“I’m sorry,” I repeated.
“Well, on a positive note, she’s learned to say the alphabet in French,” Peter said.
“Mae thinks it’s good for her brain.” He shrugged. “Daisy’s actually really smart. She’s just… uncontrollable and blood thirsty.”
“Well, that’s always fun.”
“What about you?” Peter turned to me, his green eyes staring through me the way they always seemed to. “How are things in your life?”
“Great,” I lied. I could never tell him about what’s going on with me and Jack, especially since the two of them were actually repairing their relationship. “I’ve been training a lot, so I’m getting pretty strong.”
“Good.” He smiled, and it made me feel weird. Peter smiled so rarely, so when he did, it felt sorta magical, like a shooting star. “Now that’s one less thing I have to worry about.”
“What?” I rested my head on my arms and watched him.
“You.” He looked away and picked at something on the concrete by his foot. “I still will, I’m sure, but at least in some part of mind, I’ll know you’re safe.”
He picked up a stone and tossed it off over the cliff. We listened for it to hit, but we never heard a sound.
“How far do you think it goes?” I leaned forward, straining to see the edge.
“I have no idea. But if Mae asks, it’s not that far,” he said. “She started freaking about Daisy falling to her death, but I think Daisy’s smart enough not to jump off a cliff.” He cocked his ahead. “Then again, she does eat bugs.”
“It wouldn’t really be that bad if she did fall off, would it?” I whispered and felt like the worst person ever for just saying it aloud. I could hear her in the tunnel, a little girl singing a song and coloring with chalk. “Never mind. I didn’t mean it.”
“You know what the worst part of it is?” Peter asked, still staring off at the cliff. “She grows on you. I know she’s an abomination, and she’s gonna end up hurting people and millions of defenseless cockroaches. But… she spent an hour learning to braid Mae’s hair last night, and when she concentrates, her face gets all scrunched up, and she sticks her tongue out the side of her mouth.” He looked over at me and smiled, and when I didn’t say anything, he shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “You had to be there I guess.”
“I never had kids,” Peter said, somewhat abruptly. “Ezra did, and Mae did, obviously. I can’t remember if I ever even wanted kids.” He furrowed his brow. “When I became this, I never thought about it. I shut it out.” He sighed. “The same way I tried to shut you out. I’m not very good at keeping things out, I guess.”
“I’m glad you don’t,” I told him quietly, and he looked back at me, his eyes meeting mine in a way that used to take my breath away. It still did a little, but I tried not to show it.
“I’m going with for her too.” He kept his eyes on me, but I knew he meant Daisy. “And I’m not totally miserable. I want you to know that. This isn’t what I had planned or even what I thought I ever wanted, but… I’m happy helping Mae raise Daisy, in my own twisted way.”
“Good.” I swallowed hard, gulping down the sadness and relief that mixed inside me.
For so long, I’d been afraid that Peter would never be happy again. Not because I was so fabulous that I didn’t understand how he could be happy without me, but because I thought he’d closed himself off to happiness. That he’d been hurt one too many times, and I’d contributed to that.
But he hadn’t. In his own way, even Peter had found happiness with the choices I made.
“So, you’re doing training?” Peter looked away from me. “What does that entail?”
“A lot of fighting, mostly.” I rubbed my hands over my arms, trying to stifle the emotions I felt. “Um, like working on my agility and mastering my strength. Stuff like that.” I shrugged. “I wish we worked more on tracking, though.”
“Tracking is easy,” he said.
“Maybe for you.” I’d been tracking the killer for weeks and had barely come up with anything.
“For all vampires,” he said. “Just bite them.”
“What are you talking about?” I looked over at him.
“You can track whoever you bite, especially if you have an emotional connection,” Peter explained, and he gave me a look. “Come on, you have to have realized that by now.”
“No, I-” I furrowed my brow. I’d bitten both Jack and Bobby, so I tried to concentrate on them, to see if I could get any reading on them. I couldn’t be more bonded with anyone than I was with those two, but I didn’t feel anything. “I can’t track anything. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You can master it better if you try, but you’ll really only feel it if they feel threatened,” he said. “Like if they’re hurt or in danger. But if you’re with Jack and you see him get hurt, you probably wouldn’t notice the tracking, because you’re already witnessing it and feeling it. You understand what I mean?”
“I think so, but…” I trailed off, trying to think if Jack or Bobby had been in danger when I hadn’t been around. Somewhat disturbingly, I realized that they hadn’t, and Bobby had been in a lot of trouble lately. I was really, really bad luck for Bobby.
“That’s how I found you,” Peter said.
“What?” I pulled myself from my thoughts and looked up at him.
“That night that those vampires were following you, back when you were still mortal,” Peter said.
I had walked downtown by myself to talk to Jane, and on the way back to my apartment, Lucian and Violet had jumped me. Peter had come out of nowhere and killed Lucian, thus saving my life.
“How did you know?” I asked.
“I had been around town. I came back for you, and I bit you.” He lowered his eyes, and though he tried to hide it, I heard a tightness in his voice. “But I tasted Jack on you, so I… I left, but I stayed around town, deciding what to do.
“That night, when the vampires were after you, I felt it,” Peter went on. “It’s like a panic. The fear and adrenaline you feel, I feel. I can’t see anything, but it’s like phantom limb syndrome, except I can’t feel a missing leg – I feel what you feel.”