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The Underworld, Page 10

Jessica Sorensen

Page 10

 

  “Dammit,” he cursed noisily, and now I was the one glancing around apprehensively.

  “Laylen,” I whispered. “You need to be a little quieter or someone’s going to hear us. ”

  He ran his fingers through his blond hair, and I was sensing that a meltdown was about to take place. “Who cares. I’m already screwed anyway. ”

  “Why are you screwed? Because you staked Vladislav? I thought you said you just had to lay low for awhile and it would pass over,” I said.

  He looked at me gravely. “Gemma, I didn’t just stake Vladislav. I staked Vladislav, one of the oldest vampires. ”

  “So is that worse than staking a young vampire?” I asked.

  He stared at me, not answering, and I suddenly grasped that he was in more trouble than he first let on.

  “Laylen, you shouldn’t have let me go with you. ” I told him, guilt choking up inside me.

  “It was your choice, Gemma,” he said. “You should be able to choose what you want to do. ”

  “Well, I think I picked the wrong one. ” I swallowed hard. “I’m really sor…” I stopped as a spark of electricity coiled up my spine. “Ah crap. ”

  “What’s the matter?” Laylen asked, his eyebrows dipping down.

  Before I could tell him what was up, or try to find a place for us to hide, Laylen’s gaze darted over my shoulder, and I knew without even looking that we were so busted.

  “So funny thing,” Alex’s voice came up from right behind me. “I was up in my room, and I just happened to look out the window. And boy was I surprised to find you two standing down here, in the middle of the night, for God knows what reason. ”

  I caught Laylen’s eye, and I tried to communicate to him telepathically what we should do. Of course, I didn’t have telepathic abilities and neither did Laylen so guess how well that went.

  I shook my head, and decided to face the inevitable. I took a deep breath, and covering the bite on my neck with my hand, I turned to face Alex. I wasn’t too worried about what he was going to say to me. He could chew me out all he wanted—I was used to it. I just felt guilty because I knew Alex was going to put most of it on Laylen.

  Alex’s eyes were all over me as if he could sense something was wrong. “What’s the matter with your neck?”

  The lighting was scarce, so I was hoping that it was dark enough that he couldn’t see the blood dried up on my skin. “I have a kink in it. ”

  He gave me a yeah-right look. “You have a kink in it?”

  I shrugged. “It happens. ”

  He shook his head, irritated. “So why are you two standing out here?”

  I had no idea what to tell him and the way he was staring at me was making my brain all hazy.

  “How about we go inside, and then we’ll tell you,” Laylen said restlessly.

  Alex glanced back and forth between Laylen and me, looking a little lost. “Okay…. Lets go inside, then. ”

  So apparently Alex had woken up Adessa when he’d seen Laylen and me standing outside in the dark. He had to wake her up or he wouldn’t have been able to walk out the front door without getting blasted by Adessa’s charms.

  I still had my hand on my neck, trying to keep my bite mark hidden, as we stepped into the living room. But as the light hit me, I realized that there was blood all over Laylen’s black thermal shirt that I still had on, and there was no way to cover it up.

  “What the hell is all over your shirt?” Alex asked as soon as he caught sight of me in the light. He came up and took a closer look at the thermal shirt I had on. “Is that blood?” Before I could answer, he picked up the hem of the shirt. “And why do you have Laylen’s shirt on?”

  I yanked the hem of the shirt out of his grasp. “I have his shirt on because it was cold outside. ”

  He gave me a disbelieving look. “It’s like seventy degrees out there, Gemma. ”

  “Well, I get cold easily,” I said as casually as I could, which strangely enough sounded casual.

  He raised an eyebrow at me. “So where’d the blood come from?”

  “It came from—” Before I could finish coming up with a lie, he reached over and lifted my hand away from my neck.

  He let out a sequence of too-inappropriate-to-repeat-words and then lunged for Laylen. Laylen, taken off-guard, stumbled back as Alex slammed into him, and both of them went crashing into the wall, causing the wall to crack.

  Laylen quickly regained his footing, and he shoved Alex hard. But Alex barely budged.

  “You bit her,” Alex said, coming at Laylen again. “Are you freaking crazy?”

  “That’s not what happen—” I said, but was cut off as Laylen rammed into Alex, making them both fly backward and onto the apothecary table, which instantly buckled beneath their weight. It didn’t even faze either one of them as they rolled around on the tiled floor, crashing into the shelves and sofas, while they threw punches at each other.

  I’d just decided that I might need to go get some help—because let’s face it I am not strong enough to stop a fight between a Keeper and a vampire—when Aislin and Adessa appeared in the doorway. Adessa was wearing a long navy blue robe decorated with bright pink flowers, and Aislin was dressed in a plaid pajama set.

  “What in the world is going on?” Aislin screeched, her bright green eyes wide.

  Laylen and Alex didn’t even so much as acknowledge she was there, still throwing swings at one another.

  “Gemma, what happened?” Ailsin asked, looking horrified.

  “Um…we were—”

  “Subsisto. ” Adessa said, her hand out in front of her.

  Laylen and Alex flew away from each other; Alex landing by Aislin’s feet and Laylen smacking onto the floor not too far from me.

  “What the heck are you two doing?” Ailsin asked Alex as she tried to help him to his feet.

  Alex shook her hand off, breathing heavily as he got to his feet. His bottom lip was spilt and he had a cut above his right eyebrow. “He bit her,” he said, storming toward Laylen again.

  Aislin grabbed Alex by the back of his shirt and, with a lot of effort on her part, held him back. “Who bit…What?”

  Irritation shined in Alex’s bright green eyes. “Laylen,” he said, with an attitude. “Bit Gemma. ”

  Aislin’s eyes widen even more as she took in the sight of my blood-stained shirt and the two holes in my neck. “Oh my God. ”

  “Laylen didn’t bite me,” I told her. “Another vampire did. ” I looked down at Laylen, who had a small bruise on his cheek, and waited for him to jump in and help me explain.

  But all he did was stand to his feet, dust himself off, and pop his neck. Then he strolled toward the doorway, doing that thing that guys do when they take a quick step towards the other one to “psych” them out.

  “Laylen,” Aislin said, shocked. “What’s the matter with you?”

  “Nothing’s the matter with me,” he replied, kind of being a jerk.

  Aislin looked hurt as she let go of Alex’s shirt.

  Laylen left the room, and I figured I’d explain what we’d been up to while he cooled off. Of course, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to go about doing this.

  Aislin chased after Laylen, and Adessa took one look at Alex and I and left, as if she could sense something bad was about to go down and wanted to avoid being around it when it did.

  Smart woman.

  I stared at the doorway for awhile, if for no other reason, then to avoid Alex’s gaze that I could feel burning into me. Sparks of static were dancing all over my skin, and I wished I could tell them to stop because they were very distracting.

  “So are you going to explain to me what in the heck you and Laylen were doing outside in the middle of the night?” Alex asked. “And where the bite mark came from?”

  “I guess that depends on whether you’re going to freak out when I tell you?” I told him, still not looking at him.

  “You ex
pect me not to freak out when you’ve got blood all over your shirt and two holes in your neck,” he said incredulously.

  I touched the tips of my fingers to the bite on my neck, and then looked at him. “I’m not going to tell you what happened unless you promise you’ll stay calm. ” Then as an added bonus I tacked on, “Besides, you owe me. ”

  He started to walk toward me. “Oh yeah. How do you figure?”

  “Because of what happened back at the cabin,” I said, backing away from him because I knew the closer he got to me, the more unclear my mind would be. And I needed my mind to be clear. “When you let your father try to take my mind away. ”

  He looked pissed and suddenly he was moving toward me at a rapid speed. I backed away until I bumped into the wall. He kept coming at me, slamming to a halt only inches away from me, the tips of his DC sneakers brushing with the tips of mine. He was so close that I could feel the warmth of his breath dusting across my cheeks.

  He put his hands on the wall, trapping me between his arms. “I already told you I wasn’t going to let him do it,” he breathed, leaning in. “I knew the necklace would protect you. ”

  My heart thrummed insanely in my chest, the electricity buzzing passionately from the intensity of his eyes.

  What was I supposed to be doing again?

  And then I felt the metal of the locket pressing against my neck, and remembered. Vladislav. My mother. The Underworld.

  “Okay…I believe you. ” Which wasn’t the truth at all, but I was working on something here. “But you have to promise to stay calm while I tell you what happened. ”

  He shook his head. “I’m not going to promise anything. ”

  “Then I’m not going to tell you anything. ” I went to duck under his arm, but he slid it down further so that I would have to limbo really low to get out.

  “Fine, I’ll try to stay as calm as I can as long as you’ll stop throwing in my face what happened back at the cabin. ” He waited for me to answer, but when I said nothing, he added, “Deal?”

  I weighed out my options and came to the conclusion that the best way to get information about The Underworld was to make the deal. Now whether I’d hold true to the deal or not, depended on what happened here. “Fine, it’s a deal. ”

  We sat down on the purple velvet sofa—the one still remaining upright—and I began searching my mind for an idea of where to begin, and what details I should give him. But before I could figure any of this out, he spoke first.

  “So who bit you?” he asked.

  Figures he’d start there. “A vampire,” I said, kicking a broken piece of the apothecary table with the tip of my shoe.

  “And what’s this vampire’s name?” he asked impatiently.

  “Vladislav. ”

  “Vladislav!” he exclaimed, slamming his hand down onto the arm of the sofa. “You’ve got to be kidding me?”

  “So…I take it you know who I’m talking about?”

  “Of course I know who he is. ” He sank back in the chair, the muscles on his arms flexing tensely as he crossed them. “I also know how big of a problem it’s going to be if he figured out who you are. ”