“Why didn’t you give her a transfusion? Wouldn’t that have fixed her right up?” I asked.
“No. Like I said, she’s been doing this too long,” he said. “Her blood wouldn’t mix or coagulate right with fresh blood. She has too much vampire saliva in her, messing with her body. That might actually be to her benefit. Our saliva can be very helpful in the healing process, and the only thing that has been keeping her alive the past few days is how much she has in her system.”
“So the fact that she’s getting bit too often is killing her and saving her life?” I looked at him dubiously.
“So it would seem,” he sighed. “You can go up and see her if you like, but she’s unconscious.”
“Unconscious like sleeping or unconscious like coma?”
“Only time will tell,” Ezra said
“Really?” I had been asking more as a lark, but if there was a possibility that she could be comatose, it didn’t seem right that we were just keeping her in an upstairs bedroom. “Shouldn’t we get her to the hospital or something?”
“If I thought there was anything they could do for her that we couldn’t, I would’ve already taken her there. She just needs to rest and rebuild her blood.”
“No offense, but you’re not a doctor. How can you possibly know? If she’s dying, they can put her on life support,” I said.
“She’s not dying, not yet, but if you think she would be better suited at a hospital, or she would be happier living out the rest of her existence on life support, I will take her there,” he said, not unkindly. “But I have spent most of the past 300 years trying to keep the human victims of vampires alive. I doubt highly that anybody at the hospital can make that same claim, but yes, they do have more advanced medical equipment than I do.”
“I understand.” I looked down at the steps. “As long as she’s stable now, I say we leave her here. But I reserve the right to take to her the hospital if her condition worsens.”
“You’ve always had that right, whether it worsened or not.” Ezra touched my shoulder, trying to comfort me and alleviate my shame. “Why don’t you go see her?”
I argued with him just to avoid seeing her. Ezra would always do what was best for everyone, and I knew that. If he couldn’t take care of Jane here, he wouldn’t have brought her back.
But I didn’t want to see her, knowing how sick and frail she looked. Jane had often been superficial and a bitch, but she was always powerful. She carried herself with purpose, and the last thing she’d ever want anyone to see is her being weak and small.
Slowly, I pushed open the door to Peter’s room. In his huge bed, Jane looked even smaller. Mae sat next to her, monitoring her pulse and blood pressure, all by ear and touch. Jane was just a thin little line down the center of the bed. Her arms lay over the covers, and they were nothing but skin and bone.
Her normally manicured nails were broken and chipped. A bandage covered the bite mark on her neck, so at least I didn’t have to see that again. She kept her hair short, but her roots were showing. Jane wasn’t even making time for hair appointments anymore.
Mae had changed her out of her designer dress to put her in more comfortable pajamas, and left her dress discarded at the end of the bed. It looked dirty and faded. The only thing in life that had ever really mattered to Jane was her appearance, and she had completely let it go.
Mae said a few comforting things to me, but nothing could really make me feel any better about this. When I saw Jane at the club before, I should’ve just dragged her away, no matter how much she fought me.
Or better yet, I never should’ve told her about vampires, or let her see Milo after he turned. If Milo had never bit her, if she’d never found out, if she’d never even met me. I know I wasn’t the one that made her go to the club night after night, looking for a fix, but I had set this course of events in motion. If I had a made a different decision any number of times, she wouldn’t be here, knocking on death’s door.
I stood at the end of the bed, watching her chest rise and fall with each breath. Every time she exhaled, it felt like forever before she breathed in again, and it was an eternity between heartbeats. Every second she was alive, I was certain it would be her last. I barely even noticed when Peter came in the room. That’s how hard I concentrated on Jane.
“Sorry. I just came in to grab a few things,” Peter said and hurried into his bathroom. Since Jane had taken over his room, he was going to sleep on the couch tonight, and if he was getting ready for bed, it meant that it must be late.
“You should probably go get some rest yourself,” Mae told me. “I’ll stay with Jane and make sure she’s alright. It won’t do her any good if you stay up all day exhausting yourself.”
“You’ll let me know if something happens?” I chewed my lip. For some reason, I thought that when I stopped watching her, that’s when she’d stop breathing.
“I’m just across the hall from you,” Mae smiled at me. “She’ll be just fine, love. I can feel it.”
Reluctantly, I went out into the hall and shut the bedroom door behind me. I stood right outside it, listening for a minute, and when her heart kept beating, I started to believe that maybe she wasn’t going to die right then.
I let out a sigh of relief that sounded suspiciously like a sob, and I took another deep breath to try to keep back the tears. Peter came out of his room and almost bumped into me, since I hadn’t bothered to a step away from the door.
“Oh, Alice, sorry!” Peter put his hand on my back, as if I was stumbling and needed him to stabilize me.
“No, it’s okay.” I shook my head and swallowed hard
“Are you alright?” He lowered his head, trying to look me in the eyes, but I looked away.
“Yeah, no, everything’s great.” I forced a smile, and my vision blurred from the tears. “I mean, why wouldn’t it be? I almost got my best friend and my brother’s boyfriend killed. Not to mention, I have no idea where my own boyfriend is because I drove him away. But yeah, everything is just great!” Tears slipped down my cheeks, and I wiped them away.
“What happened to Jane isn’t your fault,” he said quietly.
“Yes it is! I’m the one who introduced her to vampires!” I gestured widely to the hallway. “Everything I touch gets destroyed! I mean, you had this stable family, and I came in, and I’m just tearing it apart! You and Jack, and now Mae and Ezra, and I know that’s not directly my fault, but it is! It’s my fault by association! I’m the harbinger of doom!”