My blood approves, p.13
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       My Blood Approves, p.13

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“It is for this one thing. ” He reached out and put his hand gingerly on my throat.

  At first, I didn’t understand what he was doing, but then I felt his thumb stroking my jugular vein. He was feeling my pulse, and a look of sheer pleasure passed across his face. A warm hunger radiated from him that I didn’t grasp.

  “Jack!” Ezra’s voice broke into the room, and Jack instantly dropped his hand, as if he’d been caught with his hand up my shirt instead of on my throat. “It’s late. Milo’s tired. Maybe you should take them home. Unless you don’t feel up to it. In which case, I’d be more than happy-”

  “No, I’ve got it,” Jack replied gruffly and stood up.

  Ezra gave Jack a disapproving look as we walked out of the living room, but Jack refused to look at him. For me, Ezra gave a reassuring smile and said he hoped that I would come back soon. Mae hugged me tightly at the door, but she hugged Milo even tighter.

  During the car ride home, Milo rattled on endlessly about what an amazing house Jack had and how great Mae was and all the fun things he’d done while I had been asleep. I rested my head against the cold glass of the window, and found that for once, I had very little to say.

  I still didn’t know what Jack and his family were, but they definitely couldn’t be trusted. Peter wanted to hate me because for some reason, he might kill me. He’d been rude and kept me at a distance because he didn’t want to hurt me. He was trying to protect me.

  Despite this, I loved Jack and Mae and even Ezra, and I definitely felt something strong for Peter. And I knew that if being with them meant that I would die, I would still see them again. It would be worse to live without them.

  When Milo and I went up to our apartment, I felt dazed. Part of it was coming to terms with my impending death, but most of it was just an after effect of being with Peter. He was like a drug, and I was still coming down from the high.

  I flopped down on the couch while Milo buzzed about the kitchen. Being over there had the opposite effect on him, and he was totally energized.

  “Aren’t you hungry?” Milo asked from the kitchen. I heard pots banging, but I just buried myself deeper into the couch. “I’m starving. You know what’s weird? We were over them from five o’clock at night until after two in the morning, and I never once saw them eat or drink anything.

  “In fact, when I wanted something to drink, Mae had to rummage around the kitchen for a glass and some water,” Milo continued, without pausing for a breath. “You know, I don’t even think they have any food in that house. They must order a lot of take out. Which is weird cause Mae really seems like the Suzie Homemaker type. ”

  Milo continued to ramble on but I was starting to drift to sleep. But then it all clicked. I understood fully what Jack and Peter were.

  But before I could actually manifest the word and put it all together, I fell asleep, and lost it entirely.

  - 12 -

  Dreamlessly, I’d managed to sleep for thirteen hours on the couch. Whatever happened with Peter, it had been tantamount to overdosing on sleeping pills.

  I stretched slowly, trying to work out the kinks and cricks in my back and neck. Milo sat at the computer, and he just smirked at my struggle to wake up.

  “Morning, sunshine,” Milo chirped. He still seemed hyper from the night before.

  “Shut up,” I grumbled.

  Already, Peter filled the tired fog of my brain. Like some kind of hang over, my skin hurt and my head throbbed dully. When I breathed in deeply, I could still remember the way he smelled, like apples and something familiar that I couldn’t quite place.

  “What are you doing?” Milo jolted me out of my daydream. He looked at me like I had totally lost it, so I stood up and decided that I had to get myself in gear.

  “Nothing,” I told him absently.

  Walking to the bathroom, I pulled my phone out of my pocket. It was almost four in the afternoon, so maybe Jack would be awake by now. I shut the bathroom door, but before I could even actually go to the bathroom, I had to text Jack first.

  I need to see you today. I text messaged him, and then started the agonizing wait for him to respond.

  After I showered, and he still hadn’t responded, I started getting a nervous pit in my stomach. Maybe I had done something wrong, and I wasn’t going to be allowed over there anymore.

  Or maybe Jack had just grown bored with me. It was probably irritating him that I fawned over his brother, and I would hate me if I were Jack.

  When he’d been talking to Ezra, they had said that I couldn’t be alone with Peter. Maybe that meant that I couldn’t be around him at all anymore. Somehow, I had ruined everything.

  I couldn’t take it anymore, so I decided to call Jack, and find out what was going on. When I got his voicemail instead of him, I was near tears.

  Page 37

  “Jack, it’s just me. Alice. Um… I just wanted to apologize for last night. I know that I… overreacted to everything, and I’m really sorry. I just… I really want see you today. We need to talk. Okay. So… just call me back, I guess. Bye. ”

  Going through all the routine of getting ready, I managed to dress myself and apply makeup, but none of it felt real. It felt like some shell of myself going through the motions. My mind was completely locked onto the way Peter smelled and the way he looked through me and how my body felt pulled towards him.

  When I had finished getting ready, I just sat on the couch, staring off into nothing, and tried to figure out what I would do if I never talked to Peter or Jack again.

  “What’s going on with you?” Milo still sat at the computer, but he couldn’t ignore my zombie stare anymore. I shook my head and swallowed hard, so he got up from what he was doing and came over to sit next to me. “What happened last night over there?”

  “Nothing,” I mumbled.

  “Alice, come on. ” He gave me a hard look, the one that said I-know-you-better-than-anyone-so-there’s-no-point-in-lying. “Did Jack’s brother do something to you?”

  “No. ” I bit my lip and wondered if he had done something to me. Why couldn’t I get him out of my head? It was as if he had crawled underneath my skin but not in a bad way. “I just really like him. Like more than I’ve ever liked anyone. It’s completely… visceral. ”

  “Did he blow you off or something?”

  I wasn’t sure if Peter sending me out of his room was rejecting me or done to protect me… or maybe both. My phone felt very heavy in my hand, and I looked down at it, willing Jack to call me and fix everything.

  “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “Jack hasn’t texted me back. I think maybe he’s mad at me or something. I think I did something wrong. ”

  “You did not do anything. ” Milo was so incredulous that I looked over at him. “They love you over there, like crazy love. Mae talked non-stop about you, and Jack looks at you like you walk on water. It’s a little sickening actually. ”

  “Really?” That made me feel a little better, but Jack still hadn’t called, so I wasn’t over-the-top better.

  “Yeah. ” He nodded, then looked down at my hands and wrinkled his nose. “Your nails are chipped really bad. Why don’t I repaint them while you wait for Jack to wake up?”

  “You think he’s still sleeping?” I asked hopefully, and let my brother take my hands.

  I had left my make up bag splayed out on the coffee table, and Milo leaned over and grabbed the nail polish remover, cotton balls, and dark blue nail polish.

  “We left at like two-thirty in the morning, and everybody in that house was wide awake. Plus, he’s some rich, young playboy that doesn’t have a job. What does he really have to get up for?” He did have a point, and I finally started to relax.

  “Considering this isn’t the first time you’ve painted my nails, I probably should’ve figured out sooner that you were gay,” I teased him. Milo had been painting my nails for as long as he could paint anything. When I really looked back at life
with him, there were a lot of obvious hints that I should’ve picked up on.

  “Probably,” he agreed.

  After he finished painting my nails, he sat with me on the couch. He talked a little bit about how much he liked Mae and everybody, and that he hoped that I wouldn’t mind if he went back over there again. Honestly, I didn’t mind at all. It was nice being able to be around him and Jack at the same time.

  Milo pointed out that he’d never met Peter, and we both thought that was strange. He hadn’t come down from his room all night, and Mae hadn’t given Milo a tour of the upstairs. Like they were purposely trying to keep them apart.

  My heart pounded painfully when I realized that Peter might actually be dangerous, and maybe it wasn’t the safest place for Milo to be hanging out. I considered saying something to that effect when my phone rang.

  “Hey, sorry, I didn’t call you sooner,” Jack said when I answered. Just hearing him made me elated, but his voice had a tightness to it. Something was bothering him. “I ended up having a really late night, so I just woke up. ”

  “Sorry. I hope none of it’s my fault. ” But I knew it was my fault. I had done something wrong last night.

  “No, it’s not,” Jack reassured me warmly. “It was just … a little family crisis, I guess. ”

  “What happened?” Anxiety gripped me, and Milo shot me a confused, concerned look, but I just shook my head at him.

  “Um… I’ll tell you when I pick you up, okay? Will you be ready soon?” He was definitely keeping something from me.

  “I’m ready now. ” I was glad that I had gotten up and gotten ready before he called. If I had heard this when I first woke up, I would’ve rushed to his house in last night’s clothes with greasy hair.

  “Good. I’ll be there soon. ” He hung up, probably to prevent me from asking more questions, so I flipped my phone shut.

  “What happened?” Milo’s worried expression mirrored my own, but I was too frazzled to answer him. Hurriedly, I slipped on shoes and grabbed my dark blue cardigan to throw on. “Alice?”

  “I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me. ”

  Why did I have to feel like crying? I swear, I didn’t really cry this much. Most of the time, I was a really sane, normal person. But something about Jack and Peter made me want to burst into tears all the time.

  My emotions seemed to be on overdrive. It was like I had lived my whole life using just the bare minimum, and now this family had switched them into max.

  “Is everyone okay?” Milo leaned over the back of the couch, watching me rush about. I probably had everything I needed, but I kept feeling like I was forgetting something, then running back to make sure I had it.

  “I don’t know, Milo!” I snapped. “He didn’t tell me anything!”

  “Sorry. ” He sounded hurt, and I wanted to apologize, but I didn’t have time. Jack would be here “soon,” which could mean anywhere from five seconds to fifteen minutes. “Do you want me to come with?”

  “Not today. ” I finally managed an apologetic smile, and he slumped down in the couch. “Another time, I promise. Just… not today, okay?”

  “Yeah, yeah, just go. ”

  Page 38

  “Sorry. I’ll talk to you later. ” And with that, I was out the door.

  I should’ve said more, but I couldn’t even wait for the elevator today. I pushed the call button, and when the doors didn’t immediately open, I ran down the stairs.

  Even in the rush I had been in, Jack had still managed to beat me outside. He’d driven the Jeep, and I practically dove into it. I looked at him expectantly, and he just smiled grimly at me.

  “What happened?” I demanded as we pulled away from my apartment building.

  “And a ‘how do you do’ to you too,” Jack replied dryly.

  “Jack!”

  “Sorry. ” He stared out straight ahead but kept taking sidelong glances at me. “So… last night, after you left… Peter left. ”

  “What do you mean left?” My heart had already started pounding and my stomach twisted in knots, and Jack just groaned. “Jack? Where’d he go? Why’d he leave? Because of me?”

  “You have to calm down,” Jack sighed. “This is why I didn’t do it over the phone, but maybe I should’ve. ” Then he looked at me somberly, his eyes pleading with me. “Please calm down. ”

  “I will if you just tell me what’s going on!” I said, but I tried to slow my breathing and the frantic beating of my heart.

  “We don’t really know where he went. ” He had waited for me to calm down a bit, but he kept his eyes fixed on the road, like he was trying really hard not to be distracted by me. His knuckles had gone white from the way he gripped the steering wheel.

  “Ezra has some ideas because…” He trailed off and rubbed his temple. “He left because of… You can’t take this wrong way. I know that you will, though. You always take everything the wrong way. If I said, ‘hey you look nice today,’ you’d say, ‘and what I don’t look nice everyday?’”

  “Jack, please focus. ” I wanted to yell at him and make him just hurry up and tell me what was going on.

  “Yeah. ” He quickly glanced at me, but I didn’t understand what he meant so I just stared at him. “Yes. Peter left because of you. Because of what happened, well, almost happened yesterday. But it’s not because you did anything wrong, or there’s anything wrong with you. Peter’s just going through his own thing and I don’t know. I think he’s just being an ass, but Ezra says…” He trailed off, probably realizing that he hadn’t really said anything but he’d almost said too much.

  My eyes had welled with tears. No matter what Jack said, Peter left because of me, because of something that I had or hadn’t done, and it was devastating. Everything about me craved him, and I drove him away.

  “What did almost happen yesterday?” I asked quietly.

  “Well…” Jack laughed hollowly, and his hand gripped the wheel even tighter. “What do you think happened yesterday?”

  “I don’t know. Honestly, it’s hard to remember. When I try to think about it, I just remember being in his room and feeling this incredible pull towards him and this… yearning. ”

  I tried hard to focus on what had sent me in a tailspin, but it felt so foggy. I could remember Peter’s eyes and the way he smelled and wanting him so much it hurt. My heart raced, throbbing painfully, and I had gotten short of breath.

  “Stop, Alice,” Jack whimpered, and he was in total agony. His blue eyes had gone almost translucent, and they had that hungry look that was very reminiscent of the one that Peter had given me last night.

  “Stop what?” I asked breathlessly. He groaned and looked away from me, and I was about press him further, but then the Jeep started skidding horribly across the road.

  “Ah, hell. ” Jack gripped the wheel and tried to correct it, but I felt it start to tilt to the side, and he gave me a frantic look.

  Before I could really understand what was happening, he lunged at me, wrapping his arms tightly around me and pressing me against him. I closed my eyes and buried my face in his chest, and I felt his body curl protectively around me.

  There was the sensation of moving and I felt cold wind whip through my hair. The sound of crunching metal and shattering glass and this sickening thud filled my ears, but I could barely hear anything over the pounding of my heart.

  I finally felt Jack’s arm relax around me, and I lifted my head, looking at him in the face. He was worried and scared, but there was still that underlying hunger.

  “Are you okay?” Jack asked, pushing the hair from eyes to inspect for wounds.

  “I think so,” I nodded. I felt dazed and scared, but nothing really hurt.

  “Good. Then I need you to get away from me for a minute,” Jack said, not unkindly.

  I hurried to do as he asked, pushing myself off him and standing up. He jumped up and took several steps back from me.

>   For the first time, I looked around. We were on the shoulder of the highway, and there were bits of broken glass and metal all over the road. Another car had been crushed against the cement divider in the middle, and there was an SUV farther down that looked like it had some minor damage. Headlights of stopped cars blinded me.

  At first, I couldn’t figure out where the Jeep was, and then I saw it. About thirty feet back from us, the crushed remnants of Jeep were engulfed in flames.

  I gasped, realizing that if Jack hadn’t grabbed me, I either would’ve stayed in that car to get smashed and burned up, or I would’ve been thrown from the Jeep going well over a hundred miles an hour and landed on the pavement.

  “Are you okay?” I looked back at him.

  Jack had taken the brunt force of everything, and if he hadn’t, I would’ve been killed. My body was much more fragile than his, but he had to have sustained some wounds.

  “Yeah, I’m great. ” He tried to compose himself and looked at the carnage around us.

  There appeared to be some cuts on his arm, and when he turned away, I saw the back of his shirt was shredded and covered in blood. When he’d hit the road, he must’ve landed on his back and skidded for awhile.

  “You’re covered in blood!” I shouted and took a step closer to him, trying to inspect his wounds, but he just waved me off.

  I remembered the dog bite, and how the major wounds had looked so minor. I wasn’t really worried about this, but he had just been thrown from the car.

  “I’m fine. ” He held his arm out for me to see. A thick line of blood ran from where a gash should be, but there wasn’t one. There wasn’t even a mark.

  Page 39

  “What about your back?” I asked, but he shook his head.

  “It tingles. It’ll be fine in a minute. ” All the skin and the muscles should’ve been ripped from his back, but it would be fine in a minute.

  “You saved my life. Again. ” I wrapped my arms tightly around myself.

  The adrenaline, confusion, and Peter’s sedative all mixed through me, on top of Jack’s apprehension and fading hunger. I was on the verge of hysterics.

  “Well, this time, I almost killed you too. So… it kinda evens out. ” Jack meant he’d almost killed me by crashing the Jeep, but I could still feel his hunger. I remembered that ominous conversation he’d had with Ezra about how this all wouldn’t last much longer.

  “Why do you keep saving my life?” My voice trembled, and hot tears slid down my cheeks. Jack looked at me like he didn’t understand what I meant, but I went on talking, and the more I talked, the harder I cried. “I just don’t get it! Why do you keep saving me if you’re just going to kill me? Why don’t you just hurry up and get it over with already? Is this some kind of sick game for you? Do you always have to play with your food before you eat it?”

  His jaw dropped and his eyes widened with shock and hurt.

  “Do you know…” Jack trailed off, trying to get a handle on what I meant. “We’re not going to kill you. ”

 
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