My blood approves, p.14
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       My Blood Approves, p.14

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“Then what’s going on?” I was almost shrieking by then. “What the hell are you and what do you want with me?”

  “Alice, we’re vampires. ”

  Jack gave me an even look, and I almost burst out laughing, but then I realized that he was completely serious. I lapsed into a stunned silence, which was just as well, because suddenly there was the wailing sirens and flashing lights of the police and ambulance.

  - 13 -

  The paramedics thought that I was in shock, and if I had been able to speak, I probably would’ve agreed. They couldn’t explain how either of us were alive, or where the blood all over Jack’s body had come from. They wanted to put us in an ambulance and send us downtown, but since Jack wouldn’t pass any kind of medical test, he fought them until they finally relented.

  He allowed them to check me over, but when they said I was fine, except for the shock, he demanded a ride home in a police car.

  He sat next to me in the backseat, and while he whispered my name several times, I never responded. I just stared out the window and tried to make sense of his confession.

  Some things fit. Like his superhuman strength, his miraculous ability to heal, the way he never ate or drank anything, and I’d only ever seen him at night.

  But they were all tan (except for Mae, but she was British), and I’d actually heard Jack’s heartbeat last night. He didn’t have fangs, and he hadn’t eaten me.

  That did kinda explain what had happened with Peter, except why did they want him to eat me? What was so damn important about that? Couldn’t anybody just eat anybody?

  Mae must’ve seen the police car, because she was at the front door waiting for us when they dropped us off. Matilda jumped all over Jack, but he wasn’t in the mood, so he pushed her off.

  “Jack, what happened?” Mae was talking to him, but she was looking me over.

  I didn’t even have a scratch on me, but when I’d caught my reflection in the rearview mirror of the squad car, I was completely white and my eyes were frantic and red-rimmed from sobbing.

  “I totaled the Jeep,” Jack answered vaguely. We stood in the entryway, but he pulled off his shirt and started wiping off the blood with his ruined shirt.

  “Again?” Mae sounded exasperated and looked over at him. “Jack, you’ve really-”

  “She knows,” Jack cut her off.

  He looked at me, then quickly looked away. Even though there were still patches of blood on his back, he’d given up on that and balled up his tee shirt, then walked into the kitchen.

  “What?” Mae turned back to me, her face unsure.

  “He told me that you’re vampires. ” It was the first time I’d spoken since he told me, and my voice sounded hoarse and foreign to me.

  Mae let out a long shaky breath and looked down.

  “Oh. ” That was all she said. She didn’t tell me that Jack was insane, as I had hoped and half-expected, or expound on it

  “So it’s true?” I asked. The words came out even, but I knew there were hysterics hiding behind them.

  “Your throat sounds dry. ” Mae forced a smile and put her arm around me, but she did it like thought I’d push her away. I didn’t, but I knew that I probably should’ve. “Why don’t we go in the kitchen and get you some water and we’ll talk in there?”

  “I’m already on it,” Jack informed us as she led me into the kitchen.

  He had filled a giant glass with cold water and ice cubes from the Pür filter in the fridge. He handed it to me, but I stopped and opened the fridge first. Just as Milo had predicted, it was completely empty. I stared into it for a minute, and Jack prompted me to drink the water.

  I shut the fridge and greedily downed the water. My thirst had kicked in, and I turned to look at them. Jack was shirtless, leaning against the island, and Mae wrung her hands, but both of them watched me.

  “Jack, I really wish you’ve waited for when Ezra was home, or Peter even. ” Mae told him quietly.

  “It couldn’t wait anymore,” Jack said dully.

  “I know, but Ezra and Peter know so much more. ” Mae exchanged a nervous look with Jack, and then smiled at me again and pulled out a stool. “Here, love, why don’t you sit down?”

  “Where’s Ezra?” I got on the stool and decided to start with the simplest questions first, the ones that seemed sane and rational. Not like, so, do you guys wanna suck my blood? That was the kind of thing I definitely didn’t want to think about.

  “He’s out looking for Peter,” Jack answered, and Mae looked over at him.

  She fidgeted with a wavy strand of her hair, and I knew that she desperately wanted to touch mine. My water glass was almost empty, so I set it on the island and sighed.

  “So… you’re vampires?” I asked, feeling incredibly foolish. It sounded so stupid coming out of my mouth. This was a family of normal, healthy people, and there were no such things as vampires.

  “Yes, love. ” Mae smiled at me, and it had to be the saddest, most terrified smile I’d ever seen. T

  They were waiting on edge, and I didn’t understand why. They were the big powerful vampires, and I was just one small human girl. If anyone should be scared, it should be me.

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  “All of you?” I looked from Mae to Jack, who just nodded solemnly. “Then why did you say that it would be better if Ezra or Peter were here? Don’t you know just as much?”

  “They’re older, much older,” Mae explained, and her strained expression started to relax a bit.

  “How old are you?” I remembered the first time I had asked Jack that, when we were waiting in the booth at the diner, and the way he had laughed at the question.

  “Well, um, I was twenty-four when I turned, and that was in 1994. So I guess that puts in me in my forties. ”

  “You don’t seem like you’re in your forties,” I said and he laughed at that, which went a long way to alleviate the tension in the room.

  “Vampires age differently, obviously. ” Jack gestured to his bare chest, which did not look a day over twenty-four.

  “Physically, we don’t age much at all,” Mae elaborated. “We mature in a much different rate. When we first turn, we’ll almost regress emotionally. Jack is closer to that of someone in their teens than of one in their twenties.

  “Part of that has to do with his personality,” Mae smiled at him. “But part of it is his age. And since our minds always stay sharp, we don’t ever really get old. We learn from our experiences and we mature, but not the same way people do. Jack will never really act like a man in his forties, no matter how old he gets. ”

  In retrospect, a lot of what he did made sense when I thought of him as being more around my age. Which is why it never seemed creepy that he was hanging out with me, even though he was older. He never acted older. He was, after all, at my maturity level.

  “How old are you?” I turned to Mae.

  “I was twenty-eight when I turned, and that was… wow, that was fifty-two years ago. ” She looked a little surprised herself, as if she hadn’t thought about in awhile, and then smiled at me. “So, I’m eighty. Wow. Well, that’s not as bad as Peter or Ezra. ”

  “How old are they?’ I couldn’t help but lean in close, scrutinizing Mae’s perfect porcelain skin. It was hard to believe that she’d even been twenty-eight.

  “Oh, gosh. ” Mae looked over at Jack for help, but he just shook his head.

  “I only know the age they were when they turned. ” Jack had been leaning forward onto the island, but now he stood up and leaned back on the kitchen counter behind him, crossing his arms over his chest. “Peter’s nineteen and Ezra’s twenty-six. You’re the oldest. ”

  “Thanks,” Mae gave him a wry look, then turned back to me. “Well, Peter’s not quite two-hundred. Maybe one-ninety or something like that. And Ezra is… Gosh, it’s so horrible that I don’t know how old my own husband is. Oh! Jack, you remember! We had that big party a few years back wh
en he turned three-hundred? When was that?”

  “I don’t know,” Jack shrugged. “Like… five years ago? Time’s really hard to keep track of anymore. ”

  “You’re telling me that Ezra is over 300 years old?” I asked.

  Ezra, who had to be one of the most perfectly attractive people I’ve ever seen and drove a Lamborghini. He’d been around for over three centuries. I had never felt so small or insignificant in my entire life.

  “Yep. I’m the baby. By a lot. ” Jack grinned broadly, and part of that made sense. Ezra and Peter’s eyes looked so much older, and everyone seemed to indulge Jack the same way you would indulge the baby of the family.

  “But you call them your brothers, and they can’t be. ” I remembered when I asked Jack about it being a fraternity, and slowly, it dawned on me what I had said that had made him laugh. They’re blood relatives.

  “Not in the human sense, no,” Mae explained. “But as vampires… brothers still isn’t exactly the right word. ” She looked back over at Jack. “You understand this better than I do. ”

  “It’s hard to explain until it happens to you, or if you don’t know the person that turned you,” Jack took a step towards the island and nodded at Mae. “Ezra turned Peter, and Peter turned me. ”

  He laid his hands flat on the countertop and watched me, gauging my response to everything they were telling me.

  “You mean Peter turned you into a vampire?”

  Whenever I said the word vampire, I felt like a complete tool. Like I was in a bad horror movie or I was being Punk’d. It just wasn’t a possibility.

  I was having this conversation because it was like when I had a dream and everyone was made of cotton candy or something. I just kinda went along with it. Once I suspended my belief, I just had to go with the flow and pretend like everything made sense.

  “Yeah. ” He nodded.

  “So what does that mean? He bit you?” Just the thought of Peter biting anyone made my heart rate speed up. That’s what he’d been trying to do when I was in his room, and even now, knowing exactly what he meant to do, it somehow made me want him more.

  “No, biting doesn’t do anything,” Jack shook his head, but he raised an eyebrow and gave me an odd look. Then it dawned on me.

  “You can hear my heartbeat,” I said. When we had been in the car, right before the accident, my heart had been racing like mad because I was thinking about Peter, and it had been distracting Jack.

  “And when you…” Jack’s expression changed, and he looked away from me, but I could already feel his desire.

  “You’re thinking of Peter,” Mae caught Jack’s response. My cheeks reddened, because it was so embarrassing that the vampires find out that I have a crush on one of them. That was my big concern right now. “You release a kind of pheromone when you’re… ready. I don’t know how to explain it. ”

  “It entices us to bite you,” Jack said bluntly.

  My heart had slowed, but he still looked strained. Meanwhile, Mae didn’t look effected by it at all.

  “So… is it just when I think about Peter? Or when I think about… anything like that?”

  “Ezra is will have to explain all that,” Mae said suddenly. Jack had looked as if he was about to say something, but she cut him off.

  “So how do you turn into a vampire then?” I returned to the topic we’d been on before I’d distracted them with my beating heart.

  “I drank Peter’s blood. So it’s Peter’s blood, and Ezra’s blood, mixed with my blood coursing through my veins. ” Jack gestured to his arms, as if I could see through his skin to his veins. “It’s not like a father-son thing, because it’s not part of who they are. It is who they are. My blood is their blood. ”

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  “Does that actually have any bearing on who you are?” I leaned on the island, looking intently at him. I was starting to give myself to their fantasy completely, and I was interested in them as if I actually believed.

  “They don’t define my personality. ” Jack looked over at Mae, who nodded at him. “But we… Remember when you first came over to meet them and I said that I knew Peter and Ezra would like you? It was because I liked you. ”

  “So they’ll like whoever you like?” I was skeptical, because Peter still didn’t like me.

  “No, no, that’s not it either. ” Jack sighed, and he debated how much he was going to tell me. I didn’t understand what he could still possibly be hiding from since he’d confessed vampirism. “Because I don’t just like you. My blood likes you. ”

  “Okay, what the hell does that mean?” I actually leaned away from him a little bit, and I’m sure I looked afraid.

  “Jack, maybe Ezra would be better suited to talk about that,” Mae gave him an even glare, and he lowered his eyes. Then she turned back to me, smiling warmly. “Ezra really is a bit of an expert on everything. Jack and I still have so much left to learn. ”

  “You guys aren’t really vampires, are you?” I asked apprehensively, and Mae laughed.

  “Oh, love, I’m sorry, but we are. ” She tucked a strand of hair back behind my ear, and since I didn’t push her away or flinch, she smiled.

  “But you guys don’t sleep in coffins or have fangs and you’re not pale. ” I said, then quickly corrected myself. “Well, except for Mae, but even she’s not that pale. ”

  “We kind of have fangs. ” Jack opened his mouth wide and ran his tongue along his teeth, emphasizing the pointed incisors. They weren’t longer or bigger than any other teeth I had seen, but they did look awfully sharp.

  “And coffins are just a ridiculous legend. Beds are much more comfortable. ” Mae scoffed at the notion.

  “But you’re tan. You can’t go in the sun! Wait, can you go in the sun?”

  “We can, in fact, but we don’t usually,” Jack continued. “The sun kind of makes us tired, but we won’t burst into flames or die or anything like that. ”

  “That doesn’t explain the tan,” I pointed out.

  “We don’t change from when we were turned, and I skateboarded a lot so I was out in the sun. When I turned, my skin was full of melanin, and now it always will be. ” Jack thought about it for a moment, then corrected himself. “We do change a bit. We improve. I wasn’t quite this handsome, and I had more of a farmer’s tan. But somehow, it evens things and smoothes everything, like gleaning off any fat I had. It’s impossible for a vampire to be overweight. We no longer require the storage of anything, so it all dissolves pretty quickly after the turn. ”

  “We drink our blood, so it’s more fat-free,” Mae added.

  “You drink blood. ” Until then, I had been trying hard not to really think of it.

  When I thought of Peter biting me, it had more been about the feeling of everything, and not about the actual act of him drinking my blood. It was almost impossible to imagine Mae or Jack doing it.

  “It is a necessity,” Mae whispered sadly.

  “But like animal blood, right?” I asked hopefully, but Mae kept her eyes down, so I looked up over at Jack, who just shook his head.

  “We can’t live on animal blood. ” Jack kept his pale blue eyes on me, so I had to focus not to look even mildly revolted. “It’s the same reason a person can’t live on a blood transfusion from a dog or rat. Essentially, we require a weekly blood transfusion to survive. We just have to ingest it. ”

  “You… you kill people?” I know my voice was trembling, but then Mae’s eyes shot up and both her and Jack looked appalled.

  “No! No, of course not!” Mae vehemently denied it. “People can lose huge amounts of blood before they die. ”

  “We just drink blood from people,” Jack elaborated. “It’s a painless process. Our saliva works as like an anesthetic and makes the wound heal crazy fast. ”

  “And Ezra’s so good at it that most people don’t even know they’ve been bitten,” Mae explained, somewhat proudly. “Jack and I live mostly
on blood from the blood bank anyway. It’s not quite as good, but it’s much less complicated. ”

  “You get blood from the Red Cross?” I pictured Mae and Jack going down to a Red Cross and asking for a pint of blood for the ride home.

  “No, not exactly. ” Mae gently touched my knee and smiled at me. “There’s a vampire blood bank. People think they’re donating to some place like the Red Cross, but it’s for us. So we have a fridge in the basement full of blood. ”

  “Not that Peter or Ezra ever really get into it,” Jack muttered, and Mae shot a look at him.

  “They lived too long in the times before blood banks,” Mae said, looking rather apologetic. “They’re purists. ”

  “So… they… what? How does that work? They just find some random person and bite them?” The thought of Peter biting anyone else made me feel vaguely nauseous.

  “No, they have clubs where people willingly donate, and a lot of times, they can pick up girls, who think they’re going on a date and getting a long kiss on the neck, but really they’re just getting a snack,” Mae clarified.

  “You’re okay with that?” I asked Mae. “Ezra’s out and about dating and drinking other women?”

  “It’s not pleasant,” Mae admitted, with a pained expression. “But it’s the nature of who we are. And I’d rather have him seducing a woman than just attacking someone and killing them. It’s the price of eternity, love. I can be with him forever, but he has to kiss other women. ” She smiled sadly at me, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to come to terms with it like she had.

  “I drink almost entirely bag blood,” Jack interjected brightly, and I turned my attention back to him.

  “The night you picked me up, were you going to bite me?” Then, remembering how suddenly drowsy I was and that I couldn’t remember how I’d gotten home, my eyes widened. “Did you bite me?”

  “No!” Jack put his hands up defensively under the scrutinizing glares from Mae and me. “No! I didn’t! Honest!” Then he looked sheepish. “I’d actually just come from the club, and I’d … fed, right before I saw you. ”

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  “You mean the clubs I was trying to get into?” I wondered if Jane had ever been picked up by a vampire without knowing it. She probably had, and that served her right.

  “No, it’s a vampire one. Well, I guess I don’t know where you guys were trying to go, so you might’ve. Most people don’t know it’s a vampire club. That’s how I turned. ”

  “Peter picked you up at a club?” I raised my eyebrow skeptically.

  “Nope,” Jack grinned. “I followed these two hot chicks in, and they turned out to be psychotic vampires. Peter was there, looking for something to eat. But the girls went crazy and left me for dead. Peter found me in the alley behind the club, and for some reason, he decided to save me. ”

  “Do you have to be dead to turn?” I asked.

  “No, you can’t be dead,” Jack clarified. “Once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Vampires aren’t undead. We’re just a different form of people. Ezra explained it to me that vampirism is a virus, sorta like AIDS, except whereas AIDS makes you sick, this makes you better. ”

 
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