Julien’s hand trembled in mine. His breathing labored through his extended fangs as he attempted to steady himself. It was obvious that I’d caught him off guard, and he was having difficulty pulling his composed expression back together. I continued to just quietly look at him, because at the moment, no words could truly express what I’d done. I automatically straightened my shoulders and set my jaw. It was my silent reminder that I’d meant what I said, and I was sticking to it. He glanced down at the palm of my hand, and then back to me. I knew he was deliberating, even with my agreement he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to bite me. It was comforting and increased my confidence in not only my decision, but in Julien as well. “I’ve never,” he began to stutter, but he cut himself short returning to his thoughts.
His fingers ran complicated circles across my palm. Finally, when it didn’t seem as if he was ever going to speak again, I finished his thought. “You’ve never bitten anyone before,” I said.
“I told you,” he whispered, “I’m not my father.” Then, without looking at me, he kissed my hand. “I also promised that I would never purposefully hurt you.”
I could hear the truth ring his in words, so I thought I might add a little of my own. “I’m not worried about the actual bite, Julien, because that I can heal,” I explained. “I’m concerned with the aftermath.”
“That,” he said with a matter of fact tone, “isn’t a concern at all.”
I took in a long even breath, calming my nerves. I wanted to trust him. I could think of a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t, all of them rattled off in my mind in Reid’s demanding voice, but none of them seemed convincing enough. Above all, I secretly wanted to find out what happened to my mother. I knew involving myself would only make matters worse, and it meant putting my own life in danger, but all that didn’t seem to matter. I’d left my life behind to come here for her, because for some unknown reason she called me back. Right now, that meant I had to do whatever it takes to find out why, even if it meant letting Julien bite me.
“Then what are we waiting for?” I asked confidently.
“I’m waiting for you to change your mind,” he said, finally looking up at me. “Or your knight in shining armor to run to your rescue.”
I leaned in toward him, locking my eyes with his. “I’m not a damsel in distress, Julien,” I whispered. “I don’t require saving.”
He smiled at me, but the doubt was still there. “Are you sure about this?” He asked, and I could see the hope in his eyes that I might say no.
I was tired of debating it, I’d made my decision, and now I was more focused on the reason we were doing this in the first place. “Just let me grab some of the dirt first,” I said, trying to hide the anxiousness in my voice. I picked up a hand full of dirt off a near by grave and then cautiously offered Julien my other hand. He ran his fingers across my palm, outlining each crease as he breathed in.
“Remember,” he whispered, “turn it over three times before you release it.”
“I got it,” I assured him, “just make it quick.”
He watched me, dissecting my every move and emotion, while he lifted my palm to his mouth. My stomach rolled with the nausea of anticipation, the edge of his fangs touching my bare skin. “I think I might love you,” he said, “and if I wasn’t a coward, I’d tell you that I know I do.”
I swallowed, my every muscle tightening inside me as he parted his lips and sunk his teeth into my hand. I yelped, jerking my hand away, but Julien held me steady. His eyes were closed in concentration as he gently unclenched his teeth. My blood dripped from his mouth, his fangs now a scarlet red. He opened his eyes, and I couldn’t help but notice how the brilliant blue now swirled around the iris like crashing waves. He slowly moved my hand, holding it out between us until I finally remembered my part of this exchange.
I stared down at my blood smeared hand, unable to convince myself that I was even capable of performing magic. I opened the hand that held the dirt and let three drops of my blood trickle down into the center. I flipped my wrist once, twice and on the third time I felt the power surge inside me. I suddenly remembered who I was and all the things I could do. I brought my closed fist up to my mouth, opened my palm and blew out an array of crystal dust that floated through the air around us like a looming fog.
“Wow,” Julien’s voice sang behind me, “you really are a Witch,” as if he’d doubted it until that moment.
I spun around, quickly noticing that all traces of my blood were gone from his face and there was no longer any sign of his fangs. He stood there in amazement, no hint of super natural ability about him, most especially a blood-crazed vampire. I suddenly felt relieved.
“What now?” I asked, looking back over my shoulder at the dust that was now disappearing in the distance.
“First,” he said, slowly approaching me, “you need to heal yourself.”
I saw the concern on his face, and glanced down at my hand that was now leaking blood down my wrist to my elbow. I clenched my fist together, focusing on the lingering pain from the two puncture sites. I knew I would never be able to completely remove the scar, only someone as well practiced as Sera could do that, but I could at least stop the bleeding. When I opened my hand two pink marks of fresh skin stared up at me underneath the drying blood.
I held the evidence of my work up to Julien. “And second?” I persisted.
He shrugged, coming over to inspect my hand for himself. “Now, we hunt down some ghost.”
I automatically began humming the ghost buster’s theme song, to which he laughed and added, “I’m not scared of no ghost.” He tugged playfully back toward the entrance of the graveyard. I gracefully swerved through the graves, peaking around head stones, unsure of what I may find lurking on the other side. Darkness had completely faded around us, and I began to wonder if we’d find anything at all. I was about to voice my pessimism when I heard a faint sound in the distance behind us. Julien turned too and quickly held his hand up signaling for me to listen again. I strained my hearing this time, trying to block out the typical sounds of nature crowing around us. If I focused hard enough and waited just the right amount of time I could hear someone laughing.
A slow smile crept across Julien’s lips, and he motioned me forward. I followed him back through the graves as the sound grew louder. I could now distinguish a female’s voice, and the fact that it sounded like that of a child. Julien rounded one of the large stone mausoleums, pulling me to his side. I stared into the darkness, unaware of what had caught his attention. He pointed to the distant horizon, and sure enough, standing just below one of the low hanging branches of a Magnolia tree, was a little girl. Her figure was faint, but it was easy to make out the tattered blue dress she wore and the blissful smile that held her face.
I froze in sudden shock. I’d seen many oddities in my life, most of which were my creation, but this seemed too unbelievable even for me. “Walk slow,” Julien whispered, “and follow me.”
As soon as Julien took the first step forward, the girl turned to us, still smiling gleefully. It wasn’t until Julien waved at her, that it faltered. We continued to slowly approach her, and her brow furrowed. Julien waved again, and without a blink of an eye, she vanished through the trees. We sighed simultaneously, but when I turned around another figure caught my eye. This figure was much larger than the little girl and a lot rougher around the edges. I quickly tugged on Julien’s sleeve pointing toward the man walking toward us. Julien spoke a greeting, but the figure didn’t turn. In fact, it didn’t even acknowledge our presence as it passed. It wasn’t until the man dropped to his knees at a nearby grave that I noticed the uniform he wore, a heavily worn grey material with a confederate flag sewn into the arm.
“He’s a soldier,” I told Julien, watching as the man ran his bloody hands across the gravestone in front of him.
“He has no idea we’re even here,” Julien commented just as the soldier began to weep.
“Why the difference?” I questioned. “The little girl was frightened of us, she knew we could see her.”
There was rustling of leaves to my right and I spun around to catch a glimpse of two sets of shining eyes through the dark tree line. “We’re being watched,” Julien smiled.
“Stay here,” I encouraged and stepped forward toward the watching eyes. I picked three small stones from the ground as I smiled reassuringly toward the trees. I sat down crossing my legs in front of me, and with one flick of my wrist I began juggling the three stones, until finally they danced through the air without the assistance of my hands. I could see the eyes watching me, mesmerized by my simple trick. I let the stones fall into the palm of my hand, and then held them out toward the trees. “Do you want to try?” I asked quietly.
I was greeted with complete silence. “Okay, then,” I conceded, but as I stood up a child sprinted out of the trees toward me. It wasn’t the same girl as before, this one was even younger; she couldn’t be older than five. She wore a similar dress, except it was pink, which matched the marks that covered her body from head to toe.
“I want to try!” She exclaimed with a smile. Before I could answer someone else quickly joined her. The older girl in the blue dress grabbed her by the arm, pulling her backwards. “Stop it, Lizzy,” She warned. “We don’t talk to strangers!”
The small girl, Lizzy, let out a disappointed sigh. “I am not a stranger,” I said quickly. “I am a neighbor. I live here in Frog Hollow, just over that hill side.”
The girl stopped walking, but she still held tight to her sister. “I’ve never seen you here before,” she pointed out.
“We saw them earlier, Tessie,” Lizzy explained. “She was crying, remember?”
The girl ignored her younger sister, keeping a watchful eye on me, but I noticed that she continued to glance at Julien to my left. “Have you seen him before?” I asked her.
She nodded, but Lizzy answered for her. “He cries too.”
I looked to Julien, who slowly stepped forward. “I always knew I wasn’t alone,” he said, smiling at her.
“Why do you cry?” Lizzy asked, but Tessie only pulled her arm again signaling for her to keep quiet.
“It’s okay,” Julien assured them both. He continued forward, passing by me with only a glance. He stopped just in front of the girls, and I could tell by Tessie’s stance that she was ready to run again. Julien knelt before them and looked Lizzy in the eyes.
“I cry because I miss my Grandfather,” he said. “I come here when I need his advice and to remind myself that the biggest part of me is still human.” He said that last part to me, but he quickly turned back to the girls.
“How come you never waved before?” She asked, ignoring Tessie’s resistance.
“I couldn’t see you before now,” he explained. “You see, my girlfriend,” he playfully pointed back at me, “performed a trick earlier that lets us see you.”
Lizzy’s eyes widened, obviously remembering the dancing rocks. She leaned around Julien to look at me, and then she suddenly blushed. “She’s his girlfriend,” she giggled up at her sister, but Tessie only rolled her eyes.
I gave Julien an exasperated look, but he only winked at me before turning back to Lizzy. “She is looking for someone, and we were hoping if you could tell us if you’ve seen her. Do you know anyone else like you?”
Lizzy leaned over again, this time toward the weeping soldier who was now crying out the name of his lost love. “No,” Tessie answered for her. “Its only us, and him.”
I hadn’t realized how much hope I’d been building up until it was broken. Julien didn’t dare let his disappointment show, because Lizzy was staring intently at him now. “Will you always be able to see me?” she inquired.
Julien sighed. “I’m sorry sweetheart, but Emmie’s magic will only last for so long.”
“Oh,” she frowned.
“But you can always join me, when I visit. I may not be able to see you, but I’ll know you’re there. Okay?” He promised.
Lizzy quickly nodded while Tessie reached for her hand. I saw the faint scars outlining her arm as well. My heart ached, imagining these precious children plagued by such a vicious disease as small pox. I couldn’t help but think that maybe their lives could have been spared if someone like me could have found them. I suddenly felt contempt toward the healer in Julien’s story for betraying his calling. “Its time for us to go,” Tessie explained, bringing me back to the present.
Julien nodded, standing up. “I’ll be back,” he promised Lizzy.
She smiled up at him. “Bring your girlfriend, too,” she grinned, waving goodbye. The girls disappeared through the trees with a round of giggles.
Julien frowned as he walked back toward me. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up.”
“It’s fine,” I assured him, but he pulled me into a hug anyway. “There are other places we can look for her.”
His arms felt nice around me, holding me firm against him. “I thought the spell was permanent,” I said remembering how he’d mentioned visiting Priscilla on various occasions.
“A permanent spell would require a lot more blood than I’d be willing to let you give,” he said, squeezing me tightly. “Which reminds me, we need to go get you cleaned up.”
I agreed without hesitation. It had been a long day, and the past couple hours had been emotionally draining. We walked back to my house, my hand tightly gripped in his. He paused at the front door, smiling wryly at me. “May I?” he asked.
“Only for a minute,” I told him, throwing him my set of keys.
Once inside, we went straight to the kitchen. I hopped up on the counter next to the sink, leaning over to let him wash the blood from my hands. He examined the healing wounds again, still frowning at the fresh skin. “I’m not proficient at my craft just yet,” I explained, “a more skilled Witch, like Sera, wouldn’t have left any evidence.”
He didn’t say anything, but just continued to diligently wash off the dried blood. I could tell his mood was deflating, because the frown lines on his face were becoming more prominent. When he finally looked at me, I smiled at him. “Was it good for you?” I asked, trying to sound playful.
“What?” He asked surprised.
“Was it good for you?” I repeated showcasing the bite mark on my hand. “Did you enjoy it?”
“I hurt you,” he said in disbelief. “I would never enjoy that.”
I rolled my eyes, because he was being dramatic. “I’m referring to my blood,” I explained.
His brows furrowed at that. “It was different,” he said stiffly.
My mouth dropped open because he seemed intent on taking all the fun out of this conversation. “I let you drink my blood and the best you can come up with is that it was different?”
“I didn’t bite you for the fun of it,” he growled.
“And I didn’t let you for the fun of it,” I countered. “But since it happened, you could at least indulge me a little.”
He sighed, switching off the water. “It tasted rich,” he said. “It was like eating really good chocolate. It tasted absolutely delicious, but you know if you take another bite it will be too much and make you sick.”
“I taste like chocolate?” I asked with a laugh.
“The sensation is similar,” he smiled, stretching up to kiss me. “However, when it comes to actual taste, its more sweet, like fruit.” He kissed me again, licking my lips. “Strawberries, maybe?”
“That’s just my lip gloss,” I chuckled, pushing him away, but somehow he managed to squirm his way even closer to me.
“Oh,” he smiled, “well in that case, let me try again.”
He kissed me again, a little less playful than before, his hands moving strategically up my back. I gave myself exactly ten seconds to give in to the desire to forget the complications of our relationship. For that one moment, I forgot I was a witch, that he was a vampire and that the mystery of my mother’s death still hung in the balance. I let myself just be a girl, kissing a boy that she knew better than to fall for, but did so anyway. I was finally the uninhibited teenager that I never allowed myself to be.
“This is exactly why I wasn’t supposed to let you in the house,” I sighed against his lips.
He laughed too, pulling back. “Point taken,” he sighed. He stepped away from me, sticking his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He watched me run my fingers through my messy hair trying to resist the urge to pout about the sudden loss of contact with him. “I guess that means I should go?” He said, biting his lip knowing that I knew he was actually asking permission not to.
“You should go,” I said, more to myself than him. “That is the right thing to do. I should tell you to go home.” I wasn’t as convincing as I’d hope I would be.
He waited, raising his eyes in question. “Is that what you want, Emmie?”
I jumped down from the counter, my hands fidgeting with the pockets of my shorts. “What I want? That seems like such a foreign concept. My life has never been about what I wanted.”
“It should be,” he said. “You deserve your own happiness. Being responsible and fulfilling your obligations can make you a reliable person, but it won’t necessarily make you happy.”
“And let me guess, letting you stay will?” I teased.
“Of course,” he laughed. “But that isn’t my point. I’m not just talking about right now. I’m talking about tomorrow too. I want to spend time with you, get to know you, but I don’t want to sneak around behind your family’s back. I don’t want to be another complication in your life, I want to be part of the solution.”
“They don’t trust you,” I reminded him.
“They’ve never tried to trust me,” he shot back. “Not from the moment I stepped foot in this town. They didn’t bother to even give me a chance. That is all I’m asking for, a chance to prove them wrong about me.”
I could feel my resistance fading, despite my best effort to channel Reid’s warning into my every fiber. “They would want me to tell you to go,” I said, looking at the floor.
“Good thing I only care about what you want then,” he snapped. He was in front of me now, his hand blocking me against the counter. “Tell me what you want me to do.”
My eyes closed in frustration, and I gritted my teeth to keep myself from spouting out my natural response. “I already know the answer, Emmie,” he whispered against my cheek. “I just need you to say it.”
I bit my lip, because the words were right at the tip of my tongue. His lips brushed mine again, and I could feel the fire reignite between us. “Tell me,” he encouraged.
All rationality and responsibility fled me once his lips touched mine for a second time. In that moment, I couldn’t even recall the sound of Reid’s voice let alone his words. I was that teenager again, thriving on dreams of what could be. It was so easy to give in, too easy to let the dreams blind me. “Stay,” I sighed, conceding to my own stupidity.
He wrapped his arms around me picking me off the floor. “That’s all I needed to hear,” he smiled. “We’ll worry about everyone else tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow,” I laughed to myself, because right now in this dream, there was no tomorrow. There would only ever be Julien’s lips on mine and this feeling of reckless freedom.
Julien made a small sound of distress when his tongue slipped so easily between my parted lips. He barely touched me, his fingers as light as feathers along my back, melting away our clothes as I lost myself so fully in him. My hands clenched against his bare chest as he lifted me ever so subtly up onto the kitchen table. As if my jagged breaths weren't proof enough of my innocence, the warm flush of heat to my face when he took in the sight of my naked body all but screamed it at him.
His smile, though ripe with desire, was admiring and thoughtful. He took his time, each movement slower than the next, lingering kisses and stalled caresses as if it were his first time too. He paused, our lips falling together in one effortless breath. As I sought to deepen it, he pulled away. I looked up at him, my eyes bright with confusion. “The table can wait,” he whispered with a smirk, pulling me up into his arms. “I plan on doing this right.”
Before I could question him, we were in my room, the door swaying open behind us. I finally breathed as he sat me down on the edge of the bed, still grinning wryly at me. “What?” he asked cocking an eyebrow at me. “I'm a romantic.”
I smiled, biting my lip as the blush continued to blaze across my face. “That you are,” I giggled back at him. “Call me impressed.”
He crawled over me, growling playfully. “I'll show you impressed.”
My laughter continued. I'd never thought it could be like this. I never imagined that making love was capable of encompassing so many varied emotions. Happiness and desire so steady and constant, mixing effortlessly between us. I was more than impressed.
It was as if Julien could predict my every need before I could express it. He slowed when I wanted time to savor the feeling, and sped up when I craved the intensity. His eagerness told me how much he wanted me, but the gentle way his hands touched me showcased his adoration. I'd never felt both before him.
My hands trembled along his broad shoulders as he buried his face against my neck. I could feel his fangs, sharp and daunting against my warm skin, but I'd never felt more safe and secure. “I love you,” he breathed into my ear.
My fingers clawed into his skin, my body arching up to meet him as I gasped out my reply. “I love you, too.” I gave myself to him then in every way that I knew how, my heart finally untangled from the bonds of doubt that had burdened it for so long. Julien was right, we would worry about the rest of the world tomorrow, but tonight, this night would always just be ours.
The sun was especially bright through the window the next morning, so much so that no alarm clock was needed. I rubbed my eyes sleepily, peaking over the edge of the bed to watch Romeo yawn from atop his pillow on the floor. My mind was moving slowly, and I didn’t realize that the lump I’d rolled into was Julien until I heard him groan and shift under the covers next to me. He turned until he faced me on the pillow, our noses touching. “Hi,” he smirked, “did you forget I was here?”
I hummed, trying to clear the foggy memories of the previous night, because I had in fact forgotten that I wasn’t alone. I remembered walking to the graveyard, visiting my mother’s gravestone, casting a spell, but the rest of the night was a blur of kisses and skin. I could feel my own skin warm at the thought as I became suddenly aware of my lack of clothing beneath the covers. “I thought maybe I had dreamed that last part,” I admitted.
“No dream,” he smiled, kissing the end of my nose. “Sorry.”
“S’okay,” I yawned. “This is nice too.”
“It is,” he agreed, scooting closer. I had just managed to snuggle up against his chest when a loud noise erupted from down stairs. I shot straight up in the bed twirling around in the covers in search of a place to hide, from what hadn’t even entered my mind. Julien was quickly at my side pulling me back against his chest. “Calm down,” he whispered. “It’s just your friend.”
“My friend?” I questioned as he slid off the edge of the bed and slowly shut the door to my bedroom.
“Abby,” he explained, “I heard her come in a little while ago, but I was too comfy to actually care.”
My mouth fell open. “Abby is downstairs,” I stammered.
He nodded. “I heard her cursing all the way of up here,” he explained. “I guess she noticed my car in the drive and our clothes on the kitchen floor.”
I slapped my hands over my eyes, falling back onto the bed. “Great,” I groaned at the ceiling. “Family or not, I’m taking back their keys.”
I felt Julien tug on the end of my toes. I leaned up to find him dragging me down the bed. “We could just sneak out the window,” he suggested, smiling wryly at me, “and run away together.”
I wrapped the sheet around me as I sat up on the edge of the bed. “Tempting,” I grinned. “But I’m pretty sure they’d hunt us down out of spite.”
“So, facing the consequences of our actions like adults it is then?” He laughed, pulling on his jeans. “This would be so much easier if I had a shirt.”
I laughed, hopping across the room with my sheet to find my own clothes. “Touché,” I agreed.
Once I’d dressed, we very quietly walked down stairs together. I peaked around the corner making sure Julien’s assessment had been correct, because if he was wrong and Reid was waiting for me, then I was opting for the window. Luckily, I found Abby sitting at the table with her arms crossed over her chest. She scowled at me and stood up. “Where is he?” she asked. “Is he too scared to look me in the face?”
Julien stepped out from behind me in all his shirtless glory. “No,” he said casually, running his fingers down my arm. “I’m right here.” He walked over and plucked his shirt from the chair next to her. “Good morning to you too, by the way.”
Abby completely ignored him and continued to stare at me. “So, you’ve made your choice?” She asked.
“Between what?” I demanded, but Julien was at my side again with his arm around my shoulder making the choice she was referring to obvious.
She gave Julien a loathsome look before stalking over to me. She grabbed my chin, jerking my head from side to side examining my neck. She made a disgruntled snort when she found my neck free of bite marks, and I involuntarily fisted my hand to hide the real evidence. “Satisfied?” Julien asked beside me, “or would you like to do an entire strip search?”
Abby turned her head only slightly, and spoke in the same agitated voice as before. “I’ll just take your word for it.”
“That would be a first,” he countered.
Abby only continued to glare at him. “You can leave,” she pointed out, “at anytime.”
“Don’t be rude,” I snapped at her, but she paid me no attention. Instead, Julien turned to me, cupping his hand around my cheek. “It’s fine, sweetie,” he whispered. “I’m going to leave you ladies to chat, but I will see you later, okay?”
“Yes,” I promised, and then I watched as his eyes did that weird dancing thing again. The blue pigments seemed to lighten at my words and swirl happily. I started to comment about it, but I was distracted by his sudden undeniable smile.
“Good,” he whispered, and kissed my cheek. “See you soon.”
He turned to Abby and gave a half wave. “Well I would say it’s been a pleasure seeing you again, but that would be a lie.”
She grimaced at him, her hand resting on her hip as if his goodbye was taking too long. Julien took the hint, squeezed my hand and vanished through the living room and silently out the front door. As soon as it clicked shut, Abby let out her frustration in a long agonized groan.
“That boy,” she said, pointing at the door, “is a problem. Albeit, a very good looking, sweet talking problem, but a problem none the less.”
“I’m not going to apologize,” I told her.
She laughed, smiling for the first time as she approached me. “Apologize to the girl who dates a werewolf? That won’t be necessary.”
She placed her hand on my shoulder as if she was attempting to comfort me. I stared suspiciously at her hand and then back at her, waiting for the screaming lecture about how I must have lost my mind. However, it didn’t come. She just continued to stand there, all anger gone now that Julien was absent. “Am I missing something?” I asked, confused.
She squeezed my shoulder. “Where did he bite you?” she asked solemnly.
I stepped back, my breath suddenly escaping me in quick burst. “What?”
“Where did he bite you?” she asked again, in the same serene voice.
I began to stutter, my hands reflexively grabbing the ends of my hair to twist into knots. Her eyes shot to my wrist as I tugged a curl around my finger. She leapt forward, snatching my hand from my hair, pulling it down. I knew there was no use trying to stop her as she pried back my fingers to reveal the pink puncture marks on my hands. She sighed heavily, closing her eyes.
“How did you know?” I asked, through bated breaths.
“You couldn’t even tell,” she whispered. “You couldn’t even see how he acted around you.”
She ran her fingers over the marks, the same way Julien had done last night. “What do you mean?” I asked.
She looked up at me, her face grave. “You didn’t notice the way he touched you? Every time I spoke to you, or even looked at you, he touched you, staking his claim and making it clear that you were his.”
“No.” I said, shaking my head. “You’re just overreacting.”
“I’m not judging you, Emmie,” she said, holding her hands out to her side. “Werewolf girl, remember?”
“Then what are you doing exactly?” I asked.
She sighed, scooting close enough to me to wrap her arm around my shoulder. “I just want you to realize what you’re getting yourself into before you’re too involved to change your mind.”
Before I could say anything she was pulling me toward the stairs. “But first, we need to get you dressed,” she explained. “And I’ll call for backup while you’re in the shower.”
I paused on the steps not allowing her to push me any further. “I’m telling you right now Abby, I don’t need saving and if your so called back up is Reid Thomas....”
“It’s not Reid,” she promised. “Reid and Grady are too biased for this particular mission.”
“Mission? Okay, you’re taking this too far.”
She was pushing me up the stairs again, and I was letting her only because I really did need to take a shower. “Maybe I am,” she said, pushing me through my bedroom door, “but we’ll leave that up to Zeke to decide.”
“Zeke?” I asked. “Whose that?”
“Ezekiel McGregor,” she said, closing the bathroom door in my face. “Vampire expert extraordinaire, or at least, the only unbiased supernatural human I know.”
“Wait.” I yelled through the door. “Is that Grady’s little brother? The one that Willa is tragically in love with?”
The door suddenly flew open, and Abby stood bewildered on the other side. “Who told you that?”
I swallowed, unsure if I should admit that it was just something I overheard Julien say at the Festival. I guess she read the guilty look on my face because she sighed. “He’s right.” She said. “It is tragic, and that’s just another reason why Zeke gives the best advice.”
I stood there, confused as ever, but she only slammed the door in my face again. “Take a shower!” she instructed, “I’ll explain on the way!”
My head was spinning by the time I turned off the hot water and waded my way through the steam. I felt like my life was whirling around me, a scatter of events and people that collided together just long enough to knock me off my feet. I knew coming back here wouldn’t be simple, but I wasn’t exactly sure that I expected it to be this complicated. I wasn’t convinced that I somehow needed saving from Julien now, but I was too curious about Ezekiel to deny Abby the chance to change my mind.