“Good.” Ezra nodded once, then looked at Mae. “Is everything packed then?”
“Yes.” She bit her lip when she met his gaze, and she didn’t want him to go anymore than Jack wanted me to.
“Well, then.” He smiled wanly at me. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” I nodded again.
He put all the papers in the front pocket of his suitcase and grabbed his bags. Up until that point, I think Milo expected Ezra to tell me that I had to stay behind, but when he saw that we were really serious, he balked loudly.
“You can’t really be going!” Milo flared with agitation, and Mae put her hand on his back, rubbing it to ease him down before he went berserk. “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! You’re going to get her killed!”
“Milo, that’s enough,” Mae said.
“But… but…” Milo stammered and turned to her for help. “You know this is stupid!”
“Milo.” Ezra cut him off decisively, and Milo’s face crumpled. “Just say goodbye to your sister before we go.”
He cried when he hugged me, which didn’t make things easier. He didn’t want me to go, and he didn’t want to be left behind, but there was very little in the way of options. The one time that he had actually met Peter, it hadn’t gone over well, so he wouldn’t be able to do anything to help the cause of rescuing Peter.
Mae kissed Ezra with tears in her eyes, and once again asked him if there was anything that could get him to stay. He didn’t say anything, but that was as she had expected. Sniffling, she hugged me and made me promise to be safe, to always run at the first sign of trouble, and to call her constantly, whether anything was wrong or not.
When we left, she had her arm wrapped around Milo, and they stood in the entryway, looking terribly forlorn. Jack hadn’t said anything as we left, and he continued his silence on the car ride to the airport. He took Ezra’s Lexus, and Ezra seemed lost in his own thoughts, trying to figure something out.
The Minneapolis airport was a bustle of human activity. The cold October air felt good on my skin as we walked from the parking lot to the airport, but everything was already filled with the warm, tantalizing scent of blood.
My heart sped up a little, and Jack took my hand, squeezing it to reassure me. Once inside, the feeling only got worse, and I tried to think of sad things, like dead bunnies, to keep my appetite under wraps.
Ezra went to the desk to pick up our tickets while Jack stood with me, waiting in the crowd. Jack was unusually still, but that was for my benefit. I felt everything he felt, so he tried to be calm and soothing so I wouldn’t get agitated or hungry.
“I’m going to have to go soon,” I said, looking up at him sadly.
The crowds around us paused to stare. Before, when I had been out with Jack in public, it drove me crazy the way everyone fawned all over him. Now, I had the same power, and it was incredibly odd having a private moment in front of an audience.
Jack touched my face, his hand warming my cheek, and I leaned into it. Leaving, even for a short time, would be so painful, but it was the only thing I could do. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do everything to help Peter.
Gently, he pressed his lips against mine, and his luscious heart beat through my skin. He kept it soft and very PG, because I didn’t want to get out of control in a crowded airport. Still, nothing was sweeter than his kisses, and I couldn’t help but want more.
“The plane is going to board soon,” Ezra interrupted us, not unkindly. “We need to get through baggage claims and security.”
Reluctantly, I pulled myself from Jack. His eyes locked on mine, and my heart screamed. It’d just finally dawned on me what I was about to do. Separating myself from Jack to sleep was uncomfortable. Being miles and miles away for I don’t even know how long… that sounded unbearable.
“I’ll take good care of her,” Ezra promised when Jack seemed unwilling to let me go.
Ezra took my hand in his, partially to help coax me away from Jack and partially so he could keep tabs on me. This was not the most ideal place for a new vampire’s first big outing, and everyone knew that.
Jack let go of my hand, and as Ezra carefully guided me through the crowds past the first set of metal detectors, my eyes never left Jack’s. He just stood in the middle of the airport, staring after me, like some tragic music video, and I wondered what exactly I had gotten myself into when I became a vampire.
- 3 -
My transformation from human to vampire had been so incredibly brutal that the English language isn’t fit to describe it.
My body died and ate itself. My organs shifted around, feeling as if my intestines had been replaced with living, moving snakes that squirmed inside of me. I spent hours upon hours vomiting. I was in a constant state of fevered delirium. My body ached on a cellular level. Even touching my hair would cause excruciating pain.
It wasn’t until I finally drank blood for the first time, cold from a bag, that everything began to take a turn for the better. The pain subsided and was replaced by pleasure.
All my senses were heightened, and I couldn’t believe how glorious everything really was. There were more colors, tastes, and textures in the spectrum than I ever imagined.
I felt Jack when he entered the room, and not like before. My heart always knew exactly how far he was from me. The way plants strained for the sun, I strained for him.
I had changed. My skin was smoother, my hair silkier, my eyes brighter. While I hadn’t exactly been fat before, I had a new elegance to how I looked.
The change wasn’t as drastic as it had been with Milo, more like I had simply gone through a makeover, but I definitely looked better. And I had shot up from 5’3” to a whopping 5’5” feet tall.
Once I was fully conscious, fed, and the pain had gone away, I wanted to fill in the missing gap. The last thing I remembered before surrendering into the transformation was that I had just drank Jack’s blood, and he was about to battle Peter.
But here we were, in Jack’s room, with him by my side, and we both seemed alright.
“What happened?” I asked, forcing myself to sit up in his bed.
“When?” Jack played dumb. He sat at the end of his bed, watching me.
“How are we both alive?” I asked, and he laughed, completely distracting me.
His laughter, which had always had power over me, rippled through me. It was almost too miraculous to really comprehend the actual sound.