I pulled my fist back to hit him again, but Milo’s hand on my arm stopped me.
“Alice!” Milo yelled.
The bottom half of Jonathan’s face looked like hamburger, and his blood streamed down over my hand. He gasped for breath, making the blood gurgle through his smashed mouth, but he didn’t even try to fight me. His arms hung limp at his sides, and his head lolled back. His eyes were wide open, staring at me with that same dead shark-eye look always he had.
Even with that, knowing I’d be beating up someone that couldn’t even fight back, and with Milo pulling on me to leave, I didn’t lower my arm. My blood burned, searing my muscles, and my whole body felt electrified. I wanted to destroy Jonathan.
“Alice! Bobby needs to get upstairs!” Milo shouted. Based on his painful grip on my arm, he was using almost all his strength to drag me away, but I stayed cemented in place.
The crowd still circled around us, watching as I held Jonathan captive. If he’d been human, he’d probably be dead, and that sent a new chill down my spine. Without even trying, I’d almost killed him.
I let go of him, and Jonathan stayed kneeling. He leaned back, hanging in midair as if suspended by a string. His swollen bloody mouth curled, making some poor attempt at a smile, and I looked away. I couldn’t stand the sight of him anymore.
Once Milo was sure I would follow him willingly, he let go of me. He looped an arm around Bobby, half-carrying him to the elevator. People gave us a wide berth as we walked, but nobody said anything to me, not even Milo.
“What the hell was that?” Milo hissed once we were in the privacy of the elevator.
“I’ll be okay,” Bobby had his hand over his eye, but some blood dripped down from it on his cheek.
His scent filled the small space so much, it was almost suffocating, especially since I hadn’t eaten in so long. I paced the elevator and wiped my hand on my jeans, getting Jonathan’s blood off of me.
“I know,” Milo said. “But I wasn’t talking to you, even though that was really stupid. I meant Alice. What the hell was that back there?”
“He hit Bobby,” I mumbled.
But I knew that wasn’t it exactly. I had been pissed that he hit Bobby, the same way I would be if anybody hurt him or anyone else I cared about. But it was something else. A rage I couldn’t control had taken over me.
“Yeah, I know, but I thought you were going to kill him.” Milo had his arm around Bobby, almost cradling him to his chest, and he kept his voice even.
It wasn’t until I looked back at him that I realized that Milo was afraid. He’d seen something in me that had scared him.
“I told you I can take care of myself,” I said.
“Don’t be mad at her,” Bobby told Milo. “She was just defending me. It’s a good thing.”
Milo sighed but didn’t say anything. Bobby tried to convince him that his injury wasn’t so bad and that I hadn’t done anything wrong, so Milo just kept shushing him.
When the elevator doors opened, Olivia was standing in the middle of her penthouse. Her hair hung down her back, blending in with the long black dress she wore. In her hand, she had held a wine glass of fresh, cold blood, and my mouth watered a little.
“Alice, darling, is something the matter?” Olivia asked, stepping forward.
“I need to get him cleaned up,” Milo said, helping Bobby off the elevator. “Do you have a bathroom I can use?”
“Yes, right around the corner, past the kitchen.” Olivia pointed in the direction, and Milo led Bobby away. “What happened to your human?”
“What’d you need me for so urgently?” I asked, hedging her question.
I shoved my hands in my jacket pockets and walked around her penthouse. Nobody else appeared to be here, except for us, and I didn’t sense any sign of danger. I still felt jumpy and anxious from the run-in with Jonathan, but my blood had started to cool, returning to its normal icy temperature.
“Do you want me get you something to drink?” Olivia asked. I stopped at the windows, looking down at the city lights, and I glanced back at her. “You look like you do.”
“Yes, please,” I nodded.
Olivia went into the kitchen and poured me a bag of blood into a wine glass. Milo came out of the bathroom, and she got him an icepack from her freezer, and he ducked back in the bathroom. She didn’t eat, but she kept her place stocked for her human visitors, the same we kept ours stocked for Bobby.
“Here you are,” Olivia smiled, handing me the glass.
“Thank you.” I’d never drank blood from a glass. It looked elegant, and I took a sip of it, instead of guzzling it down the way I normally did.
“Something happened to you,” Olivia said, studying me.
“It’s not anything I need to talk about.” I shrugged and took another a sip.
“Sit.” She gestured to her couches. “Calm your nerves. Then we’ll talk.”
I sat down, and Olivia lounged on the couch across from me. She pulled her legs up next to her, letting the long silk of the dress flow around her. She twirled the stem of her wine glass between her fingers and watched me as I drank mine.
I tried to drink it slowly, but I really needed it. The blood rushed through me, filling me with the warm ecstasy. My body seemed to lighten. I felt buzzed, but that actually made me more alert than I had been before.
“Did you invite me over here to seduce me or something?” I asked.
Olivia wore a dress, and I’d never seen her in one before. Classical music played in the background, I think Mozart. The lights were dim, and she was plying me with blood in wineglasses.
“No, I wanted you comfortable,” she smiled. “I have conquests much higher than you in my sights.” I wondered if she meant Violet, but I didn’t ask.
Milo and Bobby came out of the bathroom, with Milo leading him along like a Seeing Eye dog. Jonathan had punched him in the left eye, and Bobby held an ice pack over it.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Good as new.” Bobby sat down on the couch next to me, and the ice pack shifted in the process, so he grimaced. “Well, almost good as new.”
“So did you find out what the big news is?” Milo asked, sitting on the arm of the couch beside Bobby. He had his arm around him meant to look like a romantic gesture, but Milo was protecting him. He still didn’t really trust Olivia.
“Not yet,” I said. “Why am I here, Olivia?”
“Violet.” Olivia leaned her head back, speaking towards the bedrooms behind her.