Chapter One: May As Well Be Dead

I pulled them apart forcefully. They hadn't even known I was there- well, now they did. They looked at me with shocked faces and I knew exactly what they would say to me. "Rorie, it w…" Carrie, my only so called 'friend' started. We met in the first time during second grade- we were currently sixteen. We were both outcasts, which brought us together, I guess. Carrie had always been really shy and very, very quiet- but not anymore. She was, as my mother put it, 'blossoming into a beautiful young lady.' I say she's just a slut, with her implants her rich daddy bought her for her last birthday, the classic blond hair and blue eyes and all that make up she wears now. She really changed from the girl I knew...Me, on the other hand? I have always been the Goth girl, as people put it, with my raven black hair and surprisingly light blue eyes with the black specks. I always wear black too, only because I like the color. I don't enjoy being called Goth, not in this place because they say it cruelly, though. I'm not trying to be the way I am, I just happen to love the color black and NOT like the other people in my school. It's not my fault. Anyway…

"…was nothing." I finished for her. She looked down shamefully. "Whatever, you liar. I'm not an idiot, you know!" I turned towards Rob….my boyfriend. I had caught them under the school bleachers- frenching, not just…'normal' kissing, while all I had ever gotten was a peck on the cheek and holding hands. AND to add to that he had been feeling her up! We had been going steady for almost five months, and he was the only boy who had ever even taken two looks at me in a good way. And the only boy who had ever done that ended up breaking my heart with my only friend helping him. My first boyfriend and my first broken heart. Now I was alone in this stupid world. Sure, I had my parents and my older brother and sister (I am the youngest in the family) but my siblings thought I was crazy and seemingly hated me, and my parents just…they hate the way I am. Well, not Dad. He doesn't care. But my mom wants me to be like her. She wants me to be all 'happy happy joy joy', to wear pink and red and white. Neither of them understands me or the way I'm living, the way my world is. I don't talk to them much, and my mother tries to ignore me, my father tries to interact with me; at least he does that… Again, getting off track here; Rob just stared at me. I searched and searched for any sign of guilt in his eyes…and found nothing. I couldn't believe it- not even I was that cold-hearted! I felt my cheeks were warm with anger. How could they do this to me?! I was ready to hit, to scream, to ruin that slut's picture perfect face. Control yourself, I told myself. Hopefully I could manage AT LEAST that. "I thought you loved me!" I yelled at him. I wouldn't hit anyone; I promised myself that. But yelling, cussing…that I couldn't control. He stayed silent and I saw Carrie inch towards him carefully, whispering something to him that wasn't meant for my ears. But my senses were strange and very good. Especially my hearing and eyesight. "Robby, you better tell her about it…" He gave Carrie a quizzical look. "The bet! Tell her about the bet!" I heard, and my eyes widened and my face grew redder with rage. They looked up to see my raised eyebrows, my burning face, my glaring eyes.

"BET?!" I shrieked. "You were only going out with me, telling me you loved me, because of some bitch ass BET?! I hate you!" He tried to talk. "No! Don't talk to me! Either of you- I hate you both! You were the only two people I could really count on and you betray me like this! And I bet YOU were only in it to make you look good. Or to stop all the bullies in 2nd grade teasing you!" Carrie looked down at the ground and I knew I was right. Rob blushed, his cheeks tinting pink, and his eyes got a certain spark in them like they did when he was lying. I'd only seen it once, when I asked him only a week ago what he was doing the upcoming weekend and he replied going out with his "friends". I guess now I knew what it actually meant. "But I really did love you, Rorie!" Rob pleaded with me; but I knew he was lying…I could just tell with him right now. The sound of his voice, the look in his eyes.

"Bull shit, Rob." I said. "Stop trying to screw with me!" I yelled and started running. I turned back around. "YOU COULD DIE FOR ALL CARE!" I shouted at them and started running again. I needed to get away with them before I tried to hurt someone- blame my short temper with those two that day. I slowed down when I was at least twenty yards away from them. They truly didn't care- they were back to making out. I glared at them, strangely not feeling any tears threatening to fall at all and I didn't know. The only reason I could think of was that something good was going to happen…but of course, that would never come true; especially not on a day like this one. I decided to go to my favorite place of all time, the only place I knew no one would find me. It was this little run-down park in the woods; it is probably one of the few exciting places where I live. In the sixth grade I just….came across it somehow. I don't know. But the park was actually in perfect shape- except for the slide and all the rumors about the place that some demented kids made up. That it was haunted, or that there was a vampire living in a castle nearby it. Though, there is a huge almost Victorian style mansion nearby. But no vampires- as far as I know, anyway. Now, it there were vampires near here, I would come here more often! I love vampires to death. I watch virtually all the vampire movies, read all the books and comics, everything. I really have no clue why I'm so…addicted to them, though. I don't know if I believe in them or not, though. It's just more like….I hope that they're real. Wouldn't that be kind of like believing? Its weird how you can always hope for something, but also have a feeling that it's not real, but still hope for it. And even when someone puts you down, you hope. I think too much, don't I…?

I went immediately to the swings, taking my book bag off my shoulders and setting it beside me. I took out a book- a graphic novel called Vampire Knights by Matsuri Hino- and started reading it. Soon, without even noticing it, it was night time. Dark, secluded; my favorite time of day. I don't even know why it's my favorite- maybe because no one can see me or bother me, or maybe it's simply because of all the vampire books I read and the movies I watch. Like I've said, I really don't know. I looked up from my book and saw, off in the distance with my unusually GOOD eyesight, a pair of glowing eyes, maybe six feet up in the air. I smiled. It was probably a cat out for a meal, ready to pounce from its tree. I closed my book, stuffing it back into my backpack, and swayed on the swing with my head tipped back towards the night sky. From here in the woods, where there were no cars, no street lights to mess up the view, you could see what looked like all the stars in the sky. It was one of the only beautiful views where I live, much like the park was one of the few exciting places. I sat there and just adored it; then I noticed the big, round, glowing full moon overhead and stood quickly. I had forgotten that tonight was supposed to have a full moon- you see, I usually don't go outside on full moon nights, because of werewolves. Yes, I believe in those, too- not HOPE. BELIEVE. They come out, vicious and blood thirsty, at night time on full moons. I stood up and slung my bag over my shoulder and started running, pumping my legs harder when I heard the howling. It was probably a wolf, seeing as we have a few here, but I wanted to be on the safe side. Plus, my parents were going to be pissed at me, and my brother and sister were going to give me Hell about it, too. It was eleven something, close to twelve, according to my black crucifix-and-skull pocket watch. Almost an hour and a half past my curfew for Fridays and weekends- today was a Friday- so I'll probably be grounded for eternity "for making them worry about me." Yeah, right. Mom just doesn't want to get a bad reputation because of my 'midnight walks.' I continued running until something caught my eye- well, I still ran, but was dumb enough to look at whatever it was. It shone in the moonlight, in the yard of the huge mansion I was talking about, and looked silver. It almost looked like a crucifix itself. But what would a crucifix be doing in tha-

I fell, running into something solid. The contents of my back spilled out over the pavement and I rushed to get it all up. My hand hit somebody's and I looked up, he looked down. His hair fell over his face and I wondered why there was someone else out at this time of night- and in front of the mansion, for that mansion. The inhabitants of that Victorian house were LONG dead- they probably died somewhere in the 1800's- and nobody had lived there since. It just stood there in its beautiful, dark glory. I bent my head back down and pulled my hand off of his, continuing to pick up all my spilled books and shoving them hastily in my ripped backpack. I felt eyes on me; was he staring at my freakish, as people put it, black lips and my dark eye shadow, my 'gothic' clothing? And if he was…did he like it? I don't know why and I don't know how, but I felt an attraction to this guy. Not a physical attraction (especially since I couldn't actually see his face right now) at all…It was strange. Plus, he was probably the only guy in town who would have stopped and helped me pick up my stuff without cussing me out for running into them. Or making rude remarks about my choice of apparel- a black off the shoulder dress with silver chains on the skirt part, sleeves that were snug around the upper arm and flared out around my wrists and the black makeup and the combat like boots- so on, so on. I saw him put my last book back in my bag, then pull his hand back and turned towards him to say thanks, but he had…disappeared completely. I looked behind me, off in the distance, even listening for him. But I couldn't see OR hear him. I felt a chill go down my spine and looked at the mansion- a light was on now. I wondered who was in there, wondering if it was him and if it was how he got from here to there so quickly.

I decided to find out.

I walked to the gate, glade I had worn short-like things under my dress. They went down halfway from touching my knees and were black. First I tried opening it- but it was locked. That rose more suspicion out of me if it were him- he would've had to unlock the gate or climb it to get in, meaning I would have heard it with my excellent hearing. Unless….No. He couldn't be. Could he? I sighed in frustration and climbed over the rusting gate, jumping to the ground. The only noise was the light creaking of the old gate and the thud as I hit the ground, hard. A slight pain shot in my ankle, but left quickly. I stood there for a moment. I can't believe I was actually going to try to get in! Of course, I'd never tried before. All the times I had wanted to, there were too many people or some snot nosed kid had messed everything up. But now…ah. The perfect chance; I hope so, anyway. I walked stealthily towards the huge mansion. Or rather….mansion-like house. I don't know what exactly it was. But I crept towards the bushes; I needed to find an unlocked window. I saw a car roll by and ducked quickly- a cop. What was a cop doing out in the middle of the night? Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) ever happened in this town. I continued once I was sure it was gone, then something else disturbed my mission- Him. I ducked into the bushes, yet again, making sure all of my exposed skin was covered and hoping he wouldn't notice me despite my camouflage-like outfit. All black, at night, should conceal me, right? No, wrong. He looked around–obviously he had heard me–and finally got the sense to look down. He blinked in confusion and I studied his gorgeous face while I could, because soon I would have to run as not to get caught. He had jet black hair, no brown or anything- just black, that went down to the end of his neck and swept across his forehead, partly covering his dark eyes. He was the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen in this small, boring town! He wore around his neck some kind of pendant; it looked like a moon, and he was dressed virtually in all black, except for the white tank top-like thing under his black jacket. I could smell his cologne, the sweet smell of it (almost like candy). I would probably never expect a guy to wear that scent, but it fit him (or at least his looks) well. He started to say something and I bolted up, running again. But as soon as I reached the gate, one foot propped up in climbing position with one arm pulling my body up, I felt him grab my hand with his soft, smooth one and, shocked, I fell onto the ground. Well, not really. He caught me, setting me down on my feet. I stood there, wondering if he was going to call the cops on me or something. I distracted myself with my pocket watch, which he gazed at in a strange manner, and saw that it was a few minutes past minute. I would let Mom worry (Dad wouldn't- he knows I carry a pocket knife, that I know how to fight and protect myself, and that if I were in any REAL trouble I could just press a button on my cell phone to tell him of that without words), cause she really deserved it after everything she tries to put me through. I would stay out all night just to piss her off. Hell, I'd probably skip school too. Not that that was anything bad. "Where did you get that?" Said his voice. As soon as he spoke, my nervousness inched away. Something about his voice…

"This?" I said, holding up the watch. "I got it at some shop in The Village when I was up in New York with my…" I had been up there with Rob. But instead I just said friend. I wanted to get Rob and Carrie out of my life FOREVER. He must have sensed my non-comfortable state returning and changed the subject.

"My name is Caine. Caine Dragos. " He said. So he's Romanian. Dragos was a Romanian name- I'd only ever seen it used as a first name for males, but altogether, it was a hot name for him. Especially since it seemed to fit him- basically, it meant precious and peaceful. I mentally laughed at myself- I had found out my own boyfriend and best friend were cheating on me together, yet here I was gawking at a guy in the middle of the night.

"I'm Lorelei Bellerose. But you can call me Rorie." I said, smiling. My last name was French because my father had French heritage. I loved my last name- it came from a word which meant "beautiful rose" and roses are my favorite flower.

"That's a beautiful name, 'Rorie.'" He said and I blushed. "Anyway, so why were you trying to get into my home?"

"So you actually live there?" He nodded. "Well, that's what I was trying to find out. You were so…mysterious. I wanted to see if it were you in the house and thank you. By the way, thanks for helping." He laughed and I practically fainted. His laugh….I loved everything about him!

"Are you in a rush?" He asked me.

"Nope; not at all." I said. "Actually…I'm trying to take as long as I can." He smiled at this, too, and I felt my heart melt. Then I saw the car. My eyes widened. "That's my dad! Go!" He listened and ran quickly back into his home, and I ducked behind some bushes. If I got home before he found me I could tell them I was out with Carrie seeing a late movie. As soon as the car passed I bolted down the street, waving bye to Caine who looked at me from his porch, smiling. Soon I got to my house, taking a moment on the porch to catch my breath. Then I remembered my mom would ask to see the ticket from the 'movies' and I got out the movie ticket I'd used last week at the theatre, replacing the day's date and not making it noticeable, doing the same for the time. Then she went through her door, ready to be yelled at as soon as she walked in. First, I was smothered in hugs by my mom. Next, she backed away from me, her motionless daughter, with an angry look on her face. "WHERE WERE YOU?!" She yelled. My siblings snickered and I gave them glares.

"I was seeing a late movie with Carrie!" I yelled back. She started to say, "what?!" but I shoved the ticket at her before she even got the chance to finish the sentence and stormed off to my room, slamming the door behind me. I went over to my stereo, blasting From First to Last's song The Latest Plague from it. I lay on my back in my bed, staring up at my ceiling and thinking of Caine again. The way he looked at me without disgust, the way he smiled and laughed, the way he talked….it made me forget about everything that had happened earlier….

Until the next day; I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror, fixing the make up on my pale face. I was always pale because of the lack of sunlight. I slipped into camouflage leggings and a simple black tank-dress, grabbing my fixed backpack. All I had done was sew a Gir patch over the rip. I stuck my iPod earplugs into my ears, turning it on and walking out the door to go to school. I was dreading school, but I had to go. I didn't want to, though. I detest school. Especially since I have nearly ALL my classes with Carrie and Rob……..They weren't in P.E. They weren't in Chemistry. They weren't in literacy, or anything other class I had with them, either. I didn't really mind that, though. I wasn't one to complain. After all, I hate them both now for betraying me like that. It was cruel and uncalled for. But at least I know now I'm not good enough for anyone and I don't have to wonder….Except now I have a crush or something on Caine Dragos and he probably doesn't feel the same way- especially since we'd only talked to each other for maybe half an hour or something like that. We knew each other's names and that's about it. Suddenly, an announcement was made in the class, calling for me for dismissal. I raised my eyebrows with confusion. Why were they calling me? I got my stay anyway and went o the office where I saw my mom. She looked like she had been crying. We got to the car and I finally asked what happened. "I'll…tell you when we g-get home." She stuttered out. I was afraid of the news. As we drove past the Caine's place I gazed at it. All the curtains were drawn and as far as I could tell no lights were on. I could hear music coming from it, though. I saw a car in the driveway and a few huge moving trucks parked and that was it. I turned back towards my mom, who was literally (well, almost) keeping her eyes on the road. On the way home, I also saw the remaints of a car crash and whistled. For the first time in the car, my mom glanced at me glaring. I figured one part out- something had happened in a car crash. Otherwise she would have said, "Oh, wow. What a bad crash" or something like that. I could wait for the bad news, I decided, which I knew that would be what it was. Millions of tragic thoughts and 'movies' went through my head- was Dad in the hospital? Was a family member killed in a car crash?

When we got home I found the whole family sitting at the table silent. Dad was on the phone comforting someone, on the verge of tears himself. "What is going on?!" I said, almost panicky. Dad gave the phone to my Mom and made me sit down, kneeling and putting his hands on my shoulders. "Rorie, honey, Rob and Carrie are…" I urged him on silently, though I knew the answer now. "Rob and Carrie are dead." The tears streamed down his face and I just sat there, number than ever right now. Dead….they were really dead….but I hadn't meant what I said! I stood, making Dad stumble back and ran up the stairs, locking my door, blasting my music and crying. Really crying, tears, sobs, convulsing, for the first time in my teenage life. I curled up into a ball, drawing my black curtains shut to block out all humanity and continued to cry. I shook my head in disbelief. I knew that car crash I'd whistled at, when my mom glared at me had been theirs. And I couldn't help but think it should have been me in that car with Rob. I should be the dead one; not Carrie. "It's not true!" I whispered to no one. My shoulders convulsed with every sob, every weep, and every tear. It couldn't be true…..I wouldn't let it be true! This was all a bad dream and I'll wake up soon, to find out Rob still loves me….Carrie is still my best friend…and I'm leading the life I WANT to lead! But I knew that wouldn't happen. Nothing I ever wanted to happen happened. And I hated it sooo much. I hated fate, I hated myself, I hated Rob and Carrie yet loved them both still, I wished they were still her. I stayed in my room until dark, and then stood, opening my window. I could tell everyone was asleep in the house but me. I climbed out, deciding on a walk. I don't know where I wanted to go; I didn't know that was wear my feet would take me. I didn't realize how much of an idiot I was. I ended up at the scene of the crash. I found something there, a note. A note from Rob, addressed to me. It had been written that day, and the edges were partly burnt. There was an already wilted or burnt rose attached to it. "I'm sorry; Rorie, my love, and I do deserve to die. I love you so much; I hope you can live a better life without me. You were my one and only. I was a fool for going with anyone but you…I will always love you–Robby." Was what it read. I gripped it to my chest and smelt it- through the ashes, the smoke on it I could smell my Robby. I read over that part again. "….we deserve to die." and realized this was all my fault. "I hadn't meant it, Robby!" I screamed at the sky. "I hadn't meant it!" Tears streamed down my face again, as I fell to my knees and bent over, my hair draping over the ground. "I miss you so much! Why did you believe me?! I love you; Robby…I didn't want you to die!" I whispered, wishing I could feel his warm embrace, wishing I could see him one more time.

I squeezed my eyes shut. "Wake up, Lorelei!" I urged silently. "Stop screwing with you, gods dammit, WAKE UP!" I didn't want to be part of this anymore; I was the one who didn't deserve to live at all. I deserved to die more than him right now. I cried uncontrollably now, I could feel myself shaking all over. I could feel myself being torn apart from the inside out. Tears continued to cascade non stop down my cheeks, tinted black from my eye shadow, black as my heart; bitter as my heart. As unwelcome as me in this stupid world…I wish I would die; I repeated that in my mind over and over and over again. I didn't see hear the honking, I didn't see the truck, I didn't see the lights. I didn't feel the pain; all I felt…was relief. I thought I was dead.

I lay on the ground but I couldn't see anything. Everything was black but I could feel the sun on my eyes–it was daytime, I guessed in my…whatever state– and I could hear yelling all around me. I could feel the flashing lights; I could sense the panic and despair. Where am I? I thought. It took me a while to remember the previous day; Robby and Carrie…dead….Me getting hit by the truck–but surviving. I wondered why (and how) I survived, since I didn't deserve it. Maybe this was my punishment- staying alive on Earth to suffer. Nothing could get me happy, not even Caine Dragos, the gorgeous, mysterious, night walker. A lonely tear crept down my cheek. Somehow, it represented me. Alone, in despair, forever sad. I hear somehow push their brakes to a stop, doors slamming, feet running. Suddenly I felt four more presences by me, but familiar ones. Not to mention that…that feeling on Him being there. Caine, that is. Was he actually there? "Rorie! Honey, tell me you can here me! Please don't leave us!" It was my dad. He yelled for the ambulance guys to get there asses over to me. They did, lifting me carefully onto a stretched. I suddenly felt pain all over- my stomach, my chest, my head, but not that much. I hear crying–my family, or Robby's family, or Carrie's family, it would be no one else because everyone else hated me–and then I heard the ambulance doors being slammed shut. The vehicle started moving and I let myself fall into a coma- I hope that's what it was, anyway. I hoped I would never wake up, but as usual, my dream didn't come true. I felt someone take my hand in theirs, but I didn't know whose it was. It wasn't my dads, it was too soft. But it wasn't a woman's, either. It was too big. "Squeeze my hand if you hear me, if you know who I am." They said. It was Caine! I squeezed his hand like he told me to. I didn't want to speak- I knew I would just cry. I opened my eyes and my vision was blurred with black dots. I was right for once–it was Caine. "Rorie…" He said. It felt good to hear someone say my name without disgust, without hatred or disapproval of any kind. I glanced around. I was hooked up to a bunch of machines, in a white gown (I hoped it wasn't open-back) and it was a starch white room. I was blinded by all the white and blinked to get my vision back again. "Are you okay?" He asked me softly. I lied and nodded. I wondered if he knew I wasn't okay. I think he did; he gazed into my eyes intently. "Are you lying?" I didn't answer- partly because I just didn't want to, but mostly because he knew I was. I heard him sigh and I closed my eyes again. I wanted to know how hurt I actually was. "I kept the police from throwing this away." I opened my eyes again, and he was holding the note and the rose out for me. I sat up painfully, leaning against the headboard of pillows and shakily took them from him. I gazed intently at the note one more time and gripped the rose, feeling the small thorns puncture my pale skin a little, and set them on the small table beside me, staring at a wall to keep from crying. "It's okay to cry." He said. I broke down again…I didn't cry, just brought my knees (with much pain, might I add) up to my chest with the blanket still covering them, wrapping my arms around them and laying my head on them, my hair falling in front of me. I still kept the tears contained, telling my self to stay strong for Robby and Carrie. He put an arm carefully around my shoulders but I stayed like that, my shoulders heaving with my strong attempt to keep from crying, which worked. Soon he left and my dad came in, staying for a few hours. He left an hour after visiting time was over and I realized mom and my brother and sister hadn't even shown any concern for me, yet they had cried their perfect little eyes out over Rob and Carrie. I hate you so much! I said silently to the three people that weren't there, but should have been.

I decided there was only one more thing I needed to do…