“Hey, wait. Why did you pick these books?” I asked. “I mean, the history I kinda understand. But why an anatomy text?”
“You said you wanted to be a doctor.” Ezra shrugged. “I thought it might pique your interest.”
He left me alone with Milo, who immediately launched into the history book. Shock of all shocks, Milo happened to be a history buff. He especially liked the really old stuff, like about Mesopotamia and early civilization, but all history fascinated him.
“If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’ll be doomed to repeat them,” Milo said when he noticed my interest waning. “You need to know what other people did so you don’t do it.”
“That’s really good advice, but it’s not like I plan on ever leading a revolution or anything,” I said.
“You might,” Milo smiled. “We’re gonna be around for a long time. Who knows what you’ll end up doing.”
I studied with Milo for two more hours, but thankfully, Bobby came home and rescued me. He’d been working on some dramatic arts piece, and it ended up running late.
At first, I was relieved to see Bobby. I tried to engage him in real conversation, since Milo’s incessant talk of history turned my mind to mush. But almost immediately after Bobby got home, they started making out.
It was just as well, since I had to get ready to go over to Olivia’s. I showered and dressed, and when I left, Milo and Bobby were still in the living room, whispering sweet nothings to each other.
As I sped downtown in the Audi, I thought about how weird it was that I’d been so nervous about driving. I loved driving. Speeding through the lanes of traffic on I-35 with Metric blasting out the car stereo had to be in my top five favorite activities.
My joy over the car ride stopped when I caught sight of a billboard. It showed a gorgeous guy in black and white, his shirt open to reveal the perfect muscles of his abs. He looked bored in that off-handedly sexy way all models seemed to. The ad mostly featured his torso, with only the waistband of his pants showing above the bottom of the billboard, so naturally, it was advertising jeans.
That’s not what made me sneer or stop singing along with the radio. The guy in the ad – that was Jonathan, Jane’s “ex-boyfriend,” for lack of a better term. The last time I’d seen him, he’d been gnawing out her throat, and that seemed like a marvelous idea to her.
I pressed on the pedal harder so I could speed past it. I didn’t want to think about Jane anymore. At least not anymore tonight. I needed a day off from the constant guilt.
When I arrived at V, I took the tunnel behind it so I wouldn’t have to deal with the crowd, but I peeked out onto the dance floor. Even though it was after midnight, the club looked to be down about a third of its normal capacity. That’s still a lot of people, but Violet hadn’t been kidding. The serial killer scare really had people locking their doors at night.
That didn’t stop Olivia from finding guests. Even though she’d said she’d been cutting down on her blood intake, and for a while, she really seemed to be, the party was in full swing in the penthouse when I got off the elevator.
Music with high bass and vocals that sounded like Maynard James Keenan pulsated through the room. The lights were dim, and the fifty or so people strewn about the place all seemed incredibly messed up. Humans and vampires alike were blitzed out in their own ways.
I stood by the elevator for a minute. Watching two girls do a sinewy dance for a vampire, I considered leaving. In fact, I should leave. Olivia couldn’t train me in this condition, and I hated this shit. I didn’t live this lifestyle, and I didn’t approve of it in others. Getting drunk off human blood and using living beings to do it didn’t sit well with me.
I turned to head out when Olivia spotted me. She’d been on the far side of the room, lounging on a faux bearskin rug. Before I made my escape, she called my name and scrambled to her feet, nearly tripping over someone in her race to stop me.
“Alice! I’ve been waiting for you!” She ran to greet me, and she didn’t seem drunk at all. If she had been, I would’ve left right then and there.
“Yeah, I can tell.” I scanned the room, looking as disapproving as possible.
“I would’ve called you, but you know how I feel about cell phones.” Olivia waved her fingers dismissively. “I’ve found someone for you train with.”
“Can I come back tomorrow to meet them?” I asked.
The room filled with the fresh scent of blood, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a vampire bite into a guy’s neck.
“You’re already here.” Olivia put her hand on my arm. I could pull away, but I sighed and decided against it. “Shall we go to the roof?”
I followed Olivia up the stairwell to the roof, and she whistled Ode to Joy. Olivia pushed the door open to the roof, and the blast of icy winter air filled the stairwell. When we reached the roof, I saw Violet at the edge of the roof, admiring the view.
“What the hell is she doing here?” I froze.
“She’s going to train with you,” Olivia smiled.
“She can’t…” I wanted to pull Olivia aside but Violet had already seen us. “This is highly inappropriate, Olivia.”
“Nonsense.” Olivia brushed off my concern. “Violet and I were talking, and she’s had to master a lot living on the streets. We had a practice fight today, and she’s good. She’ll give you a taste of what fighting a real vampire would be like.”
“But Olivia-” I started but she cut me off.
“You needed more help than I could give,” she said simply.
“I know that I wanted to train, but I don’t ‘need’ help.” I watched Violet walk around the edge of the roof and pick up a long metal pipe, a part broken off an old antenna.
“Oh, but sweetheart, you do,” Olivia touched my arm. “You’ve got that draw to you, and I’ve seen it in a few vampires before. It always gets you in trouble.”
“Draw? What the hell does that mean?” I asked.
“It’s something in your blood. I don’t know why it happens, but I understand little of why things happen.” She looked at the cityscape. “You’re like a beacon of light, and other vampires are moths. Not all of them are affected as strongly as others, but we all feel it, to some extent.”
“What are you talking about?” I demanded.
“You sound ready for a fight,” Violet smirked and flipped the pipe over her shoulders, moving like a ninja with a bo stick.