“That’s hardly an assertion,” I laughed. “But still, that’s not a reason to get a cat. You don’t get cats so your dog has something to play with and possibly snack on.”
“Sounds like a good enough reason to me.”
When I came home, I hadn’t noticed anybody’s heartbeats. I was well-fed and less inclined to it. But I was naturally tuned into Jack’s and Milo’s. Even if I wasn’t paying attention, when they were distressed, I’d pick up on it.
Upstairs, I suddenly heard Milo’s heartbeat racing in a panic. I think it had already been beating fast, but it hadn’t been terrified. And on top of that, I could smell blood. I pushed off of Jack’s lap, but he got up, so he noticed it too.
Before I could do anything else, Milo started screaming.
“Help! Oh my god, help!” Milo yelled at the top of his lungs, and I raced up the steps. Jack flew past me because he was faster, and Ezra and Mae weren’t that far behind.
When I reached the top of the stairs, Peter and Jack had already zoomed into Milo’s room, but Milo still stood in the hallway. He was shirtless, and all the color had drained from him. His eyes were wide and horrified, and tears already slid down his face.
His cheeks were flushed unnaturally red, contrasting even more with the white of his skin. Fresh blood stained his lips, and a few splatters of it were on his bare chest, most of it smeared. He just stared at his bedroom, until Ezra pushed past me to get to his room, and then Milo turned to look at me.
“I killed Bobby.”
- 22 -
Milo looked like he might faint after his confession, and I ran over to him. Mae stood behind me, not moving. I wrapped my arms around my brother and stole a glimpse inside his room.
Everyone blocked the view, but Bobby was definitely immobile on the bed. Peter knelt next to him, and Ezra bent over Bobby. Jack stood in the doorway, his arms crossed.
“Everything’s gonna be okay,” I lied. He cried silent tears, and he was in shock.
“I need AB positive!” Ezra shouted.
“AB positive?” Jack repeated.
“Yes! Now!” Ezra barked. Jack rushed past me and leapt down the stairs. “Where’s Mae? I need the IV!”
“I’m right here, and I’ll get the kit!” Mae sprang to life and darted down the stairs.
“He’s alive?” I asked.
“Get Milo downstairs!” Peter growled, glaring at me.
I listened for the sound of Bobby’s heart, but over the frantic beating of Milo’s and my own, it was impossible to hear. That didn’t mean anything, though. If he’d lost a lot of blood, his heartbeat would be really faint, probably too faint to hear over all the noise.
“Alice!” Jack shouted as he came barreling back up the stairs. “Get Milo out of here! He doesn’t need to see this, okay?”
Using all my strength, I pulled Milo away from his room. I had no idea where I would take him, but away was as much as I planned. By the time we made it to the stairs, Mae was already bounding back up them.
“Everything will be okay, love,” Mae promised with a sad smile, but Milo didn’t even notice. After his initial screaming, he’d gone catatonic.
Milo needed to be someplace where he couldn’t hear everything, and he needed to get cleaned up. So I took him into the main bathroom downstairs, and I turned on the sink to drown out all the other sounds. Putting the lid down on the toilet seat, I forced Milo to sit down. I got a washcloth wet to start wiping off his chest and mouth.
“Did I really kill him, Alice?” Milo asked, staring off into nothing.
“They’re working on him.” I evaded answering him. “They saved my life like that before, too. Ezra is really good at giving blood transfusions, apparently.”
“I didn’t even…” He trailed off, and I stopped wiping at his chest to look at him. “We were fooling around, the same way we had been, and then… I bit him. And I didn’t even realize how much…. I didn’t know his heart stopped.”
“You didn’t mean to.” That was the best I could come up with.
“The thing is…” Milo became more animated, and his tears got heavier and louder. “I know that he isn’t ‘the one’ or whatever, not like what Peter was to you. But I love him, you know? I really do love him.”
“I know, sweetie. It’s gonna be okay.” I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him.
He was sobbing by then, and I just kept telling him it would be okay. I had no idea if that was the truth, but that was the only thing I could say.
We stayed down in the bathroom for what felt like forever. I folded up towels and laid them on the floor, and I sat down with my back up against the tub. Milo lay down next to me and rested his head on my lap. All I could do was brush his hair back with my fingers, and eventually, he even stopped crying.
When Jack opened the bathroom door, Milo jumped to his feet. I was too scared to move, as if me standing up would have an impact on whether Bobby lived or died.
“He’s alive,” Jack said, but he wasn’t smiling. Milo almost fainted in relief, and he grasped onto the counter to keep from falling. I got up to catch him if he needed it. “But he lost a lot of blood. He’s not exactly stable yet.”
“Can I see him?” Milo asked and wiped at his eyes.
“Yeah, Ezra’s up there, and he’ll probably wanna talk to you too.” Jack touched Milo’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, but Milo just sniffled and hurried past him.
“So… how is Bobby?” I walked over to Jack.
“Not good,” he said grimly. “He really almost didn’t make it. I mean, Milo drained that kid dry. It was bad.” Then he forced a smile at me. “But his heart’s beating, and that’s something.”
He wrapped his arms around me, and I buried my face in his chest, surprised to find myself crying. Milo would never hurt anyone, and he really loved Bobby. It was terrifying to think that Bobby might die, and it’d be because they were in love and careless.
It scared me even more when I thought about my relationship with Jack, and how I almost lost control with Peter. Milo was way more in control of himself than me, and he nearly killed Bobby.
What would I do to Jack? Even with him being a vampire, I could find myself in the same situation, and that was too much.
Worse still, Jane was still out there, doing that kind of thing all the time with strangers. Most of the vampires she picked up were probably more experienced than Milo and me, but maybe they weren’t. She had no way of knowing. And either way, they were still draining her of her blood, over and over again.