomach was pressed against the wood. He stood behind me with his arms on either side of me. The vampires had freaked him out, and he wanted to surround me.
Oddly, I didn’t feel the slightest bit anxious, and my emotions tended to mirror his. Something about being in this room, it made me strangely sedate.
The bartender came over to take our order and gave Jack a bewildered look.
“I’d like a drink. Just whatever you have handy,” Jack told him, and that only deepened the bartender’s confusion. “Do you have any vodka back here?”
“All the light drinks are out there.” The bartender gestured to the dance floor. He looked at me, then up at Jack. “Are you sure you really want a drink?”
“Yep,” Jack said, and when the bartender continued eyeing me up, Jack added, “She’s just for looks.”
“Whatever floats your boat, buddy,” the bartender shook his head and walked away to get a drink.
“You know what? Cancel the drink.” He slid his arm around me and stepped back from the bar.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“This was a stupid idea, and we’re getting out of here.” He looked around uneasily as he led me away. “Everyone is looking at you like… I don’t know.”
“What about Milo?” I asked. We were just about out of the room, back to the dance floor where my words would be drowned out, so I stopped.
“I’ll text him when we get outside,” Jack said.
“He won’t hear it. It’s too loud. And even if he does, he wouldn’t answer. He’s having fun.”
“Then we’ll leave him here, and he can call when he’s ready,” Jack said.