“No, not at all. I wanted to scare the hell of out you so you’d stop thinking about… things.” He squeezed my hand back, and that felt reassuring somehow. “But it’s still true. Sharks are brutal.”
The instant we were free to move about, Ezra grabbed the cans of blood from the overhead bin and led me back to the restrooms. We got a lot of weird looks from the other passengers and the flight crew, but nobody stopped us. I doubted that any humans ever stopped Ezra. He was too beautiful and confident.
There was hardly enough room in the bathroom for one person, let alone two, so he swiftly lifted me up and set me on the sink. He set the cans on my lap, and I imagined that I could smell it and trembled with hunger.
“You are so pale,” Ezra murmured to himself. He pushed a strand of hair out off my face and looked at me fully in the eyes, inspecting them for their level of hunger. “I’m going to give you two cans, okay?”
“Yeah, whatever, fine,” I nodded quickly. I didn’t care at all what he said as long as I got the blood.
“This is gonna hit you hard, but I need you to walk back out to your seat, okay?” Ezra said. “And you can pass out as soon as you sit down.”
“Okay!” I snapped.
He pursed his lips but unscrewed the can. The small room instantly filled with the scent, and I ripped it from his hands and guzzled it down. As soon as it slid down my throat, ease grew in my muscles. Even though the blood was very cold, it spread hot through my body.
Before I even finished the first can, Ezra opened another one. He wanted me to get them down me as fast as possible, so we had a chance of me making it to the seat before I blitzed out.
After I drank them both, he shoved the empty cans in the garbage. I licked my lips clean, but he inspected me for any blood on my face. The world already had that hazy glow to it, and a wonderful tranquil feeling wanted to take over.
With Ezra so close to me, I had the strangest urge to kiss him. That was just the blood talking, so I lowered my head before I could act on it.
We walked back to our seats, him with his arm on me to steady me. It took all my strength to keep from stumbling or doing anything ridiculous. All the colors seemed to shine brighter. My green sweater looked like grass, and I wanted to pet it, but Ezra was sliding me into the seat.
“How are you feeling?” he whispered as he buckled me back in.
“Dreamy,” I murmured with a dazed smile on my lips.
Before he could put the bag back in the overhead compartment, I passed out. Even with his new threats about sharks and the gnawing ache for Jack, I slept soundlessly the entire way to Finland.
Ezra shook me awake, and while I’d been sleeping, he’d gotten me a pillow and blanket. He had a blanket folded on his lap, and I wondered if he’d slept at all.
“We’re about to touch down in Helsinki,” Ezra informed me.
“Really?” I yawned and stretched, then looked out my window. It was dark out, but the city was aglow with twinkley lights. “What time is it?”
“It’s ten o’clock, Wednesday,” he said.
“Oh.” My brain scrambled to figure when we left, but it didn’t seem right. “Wait. Didn’t we leave at ten on Tuesday?”
“There’s a time difference. You might suffer a bit of jet lag,” he said.
“I hope not.” I didn’t even really know what jet lag was, but it didn’t sound like something I’d want to suffer from.
A flight attendant came to collect our blankets, and the captain came on, saying things about making the descent into Helsinki. He repeated the same message in Finnish, or at least I assumed he did since I didn’t understand a word of it.
As we got closer, the city looked much more stunning than I expected. In my mind, it had been more of a cold, desolate place, but in reality, it was glamorous and historical, the way I imagined Paris or London might be. Not that I had ever seen either of them to have any real comparison.
“This is where Peter went to live off the grid?” I asked as I admired the architecture.
“No, he’s not here.” Ezra shook his head. “We have one more flight to make.”
“Really?” I wrinkled my nose. Even though I had slept through this flight, my body felt stiff.
“Just up to northern Finland, in the Lapland,” Ezra said as if that meant anything to me. “I’ll explain more once we land. We have another layover.”
“Fantastic,” I sighed.
We got off the plane, and Ezra got everything sorted for the next flight. I made sure to hang out by a large window. I was determined to admire the view of Helsinki. Not that there was a view from the airport. It was mostly planes, landing strips, and traffic. But that was more than I had seen in New York.
“It really is a beautiful city,” Ezra said, coming up to stand next to me.
We watched a plane taxi down the runway. He knew I was trying to catch a glimpse of something I would miss entirely. I sighed but refused to leave my post at the window.
“You’ve stayed here before?” I asked.
“Many times, mostly before Mae.” He nodded. “I’ve managed to drag her out here a few times, but she doesn’t like to leave Minnesota very much. But Peter loves it here.”
“The cold, the dark, the wilderness, the seclusion. He stays further up north. They have a few national parks and some ski resorts. And Helsinki, Stockholm, Amsterdam, they’re not that far away, whenever he requires bustling city life.”
The way he said “life” I knew he meant more than dinner and a show. Actually, he just meant dinner. Peter might enjoy isolation, but he needed a population to eat, preferably a mixture of vampires and people. Vampire bars and blood banks made eating so much easier, and the fewer the people, the less the options.
“So that’s where we’re going? Up north?” I turned to Ezra. “What’d you call it? The Lapland?”
“Yeah. It’s the northern most territory in Finland.” He took a deep breath, and he sounded reluctant when he continued. “There’s something I haven’t told you.”
“There’s lots of things you haven’t told me.”
“This is important.” He licked his lips and shifted his gaze. “You’ve heard stories of werewolves, right?”
My stomach dropped. Sure, I may be a vampire, but there were certain things I couldn’t take. Like finding out an endless stream of monsters and folklore were real. After this, maybe we’d roll with a Yeti or go swimming with the Lochness Monster and a Leprechaun.