The instant her blood started coursing through my veins, wonderful heat burned through me. It was an insatiable pleasure that flowed right from her blood and all over me. Her heartbeat echoed in my ears, pounding along with mine.
All her emotions ran over me, and she felt scared and small and helpless. She was out of control and terrified of what she would become. More than anything, she felt alone and unloved.
I snapped back from the bite, which is harder than it sounds. I hadn’t drunk from her for very long, and I had a maniacal urge to latch back on. Wiping her blood from my mouth, I took a step back, and Jack’s arms went around me to steady me.
Eating always made me woozy. Fresh blood hit me harder, and Jane’s sadness and depression weighed down on me.
“Why’d you stop?” Jane slumped against the wall, sliding down onto the snow. Blood seeped from her neck, and the air smelled deliciously of her. If Jack hadn’t had his arms around me, I would’ve gone in for more.
Milo and Bobby rushed over to take care of Jane before she passed out in the snow. I wasn’t that far from losing consciousness myself, so Jack suggested everybody get home. Milo knew where Jane lived, so he and Bobby were in charge of getting her there safely.
Jack half-carried me back to the car, and the whole time, I mumbled about how sad she was and that I’d only made everything worse.
Jane called me two days later from rehab. She claimed heroin addiction, because she said that sounded the closest to what she was going through.
On my end, the conversation was awkward. I’d taken advantage of her, like she had been some drunken one night stand, and that made me feel dirty in all the wrong ways. Towards the end, she thanked me for biting her.
“As strange as it sounds, that’s the closest I’ve felt to anyone in a really long time,” Jane said. Her voice was tinny from the bad connection with the landline at the rehab center. “I don’t mean in a perverse way, but… Everything I did, I was just looking to feel like someone cared about me, I think. And you were the first person that ever did. I could feel it.
“So, thank you.” She laughed nervously. “God, that sounds so stupid to say. But whatever. I’m really gonna work this shit, and I’ll be out in a few weeks. And then we totally need to go shopping.”
After that, we managed to fall into something that felt like what our friendship had been, before Jane went crazy partying and I went crazy with vampires. She called me a few more times when she was in rehab, and she wrote me a few letters.
She was getting better. She was going to be the Jane that I had missed for the past three or four years. She was going to be my best friend again.
We got the first flight out of Australia, and the twenty hours of flying didn’t help anything. I felt like some kind of stiff zombie the whole way.
Even Milo had shed a few tears when he found out, but I couldn’t muster any. I couldn’t seem to feel anything.
The flight had given me plenty of time to try to sort through my feelings of denial. Milo tried to talk about it. When that failed, he tried to talk about anything at all, but I couldn’t make myself talk. I felt blank inside.
It just didn’t seem possible that Jane could be dead. With all the stuff she had been into lately, I always half-expected her death, but I never really believed it would be real. I talked to her last week, and she was doing so much better. She was finally getting her life on track.
Jack waited for us at the airport. He stood at the bottom of the escalator, looking uncertain.
When he saw me, his whole face lit up, but there was still an unusual sadness in his blue eyes. I jogged down the escalator, pushing past people that swore at me, and I dove into his arms. I wrapped my arms and legs around him and let him lift me off the ground.
“I’m so glad you’re home,” he said into my hair, holding me to him. It wasn’t until that moment that I was able to cry.
Milo drove the car back to the house so I could curl up in the backseat with Jack. Jack and I had made plans to move out a few months ago, but once everyone took off, we didn’t have any reason. We decided to stay in the house for as long as we lived in Minneapolis, but it was looking like it wouldn’t be for that much longer. Probably just until Milo finished the school year.
It was unbelievable how much I had missed home. I would’ve cried out of relief if I wasn’t already crying. Jack helped me carry my things up to our room. I curled up in his arms on the bed, and he stroked my hair.
“What happened?” I asked when I had myself under control. I’d talked to him once on the phone before we left, but the connection was sketchy, so he hadn’t been able to say much about Jane.
“I don’t know all the details,” Jack said. I had my head on his chest, so his voice rumbled in my ear. “I only read about it in the paper.”
“It was in the paper?” I tilted my head up at him.
“Yeah.” He hesitated, and his worried eyes met mine. “I heard about it on the news, but I didn’t know it was Jane until Olivia called to tell me about it. Then I read about it in the paper.”
“Oh my god!” I sat up, and he kept his hand on my back. “What the hell happened where it was in the paper and the news and Olivia called?”
“You remember that girl they found in December?” Jack sat up a little more, but he did his best to remain as calm possible. This bothered him more than he’d openly admit, but I could feel what he felt, so I knew.
“That wasn’t Jane. I’ve talked to her since then,” I said quickly. Hope surfaced, but he shook his head.
“No, that wasn’t Jane,” he said. “But since that girl died, they’ve found two more just like that. I guess it’d been on the news, but I hadn’t been paying that much attention.”
“What does that have to do with Jane?” I asked.
“These girls were killed in a certain way, left in a certain way.” He rubbed my back, preemptively comforting me. “The police won’t give out specific details, but they’ve all been teenage girls, around your age. And they’ve all been left out in the open in downtown Minneapolis.”
“What do you mean?”
“Usually, killers hide their victims, I guess, but these ones have been laid out on the sidewalks,” Jack explained. “Jane was left on the sidewalk on Hennepin Avenue. Olivia saw the police when they found her.” V, the vampire club that Olivia owned, was right off of Hennepin.