His room looked as messy as he would allow, which was much cleaner than mine and Jack’s room. His large four-post bed was unmade. The French doors that led onto the balcony off his room were slightly ajar, letting in a chill breeze that ruffled his curtains.
Overflowing bookshelves lined his walls. Peter had apparently decided to spend the day reading, and a few books were discarded on his bed. On the white chair by the bookcases, he had a book splayed open, a red ribbon marking his page should it close.
I paced his room, trying to ignore the painful gnawing inside of me, but I stopped when I saw the red stain on his white rug.
“Perhaps you should eat,” Peter said, but there was an uncomfortable edge to his words. He had caught me staring at the stain. It was blood, my blood, from when he had nearly killed me.
“Why don’t you throw away the rug?” I twisted at the hem of my shirt, feeling fidgety, and turned to face him.
“As you can tell, I’m really not in the mood to hang out,” he completely ignored my question.
He avoided my gaze and gestured to his room, as if the state of it would signify something to me. Underneath his smooth tan skin, I could see his veins pulsing delicately, and it quickened ever so slightly. I made him nervous, and I delighted in that, even though it did nothing to ease my hunger pains.
“You shut the door behind me.” I motioned to the closed door. “I think you’re okay with talking. You just want everything on your terms.”
“What’s so wrong with that? Don’t you want everything on your own terms?” He ran a hand through his chestnut hair. He hadn’t cut it since we’d come back, and while I had never been partial to long hair on guys, it looked really good on him.
In fairness, everything looked really good on him. Wearing slim jeans and a white sweater that rode smoothly over his muscles, he was still the most attractive vampire I’d ever seen, and that really was saying a lot. I hated him for it. The way he could just be casually spending the day in his room and look like that. More than that, I hated that I was still attracted to him, when I knew I had no reason to be.
“I want things the way I want them, but I don’t force other people to live by my rules,” I said.
“Neither do I. Am I forcing you to do anything?” Peter looked at me, letting his brilliant emerald eyes pierce through me. They still dazzled me, if not the same way they once did, but maybe in my hunger, they hit me even more. Everything about him just seemed so much more enticing.
“No, but… I don’t know.” I shook my head and turned away from him, returning to pacing his room again. He leaned against one of the posts on his bed and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Why don’t you just eat something instead of pestering me?” he asked.
“No, no, I can’t,” I waved away the idea. “I’m fine anyway.”
“Very convincing,” Peter sighed. “Is that what you’re doing here? Trying to distract yourself from eating? You’re probably fantasizing about ripping into your brother’s little boy toy, aren’t you?”
“Don’t be disgusting!” I scoffed, but he was really close to the truth, and I blushed a little.
“It’s not disgusting. It’s a fact of life.” He narrowed his eyes at me as something occurred to him. “You haven’t bitten anyone yet, have you? You’re still a virgin to the vampire ways?”
“I’m virgin in every way,” I muttered under my breath before I could catch myself.
“What was that?” Peter asked, his eyes widening.
“Oh, never mind.” I shook my head and blushed deeper. “I haven’t been turned for very long. I need time to get everything under control.”
“I see.” A smirk twitched on his lips, and I sighed heavily.
“Stop! Don’t look at me like that,” I snapped, but that only made him chuckle softly. Groaning, I looked around his room, desperate to find something else to talk about.
On his bed, half covered by his blanket in a poor attempt to conceal it, was a book. But not just any book. It was a century old with worn binding and tattered pages, and I had spent a great deal of time reading it a few months ago. Entitled A Brief History of Vampyres, Jack had been convinced that Peter had written it himself. I had stolen it from Peter’s room until it mysteriously disappeared.
I moved towards his bed to grab the book, but Peter saw where I was heading and moved to intercept me. He was much quicker, but his attempt was half-hearted since I’d already seen it.
He grabbed my wrist just as my hand touched the cover, and almost the instant his skin hit mine, it started to heat up considerably. I pretended like I didn’t notice and jerked my hand away from him before he could feel my pulse quicken in his grip.
“You did take it!” I held the book up in front of his face, as if he wouldn’t know what I was talking about. “I knew you took it!”
“It’s my book! You stole it from me!” Peter tried to match my indigence but failed. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was embarrassed at getting caught.
“So?” I faltered for a minute, since he did have a point. “You weren’t reading it, and I didn’t ‘steal’ it. I borrowed it.”
“And I wanted it returned.” He reached for it but I pulled it back before he could grab it. He didn’t look amused, and he held his hand out to me, waiting for me to give it to him. “Can I have it back please?”
“I was reading it. I want to know how it ends.” I opened it, flipping the pages and trying to skim through it.
He glowered at me over the top of the book, so I couldn’t pay that much attention. It didn’t really read like a novel, either, but rather it was part diary, part how-to manual.
“Rosebud is the sled,” Peter replied flippantly, giving away the ending to Citizen Kane instead.
“Why don’t you want me to read this?” I asked and looked up at him.
“It’s not that I don’t want you to read it,” he said, but he wouldn’t meet my eyes, so I had a feeling that he wasn’t being entirely truthful.
“Then why did you take it from my room?”
“Because I…” He floundered for a minute, a very rare occurrence with him, and rubbed at his eyes. “I just didn’t want you to have it anymore.” I had never made him this distressed and irritated before, and I enjoyed it. Usually he was the one driving me nuts. “Do you remember when I took it?”