“So what’s this big news?” I asked, sounding bored.
“Jane was at V, and she’s a blood whore,” Milo said.
“A blood whore?” I asked.
“It’s like a whore, but with blood instead of sex, and usually there’s no monetary exchange,” Milo explained.
“Well, if there’s no money, than what is she getting for it?” I asked. Milo lowered his eyes, but I didn’t understand. It was actually incredibly obvious, but I was still under the fog of my lust for Jack.
“They get hooked on the feeling they get from having vampires drink their blood,” Jack said carefully. He’d never liked my former best friend Jane, but he wasn’t eager for bad things to happen to her, and he knew that I still cared about her.
Milo became shifty and uncomfortable. A few months ago, he’d been wounded protecting Jane and me from vampires, and he’d been forced to drink her blood to compensate for a blood loss. Well, he hadn’t really been forced. He just hadn’t resisted, and it was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. He had been like a wild animal, and she moaned with pleasure. So if Jane was addicted to being bitten, Milo had gotten her addicted.
“Milo-” I was about to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, but Bobby put his hand on Milo’s back, comforting him. I narrowed my eyes at him. “Wait. Is that what you are?”
“No, of course not!” Bobby protested quickly.
“Alice!” Milo yelled.
“What?” I asked. “That’s not an unfair judgment to come to, especially after whatever it was you two were doing earlier.” Bobby’s olive skin burned red with shame, but Milo just glared at me.
“That’s a horrible thing to say to him,” Milo said.
“Imagine how you would feel if someone had called you a bloodwhore,” Jack looked at me with something veiled in his eyes. It made me think that somebody had probably called me a bloodwhore, and I wondered if that somebody had just been rescued from Finland.
“Sorry,” I said without looking at Bobby. “I’m just looking out for Milo’s best interests.”
“Whatever,” Milo said, but he didn’t sound as angry as he had before. “Just get dressed. I’m not a big fan of talking to you when you’re naked.”
Milo put his hand on Bobby’s back and ushered him out of the room. He gave us a warning glare before closing the door behind him. Jack and I just sat in silence for a minute, letting the weight of what we had almost done and the news about Jane settle in.
“So what exactly does being a bloodwhore entail?” I asked. I pulled my shirt back on, and I watched sadly as Jack did the same. “I understand the basic concept, but like… I don’t know. How does it work?” Running my fingers through my hair to smooth out the tangles, I thought of something that made my stomach twist. “I mean… you’ve had bloodwhores before, haven’t you?”
“Most vampires try it once or twice at least,” he replied evasively. He got out of bed and readjusted his clothing, purposely avoiding looking at me. “It’s fairly common.”
The word “whore” made me the most uncomfortable. And I knew how amazing it felt when Jack drank my blood, how I could feel him, and how he could feel everything I felt. It was the most intimate act on earth, and he casually did it with random whores he picked up at a bar. I swallowed hard and refused to think about it.
“Alright.” I remembered that I had to take it all in stride when dating a vampire. “So how do you go about that? You just… what?”
“Bloodwhores usually hang around the club. They know what the scene is.” He began pacing the room, pretending to do things like readjust a picture on the wall or move something on the night stand. “You can just go there and find a girl. Or a guy. Whatever you’re into. Then you, y’know, bite them. When it’s done, you go on your way, and they sleep it off.”
“So how would Jane find out about a place like V?” I asked.
“If she hung around downtown long enough, and she knows what to look for in a vampire, it’s only a matter of time.” He fixed a piece of tape on his Purple Rain poster and looked back at me. “It’s like it is with any other drug.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Bloodwhores are addicted,” Jack said. “Letting a vampire bite you is pretty dangerous, but it’s not the worst thing you can do. And they’ll crave it more and more. There’s only so much blood loss the human body can take.”
As soon as Milo had mentioned that Jane had gotten involved with vampires, I hadn’t been thrilled by the idea. But I had gotten so used to Jane being reckless and her name associated with being a whore that I hadn’t thought much of it. If Jack was showing even an ounce of concern for her, it meant things were pretty bad off, and he was looking very gravely at me.
“You’re saying that Jane could actually die?” I sat up straighter in bed, and my mouth suddenly felt very dry.
“No. I’m saying that… unless she gets out of that lifestyle, she will die,” he said quietly.
Time seemed to stop. It wasn’t until somebody threatened to take her away that I realized how much she meant to me. Jane was vain, self-absorbed, and a bitch most of the time, but underneath that, she had always been my friend. No matter who was at a party or what they thought of me, Jane always brought me along, and most of the time, she stood up for me. When vampires attacked us a few months ago, she saved my life.
Jane just never believed that she was more than a pretty face. And even through all the things she did, she had been my best friend since I was seven years old, and she’d been there for me as much as she was capable.
Now she was in serious trouble, and it was all because of me.
“We have to go get her,” I said.
I jumped off the bed, scrambling to pull on my jeans as I did. Panic started taking over, and I flew around the room. Grabbing my shoes and my brush and a sweater and thinking that I had to do something to my hair before we went to a club or Jane wouldn’t even speak to me… and then Jack grabbed my wrist.
“Alice. Slow down,” Jack said. “She’s not dying right now.”
“You don’t know that!”
“I’m pretty sure if she was in immediate danger, Milo wouldn’t have left her there,” he pointed out.
“Maybe.” My heart slowed a bit. “But we still have to go get her.”