“Jack, you don’t need to fix me,” I shook my head. “And yes, I know I’m going through some stuff. But that doesn’t mean we should end this. We should work through it.”
He smiled, one of his pained smiles that broke my heart even more. He lowered his head and ran his hand through his hair, and for a while, he didn’t say anything.
“I’ve been trying so hard to be everything you wanted. To give you everything you could ever want. And you’re not happy.” He took a deep breath, and let his words hang in the air. “So now I’m going to be what you need.”
My phone rang in my pocket, but I ignored it.
“What does that even mean?” I asked, and he shook his head.
“Answer your phone.” He nodded at me and turned to walk away. I said his name, but he left the bedroom without looking back.
“Hello?” I answered my phone with a heavy sigh.
“Alice?” Olivia said.
“Olivia? Are you back? I’ve been looking for you.”
“I need to talk to you,” Olivia said, forgoing her usually rambled greetings. She sounded clear and clipped, and that made me nervous. “When can you get to my place?”
“When do you need me?”
“As soon as you can.” Without waiting for my answer, she hung up.
I checked my phone to be sure it wasn’t a dropped call, and it wasn’t. I thought about calling her back, but if Olivia said she wanted me over there now, it was probably important. I didn’t need to waste time making unnecessary phone calls.
“Hey, Alice, how are-” Milo was saying as he walked into my room, but then he saw me pulling on my shoes and stopped. “Where are you going?”
“Out,” I said, then sighed and shook my head. After what happened with Jack, it would probably be better if I didn’t keep anyone in the dark anymore. “Olivia called. She wants me to come over.”
“What for?” Milo asked, narrowing his eyes.
“I don’t know, but it sounded important.”
“I’m going with,” he said, and he’d been starting to master Ezra’s tone when something wasn’t open for debate.
“Don’t you have school or something?” I didn’t want him to go with me, not if Olivia’d gotten herself in trouble, but I couldn’t very well tell him that. He’d only insist on coming with more.
“It’s ten o’clock at night, on a Friday.”
“Oh. Right.” I nodded. “Well, then. Come on.”
Since Milo came with, that meant Bobby had to tag along, not that I minded. For reasons I couldn’t explain, I felt better about bringing Bobby along on dangerous excursions, even though he was more fragile. I cared about Bobby almost as much as I did Milo, so that wasn’t it.
In a weird way, Bobby felt more like an equal to me. Milo would always be my kid brother who’d gotten shoved into lockers and needed me to look out for him. Bobby was more like… a sidekick.
Milo didn’t see it that way. They’d apparently had some major fight about Bobby sneaking out with me, but thankfully, I’d slept through it. On the car ride to Olivia’s, Milo made a point of telling me exactly how unhappy he was with me for putting Bobby in danger, even though they’d already forgiven each other and made up.
I hated how easily they always seemed to make up. I blamed Milo and his never-ending patience for that, and Bobby’s unadulterated worship of Milo. Their relationship should’ve been almost as complicated as mine and Jack’s, but it wasn’t.
It was a Friday night, so the vampire club was even more packed than it had been the last few times. We went through V to get to the elevator up to Olivia’s penthouse because it was usually quicker, and on nights like tonight, it could be rather tedious.
La Roux’s song “Bulletproof” blasted over the dance floor, and even though I liked it, the decibel hurt. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep or eaten lately, and a migraine loomed behind my eyes. The music only it made it worse.
I plunged into the sweaty bodies filling the dance floor and pushed my way through. I used to be delicate and careful, but now I’d shove anybody that got in my way. The crowd kept trying to swallow up Bobby, so I grabbed his arm and yanked him forward. Milo trailed behind him, fighting off anyone that might go after Bobby.
“Watch where you’re going!” someone yelled at me, and I wouldn’t even have stopped to look if he hadn’t laughed. “You’re following me, aren’t you?”
“Hey, it’s that douche!” Bobby said, almost cheerfully.
I turned back to see Jonathan with his shit-eating grin. He wore a leather jacket hanging open without a shirt underneath, and even if he did have perfect abs, it still looked tacky. He even had a silver cross hanging down around his neck, and I wanted to punch him just for wearing that.
“Do I have a reason to follow you?” I asked him.
Jonathan stood a foot or two in front of me, and the other people had stopped crowding around us. We were on the edges of a small circle where nobody danced, like we were about to dance off or throw down. Bobby and Milo stood behind me, adding to the feel that we were about to rumble.
“Only the same reason as everyone else.” Jonathan’s smile widened, revealing more teeth than he needed to.
“And why’s that?” I asked.
“Cause you can’t resist me, baby!” He spread his arms wide in a grand gesture, and Bobby scoffed. Jonathan’s smile faltered, only for a moment, but it was enough where I knew he was pissed off.
He’d always given me the creeps, but it’d only gotten worse. The blood in my veins burned around him, like I physically couldn’t stand to be near him. My stomach churned, and I just wanted to get away.
“We don’t have time for this.” I rolled my eyes and turned to walk away.
Bobby made a smart remark about resisting him, and he’d barely gotten it out of his mouth before Jonathan reacted. He flew forward, striking out at Bobby. I didn’t move fast enough to stop him from hitting Bobby, but he only got in one punch.
I whirled on Jonathan, kicking him in the back of the legs so they buckled, and Jonathan leaned back and fell on his knees. With my left hand, I gripped his neck, closing my hand so tight on his throat that I felt his Adam’s apple crack, and I punched him in the face as hard as I could with my right hand. His jaw felt like concrete against my fist, but it gave away, shattering underneath my knuckles.