I expected Peter to tell me that I was being melodramatic and tell me in a very condescending way that none of that was my fault. Even I knew it was pretty egotistical to assume that the only bad things that happened in life happened because of me.
But instead he looked at me with the utmost sympathy and affection. I had never seen him look so gentle, and whenever he softened, he was almost blindingly attractive.
When he reached out and pulled me into his arms, I knew that I should pull away, but I didn’t really have the strength for it. He held me to him, and I buried my face in his chest. I just wanted to sob, and I wanted someone to hold me. Peter’s arms were wonderfully strong, and it felt so good and safe that I almost lost myself in them.
“Honestly, Alice, everything is going to be alright,” he murmured into my hair.
“I wish I could believe you,” I whispered. My tears were calming down, but I left my head pressed against his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
“Peter!” Ezra suddenly boomed, sounding as if he was standing directly at the bottom of the stairs.
He broke whatever moment I had with Peter, and I realized how incredibly inappropriate and dangerous it was to let him hug me, even if I needed a hug. I pulled away from him and looked at the ground. Peter just turned and went downstairs to see what Ezra wanted, and I slunk back to Jack’s room.
Matilda lay on Jack’s bed, looking very sad, and I climbed in next to her. I rested my head on her back and ran my fingers through her thick white fur. She whimpered a little, and I knew that she missed him too. But there was nothing I could do about it.
Although, I was starting to think it was maybe for the best that he left. Clearly, I wasn’t good enough for him.
Mae woke me up a few hours later. I sat up with a start, but she smiled wanly at me in the dark. “Jane is awake.”
- 27 -
Jane didn’t look any better, and she didn’t seem entirely alert. Mae had helped prop her up with a couple pillows. Her eyes were dull blue, almost glassy, and her expression was completely blank. She didn’t look happy or angry to be alive, but she watched me with kind of a subdued fascination. I think it was still hard for her to get used to the idea that I was prettier than her, even when I’d just woken up.
“Hey,” I said. I stood awkwardly off to the side of the bed and pushed a dark strand of hair behind my ears. “How you feeling?”
“How does it look like I’m feeling?” Jane asked.
“Oh, she’s doing just fine,” Mae said before I could reply. A glass of water sat on the nightstand, and Mae handed it to Jane. She gave Mae a bored look, but she took it anyway, taking a long drink. “She’s been through a lot lately.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said. Mae pushed the hair off Jane’s forehead, and I didn’t appreciate the way she fawned all over her. Jane did need extra care, but I didn’t like the way Mae made me feel incompetent.
“You don’t know anything. We haven’t spoken in months,” Jane snapped, glaring at me.
“That’s not my fault.” I was indignant. “I tried calling and texting you a million times. You were the one who didn’t want to talk to me!”
“Yeah! Because you turned into a vampire!” Jane sat up straighter in the bed, and Mae looked annoyed that I was upsetting her.
“You don’t need to get worked up,” Mae said, taking the water from Jane before she spilled it all over the bed.
“So what if I’m a vampire?” I asked, ignoring Mae entirely. “You seemed just fine spending so much time with them that it almost killed you!”
“Yeah because they were fun and they had something to offer me. You’re the most boring immortal on the whole planet. I mean, look at you!” Jane gestured to me with a skinny arm. “You’re wearing a blink 182 tee shirt and sweat pants!” I looked down at my clothes, pulling a ball of Matilda’s hair off my band tee shirt.
“It’s pajamas!” I crossed my arms defensively over my chest. Then I pointed to her. “Did you see what you were wearing to the club tonight? Your dress was dirty and covered in stains!”
“I hadn’t had a chance to change.” Jane dropped her eyes.
“Girls!” Mae said. “You really need to calm down! Jane doesn’t need all this excitement.”
“Whatever.” Jane rubbed her eyes. “Can I just get my clothes and get out of here?”
“You can’t go anywhere, love,” Mae told her gently. “You’re sick. You need to get well first.”
“And I can’t get well at home?” Jane tried to sound angry, but she was already relenting and leaning back in the bed. “Does Jonathan know I’m here?”
“Um, kinda.” I exchanged a look with Mae. “Did you tell her how she got here?”
“I told her that you found her at the club, and she was in bad shape.” Mae once again deftly avoided the truth, and I wondered how often she lied to us.
“He won’t be happy when he finds out I’m here.” Jane wasn’t threatening us, and from the look she gave Mae, I’d say she was actually just trying to protect us. Her “boyfriend” definitely had an anger management problem.
“We know, but we wanted you to be safe,” I said.
I didn’t really understand the animosity between us. She had been living a reckless, dangerous life, and I wanted to help her change that, and maybe get back to being friends again. It would be neat to be friends with someone that didn’t live in the same house as me. Although, she probably would be living here, at least for a little while.
“I understand.” Jane picked at her chipped nail polish and stared down at it for a minute. “You look really good. Your hair is longer.”
“Yeah, our hair grows really fast.” I played with a strand of my hair and smiled at her. “You look… Okay, I can’t lie. You look pretty bad right now.”
“I know.” She shrugged her bony shoulders. “But I’m here now. So I guess that’s something, right?”
We talked for a few more minutes, but she was obviously getting tired. Mae sent me away, saying that Jane needed her rest. It had been awhile since I had been bit, but I remembered being exhausted for days afterward. Jane had to be stronger than I was just to be able to sit up and talk.
As soon as the sun set, I enlisted Milo to make a run to the store with me. We picked up groceries for Jane, namely things heavy in fat and red meat, and energy boosters, like Red Bull and vitamins. Before we left I went to see if there was anything in particular she’d like to eat, and she said no, but requested we get her some hair dye.