The blood was in sight so any petty complaint I had didn’t matter anymore. I practically ripped it from his hands. I downed it, and Ezra watched me with an odd look of fascination on his face. That wonderful warming effect spread over me, and I held out my hand for a second bag.
“Get ready for bed first,” he shook his head. “I’m not getting you in your pajamas after you’re passed out.”
“Fine. Look away.”
He did as he was told, and I took off my clothes as quickly as I could. That didn’t end up being all that fast because that tired, loose feeling took over me, and I almost fell over just taking off my shirt. When putting on my pajama pants, I fell back on the bed and didn’t bother to get up again.
“Done,” I announced and held out my hand to him.
“You’re going to have to learn to take it easier on these. I don’t think I packed enough for you to keep going at this rate,” he warned, but he handed it to me.
“I thought you’d be an over packer,” I said before gulping it down.
“I am.” He looked at me severely and sat on his bed across from me.
“It’s the sun.” My words already slurred. “The sun is super draining. I don’t think I can go back out in it again, not like that. And then walking around for like seventeen hours? It’s just too much for me…”
“It’s not too much for you.” He shook his head as he watched me struggle to stay conscious. “You have almost infinite power, Alice. You’ve got to stop thinking like you’re human.”
“You are!” I spouted, but clearly, that didn’t make sense.
“Yes, of course, I am,” he rolled his eyes.
I started to ask him a question, but I didn’t even know what it was. Pleasure rolled over me, and I didn’t want to fight it anymore. Ezra wanted me to express more self-control, but then again, he claimed that I was expressing self-control.
If this was me under control compared to other vampires, then I’d hate to see what they were like.
“Oh… the lycans are worse then this, aren’t they?” I groaned.
“I don’t really understand the question.” Ezra got up and walked over to me. “Why don’t you get some sleep, Alice? You’ve had a long day. Get under the covers.”
If Ezra had been driven on his pursuit of Peter the first day, the next day he was relentless. I refused to go out in the sun, so he let me sleep until four in the afternoon, but I’m not sure how much sleep he’d gotten. Using his phone and his laptop, he’d been busy trying to get coordinates for where he thought Peter would be.
When I got up, I responded to a couple text messages from Jack, got ready, and we left. Over ten hours later, I found myself in the middle of the Finnish Laplands, staring up at the spectacle of lights above me.
Dazzling green lights flashed across the clear night sky. We had crossed a river when I happened to look up and notice the aurora borealis dancing above us. I stopped on the frozen shore and stared at them in awe. They were breathtakingly beautiful, and even Ezra paused and looked.
My attention shifted from the Northern Lights when I heard a rustling sound coming from the woods. I could see something dark shifting through the trees, and I caught a whiff of the familiar farm-y smell of reindeer. A few yards down the river from us, six huge reindeer came barreling out through the trees and charged across a shallow part of the river.
“Alice,” Ezra whispered. He took a step back towards me, holding his arm out in front of me.
“What? They’re just reindeer. Did you have a run in with Blitzen once?” I teased, but he hissed at me.
“They wouldn’t be running like that at this time of night unless something was chasing them.” His words were nearly drowned out in the splashing as they tore across the river.
I moved closer to Ezra, and strained to see what could be following the reindeer. I crossed my fingers for wolves, but I had a feeling that it was a something a little more anthropomorphic than that. Once the reindeer plummeted back in the woods, other than the sound of their depleting hooves, there was an odd silence.
Straining, I realized that wasn’t exactly right. There was silence, but not silence. I could see things, but not things. It was like every time I almost caught something, it was gone before I could even register it. Almost as if there was a ghost spooking the deer, and I thought hopefully, maybe it was just the run-of-the-mill ghost.
“Alice!” Ezra shouted suddenly and grabbed my arm.
- 6 -
The river splashed directly in front of us. Literally out of nowhere, a man leapt into the river. When the black water settled around him, I got a look at him under the glowing green lights.
He was shirtless, revealing well-muscled arms. His black hair went past his ears, and he was very attractive. But something in his black eyes unnerved me.
He stared at us, making my heart hammer nervously in my chest, and I was about to say something to break the tension, but I saw movement behind him.
Across the river, walking deliberately slow, two more vampires came out from the trees. They stood on the shore opposite us, flanking the one in the water, but they looked less imposing.
They were barefoot and wore ragged clothes. The blondish one on the right looked amused.
The other one appeared to be embarrassed about this little confrontation. He kept his dark brown hair shorter than the other two, but he had a thick stubble on his face. While he was well-toned, he was smaller than the others.
His eyes were the thing that caught me the most. They were gentle and large, reminding me of a puppy.
In the water, the first vampire crouched down lower, poised for an attack, and my mind raced to think of a way out of it. Mae and Jack warned me to run, but I couldn’t outrun him. I wasn’t even sure if Ezra could. He had to have some kind of super speed to appear out of nowhere like that.
“We don’t mean to bother you,” I said weakly, and Ezra squeezed my arm.
From the water, the vampire growled at me, but the one with the kind eyes stopped him.
“Stellan!” he snapped, and the vampire in the water made an argument in Finnish, but he cut him off.
“You’re American, yeah?” the amused blonde vampire asked, his tone lilting with an accent.
“Yes, we are,” Ezra responded. “I’m Ezra, and this is my sister, Alice.”
“I’m Dodge,” he smirked at us. “I’m from Boston.”
“Leif,” the kind vampire gestured to himself, and then to the vampire in the water. “That’s Stellan.” Stellan turned back to him and retorted something in Finnish, but Leif shook his head.