My blood approves, p.15
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       My Blood Approves, p.15

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
 
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“It’s a virus?” I looked skeptical.

  “I guess. ” Jack shrugged. “That’s what Ezra told me. It’s like an evolutionary mutation. His theory is that people have no predators. The only thing that really takes people down is weather and disease. The plagues actually helped keep the population in check. When cities were overflowing, a plague would come and knock the numbers down. A vampire is just another kind of plague. ”

  “Yeah, that’s great and everything, but a virus?” I shook my head in disbelief. “How can a virus do this to you?”

  “Again, Ezra is more of an expert than I am,” Jack said. “But it just makes you more efficient. We get exactly what we need all the time. We don’t have to process anything. We live on pure, fresh nutrients. And it stops decay. When we die, we’re like Styrofoam. We’re here forever. When we get injured, we heal at an alarming rate, because we’re all blood. ”

  “You guys are really vampires?” They had been explaining stuff to me for a long time, but I still couldn’t wrap my head around it. Jack laughed and leaned on the counter.

  “That was my reaction at first, too,” he grinned.

  “I think that was everyone’s,” Mae agreed.

  “But … this is a normal house. I mean, it’s really nice, but it’s normal. And you guys are just like a family. And you-” I pointed at Jack. “-you sit around playing video games all day. In a house the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota? Come on. Vampires are cooler than that. ”

  “Thanks a lot,” Jack laughed loudly.

  “Well, you know what I mean. You guys have eternity, and you spend it like this?”

  “Exactly. We have forever. How would you spend it?” Jack cocked his head at me.

  “I don’t know,” I admitted. I had never really thought of it before. Trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my measly little human life had always seemed like enough. “But something more glamorous than this. ”

  “Peter and Ezra have seen everything, at least a hundred times, and Mae doesn’t really wanna go anywhere,” Jack shrugged. “I mean, I’ve traveled a little bit, but I’m not in any rush. I’ll be able to see it all one day. I went to the pyramids with Peter a couple years ago. ” He rolled his eyes. “He’s been there like thirty times. He’s like ‘oh big triangles in the sand, whoopee. ’ So that was kind of the end of my traveling, for now, at least. ”

  “So you just sit here and play video games?” I asked incredulously.

  “What do you expect us to do?” Jack laughed. “We just have more time than you. What do you do with your life?”

  “I don’t know. ” I lowered my eyes and thought about it. “This all just seems weird to me. ”

  “Of course it does, love. ” Mae gently stroked my hair. “It’s a lot to take in. ”

  “You guys aren’t gonna eat me, are you?” I didn’t sound afraid, because I wasn’t. I was merely curious, and Mae laughed.

  “No, of course not,” she smiled reassuringly at me.

  “But Peter wanted to last night,” I pointed out. “And Jack really wanted to tonight, before the car crash. ”

  “Jack!” Mae gasped, glaring over at him. Funny, she didn’t look even remotely appalled when I told her Peter wanted to.

  “I did not!” Jack insisted, but he was a bad liar.

  “Jack, you know you can’t do that,” Mae growled, and I wondered what the big deal was. They said that when they bit people it didn’t hurt and it didn’t kill them. So what did it really matter if Jack bit me?

  “It wasn’t my fault!” Jack said defensively. “She was getting all crazy thinking about Peter. And you know what? I didn’t bite her. So. You can just wipe that look off your face. ”

  “Why does thinking about Peter make me more delectable?” I asked, and they both lowered their eyes. “Come on! I know you’re vampires! What’s left?”

  “Delectable,” Jack mused. “That’s a very good way to describe it. ”

  “Why are you even telling me this?” I narrowed my eyes at them. “Why did you tell me you were vampires? Isn’t it like some big secret or something?”

  “Hardly,” Jack snorted. “I hate it that in movies when they’re all like, you can’t tell anyone that we’re vampires or the high council of snooty vampires will kill us all! There’s no high council. There’s not a big vampire society. There isn’t one council governing every human on earth.

  “And you know what?” Jack continued. “People don’t believe in vampires. Do you think that we have to hide anything about us? Did I ever really try to hide anything with you?”

  “No, but you wouldn’t tell me things,” I told him pointedly.

  “Yeah, cause I liked you. The first day we met, if I had told you that I was a vampire, you would’ve thought I was insane and wrote me off. ”

  “Why did it take so long for you to tell me?”

  “I wanted to make sure you trusted me, so you wouldn’t just think I was insane and never want to talk me again. ” Then he got a pained expression on his face and sighed. “I was gonna tell you that night in the park. Then that stuff happened with that damn dog. And you got so upset when I killed it, and I thought if you react like that to me hurting a dog, how are you gonna feel when you find out that I bite people?”

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  “Oh. ” I thought back to that night, and I remembered the way he had threatened to end our friendship because I was crying. It had seemed rather harsh at the time, but in retrospect, that must’ve killed him. “Well, I know now. And I don’t think you’re a monster. ”

  “Good. ” Jack was genuinely relieved. He rubbed his bare skin. “I’m gonna go put on a shirt. I’ll be right back. ” Jack darted out of the kitchen and I heard his feet pounding up the stairs.

  “You doing okay with all of this?” Mae looked at me earnestly, and I nodded. She touched my cheek gently, cupping my face, and then kissed my forehead. “Good. Did you need more water?”

  “Yeah, sure,” I nodded, and she picked up my glass and took it over to the fridge to refill it. “There’s just one thing that’s bothering me. ” That was a lie. There were about fifty things bothering me, but there was only one that I wouldn’t let go for tonight.

  “And what’s that, love?” She brought the glass of water back of to me, looking curious.

  “Why did Peter leave?” I asked, and her expression faltered and she lowered her eyes. “Jack told me it was because of me. ”

  “Jack doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Mae replied tersely.

  “Mae. ” I stared at her until she’d look at me and then she sighed.

  “This really is a conversation for another day. ” She forced a smile at me. “I’ve had a very long day, and I’d really just like to take a hot bath. I’m sure that you and Jack can think of something to amuse yourselves with. ”

  “Always!” Jack beamed, suddenly bursting into the kitchen wearing a fresh tee shirt and shorts.

  “And behave,” Mae warned him as she walked past him. “I mean it. ”

  “Yeah, yeah,” he muttered. When she had her back to him, he stuck out his tongue at her. Then he waltzed over to me, grinning like a fool. “I am so glad you know. Do you have any idea how hard it is keeping anything from you?”

  “Not really, no. ” I still didn’t know everything, but it didn’t bother me anymore. Jack was in an incredibly good mood now, and it was taking me over as well. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to have things kept from you?”

  “Yes!” Jack insisted, still smiling. “Ezra and Peter keep stuff from me all the time. They think I’m too young for anything. If they had it their way, I probably still wouldn’t know that I was a vampire. ”

  “You’re forty?” I wrinkled my nose.

  “Does that freak you out?” He held his chin up high, checking for my response.

  “No. It doesn’t. I know that this all should completely freak me out, but it doesn’t. I feel stupidly safe with you
. ”

  His lips curled mischievously, and I knew that I had accidentally dared him to scare me. He twirled the stool around so my back was to the island, and then he stood in front of me, placing his arms on either side of me, trapping me between him and the island. His face was right in front of me, and his eyes were dancing.

  “What about now? Are you scared?”

  “Nope. Am I supposed to be?” I smiled back at him.

  “You probably should be. ” His voice had gone low and husky, and his eyes were almost translucent as he studied mine.

  Then I saw his eyes lower, looking at my neck, and my heart, beating of its own accord, sped up. I breathed in deeply, and he smelled so clean, like Ivory soap and mint toothpaste. His expression changed, growing more somber, and his face inched closer to mine.

  - 14 -

  “You can hear my blood,” I said softly. He didn’t answer but slowly pulled his eyes away from my throat so they met mine again. His hunger rolled off him, filling me with a strange desire. “What does it sound like?”

  “It sounds like…” He let out a breath that sounded suspiciously like a moan. “…music. ”

  “What does it feel like?” I whispered. “When you’re bitten? What would I feel?”

  His eyes got that wistful look, almost like the one Ezra had when he thought about Mae, and my heart fluttered. A look of pleasure passed over Jack’s face, and for a moment, I felt flush with the warmth of his hunger and adoration.

  “You…” He exhaled deeply, then smiled sourly. “… really need to get going. ” Abruptly, he pushed back from me and turned around, walking away from me. The sudden shift, along with the lingering desire, startled me.

  “What? Why?” I jumped off the stool and scampered after him. “It’s not that late. ”

  “No, it’s not,” Jack agreed, continuing out into the garage. I caught the door before it swung shut and ran after him. “But I only have so much will power left. ”

  “You can bite me if you want,” I offered helpfully. I knew he really wanted to, and it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal if he did. “I want you to. ”

  He stopped in front of the Jetta, and I stood a few away from him, watching him. He laughed darkly and turned to face me, scratching the back of his head and smiling incredulously.

  “You’re killing me here!” Jack shook his head, then pointed his keys at me as he walked towards the car door. “You are far more dangerous than I am!”

  “What?” I demanded. He had stopped at driver’s side door, and I looked over the top of the car at him. “Why won’t you do it?” His desperate want made me want him too, and I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just bite me.

  “I just can’t, Alice. ” His expression was grave, and he dropped his eyes from mine, looking rather ashamed. “And if you’re not going to stop, then I’ll have Mae give you a ride home. ” He shook his head. “I won’t be able to say no. ”

  “Fine, I’ll drop it. ”

  Grudgingly, I opened the car door and got inside. A few seconds later, Jack got in and started the car. I could feel how much he wanted me, the deep hunger brewing painfully inside of him, and the shame at feeling that way. I sat in silence, feeling embarrassed tears sting my eyes.

  “Are you crying?” His breath caught in his throat. “Why are you crying?”

  “Is there something wrong with me?” I wiped at my eyes.

  “What are you talking about?”

  “There has to be something wrong with me. Peter can’t even be around me, and you can’t do it either. Is my blood like poison or something?”

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  “Oh my god, Alice. ” He rubbed his temple, laughing emptily. “You have no idea what you’re doing to me. ” He looked over at me again and shook his head. “I can’t even take you home. I can’t even-” Then he just turned and jumped out of the car.

  “What?” I scrambled out after him, wondering what I had done to drive him away. He stood just outside the car, trying to shake it off. “What did I do?”

  “You’re not poison! You’re the opposite of poison!” Jack exhaled, but it was more like he was gasping for air. “I can’t be in that car with you. You did this thing to me and I need to get back down, but you’re so…” He shook his head, unwilling to say it aloud.

  “I don’t understand. If you want me so much, then why can’t you just have me?” I felt what he felt, so I wanted what he wanted. It was raw and pure and so intense it was suffocating.

  “Alice…” He had his hands on his hips and he let out a shaky breath. “Peter would kill me. He would literally tear me to shreds. He wouldn’t want to, but he would. ”

  “What? What does Peter have to do with this?”

  I thought of Peter, feeling strangely excited by the fact that he would express jealousy over me, and my heart sped up. Jack’s face contorted miserably, and he shook his head.

  “You’re thinking of him. You’re fucking thinking of him. ” He clenched his fists.

  “I’m sorry!” I cried, trying to slow my heart down. Jack looked as if I was actually killing him, and his agony ripped through me. “Can’t you just bite me and make this stop?”

  “Alice!” Jack lamented. “He is my brother! And you are his! You belong to Peter, not me!”

  “What are you talking about?” While there was something very thrilling about his words, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. “You picked me out for Peter?”

  “No, I had no choice in the matter. None of us did. ” He looked away from me, but I could see his face breaking. “It’s the blood. Your blood, his blood. They react to each other. It’s why you get all crazy when you think about him. And it drives me crazy because it’s in my blood too. ”

  Everything that happened with Peter had felt so physical because it was. There was a chemical reaction between us that I couldn’t explain. But then I had started thinking about it, and it was more than Jack could take, so he rushed past me and into the house.

  “Mae!” Jack shouted when he got inside. Stupidly, I kept following him. Part of him wanted me to, because so much of him still wanted me. “Mae!”

  “What?” Mae rushed into entryway, wrapping a bathrobe tightly around herself. Then she saw his pained expression, and her face went pale. “Jack, you didn’t. ”

  “Just get her away from me!” Jack snarled, and I saw there were tears in his eyes.

  “Just go upstairs,” Mae nodded. “I’ll take care of her. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I mumbled through my own tears, but Jack was already gone.

  “Did he bite you?” Mae rushed over to me, inspecting my neck much the same way Jack had the day before.

  “No,” I shook my head fiercely. There was a loud banging upstairs, and Mae looked apprehensively at the ceiling.

  “Come on. We need to get you out of here. ” She put her arm around me and started ushering me out to the garage.

  “You’re wearing a bathrobe. ”

  “He can’t take much more, love,” Mae whispered. The Jetta was still running, so we got inside of it and pulled out of the garage.

  “I’m sorry,” I repeated.

  “Oh, love, it’s really not your fault,” Mae smiled reassuringly at me. “Jack should know better, but he’s still so young. ” She reached over and stroked my hair. “It’s really not so bad. Honest. ”

  “I feel what he feels,” I said quietly. “I know how hard that was for him. I felt how much he wanted me, so … I wanted him to, and I was making it harder. ”

  “You what?” Mae looked at me with a startled expression on her face. “You feel what he feels?”

  “Yeah,” I nodded. “Is that okay?”

  “It doesn’t matter if it is or not if that’s the way it is,” Mae replied matter-of-factly and looked straight ahead.

  “He told me that I’m meant for Peter. ”

  “I thought he might,” Mae sighed. Then she s
miled at me again. “You would’ve found out eventually. We just didn’t want to surprise you with too much new information, especially with Peter being the way he is. ”

  “If I’m supposed to be for Peter, then how come Jack is the one that wants me around?” I asked. “And why didn’t Peter just bite me? Why did he run away?”

  “Peter is a very complicated man, but he’s a good man. ” She swallowed hard, and I could tell there was something she was still keeping from me. “And Jack is very young. And they may not seem like it lately, but they were very close to each other. ”

  “Would Peter really kill him if he found out Jack bit me?”

  “Yes. ” She licked her lips and refused to look at me. “And he would know. It’s not something you can hide. He could smell Jack on you. ” Then she turned to look at me. “So if something happened, I need to know, so I can try to protect you both. ”

  “What do you mean? Peter would kill us both?” For the first time since meeting Jack, I felt really scared for my safety. “I don’t understand. If I am meant for Peter…. None of this makes sense, Mae!”

  “As soon as I drop you off, I’m going to call Ezra and make him come home to sort this all out. ” Her eyes filled with tears and she gripped the steering wheel. “I should’ve never left you alone with Jack. He’s just been alone with you so much, but I knew things were changing. ”

  “He didn’t bite me. Honest,” I tried to reassure her.

  “Everything’s still getting out of control. I told Ezra not to go. That everything is different this time. ”

  “This time?” I asked.

  “Not right now, Alice. ” The car suddenly jerked to a stop, and I realized we were in front of my building. I had been so wrapped up in my thoughts that I hadn’t even noticed it. “You need to go home, and Ezra or Jack or somebody will be in contact with you tomorrow. ”

  Page 45

  “How did you know where I lived?” I looked over at Mae, but she just stared straight ahead.

  “I have to get home and take care of Jack before he hurts himself. ”

  “He might hurt himself?” I gasped.

  “I have to go!” Mae pleaded. “We’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?”

  “Okay, go!” I jumped out of the car and watched her speed off, praying Jack wouldn’t do something stupid.

  Everything about me felt so confused and jumbled, and I collapsed onto the cold sidewalk and sobbed.

  One hot bath, two pm Tylenol, and a hot tea and brandy (courtesy of Milo and my mother’s alcohol cabinet) later, I managed to fall asleep. Milo saw the wreck I was when I came home, and I promised him that I would tell him another day, but I couldn’t muster the strength to do it then.

  When I woke up, my pillow was soaked, and I knew I had been crying in my sleep. Milo informed me that I’d been moaning all night long, but thankfully, he couldn’t understand anything.

  I stumbled around the house most of the day, and I’m surprised that I didn’t bump into any objects. Milo forced me to eat, but swallowing felt like a massive chore.

  I put on comfy sweats and a tee shirt and didn’t even bother with showering. It would be too much work, and I didn’t even know if I’d see Jack or Peter today. There was a very good chance that I’d never see either of them again. Peter had run away, and Jack…

 
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