“I should be going anyway,” I forced a smile.
“You have to look at my picture first!” Daisy shouted.
“Sure, of course,” I nodded.
Peter carried Daisy out into the tunnel with me. Her floor mural had gotten much more extravagant while we’d been talking. The flying purple hippo had some sort of deformed frog companion, and there were random letters and stars and hearts all over.
Next to all that, she’d drawn a stick figure drawing of a guy, a woman with curly hair, and a little girl with curly hair. I assumed it was Peter, Mae, and Daisy, but I couldn’t be completely sure.
“That’s really lovely,” Peter told her.
Daisy immediately launched into a story explaining exactly what happened in the picture, and she had him put her down so she could run all over pointing things out. As she talked, Peter watched her with a smile on his face.
I left as soon as I could, with Daisy waving and yelling goodbye long after I was out of eyesight.
Walking back to the car, it all hit me again. The distance between Jack and me that I couldn’t fix. The way Jane had felt when she died. The fact that I had to live forever with the regrets from the choices I made.
I drove home and all I could look forward to was curling up next to Jack and falling asleep. I didn’t care what problems we might be having, sleeping next to him was the only thing that would make me feel even remotely better right now.
Everyone was asleep when I get home, except for Matilda. She should’ve been in bed, but she was pacing the kitchen, whining. I gave her food, but she wanted nothing to do with it. I went over to the French doors, and as soon as I opened them, she darted outside, growling and barking.
“Matilda!” I yelled and stepped out after her. She ran around the lawn, sniffing in the snow with the fur on her back standing up. “Matilda, what’s going on?”
But I heard it before she did. In the house behind me, something crashed, and Milo began to scream.
I ran so fast, my feet barely touched the ground, but I only made it as far as the bottom of the steps. Samantha stood in front of me, her hair smoothed back in a painful looking bun. Her eyes still looked deceptively innocent, but she’d traded in her pencil skirt for a black leather outfit that looked as if it’d been stolen from Olivia’s closet.
Milo had stopped screaming, but he yelled at someone to get off him. I looked past Samantha at the top of the stairs, and I couldn’t see Milo. I could only hear him struggling and the sound of his heart pounding, and worst of all, I could smell blood – heady and sweet.
“Hey!” Jack shouted. He’d just come out of his room, dressed only in his boxers, and his hair was messy from sleep.
“Take another step closer and we’ll kill your human,” Dane said, and Bobby whimpered. Jack didn’t move, but I heard Milo grunting and fighting more. “Do you want me to kill him?”
“Just let him go!” Milo yelled, but I think he’d finally relented.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” I asked Samantha.
I wanted to push past her, but I didn’t think I’d help the situation any. Milo was strong, probably stronger than me, and they had him. So far, Jack had been left out of the mess, and I didn’t want to antagonize them into going after him. After Bobby, Jack was the weakest here.
“Looking for you.” Samantha smiled, her lips a thin line of red. She stepped forward, off the bottom step, and I had to back up so she wouldn’t run into me. “We’ve been following you. It’s not that hard to track down a cherry red Lamborghini.”
“You know them?” Jack asked, looking warily down at me.
“And you took the Lamborghini?” Ezra asked, his voice resonating behind me. I glanced back to see him standing in the dining room, holding back Matilda. She growled and gnashed her teeth, and if he let her go, she’d get herself killed up against Samantha.
“Why are you following me?” I asked, ignoring Ezra and Jack.
“If I let go of you, do you promise to be good?” Thomas asked Milo. Milo mumbled something in response, and I heard the sound of cracking bone, making Milo yell out in pain. “Answer me, or I’ll do that to the human.”
“Whatever you want, you guys can have it,” Jack said. He took a step towards them, and Milo cried out again. “Stop it! Leave him alone!”
“What do you want?!”I yelled.
My mouth tasted like battery acid, and my veins surged with hot adrenaline. Every time Milo cried out, I felt a jolt through me so intense, it reminded me of bloodlust. Like an animal instinct, and I had to clench my fists to keep from ripping off Samantha’s head.
“There’s no need to yell.” Thomas walked past Jack and descended the steps with a casual grace. He pushed the black hair from his forehead and noticed a bit of my brother’s blood on his hands. With some disdain, he licked it from his hand, and I gritted my teeth to stop from tearing out his throat.
Dane followed a few steps behind Thomas, dragging Bobby with him. Dane held him by his throat, and he had him so far off the ground, Bobby’s feet couldn’t reach the steps. Bobby clawed and struggled to release his grip, but he couldn’t.
Jack looked down at me, then turned back to tend to Milo. I could hear Milo’s bones cracking as Jack tried to set them, and he let out a few more painful groans.
Ezra shoved Matilda in a nearby room, and she instantly began scratching and barking at the door. He walked towards me until Samantha cast him a glare, and he stopped a few feet back from us.
“What is this all about?” Ezra asked.
“We need to know what you’re involvement is,” Thomas said, resting his black eyes on me. “And why you have a human helping you.”
“He’s my brother’s boyfriend!” I gestured to Bobby. Dane had lowered him enough where Bobby’s feet could touch the ground and he gasped for air. “He doesn’t know anything about anything! He’s a moron!”
“She’s right,” Bobby croaked, and Dane tightened his grip around his throat, making Bobby’s face turn purple.
“I will tell you anything you want! Just let him go!” I reached my arm out for him, but I didn’t dare move forward. Dane was far enough away where he could snap Bobby’s neck before I got to him.
“We will kill you if you lie to us,” Thomas said. “You know that, right?”
“Yes!” I shouted, watching Bobby struggle to stay alive.