My blood approves, p.6
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       My Blood Approves, p.6

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
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“Alice! Go back to the car!”

  “Why?” I felt nauseous, but I didn’t want to leave Jack. If I did, I knew that something bad would happen, although I didn’t even know what that meant.

  “Alice! Just do it!” Jack growled.

  Adrenaline surged through my body, and my feet were happy to comply when I started running back to the car.

  Before I had even made it there, I heard the dog yelp, and my stomach dropped. My heart pounded erratically in my chest, and I wanted to throw up.

  I made it to the car, and I fought the urge to just keep running. I collapsed on the pavement next to it, gasping for breath.

  When I saw Jack walking towards me, I stood up and hurried towards him, but I stopped sharply before I met him.

  Part of me really wanted to hug him, but another part of me knew what he had done, and it scared the hell out of me. Irrational tears streamed down my cheeks, but I tried to ignore them.

  “Jack, what did you do?” I wiped at my eyes to erase the tears. “What’d you do with the dog?”

  “Alice…” He closed his eyes, as if it would hurt him too much to watch me react. “I didn’t have any choice. You saw him. He was going to kill somebody! What if you had been here by yourself or with Milo?”

  Everything he was saying was true. The dog had looked insane and probably rabid, and even before I left him, I knew that Jack would kill the dog. But it didn’t change anything.

  Hurting any animal for any reason would always reduce me to tears, especially when I had been some part of it. He had killed that dog to protect me.

  “I don’t care!” I cried harder, and I wished I would just stop.

  It seemed unfair to me that I would be angry with Jack for saving my life, but I couldn’t help it. He moved awkwardly, as if he wanted to hug me, but he knew that I would push him away if he tried.

  “Alice,” Jack breathed deeply, looking away from me. He had this agonized expression on his face, and he took a small step back from me. “Everything just got so much more complicated. ”

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  “What are you talking about?”

  I felt something shift, and a whole new fear ran through me. As upset as I had been over the dog, I hadn’t hated Jack, or even really been mad at him.

  “This!” Jack shook his head and walked past me. “Everything! This is so stupid. I am so stupid. ”

  “What are you talking about?” I ran after him, wondering what I had done that had been so terrible. I reached out for him, but he pulled his arm away before I even got close to it.

  “I’m taking you home. ” We had reached the car, but he stood outside of it, waiting for me to get in. I had stopped in front of it and refused to go any further.

  “No!” I insisted. “Why?”

  “Why?” He laughed, but it was humorless and sent nervous shivers all over me. Then he reeled on me, his face stone cold, and his voice harsher than I had ever imagined it could be. “I killed a dog – to save your life – and you look at me like I’m a monster!”

  He rubbed his temple, and I saw blood covering his hand. Somehow, I’d managed to forget that the dog had bitten him.

  “Jack, I don’t think that you’re a monster,” I explained softly. “I just don’t like it when things die. ”

  “Nobody does, Alice,” Jack replied icily. He bit his lip and shook his head, then mumbled, “The damn thing was probably rabid. It was gonna die anyway. ”

  “I know that,” I swallowed hard. “I don’t know what I did that upset you so much, but I’m sorry. I never wanted to offend you. And I don’t think it’s fair that you’re going to cut me out of your life because I cried over a dog. ”

  “It’s not because you cried. ” He softened a little, but he still wouldn’t look at me. “It was the way you looked at me. ”

  “I’m sorry!” I insisted. “I was in shock! The dog just charged at us and attacked you and then… I don’t know. I’m sorry. It was just because it was a dog. Remember when you beat up those people in the parking garage? I didn’t cry then. ”

  “No, you didn’t,” Jack agreed, and he finally seemed to be relenting. I took a step closer to him, eyeing up the ragged holes in his sweatshirt and the blood on his hand.

  “We should go the hospital,” I said.

  “Why?” Jack looked up at me, his eyes terrified. “Did he get you? I thought I blocked him-”

  “No, I’m fine,” I cut him off, and he relaxed again. “I was talking about you. The dog bit you. ”

  “No, that’s fine. ” He waved his arm absently and moved closer to the car, like he would escape into the car and away from my prying eyes. “It’s not a big deal. ”

  “Yeah, it is,” I continued towards him. “You shirts all torn up and I can see the blood. Plus, like you said, the dog’s probably rabid. You’re going to need a rabies shot. ”

  “I’ll go tomorrow. It’s not that bad. ” Jack had stepped so far back that he pressed up against the door. I reached for his arm, and he pulled it back from me, but I wouldn’t have any of it.

  “Jack!” I said firmly, and he let out an exasperated sigh.

  “It’s really not that bad,” he repeated, but he let me take his arm.

  The hoodie was soaked with blood that covered his hand, so I doubted his claims. Very carefully, I pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and gasped.

  There were three little teeth holes in arms. That was all. They were slightly red and raised, but they were smaller than a pencil. On top of that, they weren’t even bleeding.

  Blood covered his arm, but the trails seemed to connect just outside of where the teeth marks were. He probably didn’t even need a Band-Aid.

  “Oh my god,” I whispered, gaping at his lack of injury.

  “I told you it wasn’t bad. ” Jack yanked his arm back from me and pulled down his sleeve.

  “How?” I stared up at him. “There’s all that blood…”

  “I bleed easy. I’m a hemophiliac,” Jack replied, and for some reason, that answer made him smirk.

  “No, it’s not possible,” I shook my head. “I heard the dog crunching into your bone. There’s no way that wounds that shallow would hit bone. ”

  “It all happened so fast. You can’t be sure of what you heard,” he attempted to explain it all away.

  “I know what I heard!” I said it with more conviction than I actually had. “You should have massive bite marks and maybe even a broken arm. And how did you even get that dog down?”

  “You saw me do that. ” He looked at me skeptically, but there was something brewing in his eyes that I couldn’t read.

  “That dog was huge and crazy!” I remembered the way that Jack had stopped it with one hand before he threw it the ground. It easily weighed over a hundred pounds, and it had clamped onto his arm. “It’s not even humanly possible for you to be able to stop a dog like that, not without a massive fight, and you have one barely-there bite mark! If he could be taken down that easily, then…”

  “What exactly are you saying?” Jack narrowed his eyes at me, but there was a brightness to them. He was hoping I would figure it out.

  “You were bit, but there’s hardly a wound, and-and you have like super human strength and… everything in the whole world wants to have sex with you and… you don’t have a temperature!” I spouted.

  Biting my lip, I didn’t look at him. I tried to figure it all out, but none of it made sense. I could feel him looking at me, but I just couldn’t put the puzzle together.

  “So?” Jack asked encouragingly.

  “So…” I threw my arms up in the air, feeling completely exasperated. “I don’t know! You’re a werewolf!” Jack scoffed and looked disappointed.

  “There’s no such thing as werewolves,” he rolled his eyes and opened the car door.

  “Well, what else is there?” I whined, but he shut the door instead of answering me. I ran around to the other side of the c
ar and jumped in. “What’s going on, Jack?”

  “I bleed a lot, you’re confused cause you got caught up in the emotion, my adrenaline gave me the power to take down the dog, and I am just stunningly attractive,” he explained, but his tone was teasing, especially on the part about him being attractive. “Oh, and I do to have a temperature. Everything has a temperature. ”

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  “Okay, yeah, but you don’t have a normal human temperature. ”

  “Are you like a walking thermometer?” Jack started the car and looked over at me.

  “Where are we going?” I asked, ignoring his question.

  “I’m taking you home,” he said, then added, “Just for the night. I’ll see you tomorrow. But you’ve had a long enough night, and you have school in the morning. ”

  “You still need to go to the hospital,” I pointed out. “The bite broke the skin. You need a rabies shot. ”

  “I do not. ” He started to pull out of the parking lot and turned on the stereo, but kept it low so we could talk.

  “Look, I know the wounds aren’t very big, but if any of his saliva mixes with your blood, you can get rabies,” I said. “I read this book by Chuck Palahniuk all about rabies, so I’m almost nearly an expert. It’s even sexually transmitted. ”

  “Well, luckily for you-” (at that point he stopped to wink at me, but I just rolled my eyes) “-I do not have rabies. ”

  “You don’t know that,” I said. “It wouldn’t hurt you just to get a stupid shot. ”

  “No, Alice, I don’t need a shot. ” He looked at me, completely serious, and then it finally dawned on me.

  “You can’t get rabies. ” I sighed and leaned my head back against the seat. “That really blows my whole werewolf theory. ”

  “I already told you they aren’t real. ”

  “So is it just rabies or is it any communicable disease?” I asked it even though I wasn’t sure he would answer. “Oh my god. It’s any disease, isn’t it? Any form of illness?”

  “You’ve had a very long night,” he said quietly. “Maybe we should drop it for tonight. ”

  “But-” I started to protest but I couldn’t think of a single argument for it. All of this was getting maddening, but for whatever reason, he couldn’t tell me what was going on. So all I could do was get more and more frustrated and perplexed. “You’re okay, aren’t you?”

  “What do you mean?”

  “Like… you got injured tonight for me, and I just want to know that you’re okay. ” That might be the only information I’d get, and it had to be enough for me to settle with that.

  “Yeah, I’m fine,” Jack smiled at me. We had stopped in front of my building, but I was reluctant to get out.

  “Ugh, this is so unfair,” I groaned, opening the car door to get out.

  “You know what you’re problem might be?” Jack asked, giving me an odd look. “You worry too much. ”

  “Yeah. That’s my problem,” I grumbled getting out of the car.

  Jack was still laughing when he pulled away, and I stood on the curb for a minute, trying to put everything into perspective. Sure, he had killed a rabid dog and then magically healed from the attack, but at least he saved my life. Again.

  There isn’t a single sound in the world that’s worse than an alarm going off. After Jack had dropped me off last night, it had been all but impossible to fall asleep. Between lingering adrenaline from the near-death experience, and Jack’s increasingly cryptic responses and bizarre behavior, I had too much on my mind.

  Once the warm water of the morning shower splashed my face, it all seemed even more ridiculous. I lived in Minneapolis, not Gotham City, or whatever other bogus city where supernatural forces at work.

  Here, in the real world, there were no super powers or werewolves or unicorns. Everything in life had an explanation, and Jack’s probably had more to do with cocaine or mescaline than it did magic.

  People addicted to speed were known to exhibit superhuman strength, and combine that with some kind of chemical imbalance that made him smell irresistible to women, and there it was.

  Problem solved. And he was just kind of a jackass and didn’t want to let on that he had a drug problem.

  I spent too much time in the shower, and I almost missed the bus to school. Milo sat next to me, but he didn’t seem to be in a talking mood, so I put in my ear buds and decided to pass the time listening to Rogue Wave on my iPod. Resting my forehead against the glass of the window, I watched my breath fog it up.

  Milo kept giving me the cold shoulder even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, and this guy that I barely knew but really liked had fought off a rabid dog last night. What exactly had happened to my life over Spring Break?

  School passed more slowly than it ever had before. I slept all through my second hour, but I managed to sneak my iPod into my other classes. I just stared out the window, at the chilly rain falling down, and tried not to think about Jack. By the end of fifth hour, I had completely exhausted myself not thinking about him.

  When I stopped at my locker between classes, I managed to drop my History book on the ground. I bent down to pick it up, and when I stood back up, Milo was standing right next to me, scaring the crap out of me. He admired the clutter that occupied my locker, including the obligatory collage mess of magazine cut outs lining the inside of the door.

  “God, you scared me,” I grumbled, shoving my History book into my book bag.

  “So are you gonna be at home tonight or not?” He had one of his hands on my locker door, and he swung it back and forth, just enough to make it squeak.

  “Of course I’m gonna be there. I live there. ” I continued fiddling around with something in my bag, but mostly I was trying to look busy.

  “I meant, are you gonna hang out with Jack?” His tone was icy, and I didn’t understand what he found so offensive about me being with Jack. Even if he was having some kind of jealousy, shouldn’t he be trying to cover it up better?

  “Yeah, probably,” I shrugged.

  We hadn’t actually talked yet, but Jack had said that he would see me today, and I didn’t have any reason to doubt him. Well, except for the fact that he was hiding something major.

  “So are you guys like dating or what?” Milo asked, dripping with angry sarcasm.

  “No. It’s not like that. ” I slung my bag over my shoulder, and he just narrowed his eyes at me.

  Suddenly, it pissed me off that I had to explain myself to him. We weren’t dating, but it shouldn’t matter to him anyway. It wasn’t my fault that Jack’s abnormal attractiveness had made his sexual orientation even more confusing. If he had told me he was having issues with it, I wouldn’t have brought Jack around.

  “Whatever,” Milo muttered.

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  “What exactly are you accusing me of?” I slammed my locker door shut. He let his hands fall to the sides, looking startled. “Even if I am dating Jack, so what? I can do that. There’s nothing wrong with being friends with him or dating him or whatever it is I decide to do with him. He’s a nice guy and it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. ”

  “Whatever you say,” Milo said, but he wasn’t as confident or angry.

  “Milo, this is stupid. ” I readjusted the strap over my shoulder and looked at him softly. “I get it, okay? I saw the way that you looked at Jack. ”

  “I don’t know what you’re talking about. ” He flushed and averted his eyes, shifting uncomfortably.

  Outing him in the middle of the hall at school probably wasn’t the best idea, but I just couldn’t take his indifference to me anymore. He normally told me everything, and it looked like he wasn’t going to talk to me about this unless I got the ball rolling.

  “It’s okay. ” I lowered my voice so other people wouldn’t overhear. “If you’re gay. It’s okay. I understand. ”

  “You don’t understand anything!” Milo shouted.

; When he looked up at me, tears filled his eyes, and I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. I couldn’t force him to come to terms with anything, and if he wasn’t ready to talk about it with me, I should’ve respected that.

  “Milo-” I started to say something, but I didn’t really have anything to follow it up.

  He didn’t wait around for it anyway. He just turned and stormed off down the hall, leaving me alone to think about what an ass I was.

  When I got on the bus after school, he made sure to sit on the opposite side. On the way to our house from the bus stop, he jogged on ahead of me. I tried to hurry and catch up, but by the time I made it inside, he’d already slammed the door to his bedroom.

  He must’ve been really upset if he risked the wrath of our mother just to show me how angry he was. I sighed and flopped on the couch, wondering how he had managed to put up with me for so long.

  I had made it through two full episodes of Judge Judy while lying sprawled out on the couch without any word from Jack or Milo, and I was starting to think that maybe the whole world had ostracized me. The only time that Jane had talked to me all day was during lunch, and then it was just a list of how much she drank and who she had sex with over the break.

  I just wanted to curl up on the couch and completely give up on life, but then I heard the familiar ring of “Time Warp” and I quickly snatched up my phone.

  Are you done with school yet? Jack text messaged, making me wonder how long it had been since he went to school.

  Yeah. I’ve been done for like two hours. Why? I replied.

  Good. Ready to hang out? He hadn’t really answered my question, but hey, what’s new?

  Yeah. Sure. What did you have in mind? I messaged him.

  I’ll pick you up in 15.

  And that was that. My clothes from school were fine (I’d gone with jeans, a long shirt, and a cute little black vest), but most of my makeup had worn off, so I rushed to the bathroom to reapply and run a brush through my hair.

  I started heading towards the front door, but decided against it. Exhaling nervously, I knocked on Milo’s door.

  “Milo?” I said cautiously. He didn’t respond, but I continued anyway. “I know you’re mad at me, and I don’t blame you. I did a stupid, stupid thing. But um…” I sighed, and tried to figure out what I wanted to say. “You can talk to me if you want to. But I just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to go hang out with Jack. But you can call me if you want to. Okay?”

  He still didn’t answer, but I waited a minute just to be sure. Then since I’d already spent too much time getting ready, I hurried out to meet Jack.

  I stepped outside, feeling like the worst sister in the world, just in time to see Jack pull up. I trudged over to the red Lamborghini and fell into the seat heavily.

  The Ramones blared out the speakers, and he turned them down quickly, looking at me with a mischievous grin. Even though my sour mood had to be obvious, he was oblivious to it, so it soon faded away.

  “What?” I asked. He bit his lip, as if he couldn’t decide whether to tell me or not. “What’s going on?”

  “I think that its time you met my family. ” He sounded wildly excited by the idea, but also a tad nervous. Whatever made him nervous tended to terrify me, so I gulped. “No, it’s a good thing. Yeah. ” Then he nodded, more to himself than me. “Yeah. It’s good. ”

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