“What about your back?” I asked, but he shook his head.
“It tingles. It’ll be fine in a minute.” All the skin and the muscles should’ve been ripped from his back, but it would be fine in a minute.
“You saved my life. Again.” I wrapped my arms tightly around myself.
The adrenaline, confusion, and Peter’s sedative all mixed through me, on top of Jack’s apprehension and fading hunger. I was on the verge of hysterics.
“Well, this time, I almost killed you too. So… it kinda evens out.” Jack meant he’d almost killed me by crashing the Jeep, but I could still feel his hunger. I remembered that ominous conversation he’d had with Ezra about how this all wouldn’t last much longer.
“Why do you keep saving my life?” My voice trembled, and hot tears slid down my cheeks. Jack looked at me like he didn’t understand what I meant, but I went on talking, and the more I talked, the harder I cried. “I just don’t get it! Why do you keep saving me if you’re just going to kill me? Why don’t you just hurry up and get it over with already? Is this some kind of sick game for you? Do you always have to play with your food before you eat it?”
His jaw dropped and his eyes widened with shock and hurt.
“Do you know…” Jack trailed off, trying to get a handle on what I meant. “We’re not going to kill you.”
“Then what’s going on?” I was almost shrieking by then. “What the hell are you and what do you want with me?”
“Alice, we’re vampires.”
Jack gave me an even look, and I almost burst out laughing, but then I realized that he was completely serious. I lapsed into a stunned silence, which was just as well, because suddenly there was the wailing sirens and flashing lights of the police and ambulance.
- 13 -
The paramedics thought that I was in shock, and if I had been able to speak, I probably would’ve agreed. They couldn’t explain how either of us were alive, or where the blood all over Jack’s body had come from. They wanted to put us in an ambulance and send us downtown, but since Jack wouldn’t pass any kind of medical test, he fought them until they finally relented.
He allowed them to check me over, but when they said I was fine, except for the shock, he demanded a ride home in a police car.
He sat next to me in the backseat, and while he whispered my name several times, I never responded. I just stared out the window and tried to make sense of his confession.
Some things fit. Like his superhuman strength, his miraculous ability to heal, the way he never ate or drank anything, and I’d only ever seen him at night.
But they were all tan (except for Mae, but she was British), and I’d actually heard Jack’s heartbeat last night. He didn’t have fangs, and he hadn’t eaten me.
That did kinda explain what had happened with Peter, except why did they want him to eat me? What was so damn important about that? Couldn’t anybody just eat anybody?
Mae must’ve seen the police car, because she was at the front door waiting for us when they dropped us off. Matilda jumped all over Jack, but he wasn’t in the mood, so he pushed her off.
“Jack, what happened?” Mae was talking to him, but she was looking me over.
I didn’t even have a scratch on me, but when I’d caught my reflection in the rearview mirror of the squad car, I was completely white and my eyes were frantic and red-rimmed from sobbing.
“I totaled the Jeep,” Jack answered vaguely. We stood in the entryway, but he pulled off his shirt and started wiping off the blood with his ruined shirt.
“Again?” Mae sounded exasperated and looked over at him. “Jack, you’ve really-”
“She knows,” Jack cut her off.
He looked at me, then quickly looked away. Even though there were still patches of blood on his back, he’d given up on that and balled up his tee shirt, then walked into the kitchen.
“What?” Mae turned back to me, her face unsure.
“He told me that you’re vampires.” It was the first time I’d spoken since he told me, and my voice sounded hoarse and foreign to me.
Mae let out a long shaky breath and looked down.
“Oh.” That was all she said. She didn’t tell me that Jack was insane, as I had hoped and half-expected, or expound on it
“So it’s true?” I asked. The words came out even, but I knew there were hysterics hiding behind them.
“Your throat sounds dry.” Mae forced a smile and put her arm around me, but she did it like thought I’d push her away. I didn’t, but I knew that I probably should’ve. “Why don’t we go in the kitchen and get you some water and we’ll talk in there?”
“I’m already on it,” Jack informed us as she led me into the kitchen.
He had filled a giant glass with cold water and ice cubes from the Pür filter in the fridge. He handed it to me, but I stopped and opened the fridge first. Just as Milo had predicted, it was completely empty. I stared into it for a minute, and Jack prompted me to drink the water.
I shut the fridge and greedily downed the water. My thirst had kicked in, and I turned to look at them. Jack was shirtless, leaning against the island, and Mae wrung her hands, but both of them watched me.
“Jack, I really wish you’ve waited for when Ezra was home, or Peter even.” Mae told him quietly.
“It couldn’t wait anymore,” Jack said dully.
“I know, but Ezra and Peter know so much more.” Mae exchanged a nervous look with Jack, and then smiled at me again and pulled out a stool. “Here, love, why don’t you sit down?”
“Where’s Ezra?” I got on the stool and decided to start with the simplest questions first, the ones that seemed sane and rational. Not like, so, do you guys wanna suck my blood? That was the kind of thing I definitely didn’t want to think about.
“He’s out looking for Peter,” Jack answered, and Mae looked over at him.
She fidgeted with a wavy strand of her hair, and I knew that she desperately wanted to touch mine. My water glass was almost empty, so I set it on the island and sighed.
“So… you’re vampires?” I asked, feeling incredibly foolish. It sounded so stupid coming out of my mouth. This was a family of normal, healthy people, and there were no such things as vampires.
“Yes, love.” Mae smiled at me, and it had to be the saddest, most terrified smile I’d ever seen. T
They were waiting on edge, and I didn’t understand why. They were the big powerful vampires, and I was just one small human girl. If anyone should be scared, it should be me.