By Whispering X. Blue
Summary: Tess wants fun. Angel wants Tess. And Jordan just wants to get some. Life at an ordinary high school, except, oh my! This one is inhabited by vampires with a bone to pick. Someone pass the pitcher of blood, please.
Chapter 3 – First Blood is Drawn (The Rape of Tess)
Two weeks passed and I soon became accustomed to the routine of high school life and, although Angel Lansing still frightened me, I became more acclimated to his presence. One of the students in my Musical Composition class switched out to another elective and I was able to convince Ms. Rosemerta, the teacher, to allow me to move to his seat so that, now, Angel Lansing and I were seated at opposite ends of the room. I hoped that the perverse fate that crossed our stars had been sated and would leave me be. Ariel and I spent most of our free time and study time alike at each other's houses, almost as if I had never left Saint-Saёns to begin with. Claire was often tied up with her journalism, traveling throughout the continental United States and, sometimes, to foreign nations as well, so I was often left to my own devices at home which meant that I consumed instant noodles and salad almost daily. Although her article on the unusual nature of the juvenile disappearances had already published and aroused widespread publicity, I knew that Claire had not yet given up on discovering the true nature of the phenomenon, as neither had I. During free weekends, I would inadvertently end up at the library with a pile of dusty books at my elbow. Even though I knew that I should at least tell Claire my suspicions, I still hesitated, a faint cloud of uneasiness clinging to my mind. My research hadn't been wasted though. Between the four corners of the sheet of notebook paper, I was beginning to see sketches of interconnecting lines wavering, twisting, and melding to, hopefully, form one undeniable chain.
Besides Ariel, I spent the most time with the senior from my Humanities class, Jordan King. One Saturday, while we were watching the first screening of Twilight at the local movie theater with a group of mutual friends, his large hand snuck over the armrest that divided our seats and clasped my small one in a warm grasp. I smiled in the darkened movie theater, but made no comment as, even after Bella and Edward danced the night away at the prom and the credits began to roll, he still did not relinquish my hand. Instead, he led me out of the movie theater after our friends and started leading me towards his car. Instead, I disentangled our hands and reminded him that I had to drive Ariel home. When he seemed crestfallen, I laughed and gave him a quick hug before leaving him behind in the darkening parking lot.
That Monday, Jordan waited for me outside after Humanities ended and walked me to our customary lunch table, balancing both my books and his in one muscular athlete's arm, while claiming my icy hand with his other. I made no comment, as I had done in the movie theater, but, the moment we were fairly seated, the other inhabitants of our table began badgering me with questions.
"Are you two ...?" Ariel looked from me to Jordan and back in a conspirational manner. I shrugged and turned towards Jordan.
"Are we?" I asked lightly. He smiled, a warm, open smile, and replied in the affirmative:
"I guess so." From that moment on, many of the boys who had been almost overly friendly before began to maintain a certain respectful distance, almost as if the words "Property of Jordan King" were stamped on my forehead. Jordan, too, would often order me to stop spending time with one or the other of my guy friends "because," he would explain with a long-suffering smile, "he likes you, you know." It annoyed me, this proprietary nature of my existence, but, what was even more irking was the reaction of some of the girls. Very often, I would hear, the minute I turned my back, some girl or other whisper: "Did you here? She's really in love with Angel Lansing. Dena heard her whisper his name in Euro."During this time, Angel Lansing had not approached me again although he frequently snuck glances at me when I wasn't looking. This ultimately condemning information was announced to me by an exuberant Ariel who seemed to wish to make my love life as complicated as possible.
"I've been wondering whether I should tell you or not for a couple days now," she suddenly announced while we were playing a two-person game of Clue in my kitchen while sipping hot chocolate. I looked up from my pad where I had just crossed off Miss Scarlet and the lead pipe and watched her with curiosity clearly written in every contour of my face.
"Tell me what?" I sat up, all attention. Ariel seemed flattered and she tried to play the information up for all it was worth.
"Mm. I'll tell you if you show me all your 'suspect' cards." I sighed and showed them to her, too interested to worry about her cheating. Instead of telling me, however, she rolled the die and called out, "I accuse Ms. Peacock of murder with the dagger in the Conservatory!" Then, she snatched the "Confidential" envelope and slipped out the cards. "Yes! I won! Ha! Take that Tess!" I glared at her.
"So ..." I prompted. Ariel grinned and wagged a finger in my face.
"First, tell me if you really, really like Jordan. I mean really like as in love like." I eyed her suspiciously and hedged.
"I think he is really awesome and, as a girlfriend, I have no complaints, if that is what you mean." Except being over-possessive. Ariel shook her head and tsk-ed me.
"You know exactly what I mean and that's not it. Do you love Jordan King?" Her face became serious and I felt as if I were caught in a modern Spanish Inquisition. I bit my lip and toyed with my cup of chocolate as I answered,
"No. But, does that make a difference?"
"I though so." Ariel smirked, refusing to answer my question. "Now tell me, how do you feel about Angel Lansing?" Angel Lansing. At those words, I froze, an almost forgotten fear reawakening inside my chest. Ariel mistook my expression for a silent confession and continued. "Because I heard that he has been staring at you in European History and Musical Composition - you have those classes together, right? Then, of course, there are those rumors about you …" I nodded, swallowing hard. "And, three days ago, when you and Jordan were fooling around during lunch, I glanced over to his lunch table out of curiosity and there he sat, both his eyes fixed, unmoving, on you."
"Oh," I muttered, "Great." Ariel beamed.
"Isn't it? I mean, Jordan's a great guy and all, but this is Angel Lansing. The boy every girl in the entire school has crushed on." Except for me, I mentally added, I'm terrified of him. She stood, purse in hand. "I better go, see you tomorrow. By the way, Tess, are you feeling okay? You seem sort of pale - not that you aren't always pale - but you look paler than usual." I nodded and then shook my head, forcing a smile as I walked with her to the door.
"I'm fine, just a little tired - nothing a nap won't cure. See you." I shut the door after she left and double locked it, breathing labored. What Ariel saw as an innocent expression of romantic interest frightened me beyond the capacity I had though myself capable of being frightened. Where vindictive Japanese Mafia and ruthless Latin American drug rings had unable to evoke fear, this high school boy did. A tennis racket in hand, I searched the entire house, for what I wasn't sure, and turned on every single light until the entire building was on fire with light. Then, I retreated to a couch in a corner of the living room and curled up there, unmoving, wishing that Claire weren't halfway across the globe in Japan.
"Flash floods in Bergen County to the north." "Local officials have announced an emergency evacuation."
The news anchor rambled on as I watched the television idly, drained after the wave of unreasonable fear from earlier. Sheet lightning flashed outside as torrents of rain freefell from the sky. Now that almost an hour had passed, I felt almost ridiculous, being afraid in a house fluoresced by electric light in a neighborhood with a non-existent crime rate. When the doorbell rang, I didn't think twice before uncrossing my legs and walking over to greet the visitor, wondering if Ariel had forgotten something. But, when I pulled open the door, I felt my heart stop and my breath catch. Standing there dripping rainwater onto my hardwood floor as if it were the most natural thing in the world was Angel Lansing. This couldn't be possible. My mind went absolutely blank and my nerves numb with fear. By the time I regained my senses, he had already invited himself in, shutting the door behind him.
"Sorry," he apologized, glancing at the puddle that had formed from his wet hair and clothing, "I thought I could make it back before the rain started." I gaped at him, my mind a muddle, his enticing fragrance making it difficult for me to think clearly. Clutching the door frame, I closed my eyes and swallowed hard, feeling extremely dizzy.
"You ... live around here?" I managed, gasping slightly. His eyebrows pulled together into a frown at my condition, but he made no comment.
"I live about a ten minute walk from here." I nodded. He took a step back and I inhaled the unpolluted air, feeling better.
"Did you know I lived here?" The fact that he lived so nearby frightened me to no end. He nodded.
"We drive home in the same direction."
"Oh." We lapsed into silence and I mentally calculated how long the rain would last. After all, I couldn't very well tell him to leave in the pouring rain. "You should wear less cologne," I finally commented, "It makes people dizzy." He grinned slightly.
"Do I?" I sent him a ridiculing smile.
"Yes, and nauseous too." He seemed somewhat put out and the grin faded.
"Most people do not think so."
"Well, most people have underdeveloped olfactory senses." His gaze suddenly increased in intensity as he scrutinized my face. After a very extended minute, he finally dropped his penetrating stare and smiled weakly.
"Do you ... want me to go?" He seemed upset by the thought.
"Is it that obvious?" He frowned.
"Yes," he answered matter-of-factly, "Should I go?" I didn't answer his question.
"You know, you almost always show up when I'm thinking about you." That was true enough, every time I thought about him, whether it be at the library or in class, however remotely, he would appear. Another item on my list of "Reasons to Avoid Angel Lansing." He laughed in reply.
"An odd coincidence."
"Very odd." I shifted slightly. At my movement, something in his eyes changed and he suddenly turned towards the door. I glanced at the dancing rain with alarm. "Where are you going?"
"Outside," he flatly stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, which I suppose it was.
"In this rain?" Was he crazy?
"It's letting up," he lied. If anything, the rain had become heavier since he came in. His hand turned the handle and began pulling the door open. Was he really taking my comments seriously? Sure, I wanted him to go, but not in this rain! I rested my hand on his.
"Are you really angry about what I said earlier? I was just joking." I smiled, trying to make my tone light. When our skin made contact, a shudder rippled through his tall frame and he emitted a noise something between a groan of pain and an angry snarl. Fearfully, I retracted my hand. Once I released him, Angel threw the door open and rushed out without a backwards glance, leaving me with a thousand questions and a racing heart. Five minutes passed as I stood still, waiting for my heart to stop thudding with fear. Tentatively, I lifted a curtain and peered out into the murky obscurity. At first, I could see next to nothing with the pouring rain and dark night, but, as a flash of lighting made the night as bright as day, I saw Angel, a couple houses down, kneeling in the merciless rain. I sighed and grabbed the first convenient umbrella. Bracing myself for the impact, I stepped into the downpour.
It was dark and, in the beginning, I had trouble seeing as I plunged into the battering rain and sloshed in Angel's general direction. The icy wind blew the water into my eyes, making it impossible to keep them open long, and whipped my hair so that it became a tangled mess before my face. Even worse was the cold, chilling me until I thought that I would collapse on the spot. When the lightning again lit up the black night, I saw how far I had actually strayed. I was on the other side of the street from Angel and had actually walked past him, goaded on by the fierce gusts. Gasping, I turned, struggling with the umbrella as it threatened to be blown out of my grasp. Not that it would have made much difference at this point since I was as drenched as Angel. Fighting against the wind-blown rain, I walked towards Angel, counting the steps in my mind, each more difficult than the last. Finally, I reached the square of sidewalk where he knelt, having barely moved since I set out. A different form of fear flew, chilling, through my mind. What if he was dead? Wouldn't I have killed him?
"Angel!" I screamed, my voice hoarse from cold. "Angel! Are you okay? Can you hear me? Oh my God, Angel!" He turned towards me slowly, his eyes dark granite and filled with pain. I held the umbrella over him, shielding him from the punishing rain.
"Yes." His voice came out in a soft whisper. Hearing his reply, a knot inside me unraveled and hot tears began to leak out of my eyes as I sobbed with relief. He smirked slightly as I continued sobbing uncontrollably. "I am fine, truly I am." I kicked him, feeling slightly cheered as he winced in pain. "What was that for? One minute you are crying because you thought I had died, the next you are trying to kill me yourself."
"You idiot!" I screamed, not quite caring who heard, "Are you crazy? Running out into this rain? And do you watch the weather channel? Or do you just not have any umbrellas?" His grin widened.
"What about you? Running out here after a madman?" he inquired. Despite myself, I cracked a faint smile.
"Fine. So that makes two of us." I swayed unsteadily on my feet as I turned to go back. "Are you coming?"
"Do I have much of a choice?"
"I don't see much of one." I offered him both my hands, clinging to the umbrella with my knees. He hesitated before placing his cold hands in mine and letting me help him up from his inert position. As we walked, he took the umbrella from my hands and held it above both our heads.
"So you do not jab my eyes out accidentally," he explained. I glared at him, resentful of the jibe at my stature.
As soon as we were inside, I ordered him to strip to his underwear as I removed as much of my wet clothing as decently possible.
"You are the most unembarrassed girl I have ever met," he commented as I glared at his bare midriff without a hint of a blush.
"Is there any reason to be?" He chuckled.
"I can see your underclothing." He glanced pointedly at my white camisole. I scowled and grabbed his wet clothing.
"Shut up. There's a shower upstairs that you can use." The intense fear had faded somewhat and I wondered if I was actually becoming immune to him or whether the fear was merely a side effect of his alien nature. Or, I mused, since everyone seems to believe that there is something going on between us, I can use him. Although I would never admit it, I hated the way Jordan acted as if I belonged to him, as if I were a well-loved pet kitten or expensive car used to show off the wealth of the owner. I shivered as I stuffed our wet clothing in the dryer and dripped my way to the shower.
By the time we were both reasonably dry, the rain had started to let up and the wind had quieted. Angel thanked me as I handed him an umbrella for the walk home and glanced at my flushed face.
"Are you okay?" I shrugged; at least this hot flash was better than the cold of moments earlier.
"I'll be fine. Take care." He paused at the doorway.
"I think you are coming down with something." I laughed and waved his concerns aside.
"It takes a lot more than just a couple raindrops to make me sick."
"That," he pointed out, "was much more than a couple of raindrops," but made no further protest as I ushered him from my house.
This is probably my favorite chapter so far - I heart the wordplay. There's one more pretyped chapter (I started this story about a year ago) but I haven't continued for awhile since the whole vampire theme seemed a little cliche in retrospect. But in view of the surprising amount of support this story had garnered (yay!) I will continue this while I gather my thoughts for Zephyr
Wolf's Night: ahaha ... I try Thanks for the review!
Also thanks to Alle Meine Entchen, lostlette, Adiwin, Grande Noir, and everyone who has been reading this story - it's great knowing that my writing is absolutely horrible :D