“I told you this was new for all of us,” Ezra looked over at me. “Peter met a vampire named Elise, and they were together for only a brief time. Maybe ten or twenty years. He knows it to the exact day, but he never speaks of it.”
“What happened?” I glanced out the window, and I realized we weren’t taking the normal route to his house. In fact, if my guess was right, he wasn’t taking me anywhere near their place. “Where are we going?”
“I thought it would be better if the two of us had some time to talk before we went back.” Ezra must have read the confusion on my face because he continued. “Some of this would be better if Jack didn’t hear.”
“Oh,” I said. Jack had mentioned that they didn’t like to tell him anything, and he wasn’t kidding. “So what happened with Peter?”
“Elise was killed.” Ezra heard my sharp intake of breath and smiled humorlessly. “Fighting broke out amongst vampires, arguing over who had control over a certain area. Vampires are notoriously territorial and possessive, but then again, so are humans, and in most ways, we are just heightened versions of yourselves.”
“So you’re saying that another vampire killed Elise?” My eyes were wide, and he nodded.
“It nearly destroyed Peter. He went into a very dark period for awhile.” A troubled expression went on Ezra’s face, and I didn’t want to know what Peter had been through or what he had done.
“He’s fought in every major war since WWI, up until this last excursion in the Middle East,” Ezra continued. “He had blood lust or a death wish, or some combination of that, for a very long time, but he’s mostly come out of it now. He’s not the same man he once was, though.”
“It must’ve been terrible for him,” I said. I had spent hardly any time with him, but it would be agony for me if anything happened to him.
“It was,” Ezra agreed solemnly. “But he had moved on, as best he could. After Elise died, he assumed that that part of his life was over. We all had. But then you came along.”
“How did you know I was meant for Peter?” I asked. “Jack stumbled upon me long before I met Peter.”
“We didn’t, not at first, although Mae suspected immediately.” With that, Ezra gave a small shrug. “None of it really made sense.”
“What do you mean?” I crinkled my forehead, trying to understand.
“For starters, you’re human.” Ezra gave me an even look, and I shook my head. “We’re never intended for humans. Both Peter and Elise were vampires when they met, and so was Mae when I met her. We’re not callous, exactly, but we just don’t feel attachments to humans the way we do to other vampires.
“When Jack came home and said he’d met you, we couldn’t figure it out,” Ezra went on. “He connected with you instantly, but he didn’t feel that… physical need, the way we do.”
I nodded, knowing exactly what he’d meant. I felt it the instant I saw Peter, and it only got more intense with time.
“But the connection was something we all understood,” Ezra explained. “Because Peter is of my blood, I felt connected with Elise, and both Peter and Jack feel connected with Mae.”
“Do you feel connected with me?” I thought that I felt connected with him, but it was hard to tell what was a real connection and not just falling under the spell of his perfection.
“Yes.” Ezra smiled warmly at me, and I flushed. “I feel more connected to you than I have with any human since I’ve been a vampire.”
“Jack said my safety was top priority for you,” I mumbled dazedly. It was insanely flattering and intimidating knowing that I had fallen into Ezra’s favor.
“He wasn’t exaggerating,” Ezra grinned wider. “You are in a very unique position.”
“Is that what the issue is about biting me?” I asked.
“Yes and no.” Ezra tilted his head. “Remember when I said that we were possessive and territorial? As soon as Peter met you, you were his. He felt it inside him, the way you do.
“Peter lost Elise, and it devastated him completely,” Ezra continued. “He vowed never to feel that way again. To be perfectly honest, I doubt that he could survive it.” Ezra exhaled, looking rather sad. “He doesn’t want to want you. It doesn’t change the way he feels, because nothing can.
“On top of everything, you’re so fragile.” He eyed me up seriously. “When you’re with someone, the way we are, we frequently drink each other’s blood. But for you, it is dangerous, especially with Peter feeling the way he feels. It would be very easy for him to get caught up in the moment and take things too far.
“He ran the other night because he didn’t want to hurt you,” Ezra continued. “It’s not supposed to be this hard, Alice. It’s usually a very simple, clean process. But this is much, much more complicated.”
“Because of Elise?”
“Yes, and because you’re human.” He had a drawn expression and he sighed. “And because of Jack.”
“Because Jack wanted to bite me last night?”
“It’s more than that.” Ezra looked at me knowingly. “Alice, Jack’s fallen in love with you.”
“What?” Startled, I blushed randomly. I had considered the possibility that I was falling for him, but as Ezra had just explained, vampires didn’t fall in love with humans. “I-I didn’t think that was possible.”
“Neither did I,” Ezra admitted soberly. “He shouldn’t feel anything for you. You’re human, you’re meant for Peter, and you’re not his. Maybe it was because he spent so much time with you before you met Peter and fully melded with him.”
“So… what does this mean? Does it transfer? Can I just be with Jack instead of Peter?” I asked, and Ezra looked very shocked by my questions.
“You would want that?” He looked at me evenly. “You want to be with Jack instead of Peter?”
“I don’t know,” I confessed uneasily. “I mean, if Peter doesn’t even want me, it just seems stupid to force something.”
“Peter still wants you,” Ezra was quick to clarify.
“Then why isn’t he with me?” I demanded. “Why was Jack the one I wanted last night?”
“I don’t know,” Ezra said at length. “Peter will be home soon, and hopefully, we can get some of this straightened out then.”