“Why did you come out here then?” I asked.
“I like Finland.”
“Yeah, right.” The blanket slipped off my shoulder, and I readjusted it. “You came out here to join a crazed pack of vampires cause you like Finland? That sounds a lot more like you were trying to get yourself killed.”
“Why would I wanna do that? Over you?” He stood up quickly, smirking down at me. “That’s what you think, right? That I couldn’t possibly live without you? That’s a little bit of an ego trip you’re on, isn’t it?”
“Well… no… that’s not what…” I stammered out some kind of response, then I straightened my shoulders. “After you lost Elise you almost-”
“Don’t talk to me about Elise!”
“Peter, I am just trying to help you! I don’t know why you’re so angry with me for that,” I said.
“This is you helping?” Peter laughed darkly.
“How do you want me to help? What do you want me to do?” I shouted at him, frustrated.
“I want you to-” He looked pained and surprisingly vulnerable, but he stopped and shook his head. His face fell, and he sat heavily back on the bed. “I don’t want anything from you. Not anymore.”
- 9 -
On the night stand, my phone started ringing. The tone was familiar to both of us, and Peter eyed up my phone with disgust. It was Jack calling, and since I didn’t really have anything helpful to tell him, I didn’t want to answer.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Peter asked.
“Not right now. I’m busy.”
“Doesn’t he have you on some kind of string?” he asked pointedly after the ringing stopped.
“You mean like you did?” I gave him a harsh look, but he stared back at me, unaffected.
“Yeah, I do,” he nodded. “If I had called you before, you would’ve answered no matter what you were doing. It just seems odd to me that if you’re bonded-”
“That I’m capable of still thinking for myself?” I raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I still can. And I did with you too, otherwise I never would’ve been able to be with Jack.” His eyes flashed hard again. “But I thought you said we weren’t really bonded anyway.”
“I don’t know what to think.”
“Why did you come here?” I asked gently, attempting to really talk to him. “If it wasn’t because of what happened-”
“Of course it was because of what happened,” he sighed. “Of course it was because of you.” He looked back up at me, his eyes uncertain and exposed. “Is that what you want to hear?”
“I don’t want anything from you except the truth”
“Everything with you has always been so complicated.” Peter ran a hand through his dark hair, which looked amazingly silky after the shower.
He chewed his lip and stared off at my empty bed. He would’ve said more if my phone hadn’t started ringing again, and I had to do something about it. If Jack called repeatedly in a short time, that meant that he wants something. Or that something was wrong. Either way, I didn’t feel right about just letting it ring.
“I should get that.”
“Don’t let me stop you,” Peter said, but his expression had gone stony.
I had barely even hit the answer button when I heard Jack yelling anxiously, “What the hell have you been doing, Alice? Are you okay? What’s going on? I’ve been trying to reach you for days!”
“I’ve been busy, Jack.” I tried to sound irritated. My heart ached for him, but with Peter sitting on the bed behind me, I didn’t want to show it. “We’ve been looking for Peter. Remember?”
“Why can’t you call? Or answer a text message? Or let me know that you’re still alive?” Jack demanded.
“I’m sorry.” I swallowed back tears, and Peter got up off the bed. “Where are you going?”
“What? I’m not going anywhere?” Jack was bewildered on the phone.
“No, not you,” I told him and nodded at Peter. “What are you doing?”
“Going to the bathroom. Is that okay with you?” Peter tried to make a joke, but I could tell that he was distressed.
“Yeah. Just don’t leave the room, okay?” I didn’t really trust him not to sneak away.
“Whatever you say.” Peter saluted me, then went into the bathroom. A few seconds later, I heard the water running, drowning out the sound of me talking to Jack.
“Who is that?” Jack’s voice had gotten icy, so he knew exactly who it was.
“Peter.” I sat down on the bed, thankful for the bit of privacy.
“You found him?” Jack shouted incredulously. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why are you still there? When are you coming home? Are you okay? Did you get hurt?”
“I’m fine, he’s fine.” I was tempted to say that Ezra was fine, but at that moment, I didn’t know if that was true. “We just found him last night. He needed to rest, and now we’re getting some things sorted out. We should be leaving soon.”
“What things sorted out?” Jack asked. “Why don’t you just get on the next flight out of there?”
“Peter’s still in pretty bad shape. He needs some more time to recuperate. He’s had a rough go of it here.”
“I thought that was the whole idea. That’s why he went there.” Jack tried to keep the edge to his voice, but it faded a bit. As angry as he was with Peter, he wasn’t a hateful guy.
“We’ll be home soon. You don’t need to worry anymore.” That actually hurt to say. I knew there was still a good chance we wouldn’t make it out alive, but I couldn’t tell Jack that. So I lied, and tears welled in my eyes.
“You better be,” Jack said. “Things are going crazy around here.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Your brother and Bobby.”
“He’s… I don’t know. You’ll have to make Milo explain when you get back,” Jack answered vaguely. “All I know for sure is that he’s around all the time now.”
“All the time?” I asked. “I’ve only been gone for like ten days!”
“It’s been a pretty wild ten days around here,” Jack said. “And Bobby showed up like the day after you left. So yeah. It’s been eventful.”