Fallen grace, p.6
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       Fallen Grace, p.6

           Jessica Cartwright
 
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~5~

  I awoke with a start after having the dream again. There had been an addition tonight. A new scene in the dream, they had come for me. I had felt them taking my blood and my body was writhing in pain as I tried to pull away. After reassuring myself of where I was, I threw myself back down into the pillows on my bed, praying for more sleep but knowing I had to get ready for school. Looking at the clock, I saw it was already 8:00am. I dressed quickly and threw my make up in my bag. It would have to be done in the car I didn’t have time to do it now. I rushed from the room to find Alex waiting for me in the hall.

  “Good morning sleepy head. I was beginning to think you were going to ditch on your second day,” Alex greeted me, the smiling fading as he took a closer look at me. “No offence but you look terrible.”

  “Thanks,” I replied sarcastically. “Not all of us got a head start on our beauty sleep by falling asleep on the couch last night.”

  Alex shrugged and opened the front door smiling at me. I walked outside and the sun began to burn my eyes. I was momentarily startled. This had not happened to me in a long time I would need to feed tonight to ensure this didn’t happen again. I quickly fished out a pair of sunglasses and got into the cool shade of the car with its dark tinted windows. Alex got in the driver’s seat and looked over at me in my oversized sunglasses.

  “Yup much better,” he commented. “Way to swap that not enough sleep look with a very hung over look.” Laughing he started the car.

  “Shut up!” I replied lamely, resting my head back on the seat and rubbing my temples. I lost myself in thoughts about the dream. It had been many years since I had remembered the event in full and it unsettled me. I had grown accustomed to the old dream and this new addition was unwanted. I did not need any more motivation to hate the Acelades family and constantly reminding me of my reason for hating them would only make me reckless and even more dangerous.

  “Grace! Hello, earth to Grace!” Alex was vainly trying to get my attention.

  “What? Sorry, Alex I was somewhere else completely.” I replied, forcing myself to concentrate.

  “I was just saying are you sure you are alright to go to school today? You really don’t look well.” Alex looked at me with a concerned expression. I felt my stomach flip at this show of concern. How sweet that he should worry. I smiled at Alex and shook my head.

  “Honestly, I’m fine.” I replied “I just stayed up too late last night that’s all and my body is still adjusting to the new time zone. I’ll be fine.” With that, I flipped down the mirror on the passenger side and spent the rest of the car ride attempting to make myself appear less ghastly with the array of make up and hair styling tools contained in my handbag. By the time Alex had parked the car, I still looked pale, but at least I was unlikely to scare anyone away.

  We were met at the car by Lauren and Daniel who were eagerly discussing the Fire and Ice Ball that was to occur at the school this Saturday. Apparently, it was the event of the year, but I was still unclear on what it actually was. From what I could glean from the conversation, it was a dance of sorts where everyone dressed up in formal wear resembling fire and ice. It was a tradition at the school going back over 100 years. Lauren was very excited as only seniors were invited to attend the ball and this was her year. She had already purchased her dress and spent the best part of study period explaining it to me in great detail. It appeared that she was going to be the ice part of the fire and ice combination and her floor length dress was ivory satin with an ice blue chiffon overlay embroidered and thousands of crystals sewn on it in snowflake designs.

  I had never been so thankful that Alex had a girlfriend on another continent and I clung to the hope that he would therefore not want to attend this event. Dancing and social etiquette had not been my strong point when I was a lady in society I doubted it had increased with time. Lauren, on the other hand, had other ideas about Alex’s and my attendance at the event.

  “Oh my God! It is so lucky that you started when you did because now you can go with Alex to the dance!” Lauren rejoiced over lunch later that day in the cafeteria.

  “I don’t think so Lauren,” I replied looking to Alex for support. His face did not appear to show the same lack of enthusiasm for the dance as I had hoped.

  “Yeah, Lauren I don’t think it’s such a good idea.” Alex chimed in half heartedly.

  “I’m sure Olivia wouldn’t mind Alex. I mean it’s just a dance and besides it’s not as if there is anything between you and Grace. You’re basically family.” Lauren continued, determined not to be dissuaded from her dreams of all of us attending the Fire and Ice Ball together.

  “No! There is nothing between us!” Alex answered a little too quickly, a slight blushed rising on his face. The words stung me for a reason I could not understand. It was not that I wanted Alex to like me, but the harshness of his response was still a blow.

  “Just leave it Lauren.” Daniel finally entered the conversation looking suspiciously from Alex to me. I looked at Alex but he refused to meet my gaze. Instead, he appeared focused on his lunch. Lauren became distracted and the conversation soon moved on to television shows including some of those I had watched last night with Alex. I was glad for the change of topic, but Alex’s response to Lauren’s questions about the dance still bothered me. I was sure it was simple vanity. There had been a time when every man in my village would have fought to take me to a dance but reflecting on the way I looked now, I doubted that would still be the case.

  After lunch, I had History with Alex in the east side of the campus. We said our goodbyes to Lauren and Daniel and headed to class. Alex was quiet on the way and appeared caught up in his own thoughts. I knew that I should try and see what was wrong, but my head was still pounding from the dream last night. I felt exhausted. I was happy just to sit in the quiet and wait for this day to be over. I noticed Alex staring at me from time to time as we walked but his expression was undiscernible. We reached the classroom and Alex held the door open for me. As I walked into the classroom, I brushed past him sending a tingling sensation through my body. I immediately felt the poison rising in my teeth and his smell consumed me. My vision went black and I felt myself sway. The next thing I knew, Alex had grabbed me, holding me tight in his arms. The feeling of this was both ecstasy and agony. My senses returned with heightened acuity and I was suddenly aware of my closeness to Alex and the danger this posed in my current state. I stepped away from Alex who was looking at me with deep concern and smiled appreciatively at him as I walked across the classroom and took my seat. I was thankful that we were the first to arrive and prayed that others would arrive soon. I was less likely to act impulsively with an audience.

  Alex rushed over to me and knelt beside my desk looking up at me.

  “Grace, are you ok?” he asked.

  “Yes. I’m fine I guess. I just didn’t eat enough at lunch,” I replied trying to think of a human explanation for my behaviour.

  “I think you should see a nurse. You haven’t looked good all day” he continued

  “Alex. Seriously I’m fine. I just had a bad night sleep and didn’t eat enough.” That part was true. Obviously, I would need to increase my feeding schedule to morning and night.

  “I’m going to get you some juice or something.” Alex said standing up and rushing from the classroom. I didn’t argue. I was glad to have a few moments alone to get myself under control. Feeling the poison recede, I concentrated on hearing every conversation in the hallway, then the school then the surrounding areas. Focusing on this, allowed my body to return to its normal state and directed my energy back into protection mode. I could hear Alex asking the cafeteria ladies for juice and rushing through the halls to bring it to me. I smiled in spite of myself. The thought of this poor kid trying to look after me in his human ways when my sole job now was to look after him against an evil he could not even imagine. Alex returned to the classroom and placed three different kinds of juice in front of me.

  “I didn’t know wh
ich one you would like,” he explained searching my face.

  “Thanks,” I said reaching for the one closet to me. They would all taste like dirt but I had to keep up the façade of being human. I took a deep swallow from the bottle draining almost half of its contents. Alex appeared satisfied with this and took his seat next to me.

  “Drink the rest of it,” he encouraged and I complied with his request. Other students had begun to filter in and the class was nearly full. I removed my books from my bag and readied myself for class, preparing to ignore Alex’s looks of concern for the entire lesson. The teacher entered and began the lesson. It was the bubonic plague again. I pretended to be listening intently throughout the lesson, even taking notes. From the corner of my eye, I could see Alex looking over at me frequently and at one point he pushed the second bottle of juice towards me. Not wanting to make a scene and most of all not wanting him to try and take me to the nurse or worse home, I drank the second bottle of juice.

  At the end of the lesson, Alex stood next to my desk waiting for me to pack up my belongings. I had biology next and whilst I wasn’t looking forward to another hour with Tristan, the break from Alex would do me good. I looked at Alex who still hadn’t moved.

  “I have biology.” I informed him.

  “I know,” he replied. “I’m going to walk you there.”

  “No Alex. I’m fine seriously.” I argued.

  “Well, it’s either I walk you to biology or I take you to the nurse your choice,” he grinned at me.

  “Fine.” I growled, secretly touched by his concern but worried about his protective feelings. These would not serve him well if events turned sour closer to his birthday.

  We walked to biology amid the hustle of students making their way to various classes. As Alex attempted to steer me through the mass of students and I felt myself rebelling and attempting to take back control over the situation. I was feeling stronger and I hated the feeling that Alex was in control. I stepped away from him and slipped in front so that I was now leading the way, cutting through the groups of students who had gathered to talk in between class. I could hear Alex sigh behind me, unimpressed that I would not allow him to take care of me. He did not allow me to get more than a step in front of him and I could feel his presence hovering behind me with his breath on the back of my neck. The poison was flooding my mouth and I swallowed hard to clear it. I could not reach biology soon enough. As soon we reached the laboratory, I turned to face Alex.

  “Thanks for walking me to class,” I said to Alex turning to enter the classroom.

  “Grace,” Alex called to gain my attention before I slipped into class.

  “Yes,” I replied reluctantly turning to face him again.

  “I’ll meet you here after class and walk you to the car.” he stated firmly.

  I saw no point in arguing with him after the way I had acted before. Any normal person would be concerned. I nodded at him and quickly ducked into the classroom. Relief was immediate.Having only a wall between Alex and I was enough to allow my body to relax, the poison began to recede and my muscles relaxed. I could not understand what it was about Alex that made me feel like this but I needed to get it under control. I had heard of other protectors who developed strange reactions to their targets, including sharing thoughts and an emotional bond, but never like I was experiencing. I knew it must be because Alex was human that this reaction was different but it didn’t matter. Whenever this occurred for other protectors, the assignment almost always failed. I could not allow this to happen. I would just need to desensitise myself to Alex and that meant spending even more time with him.

  I took my seat and removed my books looking every part the proper student. It appeared today’s lesson would be about cell reproduction and consisted of a lengthy and dull lecture from Mr Johns, our biology teacher, accompanied by slides which I was fairly sure came from the 1970’s. I constantly checked in on conversations in the school to make sure that Alex was safe, but spent most of the lecture staring out the window into the school grounds. This idle daydreaming was interrupted by the sound of the bell signalling the end of my second day at Creswick Academy. My daydreaming, however, had left me open to Tristan. He appeared at my desk before I could arm myself for his presence. I looked up at him and noticed the dopey grin he wore on his face, so sure of himself. Looking past him, I noticed that students were packing up their belongings and I took the opportunity to duck under the bench and retrieve my bag, giving me a few seconds to ready myself. Placing my bag on the table, I turned to Tristan.

  “Hey,” he started leaning on the bench.

  “Hi,” I replied and commenced packing up the books I had not touched the entire lesson.

  “So how are you settling in?” he asked

  “Fine thanks.” I attempted to make my responses reflect my disinterest in this conversation. Tristan did not pick up on the cues. I stood up from my chair and began to make my way to the door with Tristan following me closely. Most of the students had left the classroom by now and Tristan turned in front of me. I found it infuriating having to move at a slow human pace. This was the second time in two days I had been forced to allow Tristan to block my exit.

  “So, I’m guessing you’ve heard about the Fire and Ice Ball?” Tristan asked. Here it comes I thought bracing myself for the inevitable.

  “Yes, I have.” I replied nonchalantly

  “Are you planning on going?” Tristan continued eagerly trying to find out if I had already been asked.

  “Probably not,” I replied leaving myself an opportunity to attend if Alex changed his mind, still hoping that he wouldn’t. What I didn’t realise was that Tristan saw this as an opening, an invitation almost, for him to ask me. Taking a deep breath, Tristan finally got to the point.

  “Would you like to go the Fire and Ice Ball with me?” Tristan asked quickly looking at me, hopefully.

  “I don’t think so Tristan but thanks for the offer.” I replied as kindly as possible.

  “But why not?” Tristan asked, not understanding why someone would not want to go with him and hoping that he could change my mind. Just at that point, the door opened and Alex was there looking from Tristan to me.

  “Grace, are you ok?” he asked, his voice full of concern and something else that I couldn’t identify.

  “Oh, I get it.” Tristan spat looking at Alex darkly as he turned from the room, barging past Alex on his way out.

  I leant against the side of the bench, glad that it was finally over. I rubbed my temples again as the pain returned. Alex rushed to my side, grabbing my arms and staring intently. A current shocked through me at his touch and it was almost impossible to concentrate. I could feel myself becoming overpowered but this time I fought it. I pushed the feelings back, keeping them separate so they wouldn’t overpower me. When I found myself able to do this, I could actually enjoy the feeling.

  “Grace?” Alex said quietly looking up at me as if I might break.

  “I’m fine Alex, really. Tristan just threw me off that’s all,” I replied pushing myself up from the bench and out of his grasp. “Let’s go home,” I said as I walked from the room.

  “Ok.” Alex acquiesced although obviously not satisfied with my response but hesitant to push me too far in my current state. We walked to the car in silence. I felt Alex looking at me as we walked. I ignored him until we were in the car driving home. Normally, I would find driving this slowly infuriating but now I needed the time to convince Alex not to speak with Lucas about my episode today.

  “Alex,” I said leaning forward to turn down the music. Alex had used the music to fill the uncomfortable silence between us. “You’re not going to tell Lucas about what happened today are you?” I asked

  “Why?” Alex replied.

  “He would only worry and then he would call my grandfather and he would worry. He already has so much to deal with since my parents died, I just don’t want to give him anything else to worry about.” I was surprised how easily this lie
came out. I felt bad lying to Alex but it was for the best. If Lucas heard about what was happening, he would again question if I should be on this assignment and I knew that I was the best at what I did. Alex needed me for this assignment.

  Alex regarded me for a moment and finally agreed. “Ok, but on one condition.” Alex stated.

  “What’s the condition?” I asked suspiciously.

  “You have to let me know if you start feeling sick again before you pass out. I can’t be around to catch you all the time,” Alex replied loftily, a grin spreading across his face. I knew I had him at that point and relaxed.

  “Sure thing,” I replied returning his smile.

  “So, are you going to tell me what happened between you and Tristan today or are you going to leave me to make up my own stories?” Alex looked at me still grinning.

  “Urgh!” I replied “He asked me to the Fire and Ice Ball.”

  “What did you say?” Alex asked quickly. I noticed an edge of anticipation to his voice.

  “I said no of course. I don’t really want to spend any more time than necessary at school, especially not with Tristan.” I replied.

  “Oh,” Alex said his face a mixture of disappointment and relief neither of which I could understand. “I’m not going either,” he added.

  I let out a sigh and sat back in the chair. My head was throbbing and I could not wait to feed again. I wondered if I could hunt before sundown if I went into the forest deep enough. I found myself rubbing my temples, a reaction left over from when I was human. It didn’t relieve the pain, but the action in itself was soothing.

  Alex looked at me briefly before taking the next exit off the freeway. This was not our exit and I looked at him questioningly. I had not surveyed this area and I did not want to face any other vampires today.

  “Where are we going?” I asked when it appeared obvious that he was not going to offer the information.

  “You look hungry,” he replied. “And from what I’ve seen you don’t really like what they serve at the manor so I thought I’d take you somewhere for some real food.” I looked around and saw a diner up ahead on the corner. Alex pulled into the driveway and parked the car. I looked at him wondering how he would know this place when he had not been here that much longer than me and surely Katherine and Lucas had not allowed him out on his own.

  Alex saw the puzzled look on my face and answered my unasked question. “I used to come here when I spent summers with Grandad. It was my favourite place.” he shrugged. I found it hard to picture Lucas taking Alex to this quaint little diner and pretending to eat its wholesome American food. It just didn’t fit with the refined and distinguished Lucas I knew. He must really love his grandson. Alex opened my door and led me into the diner. The waitress looked up from the counter and motioned for us to sit anywhere. The diner was mostly empty, expect for some truck drivers who were sitting at the counter drinking coffee. Alex guided me to a booth whose window looked out into the car park. He handed me a menu which I took, already knowing that anything I ate would taste like dirt and I’d end up choking it back up later.

  I looked around the diner whilst Alex surveyed the menu. It was attempting to pull off a 1950’s theme with shiny red vinyl booths and silver tables. Memorabilia covered the walls depicting Elvis, Buddy Holly, All America boys and girls and Coca-Cola. The bright fluorescent lights made my skin appear even more pale than normal. I looked at the waitress who hadn’t moved from the counter yet to take our order. She was wearing a red and white stripped dress with her frizzy blonde hair pulled back in a bun. She looked to be in her early fifties and definitely wore too much makeup. She appeared more concerned with the truckers at the counter than Alex and I.

  Alex coughed loudly to get her attention and she sighed deeply before making her way over to take our order. She arrived at the table and positioned herself so that she was facing Alex and blocking me. I had to give her credit for trying but I highly doubted that Alex would be impressed by her charms.

  “You ready to order hun?” she asked.

  “Yes. Thankyou,” Alex replied then directing his eyes to me “Grace what would you like?” The waitress appeared put off by his chivalry in allowing me to order first and after a quick glance in my direction she returned to facing Alex.

  “Um, I’ll just have whatever you’re having,” I replied.

  Alex nodded and ordered burgers, fries and sodas for us before dismissing the waitress. He looked at me smiling from across the table and I could feel my stomach churn. I could not understand how this could be happening to me. Alex sat back in the booth and rested his hands folded in his lap.

  “So,” Alex started cautiously “If the Fire and Ice Ball wasn’t being held at school would you want to go?” He looked at me, trying to gauge me response. I was thrown by his question thinking we had resolved the issue in the car.

  “Probably not,” I replied honestly. “Getting dressed up and dancing is not really my thing.”

  “How do you know unless you try?” Alex asked, not convinced.

  “Believe me. I have been to these types of events before and they are unbearably dull, filled with bad music, cheap food and you end up feeling like you wasted a lot of time getting ready for nothing.” I was sure that if the Fire and Ice Ball was anything like the dances I used to go to as a girl, I would be right.

  “Wow!” Alex said surprised by my outburst. Luckily our food arrived and Alex was quickly distracted from anymore talk of the Fire and Ice Ball. When we finished Alex paid for our meals. I had managed to move most of mine around the plate to make it appear I had eaten more than I had. We spent the car ride home chatting about our favourite TV shows, music and movies. I attempted to keep the conversation light and mostly agreed with Alex’s choices as I had very limited exposure to modern entertainment apart from the music I had heard in Alex’s car and the shows we had watched together. But those I had enjoyed.

  When we arrived home, Alistair was waiting outside for us as usual. I suspected he listened for Alex’s engine and moved quickly to the drive for our arrival. We continued talking as we walked up the stairs and into the hall when we were greeted by Michael who looked from Alex to me quickly, before addressing Alex.

  “Master Sempre, Miss Olivia called for you this afternoon and requested that you call her immediately upon your arrival home.” he relayed, raising an eyebrow as he turned to me before leaving the room.

  “Oh God,” Alex groaned. “I completely forgot about our phone call. She is going to be so mad at me.” Alex turned to me looking torn.

  “I should really call her back she’ll be going to bed soon and there will be hell to pay if she doesn’t hear from me. You’ll study with me later?” he asked, pleading a little toward the end.

  “Sure.” I shrugged trying not to be bothered by the fact he was cutting our afternoon short to speak with Olivia. I decided to take the opportunity to hunt before I spent more time with him alone. We made our way up the stairs, both hesitating briefly before leaving to go to our rooms.

  Once in my room, I quickly changed into my black running suit and sneakers. I made my way back down the stairs silently and was soon in the forest. I ran quickly through the tress until I was deep in the forest where it was dark and quiet. The setting sun was blocked out by the trees’ canopy. I stood still, with my eyes closed, allowing the sounds and scents of the forest to surround me. I located a sleeping bear about three miles due north of where I was standing and started to make my way towards it. The animal never heard my descent. I stalked up behind it and attacked lethally, draining the bear of its blood so quickly that when the animal woke it was already too weak to fight. I ensured it did not feel pain and that it simply drifted into eternal slumber. Feeding helped to reduce the pain in my head and used up the poison that had accumulated throughout the day. My body felt warm as the animals blood ran through me.

  As I walked back to the manor, I recalled the days when I would hunt with William. We used our trips as an
adventure into the wild. When I was turned, William had been a vampire for some time and had become accustomed to drinking human blood. But, when he saw the repulsion in my eyes, he vowed only to drink animal blood from that point on. I was fairly sure that he slipped sometimes when we were not together, but he always felt justified in his choices; choosing to feed on murderers, rapists and other deviants in our society. Our hunting trips had led us into unknown territory. When human, our mother had discouraged us from entering the forest for fear that we would get hurt or injured and no one would find us. Our new invincibility meant that we no longer had this worry. We would go for weeks at a time trawling the forest, stalking our prey and enjoying the hunt. I had not hunted in this way since William had died. Part of me missed this, but another part realised that the hunt was only fun because William was there. When I fed now, I fed to remain strong, to complete my assignments and hopefully one day come face to face with William’s killers.

  I jogged along the outskirts of the estate to make my way back to the manor, not wanting to be seen by Alex if he happened to look out his window. Even if he did see me, he would no doubt think I had simply gone for a run given my attire and my athletic physique. He had to think I did some activity to remain in shape. As I came closer to the manor, I listened in to Alex’s conversation. He was still on the phone with Olivia and she was displeased by his absence this afternoon. Alex was trying to explain why he hadn’t been home when she called, but his explanation that he was taking can of me only made Olivia more irate. I could here the frustration in Alex’s voice and smiled to myself. I felt guilty being happy about their romantic troubles but I couldn’t help but feel smug that Olivia was jealous of me. It had been a long time since I had been the object of jealousy and envy and I had quite forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Not wanting to add more fuel to the fire, I bypassed Alex’s room and headed straight to mine.

  I decided to take a long hot shower whilst I waited for Alex to finish. I allowed the hot water to run over me, washing away a day full of unusual behaviour. I permitted myself to use various scrubs and washes to pamper my body, leaving me smelling like a mixture of tropical fruits. I completed the process by lathering myself with rich luxurious body lotions and powders which left my skin soft and supple. I walked into my cupboard, wearing only my bra and panties, allowing myself to take time in selecting my outfit. I finally decided on a pair of cream cotton pants and a deep blue blouse with a scoop neck and lace detail. I completed the outfit with brown ballet slippers. I hated to admit that I was enjoying my new outfit choices but it was true. It had been a long time since I had spent time coordinating outfits.

  As I dressed I caught sight of myself in the mirror. Despite being raised as a lady in the 1700’s I had an athletic physique from years of training. I had the perfect hourglass figure that was accentuated by my breasts and hips, making me appear shapely. My attention was then drawn to the scar that ran the width of my stomach on a diagonal slant. The jagged scar was silvery against my pale skin. I ran my fingers along my scar. I attempted to hide my scar whenever possible, even from myself. It was a product of my making and reminded me of the horror and pain that accompanied my transformation. My face darkened as I recalled that night. I was interrupted from my memory by the sound of Alex coming toward my room. I quickly ran my fingers through my hair giving it a tousled appearance. I waited for Alex to knock on my door before making my way from my wardrobe to the door slowly pacing my movements to human speed.

  I opened the door and saw Alex standing there looking broody and irritated. He too had changed and was wearing a pair of relaxed, distressed denims, an ice blue v neck sweater and cream sneakers. In his hand, were his various books ready to complete our homework. His face lightened when he saw me and I felt his heart rate increase. His eyes looked me up and down before a smile grew on his face. I felt my stomach churn and began to feel nervous. I stepped out of the doorway to allow him to enter and walked over to my lounge area, where I had placed my satchel, after returning from school. I sat on the sofa, slipping off my shoes and curling my feet underneath me. I leaned over and pulled out my books. I felt Alex standing near me and looked up to see him hesitating standing between the arm chair and the sofa unsure of where to sit. Eventually he decided to sit next to me on the sofa and placed his book on the table.

  Although I already knew how things had gone with Olivia, I thought it rude not to ask, seeing as though Alex had no idea about my extra sensitive hearing.

  “How’s Olivia?” I asked trying to keep my tone casual.

  “Frustrating!” he replied through gritted teeth before focusing on his homework. After a few minutes, I followed suit not sure of what else to do. We worked for the next hour in silence. I attempted to slow down my rate of work so that I matched his. Occasionally, I would find myself staring at Alex, while he worked with a look of deep concentration on his face. I was sure to look away before he caught me but at times I could feel his eyes on me while I worked. The tension in the air was thick. I could feel the poison dripping from my fangs and every fibre in my body wanted to taste his blood, despite feeding only an hour earlier. I was conscious of the heat coming from Alex as he sat next to me on the sofa. My body froze every time he moved or shifted, as I struggled to keep my body in check. His scent enveloped me. It was spicy and masculine.

  I had finished my homework now and I was about to begin packing up when Alex suddenly leaned across me, his face coming within inches of mine so that I could feel his breath. Our knees touched and I could feel his heat burning me through the rough denim of his pants. His arm rubbed against mine and I could feel the softness of his sweater and his heat on my bare skin. My body was surging with heat from his touch and I looked into his eyes, feeling myself battling for control

  “Can I…ah Can I borrow your um… this?” Alex stammered out holding my Biology book in his hand. I moved my eyes briefly from his to the book and back again.

  “Sure,” I replied breathlessly as Alex remained unmoved in front of me. I could feel his heart racing and his breathing was short and shallow. I could feel his body shifting ever so slightly, coming closer to mine his face now no more than an inch away. I was in an epic battle for control. My mind was screaming at me to run, while my body was pleading for me not to move. I didn’t know how much longer I could control myself but I didn’t have the strength to leave. Alex was staring into my eyes intently; his face displayed his hesitation, but also his need. I remained motionless not trusting myself to move towards him but not stopping him either. As Alex closed the final gap between us, the dinner bell sounded sending both of us jumping. Flustered, I jumped up and crossed the room too quickly. I turned and looked at Alex, who appeared as flustered as me.

  “Um I guess we should go to dinner,” I stated running my hand through my hair trying to calm myself. “You can borrow that book tonight if you need it,” I continued.

  “Yeah, ah thanks that’d be great,” Alex replied a pale blush still on his cheeks and his heart rate yet to return to normal. He gathered his books and walked towards the doorway where I was standing. He hesitated as he walked past me, his body again only inches from mine. I looked into his eyes which where burning. He started to say something, but stopped. Instead, he smiled and left the room. Once gone, I shut the door and slid down the wall until I was seated on the ground. My head was swimming and my stomach was churning. How could I have let myself get that close? I knew how dangerous it was to get that close to a human especially in my current state, but I didn’t care. I replayed the incident in my mind and found myself imagining where we would be right now if the bell hadn’t rung. The poison in my mouth surged and my body ached to be touched by his again, until my thoughts turned dark and I saw the killer in me taking control. I couldn’t let that happen. Not to anyone and especially not to Alex. I thought of Katherine and of Lucas I would not do this to them. I steeled myself to the fact that I needed to put some distance between Alex and me. I would protect him of course, but I
could never allow myself to come so close to losing control again.

 
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