The Underworld, Page 29Jessica Sorensen
As his sharp vampire fangs sunk into my wrist, a rush of adrenaline and a million other things whipped through me, just like when Vladislav had bit me. But there were also different feelings there—things I’d never felt before.
I tried not to blink.
I tried not to look away.
I stayed with him.
Minutes later, after the buzzing, humming, and so much other stuff had worn out of my body and my mind, Laylen and I both lay, yes, on the smelly ground of the alleyway, and stared up at the stars.
He drunk just enough of my blood for the wound in his chest to seal itself shut. Then he pulled away, putting his fangs back where they belonged. The only evidence that anything had happened was the two little bite marks spotting my wrist. Well, that and Laylen’s guilt for biting me. I could tell that he felt guilty, which made me feel guilty for telling him to bite me. But that was okay. I would deal with my guilt as long as it meant he was alive.
The sky was a midnight black now, the glow of the Vegas lights shimmering across it in various colors. Car horns and roaring engines flooded the air.
“Why do you think Nicholas is helping Stephan?” I asked Laylen, staring at the crescent moon.
“I’m not sure,” Laylen replied, his eyes glued to the sky. “I do know one thing, though. The next time I see him, he better run. ”
I casted a glance at him. The pale glimmer of the moon lit up the pain in his eyes. “Hopefully, we don’t ever see him again. ”
“I highly doubt it’ll be the last time we see the faerie,” Laylen muttered, his jaw set tight.
He was probably right. Nicholas had an act for randomly popping up.
“But I just don’t get it,” I said. “It seems like he’s been helping Stephan for awhile, yet he was there at Adessa’s for all those days and never gave away our location? Why would he do that?”
“I think we’ll never be able to understand why Nicholas does what he does. ” Laylen said. “What I think we need to do is focus on getting your mom back, just like we were planning. I just have this feeling she knows things that we don’t. ”
I was abruptly reminded of something Nicholas had said back in the woods; that Stephan had created Laylen. Stephan had been the cause behind Laylen’s vampirism. But why would Stephan need to create a vampire? Why not just go get one of the many premade ones that were wandering around. Did it have to do with the star?
I decided not to tell Laylen that Stephan was the cause behind him being a vampire. Don’t freak out on me, though. I am going to tell him. I owed him the truth, no matter what—he always did the same for me. But I was going to let him get over biting me first, because he wasn’t handling it very well. In fact, he hadn’t made eye contact with me since he had done it.
“Are you…okay?” I asked him. “I mean with…biting me?”
He winced, and then sat up, staring in front of him at the side of the brick building that had been decorated with florescent green spray paint. “I think I should be the one asking if you’re okay. ”
I sat up way too quickly, giving myself a head rush. I pressed my hand to my head. “I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me. I told you to do it. ”
Finally, he looked at me. “Yeah, but you’re the one who’s going to be tied to me now. You can’t erase the connection I just made with you. It’ll be there forever. ”
“And that’s okay. ” I pulled a few bits and piece of rock and dirt out of my hair. “It wasn’t okay with Vladislav, but with you it is. ” I didn’t mean for it to come out how it sounded, considering the feeling we both knew I felt when he bit me.
There was this awkward moment, where we were both really uncomfortable. And because of that, I didn’t notice Alex walking up, nor did I notice the sparks until he was right in front of us.
“You’re alright. ” Alex now had on a shirt and a pair of shoes that looked a little tattered, like he’d bought them from a second hand store. “How—what happened?
Laylen and I jumped to our feet, like we were guilty of committing some heinous crime. Which we so weren’t. With as long as it took for Alex to get a shirt to cover up his Keeper mark, Laylen probably would have never made it.
“We weren’t doing anything,” I said quickly, making me seem guilty.
Alex furrowed his eyebrows at me. “I never said you were. I was just asking why Laylen’s okay. ”
“Oh. ” I gave Laylen a what-should-we-do look. He shook his head and shrugged, like he had no idea what to tell Alex either. I tucked my arms behind me to hide the bite marks on my wrist. “Um…would you believe me if I said he just healed on his own?”
Laylen let out a tired sigh, distracting me so I didn’t react quickly enough when Alex seized a hold of my arm and pulled it out from behind me. The two little bite marks marked my skin like a Scarlet G for guilty. Only I was not guilty of anything.
“What the hell,” he said, struggling to stay composed. He looked at Laylen heatedly. “You bit her?”
“I made him bite me,” I said, pulling my arm away from him.
“I was going to get help. ” He was furious.
“He was dying,” I said simply, but firmly. “And it was the only thing I could think of to do. ”
“I—How would you even know that would work?” he asked, working to keep himself contained.
I shrugged. “I had a hunch. Besides, you should have said it would work in the first place, instead of saying we had to go track down another vampire, which just wasted time. And it would have been more of a risk for Laylen if you brought back a vampire who knew about him killing Vladislav. ” My voice was ringing angrily, and I was breathing heavy. I was mad. A different kind of mad then I’d ever been. I was mad for someone else. I was mad at Alex for risking Laylen’s life like that. And I was mad at Nicholas for almost taking Laylen’s life. The prickle was going insane. I saw red, and suddenly I gave Alex a shove. It didn’t really do anything to him; it just caused him to take an unsteady step back. But it shocked the heck out of everyone, including myself.
“Gemma,” Laylen said, his eyes wide with shock. “It’s okay. I’m okay. Everything’s okay. ”
I blinked a few times, blinking my way out of my raging state. “Sorry, but he needs to stop lying. ”
I waited for Alex to freak out on me in normal Alex style. But all he said was, “Let’s get out of here. ” Then he turned away from us and headed down the alley.
Laylen and I traded curious glances, and then we followed after him.
We didn’t go to Adessa’s. Alex pointed out that it probably wasn’t safe for us to go there, since Nicholas was roaming around with a group of Death Walkers, and he knew where our little I hideout was. Laylen and I agreed with him, and that we should probably warn Adessa and Aislin to get out of the house and somewhere safe. But since none of us had our cell phones, we had to go find a phone.
Here’s the problem. Phone booths are practically in extinction. So after roaming around the hectic streets of Vegas, searching for a phone booth, we finally gave up and entered a store to ask if we could use their phone. But people are kind of rude when it comes to letting “noncostumers” use their phones, so getting someone to let us was becoming a total project. And we were all tired. And hungry.
A great combination, let me tell you.
I was really hating Vegas at the moment.
People kept staring at us funnily too, probably because I had dried blood all over my hands and mud stuck to my clothes. Plus, Laylen had a huge blood stain on his shirt. Afraid someone was going to think we’d killed someone, we all took a second to go into a gas station bathroom and clean up a little. I washed up the best I could. I even rinsed out my hair in the sink, but there was nothing I could do about the fact that I didn’t have any shoes on.
After I finished cleaning up, I met Laylen and Alex back outside. Laylen had scrubbed down his shirt, bu
t I could still faintly make out a small stain. Alex had run water through his hair and somehow had miraculously styled it into place.
Apparently while they’d been waiting for me to clean up, they’d come up with a plan. Well, Laylen came up with a plan, anyway. Laylen suggested to Alex to go work his “Alex charm” on the cashier girl inside the gas station, and see if he could persuade her to let us use her phone. I felt bad for the poor girl, and for a brief second I wanted to smack Alex on the back of the head for doing such a mean thing, especially because I once was in that poor girls position. But my sore bare feet and hunger pains kept me from stopping him.
So Laylen and I waited outside the gas station, which was located in a less busy, but sketchier area of Vegas, while Alex went in to work his “Alex charm” on the poor girl. And within seconds, he had the phone pressed up to his ear.
“So you’re okay, right?” Laylen asked, as we stood in front of the glass entrance doors, keeping our eyes out for any Death Walkers, vampires, man with a scar, ect.
“What, with Alex flirting with that girl,” I replied, ringing some of the left over water out of my dark brown hair. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” The expression on Laylen’s face let me know right away that that was not what he had been talking about at all, and I felt like such an idiot. “Oh, you mean with the bite,” I said, feeling stupid. “Yeah, of course I’m fine. ”
“You don’t feel…” He hesitated, leaning back against the door. “Weird or anything?”
I shook my head, cupping my hand over the bite marks on my wrists. “No. No weirdness. ” Actually, that was a lie. During the bite-session, there was this fleeting instant where I pictured Laylen and I kissing, which was completely weird. I knew it was only the bite that had struck up the picture in my mind, but there was still a lingering feel-good sensation that the image had brought up inside me. But I knew it would wear off soon enough.
“So no weirdness, then?” He stilled seemed disbelieving.
“Besides this conversation?” I joked.
He laughed, and it felt good that I had been the one to make him laugh. Also, maybe I could take this as a sign that my people skills were improving.
I know, who would have thought, right?
“So how are you feeling?” I asked. “No weirdness with you?”
He shook his head as he absentmindedly touched his mouth on the spot where his fangs had slipped out. “I feel okay, I guess. Except my teeth feel a little strange. ”
“Strange how?” I wondered.
“I don’t know…I can feel them now, up there, and it’s…I don’t know. ” He touched the tip of his finger to his tooth. “I’ve never had them out before. ”
I gaped him. “What? You’ve never brought out your fangs before…ever?”
“Nope,” he said. “I told you I never brought them out. ”
“Yeah, but when you said ‘never’ I thought you talking about hardly ever, like maybe once and awhile. ”