“You’re right.” I shook my head, clearing it of any confused thoughts about Peter.
It was hard, though. It changed the way I thought about everything. All the time I had been messing around with Jack, falling in love with him, the one thing that had given me the green light was that Peter had tried to kill me.
But when I thought about it as his own suicide attempt, that he had loved me so much he had been willing to give me up... We had been bound together, and he had truly loved me, but I had run off with his brother instead.
Peter didn’t say anything, and neither did I. I’m not sure if he was really trying to come up with another plan, but I certainly couldn’t. Part of me was really trying to, but I felt like all the wind had been knocked out of me.
The door to the hotel room thudded softly, interrupting my thoughts. Not a knock exactly, but more like something falling into it. I looked to Peter, his eyes already fixed on the door. He moved in front of me, blocking me in case the lycan announced their entrance.
When the door slowly swung open, we were greeted by something almost as bad.
- 10 -
Ezra leaned on the doorframe, looking worse than I could ever imagine him being. His clothes, the same black sweater and jeans he had worn the night before, were torn and dirty. His skin was gaunt and pale. He staggered into the room and Peter rushed to him.
Bite marks covered his neck and wrists. The lycan territory was nearly an hour drive away, plenty of time for a vampire to heal, but his bites were red and swollen. Ezra had been so drained he didn’t have the strength to heal.
“He needs to feed,” Peter told me and attempted to hand Ezra off to me. He hurried to the bathroom to get blood for Ezra, leaving me alone to struggle with the situation.
I’d been frozen in shock, but I put my arm around Ezra and helped him on the bed. His deep brown eyes were glassy. I’d never seen a vampire look so ill before. It had never even occurred to me that they could even look like this, especially Ezra.
When I sat down next to him on the bed, he collapsed back on the bed and rested his head on my lap. He gripped my thigh with a painful desperation, like he needed to hang onto something.
“I brought blood,” Peter said when he walked back into the room. He looked down at Ezra, clinging onto me, and pressed his lips into a thin line.
“I can’t eat. Not right now.” Ezra grimaced, as if he was in too much pain to even think of eating.
I brushed his hair from his forehead, his skin feeling clammy. After blood loss, I’d think eating would be the only thing that would make him feel better. Then it dawned on me what was going on.
The lycan had fed on him. That was something vampires never let other vampires do, unless they were lovers. There was something sexual about the exchanging of blood, but it was more than that.
When Jack bit me, I felt him flow through me, and his love and kindness consumed me. Ezra had been bitten by a pack of rabid monsters. All their pain and rage burned through him now. Physically and emotionally, they drained him.
Ezra made a pained sound but fought to suppress it. He gripped me so tightly, that had I been human, he would’ve broken bones and ruptured organs. Despite his weakness, his muscles felt like concrete underneath my hands. He tensed so tightly, his body was completely rigid, and his legs curled up a bit, closer to me.
“My blood…” Ezra forced a few words, but he barely managed that.
“Just rest. We don’t need to talk.” I tried to reassure him, running my fingers through his blond hair.
“No,” Ezra said, his voice tight and weak. “My blood for your blood. It’s over. We need to get out of here. Peter, can you…”
“I’ll make all the arrangements,” Peter said when Ezra trailed off. He tried to keep his composure as much as possible, but his eyes burned. It killed him knowing Ezra had exchanged his own blood for Peter’s life.
After a moment of staring remorsefully at him, Peter went into action. He got his cell phone and started making calls, most of which I couldn’t understand because they were in Finnish.
“I shouldn’t be burdening you with this,” Ezra said and tried moving away from me.
“No, you’re okay,” I insisted. “Don’t worry.”
“No. I …” Ezra trailed off again, and a spasm went over his body. He gripped even tighter and I could barely breathe. It passed, and he relaxed, as much as he could. “I’m sorry.”
“Ezra. It’s okay.”
When Peter got off the phone, he watched Ezra for a moment as he struggled to keep his breaths even. I could feel Ezra biting back screams, and I looked to Peter for help, but he wouldn’t meet my eyes.
“The best thing for him to do is rest,” Peter said. “The feelings will fade, with time. Our flight leaves in seven hours. He can get some rest and eat, and then he ought to feel good enough to at least make it home.”
Peter packed our things and got us ready to go. I felt like I should help him, but I didn’t want to leave Ezra alone. Eventually, Peter suggested we get some sleep. Ezra went in and out of consciousness. I managed to doze off a little bit, but Ezra woke me frequently with moaning or writhing.
When Peter woke me in the evening, Ezra was still tangled up with me, but the fierceness in his grip had disappeared. Peter helped him to the bathroom to eat and get cleaned up, and I got up to stretch. My whole body ached terribly from the way he had held me.
Just comforting Ezra had been exhausting, and I couldn’t fathom what he was going through. I stood next to the bed, feeling more emotionally drained, and Peter came out of the bathroom to give Ezra privacy. He looked at me with concern, but I didn’t deserve any, so I busied myself with straightening up the room.
“Alice.” Peter placed his hand on my arm, stopping me. “How are you holding up?”
“Better than Ezra,” I gave a hollow laugh.
I looked up at him, and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Unwanted tears streamed down my cheeks, and roughly, he pulled me into his arms. Burying my face in his shirt, I sobbed hard.
“Thanks. And sorry,” I mumbled when I got myself under control and pull away from him. He kept his hand on my arm, as if severing contact would reduce me to tears.
“Don’t worry about it. I saw how hard that was on you,” Peter said.
“He’s not even crying.” I wiped the tears from my face and hated myself for being a baby.
“It’s different for him. He’s been through this before, although I don’t think it’s ever been this bad.” His eyes got hard, no doubt thinking about how this was his fault.