“Why are you here?” Peter asked huskily.
“I-I-I want to be,” I stumbled.
He occupied my brain, and it was all but impossible for me to form a competent answer. His scent, tangy and tantalizing, washed over me, blinding almost all my other senses.
“You want to be,” Peter repeated flatly. “You want this?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but then I felt his hand around my throat. There was a rush of air and then I felt something hard slam into my back.
He’d picked me up by my neck and pressed me against a wall. His eyes burned with conflicting passions, but all I could really feel were his fingers on my throat, and the way my pulse felt pumping underneath them.
“This is really what you want?” he snarled.
This time I couldn’t answer because his hand was so tight on my throat. I couldn’t even breathe, but I barely noticed. He pressed up against me and I could feel the hard contours of his body against mine, and his intoxicating smell suffocated me. If I stayed like that for too long, I would probably die, but it seemed completely worth it.
- 16 -
Without warning, Jack slammed into Peter, sending him flying across the room. My lungs burned as they filled with air, and I leaned back against the wall, gasping.
Peter stumbled back into the fridge, but he quickly regained his footing and flew at Jack. Jack was ready for it and lunged back towards Peter, pushing him back away from me once again.
“Jack!” Mae wailed, sounding utterly panicked.
Ezra stepped forward to intervene, so Peter backed down slightly. Jack stood between Peter and me, his body unbearably shielding me from Peter.
For his part, Peter had a look of barely controlled rage contorting his beautiful features. His fists clenched at his sides, and he glared past Jack at me.
“He’s not going to hurt her!” Ezra told Jack, and both of them stepped back, but neither was willing to relinquish his stand entirely.
“He had his hand around her throat! She couldn’t breathe!” Jack yelled.
“I would never let her die!” Peter shouted. “I could feel her heartbeat and it never waned!” Something occurred to him, and he took a step closer to Jack. “What do you even care? How did you even know she wasn’t breathing? What did you do?”
“Stop!” Mae ran in between the two of them, putting one of her hands on each of their chests, while Ezra stood off to the side. “Nothing happened, okay? Nothing!”
“What the hell is going on?” Peter looked to Ezra for an explanation. “Why does he care about her?”
“We don’t really know what’s going on,” Ezra admitted quietly, casting a look back at me. “This is unlike anything I’ve encountered.”
Peter studied me curiously, and my heart started to speed up. I saw his eyes register it, and then I heard Jack moan. Instantly, Peter’s eye flicked over to him.
“You’re reacting to her!” Peter didn’t sound angry so much as bewildered. He leaned in closer to Jack, eyeing him up. “You didn’t bite her?”
“No!” Jack groaned, exasperated.
“How is this even possible?” Peter was totally amazed.
When he looked back at me, his eyes softened and grew even more confused. That didn’t help slow my already quickened pulse.
“Alice!” Jack snapped.
“I can’t help it!” I lamented.
“Jack, go over there,” Mae commanded, pointing to the far side of the dining room. He grumbled something in protest but did as he was told. She walked over to me and hugged me to her.
“She might have… somehow become attached to Jack,” Ezra explained slowly. Pain and confusion spread over Peter’s face when he looked back and forth from me to Ezra. “She reacts the strongest with you still, but it seems that some of it may have transferred.”
“How is that even possible?” Peter repeated, and Jack scoffed.
“Why do you even care?” Jack growled. “You don’t even want her!”
His words sliced through me like a knife, and I flinched, so Mae tightened her arms around me. What hurt the most is that I knew Jack was right. Peter only felt things for me because his body made him.
Peter snarled, and Ezra took a step closer to him, just to make sure he wouldn’t lunge at Jack.
“Enough!” I shouted. “I’m not going to let you kill each other over something as stupid as me. If one of you could please just take me home, I’ll be happy to leave you all in peace.”
“Alice, none of us wants that.” Mae stroked my hair and held as me close to her as I would allow. “We don’t want you to go.”
“We’re trying to sort this all out,” Ezra agreed.
“I’m going for a drive,” Jack announced suddenly and strode across the kitchen. “I’m taking the Lamborghini.”
“Be careful!” Ezra called after him. The garage door slammed in response, and he stared after it indecisively. “Maybe I should go with him.” He looked over at Mae, who nodded in approval, and he started hurrying after Jack.
Mae still had her arm around me, and I knew that she would be one of those moms that would never let go.
One of the benefits to being a vampire was that she’d never really have an empty nest, although she’d never exactly have a full one either. She played mother and nursemaid to the boys, but in reality, they were grown men and needed very little of her.
The great appeal of me was that I was very fragile and dependant, and on top of that, a girl. For her, I was some kind of enchanted doll, and that explained the great deal of time she spent playing with my hair.
“I still need to make you supper!” Mae burst into life and rushed over to the stove. Fortunately, she had yet to turn it on, or whatever she would’ve been cooking would’ve been completely burnt.
“I’m really not that hungry,” I repeated for the tenth time.
“Nonsense!” Mae had her back to me and was already flitting about with ingredients. “Why don’t you go in the other room and relax, and I’ll call you when the food is done.”
“It’s easier to just go along with what she wants,” Peter told me. He took a step towards the living room and paused, waiting for me. “Come on. We need to talk.”
I walked with him into the living room, breathing in how wonderful he smelled. My body felt relieved just to be so close to him. It was exhausting staying away from him. Every part of me felt pulled to him, and I had to use all my strength to keep me any distance.