Obviously, she’d been thinking of it before I said anything. In the car, after Violet and Lucian attacked us, she’d even used the word “vampires” herself. But it was still a hard thing to come to terms with, even when all the pieces fit.
“So what now?” Jane asked at length.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know!” She laughed hollowly. “They are vampires! Doesn’t it feel like we should do something? That we can’t just go back to living our life like normal?”
“That’s something that I struggle with everyday,” I said. “But there isn’t much else for us to do.”
“I was bit by a damn vampire! And now I’m supposed to go to Chemistry, and flirt with boys, and just pretend like none of it ever happened?” Tears welled in her eyes, and she bit her lip. “I sorta feel like my whole life was a lie. I mean, what else is there that I don’t know about?”
“Jane, we hardly know about anything,” I said. “There’s tons out there. But it doesn’t affect us. Or we don’t realize it does. This one thing happened to touch home, just for a minute, but it doesn’t change anything else.”
“It changes everything!” Jane insisted dramatically.
This is exactly why I wasn’t supposed to tell people about vampires. It was too hard for a person to take. It completely distorts the perception of reality. When things that are so clearly fiction became fact, it changes everything.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” I told her simply.
“So you’re no help?” Jane smiled wryly and flicked her cigarette into a sink. “I should’ve expected that from you.” She pulled out her ample makeup bag from her backpack by the door and went over to the mirror next to me.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“You just take your lot in life, no matter what it is.” She took out something to blot the makeup that had smeared around her eyes when she teared up. “You don’t know how to fight for anything you want.”
“I don’t think that’s true,” I said, but her words stung.
“Really?” Jane’s reflection smiled at me as she reapplied eyeliner. “If you really believe that, then how come you’re sitting here, still human, going to high school? Cause you’ve got to be dying to be a vampire.” When she finished her makeup, she caught my expression in the mirror and laughed darkly. “That’s what I thought.”
“It’s so much more complicated than that.” But my words sounded unconvincing, even to me.
“I’m sure it is.” She put on another coat of lip gloss and turned to me. “I’m gonna go to class. And we can just pretend we never even had this little talk, since that’s how you want to play this.”
“I’m not playing anything!”
“Good job,” Jane winked at me.
She sauntered out of the bathroom, swinging her book bag over her back as she left. Her runway walk was already back in full strut, and I gaped after her.
It was as if there was a switch inside her where she could momentarily express real emotions, and then just flick them off when it became inconvenient. She’d been frightened and almost crying, and boom! She fixed her makeup, belittled me, and walked off into the sunset.
I leaned back, resting my head against the mirror, and tried to find fault with what she said. I fought for what I wanted. Repeatedly, I tried to convince Ezra that it was a good idea that I turned now instead of later.
I never really told Jack how I felt, but I still hadn’t gotten everything with him straightened out. All I was doing was making the best of a messed up situation. That wasn’t the same as just letting life happen to me.
I ended up sleeping a lot in class. During lunch, I’d gone to the nurses’ offices and lay down on a cot to get some sleep. After school, walking the block and a half from the bus stop to my apartment left me exhausted. I collapsed on the couch as soon as I got in and passed out.
Milo texted me to make sure I was okay, but I only vaguely remember answering it, and then I was out again. I barely managed to wake up for school the next day, but I took twice the vitamins Mae told me to take.
When they bus dropped me off at school, I ran across the street to the gas station and bought five Red Bulls. I was gonna fight this tired thing if it killed me.
By the end of the day, I actually felt pretty good. Jane avoided me, but it was better that way. She needed to extradite herself from this life before she got hurt.
I made it through the second day of my senior year, though, so I thought that counted for something. It wasn’t until I got home and sat on the couch, sipping on my sixth Red Bull of the day, that I realized something disturbing.
Milo texted me twice yesterday, once asking how I was feeling and the second expressing his relief that I was doing okay. He had not invited me over. Jack had not called or texted me.
In fact, since he’d bitten me, Jack hadn’t really spoken to me at all. We had shared something immensely intimate, and he was just blowing me off.
He was legitimately freaked out by everything. We were both in serious danger. But we were already in danger. Avoiding me now couldn’t take it back or make me any safer in the future. He wasn’t protecting me or preventing anything from happening.
When he bit me, I felt how much he cared about me, and it was overwhelming. It felt amazing, but conversely, he could feel the way I felt. Maybe it wasn’t good enough. Maybe he saw how little I cared for him.
Not that I didn’t care for him that much, but I wasn’t even capable of feeling the way he did. I cared about him as much as I could, as much as my measly human emotions would allow.
Maybe he’d felt the way I still cared for Peter. Despite everything that should be to the contrary, I had very strong feelings for Peter, and something at the very core of me felt destined to be with him. That came directly from my blood, and maybe Jack tasted that.
Without even knowing it, I may very well have broken his heart and driven him away.
I couldn’t live in that kind of panic, so I pulled out my phone. I didn’t think I could talk directly to Jack, not yet, so I texted Milo instead.
Hey. How’s it going? I messaged Milo.
As time started to slowly tick by, it seemed more and more likely that either Milo was sleeping or he hated me. Finally, after seven o’clock, my phone started to ring, and my heart almost pounded out of my chest.